Doctor Who: The Eternal Battle came out last Wednesday and is a childhood dream realised. Starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor with Lalla Ward as Romana and John Leeson as K9, this is my TARDIS team, the trio I grew up watching.
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The TARDIS has landed in a war zone. The Doctor, Romana and K9 find themselves traipsing through an inhospitable battlefield. Strange lights flicker in the sky, and stranger creatures lurk in the darkness.
When rescued from an attack by a Sontaran tank, the time-travellers discover they’re facing a far more dangerous foe than the battle-hungry clones. This terrifying fight has been going on longer than anyone can remember… and shows no signs of stopping.
With the TARDIS missing and their luck running thin, the Doctor and his friends’ only hope of survival is to uncover the truth about what is happening on this planet. If they can discover the secret of the eternal battle they might just survive… but it might just mean the end of them all.
It all started on 3rd May 2014, when an email arrived from Big Finish Producer, David Richardson. The subject was ‘Schedules’ and the message simply read: “Hi Chaps, How busy are you right now? Cheers D”
Intrigued, we both said that we were fairly busy, but had a little wiggle room. What did he have in mind?
The reply arrived: “Oh, just a full cast for the Fourth Doctor, Romana, K9 and Sontarans… :)”
We bit his hand off. Of course we did. How could we turn it down?
The brief was to write “a Sontaran horror story” set between Meglos and Full Circle. We got thinking and came up with an idea that we all decided was far too gruesome a concept for Doctor Who, so went back to the drawing board and came up with the bare bones of Eternal Battle.
The final script was approved by the BBC in September 2014 and then the wait began for the recording and eventual release, Big Finish working far in advance on the Fourth Doctor Adventures. It was good to finally hear it in all it’s glory this week, with sterling direction by Nicholas Briggs and top sound design and music by Jamie Robertson. I’m especially chuffed that Sontaran extraordinaire Dan Starkey joined our cast in a dual role of Field Major Lenk and Sergeant Major Stom.
At the time of writing, Eternal Battle is the last script Mark and I have written together, although since then we’ve worked on the same project, alternating scripts for Pathfinder Legends. At the moment we’re busy working on solo jobs, Mark currently writing the comic strip for Doctor Who Magazine (which is brilliant. Everyone needs to be reading it!) As for the future, who knows… we certainly chat about each other’s projects, helping each out when we’re stuck on plot points, and not a day goes by without us talking one way or another.
In fact, we saw each other this last week, while I was in London with my family for a half term break. Mark was also in the capital, so we got together for a catch-up. Mark is my eldest daughter’s godfather, so the three of us headed off to the Star Wars Identities exhibition at the 02, which was absolutely brilliant. If you haven’t been, you answer a number of questions about yourself to create a new Star Wars character based on your answers.
Here are our Star Wars counterparts; That’s me on the left, my daughter in the middle and Mark on the right.
Yes, Mark is in fact an Ewok bounty hunter who has turned to the dark side. Somehow I always knew…
Doctor Who: The Eternal Battle will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until March 31st 2017,
and on general sale after this date.