I am hugely enjoying the Big Finish audios starring Christopher Eccleston. This is already the fifth three-play collection, released last summer, and it includes one really standout story which I must admit I listened to three times: Salvation Nine by Timothy X Atack.
Salvation Nine is about an abandoned tribe of crashed space travellers who have developed their own culture, and moved far away from their origins to the point of oblivion; they live a happy life but their singing is absolutely terrible. They are Sontarans, and the rest of the galaxy wants to destroy them. It’s really well done by everyone – Dan Starkey in particular, demonstrating that he’s so much more than just a funny voice, and Eccleston switching register from tragic to comic effortlessly. I listen to a lot of Big Finish audios (I have been very slack about recording them here), but this was one of the freshest takes on a well-established feature of the Whoniverse that I can remember for a while. Atack also wrote the earlier Ninth Doctor audio Planet of the End, which I also enjoyed.
The middle story, Last of the Zetacene by James Kettle, was less to my taste and has the same theme of unpleasant people engaged in hunting as his previous Ninth Doctor audio, Hunting Season. But there is a superb bit of stunt casting with Maureen O’Brien, who turns 80 next week, as one of the nastier characters.
The third story, Break the Ice by Tim Foley, is back up to Big Finish’s usual standards with a story of elemental peril from a deity of frost. Again, it’s closely linked to the writer’s previous Ninth Doctor story, Auld Lang Syne, but has some good twists and good performances from the two lead guest stars, Thalissa Teixeira and Amy Manson.
But anyway, the first story almost justifies the three on its own. You can get them here.