In the world of television’s Doctor Who, Big Finish Productions have been revisiting the original series only with their exciting range of audio dramas, reviving characters from those early years with new stories and situations. Since Doctor Who returned to our television screens in 2005 with a modern continuation of the time traveller’s adventures, the new characters and worlds have been off-limits.
That changed last year when Big Finish launched UNIT – The New Series, their first release to feature characters and their original actors from the new Doctor Who television series. Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart) and Ingrid Oliver (Osgood) star in UNIT – The New Series, including this third release, called Silenced.
This four-part story is written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney, directed by Ken Bentley, and also reintroduces The Silents (AKA The Silence), an alien foe first seen in the 2011 season of the television series. Like The Weeping Angels before them, The Silents are a foe more fearful because of the psychological terror they evoke. The Weeping Angels were scary because they could only move when you weren’t looking at them. With The Silents, you forget their existence the moment you turn away.
It’s hard to imagine anything about silence having a complex sound design but Peter Doggart and Howard Carter provide an eerie, full-bodied soundscape to carry the story along, complemented by Howard Carter’s music.
The Silents are rising up, using a controversial politician as their figurehead in their first step towards claiming the planet. UNIT (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) has no record of The Silents and they forget what they learn just as quickly as they uncover evidence of the aliens’ return. Over the course of the four episodes, Osgood and her colleagues must piece together the mystery and find a way to remember what’s going on in order to save the world.
UNIT – Silenced features tight scripts, excellent sounds effects and, of course, great acting by the entire cast, including other audio series regulars like Warren Brown (Lieutenant Sam Bishop), James Joyce (Captain Josh Carter). This is a stand-alone release which can be enjoyed on its own, or as a continuation of UNIT – The New Series. Either way, it’s yet another noteworthy addition to Big Finish’s stable of ongoing serials and yet another fine example of Big Finish’s ability to produce high-quality action dramas that expand the Doctor Who universe while staying true to its timeline and imaginative universe.
The 5-disc boxed set includes Howard Carter’s music suite and a range of behind-the-scenes interviews.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 8
Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: November 2016
RRP: $34.25 CD or $20 Digital Download