‘THE WORLDS OF DOCTOR WHO’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Story of Mr. Rees – Celebrating 15 Years of Big Finish
This is review is for Leigh (IWishIHadATardis), a keen reader.
Welcome to ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’!
This five disc CD box set contains four full-cast audio adventures in one story spread from four worlds of ‘Doctor Who’. Big Finish celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2014 and what better way to celebrate than to tell an epic story with four groups of characters from the worlds of ‘Doctor Who’.
Big Finish have made many ‘Doctor Who’ stories and it’s not just through the main range stories, but also in ‘The Lost Stories’; ‘The Companion Chronicles’; ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’; ‘The Eighth Doctor Adventures’; etc. There have also been spin-off shows of ‘Doctor Who’ made by Big Finish.
These spin-off shows include ‘Dalek Empire’; ‘Cyberman’; the ‘Bernice Summerfield’ series; ‘U.N.I.T.’; ‘Graceless’; ‘Sarah Jane Smith’; etc. In this box set of ‘The Worlds of ‘Doctor Who’, there are four stories told from four specific spin-off shows by Big Finish that have become popular among the fans.
The four worlds of ‘Doctor Who’ in this box set are ‘Jago & Litefoot’; ‘Counter-Measures’; the U.N.I.T. Vault and ‘Gallifrey’. In each of the four stories, each group of characters deal with the same menace in the form of the villainous Mr Rees. The Sixth Doctor also helps to sort out this menace.
The stories on the first four discs are ‘Mind Games’ with Jago & Litefoot; ‘The Reesinger Process’ with Counter-Measures; ‘The Screaming Skull’ with the U.N.I.T. Vault and ‘Second Sight’ with the Sixth Doctor; Romana and Leela. Disc 5 is a ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ disc of ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’.
I really like the limited edition box set design of ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’. It contains lovely behind-the-scenes photos of the cast from each of the four stories. There are also some nice thoughts by some of the actors on their characters. This includes Trevor Baxter on playing Litefoot; Karen Gledhill on playing Allison; Daphne Ashbrook on playing Ruth Mattheson; Yee Jee Tso on playing Charlie Sato and Colin Baker on playing the Sixth Doctor. There are also mini-biographies on who’s who in each of the four episodes.
Are you ready to venture into the worlds of ‘Doctor Who’?! I am! I’m so excited!
1. ‘MIND GAMES’
The first episode of this story is by Justin Richards and features Jago & Litefoot. The story stars Trevor Baxter as Professor Gordon Litefoot and Christopher Benjamin as Henry Gordon Jago.
Jago & Litefoot were characters originally created by Robert Holmes who appeared in his story ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ with Tom Baker. Since then, they’ve had a life in their own spin-off series.
I must admit I’ve not heard any of the ‘Jago & Litefoot’ stories by Big Finish before listening to ‘Mind Games’. But it didn’t matter as I knew these two gentlemen already as I had seen them in ‘Talons’.
It’s so nice that Jago & Litefoot have had their chance to become broader characters in the Big Finish audios compared to their single TV appearances. It’s also nice to have them take part in this story.
Trevor Baxter is great as Professor Litefoot in this story. I like how calm and learned Litefoot is when he’s solving a mystery and he relies on his friend Jago to help him out when they’re on an adventure.
Christopher Benjamin is equally great as Mr Jago in this story. He’s still the same loveable showman type as ever and I laughed at some of the lovely lines of dialogue he has, even when he helps out.
‘Mind Games’ is a story about a resident act at Mr Jago’s theatre, performed by the mesmerist Mr Rees. But strange worrying events are happening in the streets of London connected to Mr. Rees.
I found this episode engaging to listen to when Jago & Litefoot got into the nitty-gritty of things. It was interesting how people’s minds were possessed by Mr. Rees to do his will and to kill off people.
Jago & Litefoot are joined by two recurring characters from their spin-off series. They are Ellie Higson, the barmaid at the Red Tavern and police Sergeant Quick who helps Jago & Litefoot at times.
Lisa Bowerman (well-known as Bernice Summerfield) stars as Ellie, the barmaid. I would never have guessed that Lisa was Ellie as she sounds so different from Benny and delivers a good performance.
Conrad Asquith stars as Sergeant Quick. I like how Sergeant Quick seems to be a foil for Jago & Litefoot when he gets involves in their mysteries. He seems to clean up the mess after each mystery.
Jamie Glover guests as the villainous Mr Rees. Jamie played William Russell in the 50th anniversary docu-drama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’. It was fantastic to hear him in this audio adventure.
I wondered who Mr. Rees was and why he was being so cruel in controlling people’s minds with his music box during his act and making them kill others. He seems to relish it especially in this episode.
I enjoyed the climatic scenes where Jago & Litefoot confront Mr Rees at his home and there’s tension built throughout. Eventually Jago & Litefoot save the day and Rees ends falling into a well.
‘Mind Games’ is a great opening episode to ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ story. I enjoyed the performances of Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjamin throughout and the plot was so engaging.
But I suspect that this isn’t the end of Mr Rees, even after he fell into the well close to where he lives in London. His music box exists and this could mean repercussions for the next three episodes.
‘Mind Games’ rating – 8/10
2. ‘THE REESIGNER PROCESS’
The second episode of this story is by Justin Richards and features Counter-Measures. It stars Pamela Salem as Rachel; Simon Williams as Gilmore; Karen Gledhill as Allison and Hugh Ross as Sir Toby.
‘Counter-Measures’ is a spin-off series featuring characters from the TV story ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ by Ben Aaronvitch. These include Group Captain Gilmore; Rachel and Allison and Sir Toby.
Now, I’d already listened to Series 1 of ‘Counter-Measures’ by Big Finish before hearing this episode. I knew what that series was about and I could feel the sixties atmosphere throughout this episode.
I like the Counter-Measures team as I enjoyed ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ so much. It was so nice to have Gilmore; Rachel and Allison have a life beyond that TV story and take part in this adventure.
Pamela Salem is great as Professor Rachel Jensen, who actually heads the Counter-Measures team. I liked how she’s working things out with science and she creates a machine to deal with the menace.
Simon Williams is equally great as Group Captain Ian ‘Chunky’ Gilmore. I like his down-to-earth and military attitude. It was interesting when he joins Allison as they go to visit the Reesinger Institute.
Karen Gledhill is lovely as Dr. Allison Williams. Allison seems to easily get into trouble but is very brave when she and Gilmore visit the Reesinger Institute. It was scary when she’s down in the well.
Hugh Ross is amazing as Sir Toby Kinsella. Sir Toby was a character created for the ‘Counter-Measures’ series. It’s interesting he’s a liaison for the government and the Counter-Measures team.
‘The Reesinger Process’ deals with the previous after-effects of ‘Mind Games’. People are mysteriously acting strangely and end up ‘killing’ themselves and it’s do with the Reesinger Process.
I did wonder how this episode connected to the previous one in this story with Mr. Rees. But as it developed it got interesting and it was scary when Gilmore and Allison got possessed at some point.
The Counter-Measures meet the heads of the Reesinger Institute, who are Stephanie and James Wilton. This brother and sister are partly-responsible for the ongoing ‘mind-games’ in 1960s London.
I liked the connections back to ‘Mind Games’ as the Counter-Measures discover the well where Mr Rees fell in. The music box gets recovered and also the skull of Mr Rees from his skeleton in the well.
I was disappointed that Jamie Glover didn’t make an appearance as Mr. Rees in this episode. Mr Rees sort of appears when he inhabits Stephanie Wilton’s body which was so disturbing to listen to.
The climax is pretty sad as Stephanie Wilton ends up killing herself and her brother James is left sister-less. I’m glad the four members of the Counter-Measures managed to survive from this ordeal.
‘The Reesinger Process’ is a very good episode in ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ story. I could feel the 1960s atmosphere in this story and it was great to hear Gilmore; Rachel; Allison and Sir Toby again.
I wonder what will happen next as Sir Toby takes the human skull of Mr Rees and the music box to be stored away separately. The plot thickens as I wonder whether Mr. Rees will cause more trouble.
‘The Reesinger Process’ rating – 8/10
3. ‘THE SCREAMING SKULL’
The third episode of this story is by Jonathan Morris and features the U.N.I.T. Vault. It stars Daphne Ashbrook as Captain Ruth Matheson; Yee Jee Tso as Charlie Sato and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates.
Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso originally starred in ‘The TV Movie’ of ‘Doctor Who’ with Paul McGann. In Big Finish audio, they play Ruth Matheson and Charlie Sato in the U.N.I.T. Vault stories.
Ruth and Charlie were in the two ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Chronicles by Big Finish called ‘Tales from the Vault’ and ‘Mastermind’. Both stories were by Jonathan Morris who writes for them again.
I’m lucky to have heard those two Companion Chronicles already before listening to this their third appearance in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. I also knew what had happened to them in ‘Mastermind’.
Ruth and Charlie are now disgraced by U.N.I.T. as they ‘accidentally’ released the Master from the Vault and became a security risk. I wondered what would happen to these two following that story.
But Mike Yates, who was retired and now reinstated as captain of U.N.I.T. has called Ruth and Charlie back into service. Mike needs their help as a deadly threat is lurking inside the U.N.I.T. Vault.
I enjoyed this episode very much and liked how Jonny Morris makes the connections back to the previous two episodes of this story. I also liked how he makes connections to the characters’ pasts.
Daphne Ashbrook is great to hear as Captain Ruth Matheson. I like how Ruth manages to keep a cool head and deals with a situation thoroughly when she’s in the Vault and deals with the Rees menace.
Yee Jee Tso is equally great as Warrant Officer Charlie Sato. Charlie seems young; brash and out-spoken and I like how his curious nature gets the better of him although it does get him into trouble.
Richard Franklin is marvellous as Mike Yates in this episode. I like how he has faith in Ruth and Charlie to prove their potential again after their disgrace and is willing to give them a second chance.
‘The Screaming Skull’ is exactly as what it’s about on the tin. There is a human skull inside the U.N.I.T. Vault. It’s the same skull that the Counter-Measures found. And it’s alive. And it also talks.
Jamie Glover returns as Mr Rees, although as the voice inside the skull. It was pretty disturbing to hear his voice in the skull, as he maliciously uses his mind-powers to control and read others’ minds.
I liked some of the continuity references in connection to Mike Yates’ past when Rees reads his mind to control him. This includes references to ‘Vengeance of the Stones’ and the ‘Nest Cottage’ stories.
I liked it when Ruth and Charlie find out more information about Mr Rees with a recorded message from Jago & Litefoot. Rachel Jensen’s machine from ‘Counter-Measures’ also gets used again here.
‘The Screaming Skull’ has been a fantastic episode in ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’. Jonathan Morris’ writing is superb in this and I liked that things got resolved for Ruth Matheson and Charlie Sato here.
At the end, Mike decides to use the space-time telegraph to call the Doctor for help. This was getting exciting and I wondered what was going to happen next and couldn’t wait to hear the next episode
‘The Screaming Skull’ rating – 8/10
4. ‘SECOND SIGHT’
The fourth episode of this story is by Nick Wallace and Justin Richards. It features Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor as well as Lalla Ward as Romana and Louise Jameson as Leela from the ‘Gallifrey’ series.
I’m unfamiliar with the ‘Gallifrey’ spin-off series that Romana and Leela are in, as I’ve not listened to any of the episodes. But I do know that Romana is the Preisdent on Gallifrey with Leela in the series.
But it didn’t matter if I hadn’t listened to the ‘Gallifrey’ episodes as I’d seen and already knew who Romana and Leela were. It was great to hear them in this adventure with Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor.
Thankfully this episode isn’t really set during the Gallifrey series. It’s mainly set on Earth following ‘The Screaming Skull’ as the Doctor; Leela; Romana and Mike go from the UK to Peru with Mr. Rees.
It was fantastic that the Sixth Doctor appears in this final episode of the story. Colin Baker has embraced his Doctor through the Big Finish audios. It’s fitting he should be in this anniversary story.
I wondered how this final episode would resolve everything that’s been going on with Mr Rees and how the Doctor; Romana and Leela would defeat him. I hoped we’d find out who Mr Rees really is.
The Doctor responds to Mike Yates’ space-time telegraph to deal with the Rees menace. But Gallifrey also responds to the Rees menace, as Romana and Leela go off to Earth to help the Doctor.
Colin Baker excels as the Doctor in this adventure. I like his brash attitude to things, balanced by moments of humour in his Doctor. I liked his interaction with Leela; Romana and Mike Yates in this.
Lalla Ward is great as Romana in this episode. She sends Leela first to Earth before eventually sending herself. I liked how well Romana and the Sixth Doctor work well and how they rescue Leela.
Louise Jameson is equally great as Leela. Poor Leela gets easily possessed by Mr Rees when she arrives on Earth. But she doesn’t give up without a fight and has the Doctor and Romana to help her.
Richard Franklin returns as Mike Yates from the previous episode. I liked how Mike meets up with the Sixth Doctor and how he briefs him on everything that’s happened in the Vault and beforehand.
Jamie Glover returns as Mr Rees. I liked how more of his background gets revealed as to why he does these mind game things on people. It was interesting with his family history and the music box.
I liked it when Romana and Leela go under different identities on Earth. Romana passes herself off as Sarah Romany before the Doctor discovers her and Leela becomes head of security ‘Miss Sevateem’.
It did get confusing when the Doctor and Romana use the TARDIS telepathic circuits to save Leela from her possession by Rees. It was equally confusing when the trio travelled to Rees’ past as well.
But I liked it when the Doctor; Romana and Leela use cunning and perhaps cheating to stop Rees when he’s a little boy and deals with his father. It helped to stop a disaster occurring in the present.
‘Second Sight’ has been an enjoyable conclusion to ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ story. I enjoyed it with the Sixth Doctor; Romana; Leela and Mike Yate and all seems well with Rees defeated. Or is he?
‘Second Sight’ rating – 8/10
Disc 5 is a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ story. This looks into each of the four episodes in turn and has behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew who made them. There’s first an introduction given by producer David Richardson on the story.
Firstly there’s a look into ‘Mind Games’ and features interviews with Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjaimin. There are also interviews with Lisa Bowerman; writer Justin Richards and Jamie Glover. It was interesting to discover that it started as a ‘Jago & Litefoot’ story for ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’.
Secondly there’s a look into ‘The Reesinger Process’ and features interviews with Karen Gledhill and Pamela Salem. I was surprised Simon Williams and Hugh Ross weren’t interviewed. There are also interviews director Ken Bentley; Justin Richards and Sinead Keenan who played Stephanie Wilton.
Thirdly there’s a look into ‘The Screaming Skull’ and features interviews with Daphne Ashbrook; Yee Jee Tso and Richard Franklin. There’s also an interview with writer Jonathan Morris. It was interesting Daphne and Yee Jee recorded this episode during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the series.
Finally, there’s a look into ‘Second Sight’ and features interviews with Colin Baker; Lalla Ward; Louise Jameson; Richard Franklin and Jamie Glover. I liked how the main stars of this story give praise to Jamie Glover. Lalla recalls working with both Jamie’s parents such as Julian Glover in ‘City of Death’.
I liked how the documentary ends with each of the stars of ‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ sending a ‘happy birthday’ message to Big Finish for 15 years of audios. This includes Colin; Lalla; Louise; Trevor; Christopher; Lisa; Jamie; Karen; Pamela; Daphne; Yee Jee and Richard. It was very touching.
‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ has been a great Big Finish audio box set to listen to. I’ve enjoyed each of the four episodes of this story and I’ve enjoyed exploring more of the worlds of this popular sci-fi series. It’s amazing that Big Finish have and they continue to make lots of stories in ‘Doctor Who’.
For me personally, I’d like to thank Big Finish for making so many wonderful ‘Doctor Who’ stories. I’ve enjoyed the audio adventures of ‘Doctor Who’, especially the ones with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa as they’ve embraced and enabled me to go to conventions and meet the stars of the show.
To Big Finish! Thank you so much!
‘The Worlds of Doctor Who’ rating – 8/10
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