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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Project: Destiny


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 475 7
Available 30 September 2010

1999: leaving her infant son behind, Cassandra Schofield departs Bolton, seeking a better life amid the lights of London. 2004: despite the best efforts of the time-travelling Doctor, Cassie dies on Dartmoor, a vampirised victim of the sinister organisation called the Forge. 2021: all grown up, and a nurse at St Gart’s Hospital, Thomas Hector Schofield - known as Hex - meets, and becomes a companion to, that time-travelling Doctor… but remains unaware that his alien friend knew his mother, and watched her die. 1854: in the Crimean War, Hex takes a bullet, and is seriously injured. The Doctor promises to return him to St Gart’s. 2025: now, in a London ravaged by a deadly contagion, destiny awaits...

If you’re new to Big Finish’s Doctor Who range, then this really isn’t the place to start. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story, but it depends upon a heck (or even a Hex) of a lot of back-story.

Project: Destiny is the conclusion to a trilogy of audio dramas featuring the sinister black-ops organisation the Forge, following on from 2001’s Project: Twilight and Project: Lazarus in 2003, from the same writing team of Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. It’s not as simple as that, though, because the events of the latter story haven’t happened yet from the Seventh Doctor’s (Sylvester McCoy) point of view. The story also brings the Hex arc full circle, as the Doctor returns Thomas Hector Schofield (Philip Olivier), who was shot at the end of last year’s The Angel of Scutari, to St Gart’s, the hospital where they first met in 2004’s The Harvest. Hex is the son of Cassandra Schofield, whom the Sixth Doctor first encountered in Project: Twilight and saw killed in Project: Lazarus. The Seventh Doctor revealed the connection between Hex and Cassie to Evelyn Smythe in 2005’s Thicker than Water, but at the outset of Project: Destiny he still hasn’t told Hex about his part in Cassie’s death.

It’s been 15 months since the cliffhanger ending to The Angel of Scutari, and seven long years since Project: Lazarus. In the interviews at the end of Disc 2, the production team offer some explanations as to why we haven’t heard from the 21st-century Forge for so long, though I reckon that the similarity of the Torchwood Institute in the Doctor Who and Torchwood television series may have had something to do with it. That may be why the Doctor’s “recent” encounters with the Forge have been at other points in history, such as 2006’s No Man’s Land and Forty-Five in 2008.

Unusually for me, I didn’t read the back-cover blurb (which is actually more of a “story so far” than a synopsis as such) before embarking upon Project: Destiny. I already knew (from The Angel of Scutari) that the Doctor, Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Hex were en route to St Gart’s and (from the title) that the Forge would be returning. That knowledge, together with some passionate performances from the regular and guest cast alike, including Maggie O’Neill (Shameless, EastEnders) and Ingrid Oliver (Plus One, Material Girl), and some rousing, blockbuster movie-style incidental music from Howard Carter, was all I needed to carry me along - for the first episode at least. During later episodes, I’ll admit that I had to refer to the internet to remind me about what had happened to Hex’s mother - but that aside, I was gripped throughout.

As well as 15 minutes of interviews at the end of Disc 2, the first disc also includes a seven-minute suite of Carter’s exciting incidental music.

As I said, if you’re new to the Big Finish range, then Project: Destiny isn’t the place to start. However, if you’re a fan of any of the stories listed above, then this is an essential purchase. The project may have been in the pipeline for far too long, but Scott and Wright have finally provided a very satisfying resolution.


Richard McGinlay

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