‘DAY OF THE VASHTA NERADA’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Vashta Nerada with the Eighth Doctor
In ‘Day of the Vashta Nerada’, the final episode of ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ – Volume 2, we jump to Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. This episode is by Matt Fitton, who’s mostly a script editor.
That is, he was mostly script editor on the ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ – Volume 2 box set. It’s so fascinating how this CD box set started and ended with Vashta Nerada as monsters in ‘Doctor Who’.
I wonder why they didn’t have a different monster for each of the four Doctors in the CD box set. Did Big Finish run out of new monsters for the classic Doctors to tackle against? It can’t be that surely. 😐
Mind you, ‘Day of the Vashta Nerada’ has an interesting tie-in to ‘Night of the Vashta Nerada’ with Tom Baker’s Doctor. In that, the Vashta Nerada for this story originated from the planet Funworld. 😮
The episode takes place during the Time War with the Eighth Doctor. In his TARDIS, the Doctor received a distress call. He arrived before disaster had occurred Synthesis Station where humans are.
Apparently, Dr. Eva Morrison’s science team are working to weaponise the Vashta Nerada, an already-lethal species, for efforts in the Time War. They’re all doing this on behalf of the Time Lords.
Yes! That’s right! The Time Lords want the Vashta Nerada to be used as a weapon against their enemies in the Time War. I don’t know about you, but that is highly risky concerning the Vashta Nerada here.
It was great to hear Paul McGann’s Doctor in this audio adventure. I’ve not heard many adventures where his Doctor is involved in the Time War so far, but from what I gather, he is a reluctant fighter.
Cardinal Ollistra describes Paul McGann’s Doctor as a conscientious objector as she tries to persuade him to join in the fight. But Paul’s Doctor only helps when he can, especially with the Vashta Nerada.
And yes! Jacqueline Pearce guest stars as Cardinal Ollistra of the Time Lords of Gallifrey in this episode. It was nice to hear her in this episode. I’ve heard Ollistra before in some War Doctor audios.
It’s quite a contrast to hear Ollistra interacting with the Eighth Doctor here. She observes what’s going on with the human experiments on the Vashta Nerada and gets dissatisfied with the results. 😀
The episode also features Jan Ravens as Dr. Eva Morrison, who’s the chief scientists aboard Synthesis Station. It’s intriguing how the Doctor and Ollistra don’t blame Eva for the mistakes she makes here.
To be fair, Eva is a scientist with good intentions as she wants to use the Vashta Nerada as a weapon for good in the Time War. It’s quite saddening when Eva gets consumed by shadow in her space suit.
Yeah, there’s a scene in outer space where Paul McGann’s Doctor, Ollistra and Eva escape the TARDIS for a bit in order to remove from Vashta Nerada out from it. Eva is unlucky in this space walk.
The episode also features Himesh Patel as Biotech Dendry. He ends up being a villain in this episode as he wants to sell certain Vashta Nerada for a certain profit. It gets disasters when they are set free.
There’s also Tim Wallers who plays two characters in this episode. He plays Commander Roxtia of the Capitol Guard for Cardinal Ollistra as well as Security Chief Raldon on board the Synthesis Staton.
As well as Vashta Nerada, the episode also features Nerada Vashta. They’re opposites of their counterparts in that they can kill by daytime. I wish we could’ve had those monsters explored more.
The episode also features the Doctor, Ollistra, Eva and Roxita going into the secondary console room from ‘The Masque of Mandragora’. I’m so surprised they went in there to escape the Vashta Nerada.
At the end of the episode, Ollistra encourages the Doctor to join the Time Lords in their war against the Daleks. But the Doctor won’t fight since he’s a doctor, not a warrior. That might soon haunt him.
I enjoyed ‘Day of the Vashta Nerada’. I don’t think it’s as good as ‘Night of the Vashta Nerada’ and there was a missed opportunity with the Nerada Vashta. But Paul McGann’s Doctor is always good. 🙂
BONUS DISC – BEHIND-THE-SCENES
The bonus CD in the second ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ box set features a behind-the-scenes documentary focusing on the making of all four episodes. I enjoyed the insights made about each story in turn from director Barnaby Edwards; the writers and the actors who starred in the episodes.
There isn’t an introduction for the second ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ box set as we go straight into the making of each episode in turn. First, it’s ‘Night of the Vashta Nerada’, featuring interviews with Tom Baker himself, Pam Ferris, Lorelei King, writer John Dorney, director Barnaby Edwards, etc.
Second, it’s ‘Empire of the Racnoss’, featuring interviews with Peter Davison, Adjoa Andoh, Nigel Planer, writer Scott Handcock, director Barnaby Edwards, etc. It was fascinating to hear Scott Handcock being a fan of the Fifth Doctor. He went on to direct the latest Fifth Doctor audios in 2019.
It was interesting to hear from Russell McGee how he did the sound design for the Racnoss in portraying them for an audio environment. It’s also interesting how Barnaby Edwards found it challenging to do Vashta Nerada as monsters for audio, compared to the Weeping Angels on audios.
Up next, it’s ‘The Carrionite Curse’, featuring interviews with Colin Baker, Andrée Bernard, Adèle Anderson, Michael Fenton Stevens, director Barnaby Edwards, etc. I’m surprised writer Simon Guerrier was not interviewed for this episode. Something I forgot to mention about Andrée Bernard.
Apparently, Andrée Bernard played a small role in ‘The Shakespeare Code’ with David Tennant. It’s interesting she’s come full circle from doing a small role in a TV episode with the Carrionites to doing a larger role for an audio episode with the Carrionites. Colin likes the connections to the new series.
Finally, there’s a look into ‘Day of the Vashta Nerada’, featuring interviews with Paul McGann, Jacqueline Pearce, Jan Ravens, writer Matt Fitton, director Barnaby Edwards. It was interesting how each of the actors saw the characters and how they played them. After that, the documentary ends.
I enjoyed ‘Classic Doctors, New Mosnters’ – Volume 2. It’s not as good as the first volume, but it was fun to hear more stories with classic Doctors fighting against new series monsters. I don’t know if there’ll be a third box set after this, but I am happy I’ve been able to hear the second box set at last.
‘Day of the Vashta Nerada’ rating – 7/10
‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ – Volume 2 rating – 8/10
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