Quick CD Box Set Review – ‘Forty’ (Doctor Who)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

To commemorate the day I first met Sarah Sutton at a ‘Doctor Who’ convention back in February 2010 (the ‘Fifth Element’ event), I’ve decided to share a quick review on the first ‘Forty’ box set by Big Finish. I’m hoping to share in-depth reviews on the two stories in the box set by the end of 2022.

This is when I come to review the two ‘Forty’ box sets of ‘Doctor Who’ for the upcoming ‘Nyssa Challenge’ mini-review season from December 2022 to January 2023. Essentially, I’ve greatly enjoyed the two stories in the first ‘Forty’ box set by Big Finish. They’ve been engaging to listen to. 🙂

The ‘Forty’ box sets of ‘Doctor Who’ are to celebrate 40 years of the Fifth Doctor in the TV series and Big Finish audios. We’ve all had our own unique ways to celebrate Peter Davison’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. Mine of course was ‘The Coins of Deno’ anthology, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy.

This is Big Finish’s way of celebrating 40 years of the Fifth Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m currently looking forward to the second ‘Forty’ box set of ‘Doctor Who’ due to be released in September 2022, especially with the ongoing storyline about the Fifth Doctor being displaced throughout his timeline.

The two stories featured in the first ‘Forty’ box set are as follows. There’s a four-part adventure called ‘Secrets of Telos’ by Matt Fitton and a two-part adventure called ‘God of War’ by Sarah Grochala. The two stories are directed by Ken Bentley, who’s directed many Big Finish audio dramas.


Peter Davison of course stars as the Fifth Doctor in the first ‘Forty’ box set and he’s joined by Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Janet Fielding as Tegan and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric. It was fascinating to hear the two stories each in turn and how they fit in with very respective timelines for our heroes. 🙂

In the first story called ‘Secrets of Telos’, we begin with the end of ‘Four to Doomsday’ where Nyssa fainted at the end of that story. The Doctor, Tegan and Adric are concerned about her, but very soon, the Doctor starts to feel unwell. He soon finds himself being propelled forwards into the future.

There he’s with Nyssa and Tegan, except they look different and are wearing different clothes compared to how the Doctor last saw them. For Nyssa and Tegan, the events of ‘Secrets of Telos’ take place between ‘Arc of Infinity’ and ‘Snakedance’. The Doctor is puzzled by what’s happening. 😐

At this point, I wonder if Kwundaar from ‘Primeval’ or another of his kind is causing what’s happening to the Fifth Doctor with him jumping in and out of different parts of his timeline. I’m pretty certain that he caused what happened to Nyssa when she fainted at the end of ‘Four to Doomsday’.

Anyway, ‘Secrets of Telos’ is of course a sequel to ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. And of course it features the Cybermen in it. I enjoyed Nicholas Briggs voicing the Telos Cybermen in this audio drama compared to seeing and hearing the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen.

The special guest stars featured in ‘Secrets of Telos’ include Christopher Timothy (who worked with Peter Davison in the original ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series) as Professor Parry. A nice casting choice! 🙂 It was great to hear Chris Timothy in a Big Finish audio of ‘Doctor Who’ with Peter Davison.

It also fits considering Chris Timothy is a Welsh actor and the original actor who played Professor Parry in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ – Aubrey Richards – was Welsh. I wonder who would’ve played Professor Parry if he were Scottish, since Nicholas Ralph in the new ‘All Creatures’ is a Scottish actor. 😀

There’s also Barbara Flynn (who worked with Peter Davison in ‘A Very Peculiar Practice’) as Professor Vansom. I enjoyed her performance in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure and how she ended up being a villain. Mind you, I couldn’t help wonder if Vansom was really Tecteun in disguise in this audio story.

The guest cast also includes Tamzin Outhwaite (who was in ‘Nightmare In Silver’) as Morton, and Ronan Summers (who was in ‘Spyfall’) as Captain Hopper (originally played by George Roubicek in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’). I found Ronan Summers good as Hopper. 😀

After ‘Secrets of Telos’, we move on to ‘God of War’ where the Fifth Doctor is displaced in time again and he’s with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric between ‘Zaltys’ and ‘Kingdom of Lies’, I believe. The TARDIS foursome are in 9th century Iceland near a Viking settlement and they come across the Ice Warriors.

This is the first time I’ve come across Sarah Grochala as a ‘Doctor Who’ writer. I believe this is the first time she’s written for the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. She writes well them for them in this adventure. Mind you, I wish ‘God of War’ was a four-parter instead of a two-parter in this box set. 😦

I’m not really a fan of the Ice Warriors compared to the Cybermen, but they’re done decently well in this audio adventure and Nick Briggs is good at voicing them, especially the leader Grand Marshal Xasslyr. It was really nice to hear how the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric interacted with them.

The story also features Belinda Lang (who worked with Matthew Waterhouse in ‘To Serve Them All My Days’) as Revna Ulfsdottir and Matilda Tucker as Inga Kundsdottir. These two Icelandic/Viking women were intriguing. By the time this story reaches its conclusion, Adric forms a bond with Inga. 🙂

But of course it’s Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse who stand out for me as the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric in these two audio stories. I greatly enjoyed listening to them and they continue to be enthusiastic playing their characters in these audio stories.

I greatly enjoyed the CD extras featuring interviews with the stars of both stories of the first ‘Forty’ box set. It’s amazing that the cast and crew were able to record these audio stories, especially in the current climate that we’re living in with the Covid-19 pandemic still happening – please keep safe. 🙂

I’m currently looking forward to how the ‘Forty’ saga will conclude in the second box set due to be released later this year. Who or what is dragging the Fifth Doctor in and out of his timeline? Will it mean a union of the Fifth Doctor and his companions by the end? I’m very intrigued to find this out.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the behind-the-scenes photos I’ve shared in this quick review of mine. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Quick CD Box Set Review – ‘Forty’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Timelord 007

    Got this box set but not yet listened to it, excellent review Tim i heard few moans on forum about this release but after reading your review I’m more confident this will be another great set of audio dramas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I haven’t read many people’s opinions about this box set, but I certainly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to hearing it again with the second ‘Forty’ box set later in the year. I hope you’ll enjoy the first ‘Forty’ box set too when you get to hear it.

      Many thanks,

      Tim 🙂


  2. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed the first ‘Forty’ box set. I had a lot of fun checking it out as well. ‘Secrets of Telos’ was pretty much flawless apart from what happens for most of part 1. I will admit to enjoying ‘God of War’ slightly more. I think this box set was a great way to celebrate the Fifth Doctor’s 40th anniversary. It’s a shame some people on the Divergent Universe forum don’t feel the same way. What do you think of Big Finish’s new slogan and opening ident which debuted on this release?

    I hope I’ll enjoy ‘Forty 2’ which it is finally released. I think it would be an idea to get Callum Woodhouse in for that as well as Sarah Smart and Robert Glenister. Speaking of Robert Glenister, I have one episode left of ‘Sink or Swim’ to watch. I have been enjoying that series.

    I hope you enjoy reading my reviews of ‘Secrets of Telos’ and ‘God of War’ if you haven’t already. I will revisit both those stories later in the year before you do individual reviews of them.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed the first ‘Forty’ box set as well as me. I don’t mind Big Finish’s new slogan and opening ident. If Sony can change their opening logo before a ‘Venom’ or ‘Spider-Man’ movie, why can’t Big Finish change their ident before a ‘Doctor Who’ audio? As long as the story is present, I’m happy.

      Looking forward to the second ‘Forty’ box set. Hope you enjoy the last episode of ‘Sink or Swim’. Glad you’ve enjoyed the series so far.

      I’ll check out your ‘Secrets of Telos’ and ‘God of War’ reviews on your blog.

      Many thanks,

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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