The Bottom of the Barrel

I don’t usually like being negative - though whenever I’m reviewing a story I dislike, I find it cathartic to rip it shreds - but I wanted to know what you think are the absolute worst stories / releases BigFinish have put out.

Allow me to kick this thread off with perhaps the most obvious choice.

The story so abysmal that Peter Davison threatened to leave BigFinish if Austen Atkinson was rehired.


One of my least favourite audios of all time is Last of the Zetacene, I can’t believe my Doctor got a story with one of my favourite companion’s actress and it was the most abysmal one of the range!

Very much anxious about The Great Beyond (September’s 5DA) later this year because it’s by the same writer and generally I certainly don’t love Kettle’s stories? But he did also write The Blazing Hour which I quite like, and that was for the same Doctor so there’s hope yet!


I genuinely agree with everything you said. I adore Maureen O’Brien and was really looking forward to ‘Zetacene’… but the whole thing was bland beyond measure.

James Kettle: for every good story he writes there are ten which are abysmal.

‘Snow’ and ‘The Blazing Hour’ are the only two I can genuinely say I loved.


I haven’t heard any of these, although I’m curious about Nekromanteia now!

One thing I don’t really understand is how some of these get made? Sure if they are a little bit repetitive or dull then maybe it’s all they had, but if I was in charge of Big Finish and there was a story so bad that the lead actor was threatening to leave… I would pull it?!


Nekromanteia is… yeah. I don’t think there’s much you can say aboht it without spoilers but it sure is an Episode.

Some other MR episodes I’ve found utterly bad/boring include The Last (boring and weirdly misogynistic), Frozen Time (nearly dnf was so boring), No Man’s Land (boring), Renaissance of the Daleks (boring), The Haunting of Thomas Brewster (boring, Thomas is annoying, and the sound design in this one attacked me painfully), Dark Husband (nearly dnf was so boring).

Elsewhere, I rated much of Stranded 2* because I am sorry to say I did not like very much of it at all. But special shoutout to Best Day Ever which I felt so loathsome I gave the honour of a half star. It was just too soon for the Covid thing, and it consolidated all the characterisation problems I had for the entire rest of the series into one neat package.

UNIT:Shutdown as a whole boxset to me was a lowlight as I found the writing a little questionable. I was disappointed with The Movellan Manouevre/The Dalek Gambit for an ending to Coutner-Measures for reasons it would take me a whole essay to explain but basically come down to where’s my Allison and Ian Gilmore would Not Say That. In Gallifrey, Beyond and Homecoming let TW4 go out with a whimper and don’t even let us have a group hug so what’s the point, and I also have a lot to say about Mother Tongue and Panacea because even though they technically aren’t bad episodes, I disagree with them.

I could go on. :sweat_smile:


Shout-out to these two just dreadful stories from the Torchwood monthlies


Seconding that, Expectant was almost painful to get through.


Ravagers is total bottom of the barrel for me, and I’ve said it enough times that I’m sure you’re all sick of it by now.

Great White Hurricane from the 1DA has the most racist Hispanic accent work I’ve ever heard (at least until I heard Doll’s House) so that’s there for sure.

Basically anything in the Divergent Universe arc swings WILDLY between bottom of the barrel and avant-garde masterpiece for me.

There’s also so much Dalek guff that it would be hard to pick which one of those is the bottom of the barrel. Poison of the Daleks from the 3DA is a real stinker.


If you really wanted to listen to ‘Nekromanteia’ - brace yourself, Shauny, cause it’s diorrhea - then it’s one of the audios BigFinish made free to listen to on Spotify. Highly reccomend that over buying the download.

I personally split BigFinish into two different eras - similar to the main show - depending on the “showrunner” of sorts.

Gary Russell era (1999 - Dec 2006)

Nicholas Briggs era (Jan 2007 - Present)

Stuff like ‘Nekromanteia’ came out during the Gary Russell era, when BigFinish were still finding their feet and still relatively small. It was also during that time they brought a lot of new talent into the franchise. I think they just wanted to make sure they had something new and different each month.

On the other hand, with something like the episode @CrashedOnDido mentioned, that was released during the Briggsy era - BigFinish have now got a much larger following, ergo higher sales, ergo more cash to spend on different ranges. Unfortunately, this era seems more focused on quantity than quality - just look at the umpteen different spin-offs on the go at once. Briggsy is stretching the writers and performers far too thin, and quality control falls by the wayside at times.


Also everyone is too afraid of pissing off their boss to tell him to dial it back on the bloody ring modulator for once. Also his insistence on writing all of the big important episodes is a big detriment. Again, Ravagers.


Nah, I’ve never bought into the Nick Briggs can’t be told he’s writing crap argument. Some of his stuff is really good. Some of it is more run of the mill. None of it is awful, really. And some of his big important episodes have been fun - The Light at the End, I really enjoyed for example.


I don’t necessarily think it’s all crap, although I would argue there are one or two absolute stinkers. Really, his writing is more boilerplate than anything - he reuses concepts a lot. Maybe it benefits from not listening to in quick succession, but I can usually spot a Nick Briggs story, and not for entirely good reasons. However, my main contention isn’t his writing, it’s that a lot of his episodes also have a very overproduced monster voice in it that sort of just compounds the one note features of his story.


I don’t disagree with your last point at all.

But I do think criticising a writer for reusing concepts is a bit of a non-starter when that’s pretty much true of many of the show’s TV writers - even some of the greats!


A lot of the Divergent Universe arc tbh. After all that build up in Neverland etc, after Scherzo it was rather Mid to Awful, and was a real struggle to get through at times. Yeah sure they did some experimental stuff but overall it was barely distinguishable from the main universe most of the time, despite it apparently being So Different And Abhorrent that Rassilon had to seal it away


You’d think I’d have something to offer here. Got into Big Finish right at the start of the DW range, with The Sirens of Time. Continued with them for years, hundreds of stories, but can’t think of anything I can remember being specifically bad.

What I remember is that I really enjoyed them early on, but after a while, most of them started to blend together into a faceless muddle. Worse for me, they started sequelizing like crazy, bring back characters and plot points that I couldn’t keep track of or remember. So, more and more releases assumed that I knew their backstory, and I didn’t.

Once I realized I was keeping up with listening just to get through them, that was the end for me. So, I’ll say the worst one was that one that followed on from that other one about that thing I don’t remember with those characters I can’t recall. Yeah, that one.


Generally I don’t enter into negative threads. What one person loves, another will dislike. Take what I say with a grain of salt. I’m an idiot and have trouble articulating what I mean sometimes.

I think there are ‘bad’ releases by Big Finish, most of them have been mentioned here, but I think the biggest flaw is that some are just bland, or repetitive. While I agree with what @deltaandthebannermen said about reused concepts is valid, I feel that BF can get caught in repeating the same story over and over again, which is different. It’s understandable, with 1,000+ releases over 25 years it’s bound to happen, but I think there needs to be more quality control to stop it.

I’d personally like them to make some weirder stories. Really go out there and push the envelope. Some people will be turned off, but really it’s better than losing the good will they generated with bland product.


as I always say, the utterly worst thing a DW episode can be is boring, and unfortunately BF have done a whole lot of boring eps :sweat_smile: