The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles

Curiosity Shop was brilliant. At first I thought oh no Jacob is doing a really bad First Doctor impression, but then when I realised it was an Eleventh Doctor doing an impression of the First Doctor impression, wow I was blown away :exploding_head:

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Finished Spirit of the Season. Really good. These have just been jumping from high point to high point. Can’t wait to finish them, but suspect I’ll wish there were a whole lot more. Also, I think I caught a clever Star Trek reference in there.

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There we go. Just one boxset left.

I haven’t listened to these, but nearly finished torchwood audio stories, need something else, and heard some good things (especially about the most recent sets)

Considering giving this a look as my next range

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Yes, yes, yes! These are amazing! And, if you listen and rate them all, you get a nifty badge.

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In the middle of Daleks Victorious and I think we got the Hulk vs Daleks story that never was.

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Just finished The Last Stand of Miss Valerie Lockwood and oh wow was that great. First time in quite a while that I was tearing up over a Doctor Who audio (for the record, I think the last time was my most recent listen of A Death in the Family). And then the ending! That was a great Eleventh Doctor speech. Starting the last part now.

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There we go. Finally done. That was great, the whole series. Definitely worth it for fans of Eleven.

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Finnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeee. This thread has peer-pressured me into starting this series.

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It’s definitely time better spent than watching K9 :joy:

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Yes, we are terrible people! Please enjoy!

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Here we go.

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Right. I’ve just finished the first box set of Twelve & Valarie. Holy F**k this was good. The chemistry is excellent, with fun stories to keep me engaged.

(all reviews are spoiler free)

3.0 Prologue - Clara 4/5

3.1 The Inheritance 4.5/5

3.2 The House of Masks 4/5

3.3 The End 4.5/5

Overall, I’d give this box set a 5/5. I really can’t wait to listen to more.

And what a cliffhanger for the finale.

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The more you lot talk about these, the more I’m crossing my fingers for a sale sometime soon :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

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I’m about 3 hours in to writing my full review. Taking a lot longer than I thought. I’m about 1/2 way through it.

/sigh

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We look forward to reading it.

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Are you writing a review of the whole set?

I have been considering adding areas to write reviews to both individual box sets and whole sets. That might be a popular thing.

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Yeah, I’ve done an intro/non spoiler review as a broad overview of the series. It’s only a quick page (?), but then I’m breaking down each box set/story with the knowledge of how it all plays out. Pointing out what I liked and how it came around again etc.

While I think of myself as a half decent writer, trying to put into works MY feelings in a review format is hard. I don’t think there is much depth to what I’m saying, but I have a need to put out there how I feel about this set and its elements.

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Inspired by that other site perhaps … but not a bad idea!

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Hi all.

So I just finished the entire Eleven & Valarie run of the Eleventh Doctor Chronicles. I was trying to do a ‘Big Finish in release order’ run, but this kept getting recommended to me, and being a big Eleven fan, I had to give it a go.

This overall review will be split into two parts. The first will be a non spoiler overview of my feelings about different aspects of this series. The second will be a spoiler breakdown of each box set and episode.

AUTHORS NOTE: After 6 hours last night, and 2 hours today, I’m done writing this review. It’s nearly 5,000 words, and my god am I glad it’s over.

NON SPOILER REVIEW BEGINS

I was apprehensive at first due to Jacob Dudman doing an impression of Matt Smith, even though I have heard it before and enjoyed it. Mainly, I was worried about fifteen stories of it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my mind’s eye adjusted and I only saw the Eleventh Doctor. My only criticism is that he can’t do the full range of emotions like Smith’s Eleven, but for this series those limitations are minimised.

Safiyya Ingar as Valarie Lockwood was another intriguing prospect. How would the Doctor interact with a new companion, especially at this stage of the Elevenths life? Well, Safiyya does an excellent job. Their chemistry with Jacob is off-the-charts, and they really do feel like a companion that would work well with the Doctor. The life they bring to Valarie is exceptional, and has made them one of my favourite companions in all of Doctor Who. The range they express is amazing, and leaving little doubt to their place in the companion pantheon.

Mia Tomlinson as Roanna is a later addition to the series, but she fits in perfectly to make a fun little trio. While Mia doesn’t get as much time as the others, she isn’t a slouch and gives some great performances.

The rest of the voice cast for this series is off-the-charts good. With really no bad guest performance that I can think of. The usual Big Finish idea of doubling, or tripling, up of roles doesn’t take away from the series, because to be honest you can’t tell.

Now for the plot. These four box sets act as an entire season of the show, and it feels like it. Even if you haven’t watched Elevens run for a while, this set does give you relevant plot points so you know what has and hasn’t happened. The entire run is really one plot line, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Episodes that don’t feel like they add to the main plot will have some element that will come back later and lead into the ultimate resolution. While I prefer some over others, none of them are bad, and actually the ratings for the series range from a few 4/5, mostly 4.5/5 and a couple of 5/5s.

There is a great range of story types here, from ‘trapped in a base’, ‘timey wimey’ and ‘epic’. All of them are different and make sense. There was only one that I had to sit and think about as the ending credits played, and honestly it could have been a ‘me’ problem.

There are a couple of all-time favourite Doctor Who stories for me in this series, but I won’t spoil them here. This is an all-time great run of stories and, in my opinion, a must-listen. Whenever I watch the Eleventh Doctor run, this will get listened to right between The Snowman and The Bells of Saint John. What started with apprehension turned into me discovering, probably, the best run in all of Big Finish.

This entire run gets a solid 5/5 from me and is an easy binge. I listened to it in four sessions. Additionally, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, there is a lot to love here.

NON SPOILER REVIEW ENDS

This next section is the spoiler breakdowns for individual box sets and episodes. If you haven’t listened to it all, I would advise you not to read them, as I will be referencing later events in early stories.

Volume 3: Geronimo!

3.0 Prologue - Clara 4/5
Prologue - Clara is a great way to introduce where the Doctor is in relation to the TV series. Jacob Dudman gives a great performance to ease you into his version of Eleven. While not perfect, it’s close enough to not really cause too many issues. It’s short but very well done.

3.1 The Inheritance 4.5/5
The Inheritance leads us into the series proper, with an introduction to Valarie Lockwood, her mother, and the corporately owned Earth. The immediate world building really does have the message that consumerism and capitalism is bad. While normally I would roll my eyes at this, at no point do they lampshade it. They just let it sit there as part of the plot. The idea of infected digital money is interesting and works well. This Blight, and the mysterious consultant are an element that on the surface don’t seem important to the overall series, but they come back in great ways. Valarie’s reaction to the death of her mother is heartbreaking, and is a recurring element that I really “enjoyed”. This one surprised me, gave me hope that the series was going to be as good as it turned out to be.

3.2 The House of Masks 4/5
The House of Masks is a fine episode, but it is my least favourite in this series. The idea of a ship’s AI remembering its crew as guests at a masquerade party, while trapping a living crew member there is interesting and sad, it really didn’t do much for me. I understand that it’s a classic first trip like The End of the World or The Beast Below, but in the overall narrative it doesn’t add anything. I thought the ending was sweet though. Really the standout of this episode is the furthering of the bond between Eleven and Valarie.

3.3 The End 4.5/5
The End is my favourite episode of this first box set. The idea of a time loop presented side-by-side with two very different outcomes was fascinating. The fake-out cold open and first scene with either the Doctor or Valarie dying really made me sit up and pay closer attention. The Time Spiders that is able to loop time was an interesting idea that I was glad made a comeback. The solution of an antivenom being available because it was started in another loop would normally have bothered me, but in this story they set it up well, and it felt like the right solution. A recurring element of a call coming in to the TARDIS from previous episodes, and in this one causing the TARDIS to crash right before the credits roll, was something that made me really hyped to listen to the rest of the series.

CONCLUSION
This box set was excellent. It set up recurring elements such as the Blight, Hendricks, the Consultant, Time Spiders and the mysterious phone calls. Also, it brought me in to the world and idea that this box set is trying to portray very well. It’s a solid 4.5/5

Volume 4: All of Time and Spacey

4.1 All of Time and Space 4.5/5
All of Time and Space is the kind of oddity of a story I like. The idea of an almost 4th wall breaking character telling a tale about the Doctor, only for him to appear in it, was great. The revelation that all of this is a computer with two documents on, one a biography of the Doctor and the other about the main character Ellery Quest was excellent. The plot was easy to follow. While I love this story telling technique, sometimes it ends up a garbled mess, but this episode was actually easy to follow. While not really a part of the overall story line, it was still very good. The idea of Ellery Quest does come up again later as a cameo, which was a nice touch. This turned out to be my favourite episode of this set.

4.2 The Yearn 4/5
While this a standard ‘trapped in a base’ story, it does have some elements that are very enjoyable and important to later in the series. The idea that The Yearn is a gestalt of the people that live on the planet Medruth, that actually used to be a single entity before it split itself up to form individual people, is interesting. I’m not sure I can really put my finger on ‘Why?’, but while I like this idea, I found its execution in the story a bit lacking. I really did like that the TARDIS is so big on the inside that The Yearn couldn’t absorb more Medruthians into itself after absorbing it. Even though I have issues with it here, its appearance later in the series I really did like. Another recurring element is Roanna, and her romance with Valarie. While it seemed a bit quick initially, the end of the episode where Valarie didn’t wish to stay on Medruth and start a relationship subverted my expectations and led to a great recurring character for later on.

4.3 Curiosity Shop 4.5/5
Curiosity Shop is the most serious episode in this series so far. The idea of the Doctor losing his memories and being stranded on a planet was interesting. Having Jacob Dudman pull out his impressions of other Doctors was a neat idea, but sadly was a bit shaky in its execution. While I understand that it’s Dudman doing an impression of Eleven, who is doing impressions of other Doctors, it just didn’t work for me. Most of the time I had trouble working out which Doctor he was channelling. As this was a main crux, it just took some points away for me. Safiyya Ingar is given a lot to work with here. Valarie trying to jog the Doctor’s memories, but at the cost of her cybernetic parts, was very well done. Their performance really sells the pain and anguish Valarie is feeling. I think it’s the best performance from the series as a whole. I liked the revelation that the Doctor has been using the parts he has been getting from Valarie to build a weapon to stop a war. It very much puts the dichotomy of The Mad Man With A Box and The Lonely God front and centre. Now, having said all that, I have mixed feelings about Curiosity Shop. While on one hand it is well done and tells a great story, on the other having the entire story be a downer with a lot of ‘acting in anguish’ really put a damper on my enjoyment. The series so far has had a sense of fun, but this release was really a bummer for me. I gave it a 4.5 mainly because I know I’m not in the right headspace to enjoy it, but still think it’s well done.

4.4 Broken Hearts 4.5/5
This is another heavy episode of the series, on par with Curiosity Shop. The fact that they address the fallout from the previous episode is great, and well done. I appreciated that the Doctor really explained who he is to Valarie. The revelations about regeneration, the Time War, the fact the Doctor has killed billions of people, and his not yet revealed past as the War Doctor, really add to the bond formed between Eleven and Valarie. The repairing of the bond doesn’t seem out of place, mainly because the issues Valarie has with the Doctor is due to her own impression of the Doctor, while not know what kind of person he has had to be at times. The psychic weather being a remnant from the Time War is a neat idea. So too is the statue of the Eighth Doctor. What really stands out to me though is the story of the two Rescuebots that essentially gain sentience after being left alone for so long. This idea is as old as science fiction, but it is one that I’ve always liked, and it is done very well here. Sadly thought I have the same issue from the previous release, while I enjoy this more than Curiosity Shop, the fun factor not being there is a downside to me.

CONCLUSION
While I think this is better written than the first box set, sadly it’s my least favourite from the series. The heaviness of the second half really leaves me wanting. It really is more of a character/relationship piece that I can’t wholeheartedly enjoy. I give this a solid 4/5
FUN FACT: Broken Hearts was actually recorded last in the entire series after they realised that they needed to have a conclusion to what happened in Curiosity Shop.

Volume 5 5: Everywhere and Anywhere

5.1 Spirit of the Season 4.5/5
Spirit of the Season is an excellent story, which is essentially a better version of The God Complex. Clara is well realised, and works well as the ‘master’ of this ‘domain’. I really like the idea of showing people bad moments from their life to drain their emotions. Again, this is a better concept than The God Complex. A recurring device is introduced in the form of an Arkheion device. I initially missed that it was dimensionally transcendental, and didn’t realise what it really did until its appearance later. I blame listening late at night. The heartbreak of meeting, and loosing, Valarie’s mother, Patricia, again is well done. I liked that it’s an understandable recurring incident for Valarie to get over. It acts a bit like therapy and allows her to move on and give a try to have a relationship with Roanna. It gives more depth to this story compared to most of the TV series. There is some fantasy logic used to get the Doctor where he needs to be, but within this realm it makes sense, so I don’t mind it much. This is one of my favourites from the series, and could be a listened to as a standalone episode.

5.2 All’s Fair 4/5
All’s Fair is an important episode that sets up the end of the series, but sadly it looses me in the weeds a little due to some ambiguity to what is happening. Mainly this is in the form of it not being made clear which version of Roanna has been sent back in time towards the end of the story. While I did figure it out, it did take me a minute or so to get it. This was actually a bit disappointing, as earlier we had a story that was complex but explained well. Maybe it was on me and not the story, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I liked the idea of a real date between Valarie and Roanna. It was earned from the previous story. The sudden clash with a Doctor & River type plot came out of nowhere, but it was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the revelation that Valarie will one day go back in time and eventually die here. It really gave a sense of dread for the upcoming final box set. While it didn’t turn out the way I thought, this initial thought was great. The reappearance of Hendricks was unexpected, but a welcome one. Hendricks is an interesting villain who, it turns out, is trying to do a good thing but in the wrong way. The Surge that has been developed, as an alternative to the Blight, was a good use of a bootstrap paradox. The talk at the end between Valarie and Roanna about carrying on their relationship, even though they think that Valarie will time travel and marry someone else, was very well done and a good message. Just because good things end doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy them while you can. This is a very Doctor Who message that we have heard before. This story isn’t without its flaws, but it is still rather good and important to the overall narrative.

5.3 Sins of the Flesh 5/5
While my recency bias may be talking, this is my favourite episode in the entire range, and may be one of my favourite episodes in all of Doctor Who. If I could give it more than 5/5, I would. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this one spoke to me on a deep level. The overt themes of religions intolerance of queer people, and ones own desire to change to please others, hit me hard. The world building was well realised and was put across to me exceptionally. The idea of Cybermen hiding in plain sight with the facade of religious purification was very interesting. I can’t recall this being done before, and if it has, this is probably the best version of it. The sacrifice that Carmen, the part assimilated Cyberman, heartbreaking and emotional. The MVP for this story though is the performance of Lilly given by Alexandra D’Sa. Her character arc, and ultimate confrontation with her parents, really elevate this story. While not really being part of the overall story, this episode is so good that I don’t care. The ending scene where they enact their plan to trace the mysterious calls that have been plaguing them was great and thrust us into the final box set of the series.

CONCLUSION
This box set was excellent. The quality of the stories was excellent, except All’s Fair, which was “only” very good. The contribution to the overall narrative, with the Arkheion device, Future Valarie, the Surge and the tracing of the mystery calls, left me really excited about the concluding box set. I give this one an overall score of 5/5.

Volume 6: Victory of the Doctor

6.1 Didn’t You Kill My Mother 4.5/5
Didn’t You Kill My Mother starts off the final box set with a fun and trippy story. Similar to All of Time and Space, I enjoyed this different take on a Doctor Who story. The reveal that this is all a simulation within a Dalek time machine was unexpected. The concept that the Cult of Skaro created a sentient time machine for TARDIS infiltration is very interesting. It does leave open the possibility to see this idea more, and I think it would be a neat addition and lead to interesting stories. It reminds me of an interesting concept from the Missy audio series that I would also like to see again. I like the fact that Tim, as he likes to be called, is the mysterious Consultant, who is doing everything he can to stop the Daleks from invading the universe. Having it be a bit ‘wibbly wobbly’ as to how he came to work with Hendricks, and his overall plan in regard to the Surge made sense. It didn’t feel out of place or tacked on to serve the ending of the story. As we will see later in The Last Stand of Miss Valarie Lockwood it’s a very Dalek way of thinking and overall plan. The Doctor being confronted with the choice of killing Tim to potentially save the universe was well done. With us knowing about The Day of the Doctor, the Doctor’s refusal makes more sense. He doesn’t want all the responsibility and consequences again. Mrs Hendricks was a pleasant surprise, and was again player by Lara Lemon. Lara has the ‘smarmy corporate capitalist’ down pat. Her death at the hands of Tim was very well done. I hope she can be featured more in other stories as I thought she was great. The shenanigans with finding the TARDIS and having to go off to Medruth was a great way to end this episode, and bring us into the new Dalek War.

6.2 Daleks Victorious 4.5/5
Daleks Victorious get us right into the action on Medruth. Having the Yearn be the reason the Daleks know about the Doctor was a simple and well done way to get them up to date. The Yearn was a low for me in the series when it appeared previously, but in this story its use made sense. Having it be able to use the Dalek Pathway to eavesdrop and, eventually, take over all the Daleks, was a fun and interesting concept that worked well for me. The Doctors snark at the different Daleks defiantly got a chuckle out of me. But really this story was about Roanna. Her being a Hulk-type warrior was very fun. Hearing her kill loads of Daleks and then declare her love for Valarie was very well done. It was silly but good. I really liked that she has embraced her Hulk/Surge nature after being tortured for so many years back in All’s Fair. It really gives depth and character growth to the little universe this series has developed. I really liked the idea of using the Yearn to take control of the Daleks on the promise of being able to return to Medruth and take back over. The double cross was one I didn’t see coming, as well as the Yearn ultimately failing and being destroyed by the Daleks. Her realisation that she failed overall and that she could have prevented her peoples’ genocide, if she had gone along with Hendricks plan, was very well played. It also gives us a sense of how the Doctor must feel as a Lonely God. He has to make choices that are fundamentally ‘Right’ but come at the cost of a civilisation. Also, hearing all the cries from other civilisations as the Daleks invade was a very well done piece of storytelling. It gave me a sense of how serious the situation was. Ending on the Doctor begging not to have to become a warrior again as heartbreaking.

6.3 The Last Stand of Miss Valarie Lockwood 5/5
The Last Stand of Miss Valarie Lockwood is my favourite story in this final box set. This really is Valarie’s finale to the series, while Victory of the Doctor is the Doctor’s. The Doctor trying to use the Blight to destroy the Daleks was a clever idea. When it failed I knew that it would have to change over to the Arkheion device. The Doctor leaving his companions to go and give his life to trap the Daleks made sense and didn’t seem forced, and his ultimate failure again made me really wonder where they were going to go with the ending. The engagement scene between Valarie and Roanna was really sweet and was a very satisfying way of having the idea of still enjoying good things, even when they will end, come full circle. The surprise reappearance of Time was welcomed. As has been said previously, I like this idea a lot, and the fact that he has set his sights on Valarie now did come out of the blue. The death of Roanna was heartbreaking, and very well played by Safiyya Ingar. Valarie taking control of Tim and agreeing to enact his plan to give the Surge to Hendricks instead of the Blight was genuinely how I thought this series was going to end. I was pleasantly surprised when she realised that Tim had manipulated the death of Roanna to make it happen. It demonstrates again that Valarie is a smart cookie. Having her make the choice between enacting the plan, saving her Mother, but at the cost of trillions of lives, or trying to help stop the invasion of Medruth, was very, very well acted and realised. Tying up the loose end of the mysterious phone calls was a nice touch, even though it wasn’t the original plan by the writers. Having the TARDIS respond to Valarie was something I enjoyed a lot. It really gave the TARDIS a sense of making its own choice and deciding to stand with Valarie. Travelling back to the beginning of the episode was another heartbreaking scene. Valarie was the only one left now, and I was very intrigued to how this problem would be wrapped up. The idea of the Valarie from the past being from this timeline originally made me annoyed as it was too Wibbly Wobbly for my liking, but the more I thought about it, I realised that it made for a more satisfying ending. While the speech we get from the Doctor is great, it would be so much better if it was Matt Smith delivering it. I really enjoyed that the vast majority of loose ends from the whole series were tied up nicely, and it really shows how you can achieve a good ending if you plan ahead enough and stick with it.

6.4 Victory of the Doctor 4.5/5
While The Last Stand of Miss Valarie Lockwood tied up the mysteries from the overall series, Victory of the Doctor tied up the loose ends from this box set. The opening scene with the Dalek officiating a wedding was very funny. I loved the appearance by the Time Spiders. And the looping message the Doctor gives reminds me of The Inforarium minisode. While I enjoyed it, I really don’t have a lot of thoughts about the main plot. We knew from the last episode that the Arkheion device would be used. The way it was used was interesting, but ultimately when the Daleks started winning I knew that they would pull out the world inside another world trope. The resolution with the Blight was a nice twist and one I didn’t see coming. Valarie deciding to leave the Doctor was a very nice scene, and her reason made a lot of sense in the context of the last episode. Having effectively allowing your mother die again does call for a lot of therapy.

CONCLUSION
I liked this box set a lot. It told a solid story that flowed one into another very well. While the ultimate ending was a bit of a paint by numbers take on a Dalek story, the rest of it worked very well. There was nothing that was left to tie up, and it did justice to an already excellent series. 5/5.

I know that this is a bit of a wall of text, but after this series I really had to get out my thoughts. I hope you all enjoy this.

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