In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Subterranea

... I felt I was hearing an alien Steampunk version of The Wind in the Willows with a bit of David Copperfield mixed in.

Synopsis: The TARDIS is going underground. When the Doctor and Romana find themselves buried beneath the surface of an alien world, they’re soon swallowed up by a giant burrowing machine. This is where the inhabitants of this planet live – in huge, constantly moving, Drill-towns, chewing up the fuel and resources of the planet in order to survive.

But something else lurks in the earth. Something that feeds on the Drill-towns. Something that is relentless and will not stop.

The Silex are hunting.

Review: As I listened to Doctor Who: Subterranea, I felt I was hearing an alien Steampunk version of The Wind in the Willows with a bit of David Copperfield mixed in. I was glad, then, that writer Jonathan Morris confirmed David Copperfield was one of his inspirations. I’m also glad that Morris decided on the more whimsical flourishes for his story, because the actual spine of the narrative was rather boilerplate.

I mean if I have to listen to cybernetic creatures natter on about conversion, I’d rather just have a Cybermen tale. Instead, this story gave me yet another race of evil mechanoids. As a result, I was a bit bored until the actors injected the character beats, and I was reminded these were mole people wearing marvelous hats.

As always, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were lovely. In addition to their great performances, I recommend listening to their behind-the-scenes interviews. Ward happily talked about working with actress Abigail McKern outside Big Finish. Baker, for his part, waxed lyrical about Peter Capaldi and the pull that mysterious characters have on the audience. It was wonderful stuff.

  • You can purchase Doctor Who: Subterranea here.

Written By: Jonathan Morris

Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Matthew Cottle (Mr Maxwell Wilberforce Bell), Abigail McKern (Mrs Lucretia Bell), Robbie Stevens (Mr Jelicho Wigg/ Mr Wilfer Wagstaff), Jane Slavin (Miss Arabella Wagstaff/ Mrs Betsy Wagstaff), John Banks (Silex/ Mr Stoker). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: Doctor Who: Subterranea
  • The Good: Story, Performances
  • The Bad: The Silex were boilerplate.
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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