Audio Club: The Fires of Vulcan

Sounds like an awesome trip!!!

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Some people appreciated it, at least lol

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As I mentioned, I relistened to this story yesterday and today. It’s still such a favourite. I know it’s unlikely there were any survivors after the ash began to fall, but I really hope that at least in the world of Doctor Who, Valeria, Celsinus and Aglae survived. Aglae especially pulled at my heartstrings — she’s so earnest, a really sweet mirror to Mel.

I’ve also remembered that this one of my first Big Finish stories, years ago — and maybe my first encounter with Mel, ever? It’s certainly one that’s stuck with me. I’d probably consider it a comfort audio. :blush:

Also — lovely facts, @shauny !


Honestly I feel like everything about this lovely story already has been said :blush:

Mel and 7 are a really good team - light-hearted Mel and this incarnation before he goes too hard on the cosmic chess master vs evil from the Dawn of Time.

I’ll just say that I find this to be the best Pompeii-based story of two mentioned in this Club thread, though definitely not the best volcano-based story we’ve had :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s right because the best one is The Underwater Menace!







Another fact which I just remembered because my husband said it at dinner :grin:

Yes they used to eat lying down! And after stuffing their faces with a big meal, it was considered rude and you wouldn’t be invited back if you didn’t immediately vomit up all the food, to make room for even more!! :nauseated_face:

So bizarre!


I believe the room was called a vomitarium (or something like that).

You should watch I, Claudius - the ancient Romans were bonkers!


Ooh, I have a bit of knowledge on this! The Romans absolutely had rooms called vomitoriums (vomitoria?) but they weren’t for throwing up — they were large corridors used as exits from theatres and amphitheatres. The Doctor probably used one to escape the gladiators in part 4 of this very story! Meanwhile, the Latin word vomitorium is derived from is where we get the word ‘vomit’ from in English — vomo. (I briefly fell in love with Latin terminology a few years ago and this is one of the few facts I remember!)

And I absolutely need to watch I, Claudius. It’s on the list, I promise…


While I fully admit that this is an excellent story, it’s not a favorite of mine. It starts out rather slow, and the Doctor feels uncharacteristicly pessimistic and defeatist. That said, the second half picks up the pace a bit, the world-building is excellent, the guest cast is great and Mel is served brilliantly. I also love the cheat they use to resolve the primary challenge.


It’s called the fires of Vulcan because it’s straight FIRE Absolutely packing heat youknowwhatamean? Dis one’s hot! None of that lukewarm Apocalypse Element bullshit from last time. They were cooking with this one!

Too many unfunny heat puns? Alright, I won’t bring you to a boil with more.
I saw Fires of Pompeii not too long ago and thought it was very good, but I think this one might be even better.
In Fires Of Pompeii we see the tragedy happening from a very different point of view. There the Doctor and his companion see it from a kind of higher perspective. They dabble with these mofos who can see the future, fight lava monsters, say hi to a cult, become buddies with Peter Capaldi and they meet with aliens and do all that stuff. They see the tragedy from the perspective of the gods so to say. They literally make the eruption happen to hammer home that point even more.
In Fires Of Vulcan, the Doctor and his companion see the tragedy from the point of the people. They get to meet and connect to people living there. Get to understand how life was before the eruption. There is no end of the world problem with beings from another universe or whatever. The Doctor’s problem is a gladiator with a tragic backstory who wants to kill him. He’s saved by Valeria, who he then gets to connect with. Mel gets to know and become friends with slaves, she gets to know them as people. So when the tragedy comes, it hits way harder because we actually understand how it impacts the individuals.
In the TV story, Donna and Ten look at the tragedy happening from above, on top of a cliff. All the death and destruction lumps together as one big abstract event. The characters basically have to tell us that there are people dying there.
Here, we experience that ‘abstract tragedy’ from down where it is actually happening. It’s not “the eruption is destroying everything” It’s “the eruption is destroying all these people’s lives”. We hear screams and panic all around. We don’t see lava engulfing everything, but we hear all what from above would look like the little things have enormous impact.

Fires of Pompeii works better within the context of its own series of course (Tens whole thing of being a god) and there are some things it does better than this one but…

Linguistic volcano correctness be damned. I like this one more.

And apparently i gave fires of Pompeii 4,5 stars after watching and fires of vulcan 4 stars after listening, because of course i did. Well after writing this i gotta change it to 5 stars or else it’s gonna be embarrassing.

Yeah I’m sorry it’s not a comparison competition between Pompeii stories of course. My mind just went that way because I saw it recently and then I couldn’t stop writing.

Things I like about this without bringing up a certain TV story from the fourth series of the revival of a certain TV series. Idk what this means man. It’s September of the year 2000. Never heard of “NuWho”.

I like Mel here she reminds me of Donna in the sense thatnever mind actually who is Donna

All the side characters are really lovely. The time paradox talk is fun. The introduction is very intriguing. Seven being super emo is kinda funny. Great performances, great sound design, just a classic. 10/10 (not really but after that comparison i gotta give it a higher score than… what?)


I am still surprised how much I enjoyed this Story. I think the first 50 releases (at least the ones I listen to so far) are a totally mixed bags, with some excellent ones and some more meh ones. This one on the other hand is wonderful.
Not every joke works, but it’s nice to see the S24 Tardis Team in a more dramatic Story rather than the campy ones, we got in S24.
While I prefer Mel and Six as a team, I think this one is a pretty good Outing for Mel and Seven, maybe not a favorite but pretty good!


A solid 3.5/5 (7/10). It’s an enjoyable little romp.