Last month Big Finish released a new box set of Bernice Summerfield adventures, which was appropriately titled ‘The New Adventures Of Bernice Summerfield.’ This new set of adventures sees Bernie joined by Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Doctor and his companion Ace and is a great introduction to Bernice Summerfield for the uninitiated like myself.
The set comprises of four stories and features an hour long making of audio.
The Revolution by Nev Fountain
On the planet of Arviem 2, Bernice Summerfield has a lot of problems. Pursued by robots, maniacs and miracles, she has another issue to contend with. The Doctor’s come looking for her – and he’s not feeling himself.
Good Night, Sweet Ladies by Una McCormack
Bernice has come to the Moon of Adolin on a desperate mission. Instead, she finds an abandoned labyrinth, two confused survivors, and something ancient that needs her help.
Random Ghosts by Guy Adams
Welcome to the Forbidden World. This world has a secret. The problem is that no-one can remember what it is. Time is broken here. Those trapped here must live the same day over and over – forming alliances, lying to each other, trying to escape. Welcome to the Forbidden World.
The Lights of Skaro by James Goss
Bernice Summerfield is on Skaro, and she’s very much on her own. The Doctor can’t get to her, not this time. All Benny can do is stay alive for as long as possible. And, in a city full of Daleks, that’s not going to be very long.
Review: This was very much my introduction to Bernice Summerfield and if first impressions are anything to go by. Bernie certainly made one on me.
At the start of the first and probably the strongest story ‘The Revolution’ we find a rather tipsy Bernie at a bar on a planet, which seems to worship technology.
Things get more interesting as Bernie finds herself reunited with The 7th Doctor and Ace, who are both voiced by classic series actors Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred.
This opening story by Nev Fountain has to be one of the funniest Big Finish Adventures I’ve ever heard. Sylvester McCoy gets to show us some of his comical abilities as a somewhat stoned Doctor, but it is very much a Bernice Summerfield adventure with her special friend The Doctor.
There is a great action sequence involving a hover bike in this and we also get a look at what militant atheists might be like.
We don’t get to much of Ace in this adventure, but she turns up in pretty much every adventure in the set and is a very big part of the overall arc.
The second story titled ‘Good Night, Sweet Ladies’ by Una McCormack takes on a slightly more serious and somewhat spooky tone. While not quite the roller coaster ride of the first story. This second adventure is worth it for one particular scene in which Bernie communicates with an unknown entity. It is a very touching scene and worth the price of admission alone, but sadly if I say more it would be to big of a spoiler and likely ruin any enjoyment of this set for listeners.
The third story quite frankly is a bit of a mess. Its Bernice Summerfield trying to do ‘Groundhog Day’ and it sadly doesn’t really work. I found myself drifting off elsewhere at various different points throughout this story, but it does lead well into the final story, which is perhaps the best moment of it.
The fourth and final story picks up from the fourth and thankfully is an improvement from the penultimate episode. It finds Bernie reuniting with The Doctor and Ace on the Planet Skarro and it gives us lots of interesting back story about the Daleks, who are as ever all voiced by Nick Briggs. The story delves into the initial Kaled and Thal back story, which leads to the creation of the Daleks and does a pretty good job of keeping it interesting.
This was very much my first introduction to Bernice Summerfield and she is a fantastic character who can be every bit as clever, funny and witty as the Doctor. It’s a great set to buy if you are curious about the character and not sure where to start.
I’m giving this set a 4 out of 5. The acting performances from all Lisa Bowerman, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred were fantastic and I particularly enjoyed the link between the stories.
- You can buy this set now at: www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-new-adventures-of-bernice-summerfield-1039
So its official. I have been indoctrinated into the world of Bernice Summerfield and I’m curious enough to maybe start buying some of her back catalog as and when I can.
Written By: Ian Cullen