Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor - Audacity cover art crop

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures – Audacity audio review

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It’s a fresh era for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor as he finds a new companion in Lady Audacity Montague. 

Despite his minimal screen time on the programme, the Eighth Doctor has enjoyed an incredible life on audio. He’s travelled with Charley, Lucie, Liv, Helen and Bliss, to name but a few companions, at different points in his timeline.

This latest boxset appears to return him close to the start as he makes a new friend in the remarkable Lady Audacity Montague (Jaye Griffiths).

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor - Audacity cover art

The Devouring

Lady Audacity Montage is remarkable. Despite living in Regency times, she’s a proto-feminist who takes charitable donations from her ballroom guests at gunpoint. Fiercely independent, and keen to foster such notions in the women around her, she more than lives up to her name (and isn’t at all keen on her title!)

Audacity is also a keen astronomer, but while she’s been gazing at the stars something has looked back down her telescope at her. Something with an insatiable hunger.

Lisa McMullin’s tale rips along and Jay Griffiths’ performance as terrific. We soon discover that Audacity is made of the right stuff – she’s principled and prepared to give her life for others if needs be. Naturally, the Doctor comes into her life at just the right moment, but Audacity isn’t at all dazzled by his Time Lord status.

As the villain of the piece Richard Reed gives a monstrous, rapacious roaring performance which is tremendous fun. However, despite Joseph Milson’s engaging turn as Ignatius Montague, we could have done without his character’s speech impediment to underline his upper-class status.

The Devouring is a great introduction to a new companion, one who’s truly coming with a different perspective to offer.

The Great Cyber War

When Doctor Who shifted into colour at the start of the 1970s, it left the Cybermen behind. Until 1975, when they returned to menace Tom Baker with new costumes and a new obsession: gold. ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ added their aversion to the element, as well as the backstory of a devastating conflict between the men from Mondas and humanity. It also introduced Voga, a planet full of the shiny stuff. Big Finish have not played here before, but it’s fertile ground for an epic two-parter.

The story begins with the Doctor and Audacity landing on the Aurum, a space station in orbit of Voga. With not a Cyberman in sight, the rich live here surrounded by all things golden. However, this luxury has come at a terrible price – one that has provoked desperate rebels into an incredibly foolhardy alliance.

As Audacity gets wrapped up in the rebellion, the Doctor meets the man set to deliver humanity from the Cyber threat: Oberon Fix (Keith Drinkel) is a man so famous that he’s met time travellers before.

Writer Tim Foley’s clever story, which holds the Cybermen themselves back until the second part, grapples with their hitherto undisclosed allergy to gold. He also manages to make sense of the emotional performance of the Cyber Leader from ‘Revenge’, played here entertainingly by Nicholas Briggs. This is an all-action tale which fits pleasingly into Doctor Who continuity. It also has plenty to say about the horrors and compromises of war too.

In Summary

Across the three episodes we thoroughly warmed to Jaye Griffiths as the eponymous Audacity and her forceful personality offers something fresh for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor to play off against. She’s certainly a different sort of companion, and one who perhaps has a lot to learn. It was great to have a two-part tale too, with more room to develop the story of the Cyber conflict.

Overall, this is a great release with the usual high standards from director Ken Bentley. The mix of Howard Carter’s score and Benji Clifford’s sound design for ‘The Great Cyber War’ is superb. The box set does throw a surprise in at the end which, while not unwelcome, was rather baffling! With the follow-up due in December, at least we don’t have too long to wait to find out why.

Four Stars

Doctor Who – The Eighth Doctor Adventures: Audacity is available now on Collector’s Edition CD (+ download), or download only, from Big Finish.

The pair also return for December’s boxset In the Bleak Midwinter with three further stories.