Audio Club: The Fires of Vulcan

It’s time to listen to and discuss The Fires of Vulcan

Buy it online using the link above, or listen for free - you’ll find links where to listen free on the story page!

Once you’ve listened, talk about it below! Even if you listened to it before and just want to discuss it - dive right in! Just please use spoiler tags where appropriate.

Everyone who participates will get a coveted Audio Club badge! :medal_military:

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I have listened to the first part. I love Mel. She is so much fun.

To think that 7, 10, 12, Mel, Donna, and Amy were at Pompay on the same day :joy:


Oh I love this story.

It was the story which made everyone finally realise that Bonnie Langford is actually a talented actress and those ridiculous prejudices of the 80s were shaken off.

The doom-laden atmosphere of this story is wonderful and it’s also another pure historical story which BF have a habit of doing rather well.

I reviewed it for my marathon many moons ago:

And here’s a slightly edited review on our very own TARDIS Guide because I want to show @shauny that we love the fact we can do this now :smiley:


Before I forget again!


Oh, I adore the Fires of Vulcan. It’s a huge favourite of mine! I love the gentle but doom-laden plotting, the way small actions have escalating consequences, and the gorgeous characterisation of Seven and Mel. The side characters feel very much like real people to me, and I’m very invested in their fates at the end. And the music is beautiful!

Thinking about it, I really enjoy Steve Lyons’ audios. I’ve only read a few of his books (although the Witchfinders was wonderful) but his audios all feel very elegantly constructed to me — the characters and plot balanced beautifully. This is all from memory, by the way — I haven’t relistened to Vulcan in a while, but now I really want to! Ooh, I might even listen to it today… and now I’m excited all over again!


I’m about to listen to this and by complete coincidence I’m on a plane to Naples and going to visit Pompeii on this trip :laughing:


How serendipitous! You should listen to it while you walk around the town to fully soak up the atmosphere.


Stay away from the volcano and watch out for a spiky-haired guy in a blue suit or a small Scottish man in a Panama hat who might be running around the streets of Pompeii!


This is an audio I adore quite a lot! It’s a very well-written and palpable pure historical with great performances (superb on McCoy’s and Langford’s part), a wonderful soundtrack and an impressive sound design that brings the setting and era to life. It’s an interesting look into fixed points in time and the responsibilities of time travel, and it has a very dramatic and menacing atmosphere all the way through.

Some of the political intrigues don’t interest me much and that’s why I rate this 8/10.

Listening to this in 2024 gives this a very different edge because we know that the eruption of Vesuvius that Seven and Mel witnessed was caused by Ten and Donna who were also present at the same time…

A longer review can be read on the site


I really enjoyed this story. Bonnie Langford really got to prove that she can act, and that she was unfairly treated during the 80s. I think she had more lines in this one audio than her entire TV run…

I wasn’t expecting a pure historical, I went in totally blind. To be honest I was comparing it to The Fires of Pompeii, which I think is a better story (as I love the Sci-Fi aspects and the prophecy stuff), which is a shame because on its own it is a really good performance.

I found the ending a bit of a letdown, the solution to just fake it was clever, but I felt cheated because the Doctor could have come up with this solution at the start and prevented a lot of distress! But then I suppose there wouldn’t have been any drama :laughing:, but there certainly was a lot of tension and build-up.

Overall, I give it 4/5!


One of the best MR yet. Good story and fun interaction. Mel is really good and it is fun to listen to her interaction with the locals of Pompei.

A lot of ppl talk about how the audios makes 6 and 8 better but I must say that they also make 7 so much more interesting.



I think the reason why it’s always Six and Eight and not Seven is because Seven’s TV era is already well-regarded. Six’s era is often looked down on and Eight never really got a TV era. So with Six and Eight, there was already lots of room for improvement.


Also, it’s not as much Seven that gets improvement as really that Mel actually becomes a character.


Seven’s era was anything but well-regarded for a long time. Season 24 and 25 were often lambasted for any number of hyperbolic sins.


I adore this story. It’s just a well-written piece of drama and the start of one of the best runs of stories in the MR and listening to it again reminds me of how easily BF can capture the magic of the series when they’re not bogged down with gimmicks.


It has been a veryyy long time since I listened to this one last, but the second Celsinus started speaking I was like ‘omg Andred!?’ and I was right, Andy Coleman is in this one. So that was a little distracting, but completely a me problem. Otherwise, very entertaining! Not my favourite, and probably not one I’d go out of my way to relisten to, but I had fun ! I love Mel and Six as a team


Oh man this was my first ever Mel story… and honestly a pretty good way to get acquainted with her, she’s pretty strong a character in this one and Bonnie Langford does a great job, no wonder I was so taken with her so fast lol. love the dynamic between her and Seven we get in this where she keeps pushing him to have hope and refuses to leave him to die by himself… and being so supportive of everybody else… what a good friend…
Big fan of this exchange as well

“This is madness.”
“You’re probably right. So you had better wish me luck, hadn’t you?”

8/10 for me


We just visited Pompeii, and had a tour. Here are some notes which I thought might be fun to put here:

  • I heard locals say “volcano” in this audio, and was confused because the TV episode The Fires of Pompeii had said they didn’t even know the word for volcano. I wasn’t sure which one was correct (but assumed the TV show). Yep, they had no idea what a volcano was and it came as a big surprise.
  • The volcano erupted at 1pm local time, during the siesta, so many children and adults would have been asleep at the time. Lucky for them, as they would have not known what was happening.
  • The debris which fell from the sky would have killed people instantly, so there wasn’t a lot of panic.
  • The cleverest people would have gone into their cellars, but unfortunately they asphyxiated on the toxic gases.
  • Many fled to the port to escape by boat, but there was a tsunami caused by the eruption which would have killed them all.
  • Unfortunately there has never been any evidence of any survivors.
  • The volcano had a huge column of fire shooting 30km out of it (!!) and the eruption lasted 2 days. It could be seen for miles around.
  • Pompeii is one of four towns that was buried by the volcano. Herculaneum (which we are visiting in July!) was buried later in the day, by mud. It is better preserved because of this, and there is some original wood beams and a door.
  • Prostitution was a popular job, there are phallic signs pointing to the nearest brothel all over town, and there were also many freelancers. Mostly female, but there were some males. They would cost less than a cup of wine! So it was a very popular form of entertainment. They would use animal intestines as contraception :confounded:
  • The reason the plaster casts of the dead are very small is because unbeknownst to them, the Romans were constantly poisoning themselves. Their drinking and washing water was transported throughout the town in lead pipes! They also used this water to make bread and all their food.
  • They also used mercury to make the famous red paint which is used throughout the town. They didn’t know this was dangerous. Perhaps the Doctor could have taken some for the fluid link!
  • Unlike other towns which had been upgraded to have proper sewage systems, when Pompeii was destroyed it still had the old fashioned system- they would pour their waste down the streets. Apparently the smell would have been unbearable, especially in Summer! Too bad Mel didn’t mention this. All the streets have stepping stones so you didn’t have to step in the disgusting waste. However the slaves had to pull wagons down the road, wading through it, which caused many infections.

That’s it for now! Hope it was interesting :grin: I’d definitely recommend visiting if you get a chance!


Thank you for the Ted Talk… :wink:

Wow, this was interesting and informative! It sounds like you’ve had a great visit! Thanks for sharing!