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"The Dark Flame never dies... Somewhere, somehow it always burns.
It can never be extinguished."
 

Audio - The Dark Flame
The Dark Flame
(Trevor Baxendale)

 "The Dark Flame" has been written by Trevor Baxendale and is his debut Big Finish Productions audio adventure. Until this year, Baxendale was known only as a novelist for the Eighth Doctor with his Doctor Who novels: "The Janus Conjunction", "Coldheart" and "Eater of Wasps". Then in January 2003 his Fifth Doctor book "Fear of the Dark" was published.

 This story again stars Sylvester McCoy, as the Seventh Doctor, with Sophie Aldred, as Ace, and New Adventures companion Bernice Summerfield, played by Lisa Bowerman. This will be Benny's second Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio story - the first being "The Shadow of the Scourge". It is directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery and was recorded 26th and 27th January 2003.

 Former star of Robin of Sherwood and Dynasty, Michael Praed, guest-stars in this 'sidestep' adventure that draws on the continuity established by Virgin Publishing's series of New Adventures novels.

 Also starring are: Toby Langworth, Hannah Smith, Andrew Westfield and Steven Wickham.

 Onboard the TARDIS The Doctor and Ace are heading for the Space Station Orbos, a small moon, converted into a scientific base that orbits the planet Marran Alpha. Benny meanwhile is already on Orbos, where she had arranged to meet an old friend and fellow archaeologist Victor Farrison. But there has been no sign of him since her arrival. The Doctor also expects to meet an old friend, Remnex who is one of three scientists experi-menting with black light on Orbos.

Seventh Doctor
Seventh Doctor
 However, before they get there the TARDIS is unexpectedly attacked when Remnex tries to make contact with The Doctor to warn them to beware of The Dark Flame.

 All because a thousand years ago, the evil Cult of the Dark Flame infiltrated every star system in the galaxy. In the history books the Cult is legendary, its despotic leader a terrible memory. But The Doctor learns that for some the Dark Flame still burns and worse, for some its horrifying power is the ultimate goal.

 On The Doctor and Ace's arrival they discover that the station is home to a dangerous experiment, which is being subverted by the malign influence of an ancient evil which is exerting itself on the surrounding area.

 With the extreme conditions on the planet danger is never far away for the travellers. And even the space station is not safe with mad scientists attempting to reactive a long-dead ancient evil and armies of the Dead on the loose.

 When Ace is attacked, and with Benny nowhere to be seen, it is soon realised that Professor Slyde is not to be trusted as it is he who pushed Benny into a transmat and that because of the inhospitable surface of Marran Alpha she could already be dead...

The Dream Team
Sylvester McCoy
with Sophie and Lisa
 What relics lurk beneath the inhospitable surface of Marran Alpha in the underground caves and why is it the home of this strange cult? What is the hidden danger of the experi-ments? Why is The Doctor warned about the ancient cult of the Dark Flame, worshippers of an energy being and could Ace really be part of it? How can the cult's cruel leader retain any influence, centuries after spreading fear throughout the galaxy? Just how will Benny figure in a countdown to doomsday and why when she gets the chance does she not destroy the relic but instead hands it to the Emissary, who thanks her kindly for giving him the power of destruction...?

 Above all for whom does the Dark Flame still fiercely burn?

 While a captured archaeologist and his robot are forced to find the vital missing component - a dangerous skull - to complete the procedure it soon becomes clear that it is a very powerful force that The Doctor and his companions are dealing with and that an ancient evil is awakening.

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Notes:
  • Featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Bernice Summerfield.
  • Serial Number: SS4
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 100 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 27'07", 2 = 26'51", 3 = 25'58", 4 = 35'47"
  • Total Story Length: 115'43"
  • This story takes place between Virgin Publishing's New Adventures novels 'All-Consuming Fire' and 'Blood Harvest'.
  • Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
  • Recorded: 26th and 27th January 2003
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: March 2003
  • ISBN: 1-84435-025-8

On the Back Cover:

 A thousand years ago, the evil Cult of the Dark Flame infiltrated every star system in the galaxy. In the history books the Cult is legendary, its despotic leader a terrible memory.

 But for some the Dark Flame still burns. For some, its horrifying power is the ultimate goal. All that is required is for the right people to be in the wrong place and time…

 An archaeologist and his robot are on the poisonous world of Marran Alpha, where they will uncover a hideous relic. The Doctor and Ace are on their way to the deep space research centre Orbos, where Professor Bernice Summerfield is soon to start the countdown to universal Armageddon.

Four acolytes of Evil.
Three mad scientists.
Two companions.
One Doctor.
 

On the Inside Cover:

 TIME TRAVEL IS NOT impossible Big Finish regularly takes us back in time to revisit the days - and in our hearts they're always Saturdays - when Doctor Who really was 'on'. Now The Doctor continues his adventures, and in various incarnations, rightly unaffected by such small things as age or cancellation.

 Only now Doctor Who is sometimes cleverer, wittier, and most importantly, scarier than ever before. But even this modern miracle is not the whole story. Big Finish has worked its time travel magic again so that we can revisit the New Adventures as well. Only now we can hear Sylvester, Sophie and Lisa bringing life to those Virgin Books days: the giddy first leap in original Doctor Who fiction made real. I always wanted to write a New Adventure. Happily, I've always wanted to write a Big Finish audio play as well. Combining the two is a strange, intoxicating experience. I sincerely hope the listener will share in that experience. (One thing no one will share, however, is the dramatic timing read-through by my family - proof positive that the role of The Doctor is certainly not actor-proof!)

 Why The Dark Flame? For old time's sake, of course - but that's personal. For you, the chance once again to hear The Doctor, Ace and Benny in action - in four 25-minute episodes. Not so long ago, this would never have seemed probable, let alone possible.

 But here we are. Doctor Who alive and very, very well. The New Adventures revisited and revitalised.

 When you think about it, nothing is impossible.

Trevor Baxendale,
December 2002

Trevor Baxendale lives in Liverpool. A number of contemporary talented Doctor Who writers come from the North West of England - most be something in the water. He’s written an number of BBC Doctor Who novels - including Eater of Wasps, Coldheart and The Janus Conjunction. His latest, Fear of the Dark was published in January this year.
 

Production Notes:

 Trevor Baxendale submitted The Dark Flame back in September 2000, shortly after The Shadow of the Scourge had been released, at the request of producer Gary Russell. He was looking for another drama with the same Doctor/Companion team as Paul Cornell's Scourge but wanted to go with a writer who hadn't actually contributed to the Virgin book range in which the characters first appeared together.

 Trevor's initial submission was pretty close to the final production - although a number of names changed: Slyde was Prokesa, Lomar (originally a man) was Myles and Victor was Harry Farrison, who had a robot called Kit. The planet was originally called Lomar (Trevor clearly likes the name!), and later became Sorus Alpha' which was eventually changed to Marran Alpha, so as not to cause confusion with Thorus Alpha from the television story MindWarp.
 

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Sylvester McCoy
Ace Sophie Aldred
Bernice Summerfield Lisa Bowerman
Broke Toby Langworth
Professor Slyde Michael Praed
Professor Lomas Hannah Smith
Remnex Andrew Westfield
Victor Steven Wickham

The Production Team:

Writer Trevor Baxendale
Director Jason Haigh-Ellery
Sound/Music Andy Hardwick (ERS)
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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