Big Finish’s Fourth Doctor: Five Of The Best - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish’s Fourth Doctor: Five Of The Best

Moo loves stories. He loves Tom Baker’s voice too.

As we celebrate the birthday of Tom Baker, it would be a crime not to mention his iconic voice. How could I in good conscience not do so? Is there a more recognisable voice in the whole of popular culture than that of Doctor Who number four? I don’t think so!

Let’s then take a stroll through his recent history and see how he comes across in Big Finish. Here are five of their best stories for his Doctor, as chosen by me. As ever, all opinions are mine.

5. The Crooked Man (2014)
By John Dorney

Get used to seeing Dorney’s writing credit on these, you’ll see it a lot in this article. He wrote three of the five and stars in the other two! But how could I not praise his efforts when he produces stuff like this? The Crooked Man starts with the Doctor and Leela landing on a coast somewhere in England where they discover a series of murders. This story’s real genius though lies in the twist when (MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING) they end up fighting monsters in the Land of Fiction but this time, instead of classic literature, it’s filled with ideas by second-rate unpublished hacks. Absolutely genius.

4. The Light at the End (2013)
By Nicholas Briggs

The fiftieth anniversary special – audio version! The Light At The End is a massive celebration of all things “classic” Who. All eight Doctors are present, so why single this out for Four in particular? Partly because it’s a brilliant release anyway but specifically for Tom Baker’s multi-Doctor interactions with Paul McGann, which most listeners seem to agree was the highlight. Impressive feat in a story filled to the brim with fanservice! It’s not a pairing that should work as well as it does, but hopefully there will be a chance for another team-up for these two soon.

3. The Foe From the Future (2012)
By Robert Banks-Stewart and John Dorney

This was a six-partner originally planned for the end of season fourteen from the man who gave us Zygons and Krynoids. The story that was commissioned in that slot was The Talons of Weng-Chiang instead but, through their Lost Stories range, Big Finish allowed us to enjoy a version of The Foe From The Future. It has similarities to Talons (there’s a clue in the title if you remember who Wen-Chiang really turned out to be and there’s much much more than that). Despite this familiarity, it still holds up on its own terms. A real treat that, despite being a six-parter on audio, never drags.

2. The Trouble With Drax (2016)
By John Dorney

It’s a long-standing joke about Big Finish, that they like to randomly make sequels to the most bizarre possible stories. One of the worst offenders is this, a sequel to The Armageddon Factor. I am among the fans of The Armageddon Factor, but even the two of us must ask of this sequel: Who ordered that? But bringing back memorable side-character Drax for his own story is immediately enough to earn some goodwill going in, which is rewarded for those willing to take the plunge. This time a newly-regenerated Drax recruits the Doctor and Romana for his latest scheme. It doesn’t sound like anything special yet, but when you realise what is really going on this story truly comes to life. It’s got one joke but done with such flair, and manages to find increasingly hilarious and outlandish ways to deliver the punchline, that you can’t help but applaud.

1. Kill the Doctor! / The Age of Sutekh (2018)
By Guy Adams

Sutekh – a reimagined alien version of the Ancient Egyptian religion’s satanic figure – was one of classic Doctor Who’s most powerful and memorable villains, so it’s only natural for Big Finish to bring him back. In this story, he’s living in the wireless cloud (they don’t call it that but still) as more of an idea or concept than a tangible presence trying to subliminally make the populace want to kill the Doctor so he can transform the world in his image, and that’s such a genius idea. It’s also a great story for Leela, giving her some very modern companion scenes that she never got in the original series looking after those displaced by the Osirian’s scheme. It’s a very powerful ideological story that kind of slipped under the radar when it came out, which is a shame.

Do more of this please Big Finish!

“Moo” is the pseudonym used by this Doctor Who fan. He can usually be found procrastinating by thinking about Doctor Who. Follow him on Twitter @z_p_moo for more of his unusual takes, but do so at your own risk.

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