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 I think it is fair to say that no one expected the Eighth Doctor to return again so quickly after "The Twilight Kingdom". However, with the announcement, at the beginning of 2004, of the imminent return of a new Doctor Who television series, and with a brand new incarnation of The Doctor, meant that Big Finish Productions had to rethink their audio plans for the Eighth Doctor and so he's coming home from his self imposed exile in the Divergents' Universe earlier than expected.

 But not quite yet as there's still unfinished business to attend to in the Divergents' Universe before The Doctor will recover his TARDIS and return to the real universe.

The ending to this arc is now inevitable but the questions remain as how will The Doctor recover his TARDIS so that he can return to the real universe and what else is there for him, along with his two companions, to discover? What is certain is that this will be the final Eighth Doctor audio season and that it will explain the direction the Eighth Doctor stories has taken since "Neverland".

 According to Big Finish co-producer Gary Russell:

"The arrival of a new series on TV in 2005 has caused us to move things around in our schedule somewhat," explains Russell: "With, we hope, lots of new viewers coming to Doctor Who next year, Big Finish, like BBC Books and everyone else, is hoping they’ll want to investigate the show’s past. Thus we thought it might not be the best time to have an ongoing series of plays with running themes, alternate universes and no TARDIS! I think it’s very important to make potential newcomers feel welcome - we don’t want them to feel as if they’ve missed out on so much backstory that they can never catch up."

 To that end, Big Finish Productions has decided to bring forward by a year or so the wrap-up to the Eighth Doctor's 'alternative universe’ story arc that was started in "Zagreus".

"Yes, I suppose this rather reveals that he gets out," continues Russell: "However, I’d never want to make things quite that simple for him or for those listeners who have followed these stories all the way through - I think it’s fair to say that he won’t leave the Divergents’ universe untouched by the experience. And whether or not Charley or C’rizz stay or go remains to be seen."

Audio - Faith Stealer
Faith Stealer
(Graham Duff)

 Kicking off this final Eighth Doctor Audio season in September is "Faith Stealer", a four-part adventure written by Graham Duff and directed by Gary Russell. Duff is a regular writer and script editor for Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions, with Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible and Combat Sheep amongst his credits. "Faith Stealer" was recorded 11th and 12th June 2004.

 Paul McGann has again been joined by India Fisher, as Charley Pollard, Conrad Westmaas, as C’rizz, and Stephen Perring, as the unscrupulous Kro’ka. Also starring are Christian Rodska, Tessa Shaw, Jenny Coverack, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Helen Kirkpatrick, Neil Bett, Chris Walter-Evans, John Dorney and Jane Hills.

  When The Doctor, Charley and C'rizz find their journey through the Interzone interrupted by a nightmarish vision, they find themselves in The Multihaven - the home to a vast array of religions and faiths, all living together harmoniously.

Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor

 With so many different religions coming and going and all co-existing peacefully and with discourse conducted amicably the balance of faith is in constant flux, equality is ensured.

 The Multihaven is a diverse community - ranging from the pious Bakoans, to those that deify the versatile product Cabari and also the followers of the Great Neglector in the Serendipity faith, who believe in the beauty of happy accidents. Even The Doctor introduces a new religion The Faith of Tourism in his need to enter The Multihaven.

 While there The Doctor and Charley start to catch audio glimpses of the TARDIS. The Doctor deduces that there is something very wrong with the TARDIS as they can not see The Doctor has the strangest feeling that he is being haunted by her presence. Or maybe the Kro'ka is playing with them.

 The Doctor soon discovers that despite The Multihaven appearing to offer the perfect sanctuary in which to convalesce things are not in harmony as they are at first led to believe. Under the guidance of the charismatic Laan Carder, one religion - the 23rd Church of Lucidity - seems to be gathering disciples and conversions to its order at a very alarming rate. The Doctor is about to discover that within The Multihaven an extreme form of belief is being subverted to serve particular interests as Carder draws more and more followers into worshipping the Lucidian god Miraculite.


India Fisher
India Fisher

 With The Bordinan seemingly unable to help The Doctor and Charley find the TARDIS it seems that they are on there own as C'rizz has gone missing and is on the receiving end of some unorthodox religious practices when he finds himself in The Hall of Dreams and then in a cupboard - it’s time for him to see the light.

 But what has really happened to C'rizz and why has the recent killing of his female companion L'da come back to haunt him? What or who is behind his inability to contain his sense of guilt which has left him open to unsavoury influences.

 And then things take a turn for the worse when The Doctor hears the TARDIS materialise nearby and rushes off to find it only to sees it being destroyed before his very eyes…

 
Leaving Charley alone she spots C'rizz but the welcome she receives from him is not exactly what she expected. Having seen the light C'rizz it seems has been taken over by the Lucidians and in his attempt to help Charley to see the light herself he attempts to strangle her. Thankfully The Doctor returns to her aid just in time.

Returning to The Bordinan to request more assistance, and despite The Doctor instructions to only allow C’rizz to rest after his ordeal, Director Garfolt tricks C’rizz into undergoing treatment to bleach out all his Lucidity beliefs. In so doing he releases the Miraculite who announces that all shall live within and that there is still lots to do before The Final Harvest.

 What is Miraculite and why should it make those of the other faiths lose confidence in themselves and have the power to worm its way into their minds and breed self doubt, self loathing and confusion? What is The Final Harvest and who is really in control the Miraculite or Laan Carder? And what about the TARDIS has it really been destroyed or is its random appearance the effects of the Miraculite?

 
Can The Doctor deduce the nature of the entity behind the Lucidian religion before it is to late? And will he and Charley be able to prevent C'rizz being taken over by whomever has the strongest will in the vicinity?

 The Doctor’s, Charley’s and C'rizz’s belief, hope and faith are about to be tested to the limit.

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Notes:
  • Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley Pollard and C'rizz.
  • Serial Number: 8S
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 122 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 27'16", 2 = 23'04", 3 = 25'58", 4 = 25'28"
  • Total Story Length: 101'46"
  • This story takes place after "Doctor Who: The Movie" and follows on from March 2004’s "The Twilight Kingdom".
  • Cover Illustration: Steve Johnson
  • Recorded: 11th and 12th June 2004
  • Recording Location: Christchurch Studios
  • Released: September 2004
  • ISBN: 1-84435-103-3

On the Back Cover:

  When The Doctor, Charley and C'rizz find their journey through the Interzone interrupted by a nightmarish vision, they are surprised to find the Kro'ka offering the perfect solution.

 The Multihaven ­ a vast array of religions and faiths housed in one harmonious community ­ appears to offer the perfect sanctuary in which to convalesce. But under the guidance of the charismatic Laan Carder, one religion seems to be gathering disciples at an alarming rate.

 With The Doctor and Charley catching glimpses of an old friend and C'rizz on the receiving end of some unorthodox religious practices, their belief, hope and faith are about to be tested to the limit.

 It’s time to see the light.

 

On the Inside Cover:

 DOCTOR WHO IS AMONGST MY earliest memories. Watching "The War Games"... my Dad telling me there was to be a new Doctor... standing in my parent’s garden, having watched "Genesis of the Daleks" thinking how wonderful it must be to create something like that...

 I have only two regrets about "Faith Stealer". Firstly, I wish I’d heard Jonathan Clements’s excellent "Sympathy for the Devil", before my own audio went into production. There’s a plot detail in "Faith Stealer" which mirrors one in Jonathan’s story. And despite reassurances from the producer, it still niggles at me.

 Secondly, and more importantly, due to commitments on another of my stories, I was unable to attend the recording. So, whilst the Big Finish team were in Bristol, helping Paul McCann’s Doctor square up to the Lucidians, I was in Manchester, helping Johnny Vegas sell soft drugs... However, I feel duty bound to point out that despite my childhood plans, neither story in any way resembles "Genesis of the Daleks".

 Finally, ‘thank you’ to the people who either encouraged me to write a Who audio in the first place, made useful comments on the manuscript, or listened patiently to my enthusiastic babblings. Namely Stan Baldwin, Tim Leopard, Sean Longcroft, Mark Gatiss, Misha Begley and Dr Sarah Cheang.

Graham Duff,
July 2004

Graham Duff is a multi-tasking writer, producer, actor and all-round nice guy who spends much of his time working for Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow productions. Amongst his work are episodes of Dr Terror’s House of Horrible and Combat Sheep. He also wrote a Radio 4 pilot entitled Nebulous, directed by Big Finisher Nicholas Briggs and starring David Warner, and appeared in the Doctor Who - Unbound story Exile. What a busy lad...
 

Production Notes:

If life was a game of Consequences, "Faith Stealer" is all Steve Coogan’s fault. And the biggest crime is that the comic maestro himself is probably quite unaware of it. Basically, Coogan’s production company Baby Cow commissioned a sci-fi radio pilot from Graham Duff called Nebulous, a sort of Quatermass parody. This starred Big Finish alumini Mark Gatiss, David Warner and Rosie Cavaliero amongst others. Then Big Finish sound wizard Nick Briggs was employed to direct it. And one day Graham Duff came for a meeting with Nick at our offices and bingo... Producer Gary Russell adored the Nebulous script, asked Graham if he was interested in doing a Doctor Who. Graham was pleased to do so and a few months later, "Faith Stealer" was the result.

 Although the first of this fourth ‘season’ of Eighth Doctor plays to go out, it was the third recorded in the ‘season four’ block. It features, amongst others, the vocal talents of LA-based English actress Tessa Shaw and Christian Rodska, who Russell had been trying to involve in a Doctor Who for some years as the director is a huge fan of Rodska’s famous vocal talents.

 

Who's Who?

The Eighth Doctor

First television appearance: Doctor Who
First Big Finish audio appearance: “Storm Warning

 The Eighth Doctor has gone through an extraordinary battle. In order to save the life of his companion and friend Charley Pollard, he absorbed a destructive energy force referred to as Zagreus, currently subdued beneath his own, far more likable persona. However, this means The Doctor can no longer live in our universe and so has recently exiled himself into an alternative universe from which he can never return home...


Charley Pollard

First Big Finish audio appearance: "Storm Warning".

 Charley was rescued by The Doctor from the ill-fated R101 airship in 1930. Recently, much against The Doctor's wishes, she has gone with him into the Divergent Universe, knowing that she will never see Earth or anyone she has known and loved ever again. However, Charley does not seem too concerned about that and believes it was a price worth paying to remain at the side of her friend and mentor. Charley was witness recently to the loss of the TARDIS when they landed on the first planet of this new universe...


C'rizz

First Big Finish audio appearance: "The Creed of the Kromon".

 A Eutermesan, the first actual person The Doctor and Charley met in the Divergent Universe. Having lost his TARDIS, The Doctor found himself trapped on a planet separated into zones, although those within the zones seemed unaware that they were thus confined. C'rizz's natural curiosity has made him join The Doctor and Charley. However, he is an instinctively peaceful man, recently forced to commit murder against his nature. What effect this may have on him in the future remains to be seen...
 

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Paul McGann
Charley Pollard India Fisher
C'rizz Conrad Westmaas
The Kro'Ka Stephen Perring
Director Garfolt Neil Bett
Miraculite Jenny Coverack
Bishop Parrash Ifan Huw Dafydd
Bakoan John Dorney
L'da Jane Hills
Jebdal Helen Kirkpatrick
Laan Carder Christian Rodska
The Bordinan Tessa Shaw
The Bordinan's Assistant Chris Walter-Evans

The Production Team:

Writer Graham Duff
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Russell Stone
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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