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Audio - Thicker Than Water
Thicker Than Water
(Paul Sutton)

 "Thicker Than Water" is the title of the release for September 2005. Written by Paul Sutton it is a direct sequel to his 2004 debut "Arrangements for War" and stars Colin Baker, as the Sixth Doctor, Maggie Stables, as Evelyn Smythe, and Bonnie Langford, as Melanie Bush.

It has been directed by Edward Salt (his first main Big Finish Doctor Who title and second Big Finish Doctor Who title – the first being "Excelis Rising") and was recorded 27th and 28th June 2005.

Sixth Doctor
Sixth Doctor

 Like producer Gary Russell's BBC Past Doctors novel "Instruments of Darkness" this story apparently sees The Doctor and Mel meet up with Evelyn sometime after she departed the TARDIS.

"Thicker Than Water" also stars: Ann Bryson, Matt Dineen, James Parsons, Rachel Pickup, Patrick Romer, Simon Watts, and the return of Gabriel Woolf as Principal Triumvir Rossiter.

 So far the relationship between the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe has been packed with tragic events and bitter-sweet experiences. After witnessing so many tragic deaths of those around her Evelyn has justifiable become rather disillusioned with the whole concept of travelling with The Doctor in his time machine. Plus there is the dark secret that she has kept from The Doctor regarding her health. So at last Evelyn has left the TARDIS, settled down on the planet Világ and has married – but things are not as straight forward as that as it seems that she still has wish to run off back out into the universe with The Doctor – if only he has not forgotten her.

 Unbeknown to her forces are at work to undermine her peaceful life. There are those who seek only to cause political unrest and they will go to any length to cause problems for her and her husband on Világ - even if these mean kidnapping and tampering with Evelyn’s medical treatment to cure her heart problem.
But The Doctor is about to make a return to Evelyn’s life and his timely visit could result in an end to her emotional roller-coaster ride and bring about a lasting resolution between them.

Maggie Stables
Maggie Stables

 Three years after Világ was all but laid waste by the Killorans, The Doctor is back alongside a different companion. And a lot has changed since The Doctor and Evelyn witnessed the previous events on this world when the Kiloran invaded. Melanie, The Doctors current companion, is curious about meeting her predecessor.

 Politically, the planet is relatively peaceful, its tripartite government now headed by Rossiter - now elected Principle Triumvir. Yet the legacy of the Kiloran attack is instability. Torture, kidnap and zombies are among the dilemmas facing the three time travellers.

 Rossiter, as head of a Tripartite government, is working to secure a peaceful future for the planet by researching the technology the Killorans left behind. But he has to contend with opposition from his daughter, Sofia, who heads a public campaign demanding the destruction of all alien artefacts. 

Melanie Bush

Melanie

 It seems that The Doctor’s visit could not have been timed any better for him to become embroiled yet again in this planet’s affairs as emotions soon boil over into violence, a violence that seems to have gripped the entire nation and could result in Evelyn’s death.

 Why is Evelyn so grumpy of late? What happened to those Killorans who were injured but not killed during the invasion? What is really going on in a local hospital ward? And who and why would anyone want to kidnap Evelyn?

 Even Melanie is not free from the danger as she becomes involved with those plotting against Rossiter which ends in her being shot at and falling down a lift shaft – luckily for her she was not the intended bullet’s victim and The Doctor is there to catch her impromptu descent.

 Could The Doctor be too late to save Evelyn and so prevent a wonderful partnership coming to an end? It’s a race against time to save her life despite both The Doctor and Rossiter desperation to see Evelyn survive.

But The Doctor and his two companions are not completely alone as help is at hand – help from a very strange source whose knowledge of the future is especially a shock to Evelyn.

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Notes:
  • Featuring the Sixth Doctor, Melanie Bush and Evelyn Smythe.
  • Serial Number: 7CU
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 100 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 1 = 24'49", 2 = 20'53", 3 = 19'24", 4 = 32'21"
  • Total Story Length: 97'27"
  • This story takes place between "The Trial of a Time Lord" and "Time and the Rani" and follows on from "Arrangements for War".
  • Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
  • Recorded: 27th and 28th June 2005
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: September 2005
  • ISBN: 1-84435-159-9

On the Back Cover:

 Three years after Világ was all but laid waste by the Killorans, The Doctor is back alongside a different companion. And a lot has changed.

 Now elected Principle Triumvir, head of a tripartite government, Rossiter is working to secure a peaceful future for the planet by researching the technology the Killorans left behind. But he has to contend with opposition from his daughter, Sofia, who heads a public campaign demanding the destruction of all alien artefacts.

 Politics has caused a rift between father and daughter, and as if that weren't enough, Sofia doesn't approve of her new step-mother either. Emotions soon boil over into violence - violence that seems to have gripped the entire city.

 Friendships bind people close, but they say that blood is...

 

On the Inside Cover:

 FIRST OFF, I’D LIKE TO SAY THANKS AND congratulations to all involved with making Arrangements for War. Everyone made the strengths of the relationships jump out at you - don’t Maggie Stables and Gabriel Woolf sound just perfect together? - and Steve Foxon’s score was spot on. I think you got your money’s worth alone from Philip Bretherton saying the word ‘bivouac’...

 And so to those who deserve a mention for Thicker Than Water. Sterling work was done at the read-through by Paul Boyling, who had already given his name selflessly to my Professor Bernice Summerfield novella, The Purpura Pawn; Jill Davidson, who would look very good indeed in large blue polka dots; Kirsten McDonald, who looked rather bemused by the whole affair but was very polite and whose accent put me in mind of Tegan; Suzanne Kenyon, who came willingly at a moment’s notice despite having no idea who the hell I was - you’re a hero; Andrew Reid, who rushed frantically across the city from a clutch of private students to take part; and Neil ‘Davros’ McCutcheon, who was allowed to play The Doctor, having bribed me with half a kilo of Marmite (scarce stuff here in Hungary!).

 I’d like to dedicate this play to my friends Philip ‘Warhammer’ Rossiter, Alan ‘metal cyclist’ Lawrence and Paul ‘I’ll send you recordings of the new series fortnightly’ Jenner. Thanks, chaps.

 Up the Irons!

Paul Sutton,
June 2004

 Paul Sutton teaches English in Budapest to people who have never heard of Doctor Who. Apart from his previous Doctor Who audio adventure, Arrangements for War, Paul has written a Professor Bernice Summerfield novella, The Purpuro Pawn, found within the A Life in Pieces anthology.
 

Production Notes:

Sequels are funny things - there’s a general perception that they never live up to the prime story. Of course, this isn’t really very true. Yes, the second Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t a patch on the first, but nor is it as good as the third or fourth. Yet, few would deny that Aliens is as good as it is different from Alien. Or that The Empire Strikes Back betters Star Wars. Basically, If the first story is good, the second one, so long as it doesn’t just try to repeat that formula, should be as good, if not better.

 So, with some tepidation but also a positive attitude, producer Gary Russell suggested to Paul Sutton that a sequel to Paul’s 2004 audio, Arrangements for War, was a good idea. Having set up the friendship between Rossiter and Evelyn, against the backdrop of war and political in-fighting, the need was felt to know what happened next.

And there were enough hints and background in that first story - the characters of Sofia and Jenner, for instance - to know that there were good foundations to build upon. Returning to Világ so rapidly was a bit of an experiment, but hopefully a worthwhile one. Sometimes you really do need to know how the story ends. Or, at least, how the next chapter closes...

 

Who's Who?

The Sixth Doctor

First television appearance: "The Twin Dilemma"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "Davros"

 He has been exploring the universe for hundreds of years. He fights injustice. He defeats evil. He helps people. In his sixth incarnation, The Doctor’s propensity for philology, sesquipedalianism and all matters grammatical has developed to a degree of dexterity that puts all others to shame. He has recently found himself travelling with Mel, an energetic and effervescent young woman. Her optimistic attitudes and able-minded attack of problems have helped soften the at times terse and troubled Time Lord.


Melanie Bush

First television appearance: "The Trial of a Time Lord"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "The One Doctor"

 A computer expert from twentieth-century Earth - Pease Pottage, East Sussex, to be specific - Melanie Jane Bush is young, bright and enthusiastic. She enjoys her time with The Doctor and the adventures they have. They met for the first time from Mel’s point of view in 1989 - however, The Doctor had by this point seen his future and had already met Miss Bush! Recently, Mel has found herself taking two enforced periods out of The Doctor’s sight - three months working for Davros, the creator of the Daleks, then six months trapped in her own familial past...


Doctor Evelyn Smythe

First Big Finish audio appearance: "The Marian Conspiracy"

 When she first encountered The Doctor, Evelyn Smythe was a history lecturer at Sheffield’s Hallam university. He took her on an adventure involving her ancestors in the sixteenth century - which lead to Evelyn joining The Doctor in his travels. Unbeknownst to him, Evelyn was resisting efforts by the university administration to retire her due to a possibly-fatal heart condition, and so she took the opportunity to explore both history and the wider universe with relish. During an adventure on the planet Világ, she met Governor Rossiter, a man who, quite possibly, supplanted The Doctor in her affections...
 

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Colin Baker
Melanie Bush Bonnie Langford
Evelyn Smythe Maggie Stables
Karnó Ann Bryson
Jenner Matt Dineen
TV Interviewer James Parsons
Dr Sofia Rossiter Rachel Pickup
Dr Andrew Szabó Patrick Romer
Dr Sebastian Lawrence Simon Watts
Principal Triumvir Rossiter Gabriel Woolf

The Production Team:

Writer Paul Sutton
Director Edward Salt
Sound/Music Andy Hardwick
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
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