It’s been one year since we were treated to Classic Doctors New Monsters Volume 1 and what a long wait it’s been for more generational fun.

The first volume did a great job of mixing and matching Doctors to Monsters and coming up with fun new stories and the second volume does a great job as well. Instead of four monsters to four Doctors we’re treated to two Vashta Nerada stories, encountering two separate Doctors as well as one Racnoss and one Carrionite story a piece. Part of what made the first volume so charming is that the stories were fun and light and Big Finish hasn’t tampered much with that recipe. There are a variety of stories, monsters and exciting times to be had. In fact, we are treated to a quartet of writers so loved by Big Finish fans that it seems impossible to miss the mark.

Night of The Vashta Nerada

John Dorney starts us off with a story that could so easily be New Who except it stars Tom Baker and you can feel the grin and wide eyes, not just in the performance but in the writing. It’s a simple enough story, a base under siege style setting with a rag tag group of individuals about to get too deep into something they can’t be expecting while setting up an amusement world.

What’s fantastic about this adventure is that we learn a bit more about the Vashta Nerada. We’re granted a peek into what makes them tick and our characters, as one dimensional as they are, are at least fully one dimension. They’re performed exceedingly well and seem to really enjoy being a part of this world.

Blogtor Episode Review 8/10

Empire of the Racnoss

This is exactly what I’m looking for from a Classic Doctors New Monsters story! Who Scott Handcock has delivered a story that adds to the tapestry of Doctor Who and the Racnoss, while having fun. And oh, boy is this fun. Adjoa Andoh as the Racnoss Empress is positively sublime! She is 100% committed to the role, and not an easy role either, but she masters it. It helps that Handcock’s script is lovingly faithful to The Runaway Bride and captures the character exquisitely.

We’re treated to a family feud from within the Racnoss and we’re given insight into how they work without filling in all the gaps of their history. This is nice because it leaves room for more stories while still building upon the world. It’s a fun romp with some extra Time Lords thrown in and that’s something that just doesn’t happen enough. I can understand how this story may not impress some but it’s the right level of camp and love for the source that just balanced excellently from all involved.

Blogtor Episode Review 9/10

The Carrionite Curse

This is a brilliant entry because it’s so very Doctor Who. I can’t imagine this one on the screen, it’s a perfect Big Finish script! We’re treated to a story where words are the weapon of choice and there’s an excellent reference to a beloved character and Colin Baker just seems to be gobbling this up! I do however feel like this would have been better suited to the Seventh Doctor.

It starts off as a bit of fun, with the Doctor playing a clown for some kids before a dark turn happens and we’re faced with the Carrionite’s. It flows smoothly and you could almost forget that the opening part of the story was even connected because it just glides along perfectly. Simon Guerrier is the kind of story teller that can hook the audience early and take them for a journey, thankfully that’s just what he does. We’re introduced to some great characters and Maya Sondhi as Katy Bell gives a nice littler performance with a character that I grew attached to quickly.

Again, the use of language as a powerful tool is so wonderfully Doctor Who that it had me smiling wide and loving how it was handled.

Blogtor Episode Review 8/10

Day of the Vashta Nerada

Writer Matt Fitton closes volume 2 with a second Vashta Nerada story. Or shall we call it a Nerada Vashta story? We pick up well past the events of Night of The Vashta Nerada, but there’s a twist. There’s a new Doctor, new crew, similar situation but somehow darker. As with Volume 1, the Eighth Doctor is the more serious entry. World building is happening as we meet characters we’ll encounter later and the circumstances feel more permanent.

The Eighth Doctor has become the dark Doctor, always ever leading towards the Time War and, well, all things war. The ongoing plot and unknown story of the Eighth Doctor is unique and we don’t expect the fun romps we do from some of the other Doctors. McGann is so engaging that he probably doesn’t even have to try anymore.

Blogtor Episode Review 9/10

Overall

This, as expected, has been another excellent set of stories. Volume one was much more of a novelty set than this entry, as there seem to be more concrete themes through these stories. There are Time Lords and plenty of loss and this box set feels more cohesive. That said, part of what I loved about the first box set was that they were just four, fun, random stories that weren’t trying too hard to be something other than what they were.

I don’t think fans could be disappointed with this box set as all the stories are very good, the cast, music and sound are all great, and Barnaby Edwards expertly directed his team. However, I wouldn’t want volume 3 to be any more serious or cohesive than this.  I would love to Volume 3 be Doctors Four to Seven with no emphasis on the Time War. Regardless, Big Finish have a sure fire hit on their hands and will no doubt be able to keep us entertained for ages with the mix of Classic and New Who. Praise to all involved for making a top quality set of stories that never once came close to dropping the ball on what was a very tough act to follow.

Blogtor Who 9/10

Classic Doctors New Monsters: Volume 2 is available for download and CD purchase from the Big Finish website 

Synopsis

A brand new boxset of four adventures, featuring monsters from the new series of Doctor Who!

Night of the Vashta Nerada by John Dorney

Funworld was set to be the happiest planet in the galaxy. A planet of joy, of euphoria, of laughter and delight. Except construction was marred by reports of a predator and then, a few days before opening, all communication ceased.

Owner Georgia Donnelly is desperate to open the resort and has hired Amanda Steele’s crew to find out what happened on the planet. They’re the best. But even they might not be up to the task.

Joined by the Doctor and being picked off one by one, they slowly start to realise that something terrifying lurks in the shadows.

Empire of the Racnoss by Scott Handcock

When a distress call rips the TARDIS from the Vortex, dragging it back through time, it arrives in the midst of a conflict between Gallifrey and an ancient foe.

The Doctor, as ever, wants to help, but in returning a wounded combatant home, he becomes further and further entangled in a web of deceit and recrimination. A web spun by an eight-legged Empress and her minions…

The Empire of the Racnoss is at war, and wherever he stands, the Doctor is on the wrong side.

The Carrionite Curse by Simon Guerrier

Katy Bell returns to her Midlands home to find strange goings-on at the buskers fair. A witch trial in the 1980s. A bonfire ready to be lit…

Luckily, a colourful visitor is already investigating, and the local vicar, Katy’s dad, is versed in tales of the macabre. Terrifying forces are on the loose, and the town hall holds a secret. There is black magic in the Black Country, and the Doctor has the name of his enemy on the tip of his tongue…

Something wicked this way comes.

Day of the Vashta Nerada by Matt Fitton

As the Time War rages, Cardinal Ollistra of Gallifrey seeks to create ever more dangerous weapons to deploy against the enemy.

When the Doctor stumbles across Synthesis Station, he discovers that the Time Lords have sponsored a project to weaponise already-lethal creatures. But in doing so, Eva Morrison and her team have unwittingly used a colony of Vashta Nerada with a very unfortunate history of humanoid contact.

The Doctor finds himself leading a desperate race for survival, in which the shadows may be the least of their worries…

Written By: John Dorney, Scott Handcock, Simon Guerrier, Matt Fitton
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Paul McGann (The Doctor), Adjoa Andoh (Racnoss Empress), Nigel Planer(Old Racnoss Emperor/ Herrax), Andrew French (Racnoss Consort), Lisa Kay(Alayna), Pam Ferris (Amanda Steele), Lorelei King (Georgia Donnelly), Emma Lowndes (Phelan), Matt Devitt (Bennetto), Maya Sondhi (Katy Bell), Andrée Bernard (Mary Sissinghurst), Adèle Anderson (Eileen Nelthorpe), Michael Fenton-Stevens (Rev Douglas Bell), Jacqueline Pearce (Ollistra), Jan Ravens (Dr Eva Morrison), Himesh Patel (Biotech Dendry), Tim Wallers (Commander Roxita/ Security Chief Raldon). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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