Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), Alex Kingston (River Song), Jeremy Clyde (George), Ian Puleston-Davies (Angus Selwyn), Richard Hope (Phillip Cook/Kal), Anna Acton (Kate Drury), John Shrapnel (Thomas Cromwell), Kasia Koleczek (Apolena), Glen McCready (Solvers/Abbot), Emma D'Inverno (Rosalia), Tim McMullan (Octavian), Janie Dee (Risolva), Robert Bathurst (Padrac), John Heffernan (The Imposter) and Nicholas Woodeson (The Clocksmith). Other parts portrayed by the cast.
Big finish Productions
The Doom Coalition series, which follows on from the acclaimed Dark Eyes box sets, is a very promising sequel saga. The third installment has a large amount to live up to after the events of Doom Coalition 1 and 2. In order to help the reviewing process, I won’t go into the more intricate plot details, partially to not make this review longer than it needs to be, but also to allow for those listening to the story to experience their own responses to the unfolding events.
3.1. Absent Friends
Mobile Phones are commonplace today, but twenty years ago they were still technically considered as a new innovation. The opening of this story transports us to a time and place where a phone mast is considered an eyesore by residents of a small English village. Living with the recent entrance of a mobile communications company into their midst, The promise of a free phone seems far too good to be true, an observation this reviewer made as soon as it was brought to the table.
Landing in the aforementioned small village, using debit cards (an unfamiliar technology to them), with a pin number that is actually a Doctor Who TV Easter egg, Liv and Helen are booked into a pub and The Doctor goes off to tinker with the Tardis. As Helen goes on what would seem like a reckless journey that has the potential to rip holes in space and time, the mast is revealed to be causing problems of its own and they most certainly have far-reaching consequences.
This story’s relatively calm opening is supplemented by a suspenseful plot, along with some suitably awkward moments that contrast this to what might be expected. This was a very much appreciated introduction, with an ending that might just leave you scratching your head.
3.2. The Eighth Piece
This story’s intro, after the structure of 3.1 Absent Friends, might come as a bit of a shock. However, as the three simultaneous missions of The Doctor, Liv and Helen to uncover pieces of an ancient device begin to conjoin, the implications of what happened in the previous box set also begin to make a part of a greater whole. Alex Kingston returns in an appearance that is not entirely surprising but is definitely a welcome re-entry into the series, with references to the prior events meaning that to fully grasp what’s going on, it is best you check out Doom Coalition 1 and 2.
3.3. The Doomsday Chronometer
The introduction to this episode actually takes place part way through the second story, 3.2 The Eighth Piece. Confusing? That’s how the rest of the story builds itself, around multifaceted plotlines that all converge to be part of a greater whole, much like the titular Doomsday Chronometer. With the discovery of clues and hints pointing to pieces of the device, so to come references to other times in The Doctor’s and River Song’s lives, as documented in the television show. This particular episode might seem convoluted, but eventually, it coalesces into an easier to understand line that works its way smoothly into the final part of this box set. Moreover, we see an appearance from a crucial figure we have not seen thus far in Doom Coalition 3, but whose return was, I think, inevitable.
3.4. The Crucible of Souls
The occasionally comedic overtones this concluding story provides are overshadowed by the high stakes situation. If I say any more than that this review would surely double in length to accommodate the necessary plot summaries and character profiling. Suffice it to say, it was very much worth the wait.
Doom Coalition 3 was definitely worth waiting for, with a cast who deliver their lines with great emphasis on their characterisation, a score that fits directly into the production and a plot that whilst it might be confusing is still understandable. With the end of Doom Coalition 3, realisation dawns on the fact that all we as fans have to do now is wait for the conclusion of the saga. Personally, I am excited at the prospect of the final four stories and the potential they have to be at least as good as, if not better than Dark Eyes 4, the final box set in the preceding series.
This title was released in September 2016. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until October 31st 2016, and on general sale after this date