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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Commander Maxil
    February 22, 2013 @ 2:31 am

    The Stones of Venice is the best of the mostly good (but rarely great) first season of McGann audios, and for me it is where McGann really starts to take ownership of the role. The tension described in the article above between the early conception of the Eight Doctor as a romantic hero and McGann’s performance as a more self-aware, snarky Doctor provides an enjoyable tension in these early stories. Over time Big Finish do figure out exactly what to do with the character (and for me the Eighth Doctor Audios produce some of the best Doctor Who of the last 50 years in any format) but its understandable that it took a few stories to iron out the kinks.


  2. Commander Maxil
    February 22, 2013 @ 2:57 am

    I should probably also have said that IMO I think Paul Magrs does his best Doctor Who work on audio (I haven’t read any of his non-Who stuff). He has written some great plays for Big Finish, and his 4thd Doctor stuff for BBC audiobooks is great. I think that the strictures and discipline that writing a play imposes on him as opposed to a novel seem to focus his work in a good way. I found his Who novels quite hard to follow and didn’t enjoy them all that much (though it has been a long time since I read them, so I may get more out of them now), but I have liked pretty much all of his audio work (ha\rd to pick a favourite, but the Wormery is pretty awesome)


  3. jane
    February 22, 2013 @ 5:11 am

    This was the first time in the Eighth's line that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Finally we're getting a story that's truly character based, with loads of humor and playfulness. Some of the tale is a bit obvious — the class struggles and the Reveal come to mind — but I'm willing to overlook such minor sins for a story I can really get into.

    I also noticed this one employs code-words. There's this whole sequence about "frocks" that I found quite delightful! Reminded me of Timewyrm:Revelation, where Cornell uses "frocks" and "anoraks" to describe the story and the villainous boy-child, respectively. In other stories there's an abundance of "Who are you?" questions, and exhortations to "Open your eyes."

    I like the literary references, invoking Twelfth Night and Room with a View for its thematic concerns, and the titular Ruskin essays serve as a nice metaphor for the architecture of the story. And I wonder how much this story serves as a literary reference for future Who stories, foreshadowing both the Doctor/Charley "romance" and the televised Vampires of Venice — just, you know, fish people. In Venice.


  4. theonlyspiral
    February 22, 2013 @ 6:11 am

    "This was the first time in the Eighth's line that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Finally we're getting a story that's truly character based, with loads of humor and playfulness. Some of the tale is a bit obvious — the class struggles and the Reveal come to mind — but I'm willing to overlook such minor sins for a story I can really get into."

    You took the words right out of my mouth Jane. This story is fun. If you have to boil it down to a single word, what better one is there? It is at times a bit obvious but it plays into that. It celebrates it's twists and turns by broadcasting them and saying "Isn't this grand?"

    As an aside, this is the one story of the first McGann series that stands up to the Eighth Doctor/Lucie stories for me. Charlie is great. She's passionate and feisty. But she's no Lucie "Bleeding" Miller.

    Also Big Finish currently has the Downloads of the Eighth Doctor Range highly discounted. Anyone who enjoys McGann here will find them an absolute treat:


  5. Steven Clubb
    February 22, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    Coming at Doctor Who largely backwards (new series, classic series, audio adventures, novels), I have to say I completely missed until now the key development of the audio adventures. To me, they were always the 80s/90s done right without any further thought as to why beyond a better focus on character.

    Reading this, it occurs to me that Big Finish was a rather important step in the successful return of Doctor Who to TV, as they were the ones who sealed the rad/trad schism by treating the two as one and the same. As you keep saying, their mandate is to just get on telling good Doctor Who stories while keeping the actors interested and happy by mixing in a little experimentation with the familiar. This also seems to fit perfectly with adult fans, who crave the nostalgic thrills of their youth but in a slightly more adult form.

    That last bit being a particularly difficult trick, which far too many creators following Alan Moore's lead in deconstructing the underlying tropes and upping the quotas of sex & violence, which in less capable hands ends up being far more adolescent than adult.

    Big Finish wasn't beyond taking the odd stab at that kind of thing (I remember a scene from some audio where Peri is uncomfortably nude in front of someone else), but mostly they took a step back from more overtly adult material and showed just how well traditional Doctor Who still worked without throwing out all the lessons learned by the rads.


  6. Matt Michael
    February 22, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    The word I use to describe McGann's Doctor (as opposed to the books' 8th Doctor) is sardonic, like John Lennon in space. A strong streak of righteous anger and idealism that frequently manifests as a kind of cynical detachment. I totally agree that this is unique to the BF play and not really present in the BBC Books (at least the ones written before Storm Warning. But notably it is there (albeit low in the mix) in the TVM when the Doctor is quite sarcastic towards Grace at moments.


  7. Nick Smale
    February 23, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    If there's one thing that excites me about the fiftieth anniversary, it's the thought that we just might get another glimpse of the McGann Doctor on TV this November…


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