Big Finish: The Eighth Doctor - A Ravenous Retrospective

Big Finish: The Eighth Doctor - A Ravenous Retrospective

Ravenous 4 has now been released, completing the Ravenous saga with more than one shocking plot twist and sending the Doctor off into the unknown. In this article, we’ll be taking a look back over the sixteen-part series, examining the progression of the story arc, character development and a selection of standout stories to reveal the best of Ravenous.

Series Overview

As per the intention of the creative team, Ravenous incorporated less detailed plotting than Doom Coalition, allowing for more standalone stories. This was a clever decision given many of the standout stories had little or no connection to the arc. It could be argued that the threat of the Ravenous creatures was sometimes sidelined; perhaps it helps to consider the saga not so much as all about the Ravenous as the title suggests, but instead as a series of Doctor Who where the Ravenous are the final antagonists to defeat.

Instead, character development was paramount. In particular, the Eleven, and his relationship with the Doctor, Liv and Helen, was fleshed out both as a psychopath and a potential member of the TARDIS team. He is probably the one who experiences the most development, his story coming to an end in the final set.

Ravenous 1

Summary: The saga kicks off with two standalone episodes featuring the Doctor and Liv – a fresh jumping-on point for listeners. This is the best of the four series for the mix of different stories being told: a Second World War action-drama, a space station romp and a creepy two-parter with a returning villain.

Standout story: Their Finest Hour for its fresh and exciting tone, and for being free from continuity. The emotional story of the fighter pilots packs a punch, and the rapport between Churchill and the Eighth Doctor is highly enjoyable.

Ravenous 2

Read The Digital Fix's review here.

Summary: Series 2 also has a mix of stories that includes fantastic worldbuilding (such as the planet Kaldor in episode 1), an introduction to the Ravenous and arguably the best cover art of the series (for the middle two-parter – full marks to Tom Webster).

Standout story: Better Watch Out/Fairytale of Salzburg for the lovely worldbuilding, festive overtones and emotional payoff. The homage to It’s a Wonderful Life is heartfelt and well-earned. Combined with performances from respected actors Siân Phillips and Raad Rawi, a Christmas horror tales becomes a deeper exploration of storytelling, angels and demons, and the power of love.

Ravenous 3

Read The Digital Fix's review here.

DW_Ravenous3_cover

Summary: The arcs of the Eleven and the Ravenous develop significantly in Ravenous 3, and the story is well and truly heading in the direction of a climax, although there is still room for interludes like Companion Piece and (to an extent) L.E.G.E.N.D. The scale of story and characters is expanding.

Standout story: Writer John Dorney scores again with Companion Piece, for obvious reasons. Companions from different eras interacting, an abundance of Easter eggs and the zany Nine wreaking havoc make for a wild ride.

Ravenous 4

Read The Digital Fix's review here.

Summary: The final sequence of stories is the most consistently exciting of all, escalating the suspense and stakes to fever pitch. Best listened to in quick succession, Ravenous 4 is bold, shocking and unafraid to go to dark places indeed.

Standout story: Day of the Master is the culmination of everything that comes before it, and deserves praise for resolving the Ravenous story, incorporating multiple Masters and giving a satisfying end to the Eleven’s journey.

Summary

Any Eighth Doctor release has become an event-piece release from Big Finish. As his life is an open canvas, with nothing being known of his companions’ lives prior to The Night of the Doctor, Big Finish can create all manner of storylines and new characters to populate the world. Ravenous showed that the Doctor’s enemies are among the most memorable, and his friends the most plentiful.

Although showing off unsettling horror tropes when dealing with the Ravenous, the series was at its best when focused on the Doctor’s interactions with other characters, either friends (such as Liv, Helen and Churchill), enemies (the Nine, the Eleven), or it’s-complicated (the Master). Never less than entertaining, and frequently extraordinary, Ravenous is essential listening.

Big Finish

Big Finish are the people behind a growing and impressive range of audio adventures including the likes of Doctor Who, Blakes 7 and Jago & Lightfoot.

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