‘Doctor Who’: ‘The War To End All Wars’ (Big Finish Companion Chronicles 8.10) audio story review

Posted Filed under

Framed with an older Steven Taylor, many years after his time in the TARDIS, we find the former astronaut living in exile.

Although he left his travels with the first Doctor at the end of ‘The Savages’ to unite a planet, Steven is now a deposed king condemned to a life of isolation.

His visitor, a young woman named Sida, seeks to know how Steven came to this fate. In order to make her understand he relates a tale; one in which he, the Doctor and Dodo visited a world which was embroiled in war.

Chronicling events on the planet of Comfort, we hear of an arrival and first interaction which results in the Doctor being arrested as a subversive and dragged off to be shot! Disappearing for most of the story, Steven and Dodo come to the fore; being of fighting age, they are conscripted, evaluated and despatched to the front separately in order to battle a mysterious enemy.

Steven’s previous training and experience keeps him going and he looks for the opportunity to escape, eventually making some disturbing discoveries about the precise nature of the threat they face. Working to change the system from within, he embarks on a novel path, one which unknowingly provides plenty of experience he will later put to good use on the planet of the Elders.

Doctor Who Big Finish 8 10

Peter Purves returns effortlessly to his role and there is a clear distinction between the world-weary King and the enthused young time traveller. He makes a fair crack at Hartnell’s Doctor and Dodo too.

Alice Haig provides the guest voice of Sida and sparkles in her role of questioner, cajoling Steven into the right mood to reveal his secrets.

Simon Guerrier’s script looks at the futility of war for its own sake and grants Steven a stronger motivation to leave the TARDIS and make a contribution, showing him feeling a wider responsibility to those he has helped rather than simply moving on as the Doctor does.

It also fills in the gaps after we last saw him with talk of a family and hints at his stewardship of the planet. We learn he was the father of three daughters, the youngest of which he named after Dodo.

As we draw towards the end of the Companion Chronicles range, it is great to hear Steven’s fate tackled and the story ends with a terrific cliff-hanger that we hope might be followed up in some form.


Released in April 2014 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.

> Follow Ian McArdell on Twitter.

What did you think of the story? Let us know below…