In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who – The Night Witches

When the TARDIS materialises north of Stalingrad in 1942, the Doctor, Jamie, Ben, and Polly are captured by the Night Witches

Synopsis: When the TARDIS materialises north of Stalingrad in 1942, the Doctor, Jamie, Ben, and Polly are captured by the Night Witches, an all-female unit of flyers tasked with disrupting the German forces nearing Moscow.

Review: September with Big Finish usually means the launch of a new series of Early Doctor Who adventures and this year sees a brand new series of second Doctor adventures featuring the voice talents of Frazer Hines and Anneke Wills.

This story features a little-known group of extraordinary women. The Night Witches. Who fought as valiantly as their male counterparts during the second world war.

When the Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie land in the middle of an air strike on some Panzer tanks. They get picked up by the all-female fighter squadron and are suspected as spies.

What transpires is a fantastic well thought out story by Roland Moore with some awesome direction from Helen Goldwyn.

Having Polly be a doppelganger for one of the pilots was a really fun idea and made for an intriguing story that illustrated the horrible face of war.

The moment when it is revealed that Nadia the leader of the pilots wants to use Polly as an unwitting pawn in one of her operations was well played out.

The acting in this is superb. I particularly enjoyed Anneka Willis narration paired with her performance as Polly. Elliot Chapman also puts in a great performance as he slowly wins the trust of one of the pilots who eventually tells him about their intentions for Polly.

Of course, Frazer Hines pulls double duty as Jamie and the Second Doctor.

This is a brilliant story full of wonderful character moments, but there are also some really nice pieces of trivia thrown in. At one stage in the story. Ben asks one of the ladies how they manage to take on the German’s while using Bi-Planes. She goes on to explain that their planes top speed is at the point where the modern Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190’s stall.

This is the kind of story that Classic Doctor Who would pull off brilliantly and Big Finish have done a great job here.

It’s a fantastic story, which tips its hat to a little-known group of Russian pilots from the second world war. The Night Witches would fly daring night missions in planes made out of wood and canvas. They’d often fly up to eight bombing missions per night because there was only room enough in their planes for six bombs at a time.

This story portrayed the harshness of how these pilots lived from moment to moment brilliantly.

It’s a real shame that the television series can no longer tell stories like this.

10
Big Finish: Doctor Who - The Night Witches
  • Story
    10
  • Voice Acting
    10
  • Audio Production
    10
  • Art Work
    9.8

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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