Bernice Summerfield
The Wake

Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 277 7
Available 30 December 2007

Bernice Summerfield first met Irving Braxiatel some thousand years in the future - or about 15 years ago, her time. Since then, she’s been married to Jason Kane, divorced from Jason Kane, reunited with Jason Kane, and had a half-Killoran son, Peter, with an all-Killoran dad, Adrian. She’s settled down on Braxiatel’s planetoid-museum, where she’s Professor of Archaeology. There have been adventures, invasions and monsters along the way, but things are generally looking up after years of weirdness of mayhem. And then Peter kills Jason... “If I’d spent less time knocking about with the monsters and magic artefacts, and more time here with him... This is where you’re meant to tell me that I mustn’t blame myself...”

I have to admit, I had been expecting something a little more... well, confrontational and conclusive, perhaps even a little vengeful, in this, the final episode in Season 8 of Bernice’s Big Finish adventures.

At least we - and Benny - finally discover the true extent of Irving Braxiatel’s (Miles Richardson) meddling in the political landscape of local time and space, including the people he has turned towards his agenda, how he managed to turn them, and his motives for doing so (which are, in part, tied up with a certain Time Lord with whom Bernice used to travel). Gradually and subtly, Brax has regained control of his Collection, without ever officially resuming his role as its curator. Writer Simon Guerrier even likens him to Stalin, when Doggles (Sam Stevens) notices that at least one person has gone missing from a group portrait Irving hangs on a wall.

This is certainly strong, grown-up stuff. Sexual tension is present between the grieving Benny (Lisa Bowerman) and the once-smitten Adrian Wall (Harry Myers), and there’s a shocking encounter between Benny and Doggles.

During the course of this instalment, Guerrier inserts flashbacks to and reminiscences of previous stories, all the way back to Bernice’s first meeting with Braxiatel in the Doctor Who novel Theatre of War. More recent Big Finish events are also tied in, as the following line of dialogue from Benny demonstrates: “I saw a future Peter once, and he’d become a killer. Ms Jones told me I was doing a lousy job as a mother, and when I didn’t listen she stole him from me. Then there was how he was on Montavadros. Even the Oracle of flipping Delphi warned me to be on the lookout.” The overall effect is that there has been a grand plan in progress since Theatre of War, though of course neither Big Finish nor Range Editor Guerrier were running things back then.

The end of the story sets up a major change of direction for Season 9. The CD itself ends with some of Matthew Cochrane and David Darlington’s exciting and evocative incidental music, plus a trailer for next season, which looks set to offer more of an emphasis on off-world adventure and less of an emphasis on domestic conspiracies and navel-gazing.

Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal! Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£7.25 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.