THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
BIG FINISH AUDIO
DECAYS" AND "LAST
OF THE TITANS."
CAVAN SCOTT &
THE FORGE, PROJECT:
PROJECT: ARTEMIS &
BIG FINISH CD#45
RELEASED IN JUNE 2003.
A traveller in time
returns to correct
the mistakes of the
past and faces a
danger that could
rob him of his future.
Unless his future
And in the shadows
Welcome to the Forge.
(2 EPISODES, PARTS 3 & 4 OF 4)
Project: Lazarus is probably one of the most anticipated Big Finish releases to date. Not only is it a sequel to the revered Project: Twilight, but it is also Big Finish’s first multi-Doctor story since their very first release, The Sirens of Time, back in 1999. And, to celebrate the occasion, it is made available with not one, not two, but three possible covers!
A tale of two halves, Project: Lazarus is split into two linked, but ultimately separate, two-parters. The second sees the lone seventh Doctor visit the Forge only to find that his past self is already there… or is he? Surely the Doctor could never work with Nimrod after what he did to Cassie? And where exactly is Evelyn? And why can’t he remember this period of his life?
Traditional multi-Doctor stories can often be more trouble than they’re worth, and save for
the occasional bit of witty banter between the various incarnations, the stories are usually convoluted in the extreme and thus lead to a lot of head scratching afterwards – just look
at the whole ‘Season 6B’ palaver! Here, however, we are privileged enough to hear Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy sparring without having to worry about whether the seventh Doctor can remember actually being the sixth Doctor at this particular point in time and
thus know what is going to happen next, quite simply because he can’t. Rather than dodge the issue, Cavan Scott and Mark Wright’s tale is predicated on the seventh Doctor’s lack
As is blindingly obvious to any
quick-witted listener from the
minute that Colin Baker opens
his mouth, this isn’t the sixth
Doctor. It is Lazarus, a clone;
one of many grown by Nimrod
as part of his eponymous project.
And so with the real Doctor cast
as the hero and the clone Doctor
as the villain, Scott and Wright
are able to treat us to the first-ever ‘Doctor versus Doctor’ face-off, which proves to be every
bit as pleasurable as it sounds. In many ways, it’s a riff on Robert Holmes’ 1983 submission The Six Doctors, which also featured a ‘fake’ incarnation of the Time Lord, only with what I suspect is a decidedly much more sinister underbelly.
Sadly though, this second Lazarus two-parter is a little thin on plot. The alien Huldran (who played a peripheral role in the first two-parter) return to try and invade, but barring that and the seventh Doctor’s discovery of all his clones, little actually happens. Baker gets his arm chopped off and the companionless McCoy wanders around talking to himself for extended periods. It’s certainly entertaining, but it lacks the gritty east-end realism of Project: Twilight or even the eerie isolation of the sixth Doctor and Evelyn’s half of this release.
As the ending of the first Lazarus two-parter leaves the listener chomping at the bit, dying to know what will happen next with the Doctor and Evelyn, the second half of Project: Lazarus can’t help but come as a bit of disappointment. If listened to in isolation, however, without the mind drawing unfavourable parallels, this fiery two-parter has much to offer, not least of which is the tantalising prospect of a three-way showdown between Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and Stephen Chance.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
The blurb offers no guidance as to when the seventh Doctor’s half of this play takes place. However, authorial intent and the story’s production code place it just after Excelis Decays, where it seems to fit nicely.
As the chronometer flies, the events of Project: Destiny occur a decade or so after this story. For the Doctor, however, those events took place many years in his past. Realising this, the Doctor made Ace promise not to disclose what she learned about his role in the destruction of the Forge to him.
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