(ISBN 1-84435-318-7)




 A virulent disease

 that killed millions.

 A missing scientist. An

 ancient race of

 salvagers who

 collect and preserve

 the dead. The

 quarantined planet

 Antikon connects them


 When the Doctor

 arrives on a sky

 station above

 Antikon, a single

 accident has already

 set in motion a chain

 of events that will

 mean the death of

 every living thing.

 And the only way he

 can stop it is to die.



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The Death Collectors

JUNE 2008







Much like his first, Stewart Sheargold’s second Big Finish audio drama is a serving of high-end science fiction that does exactly what it says on the tin.


“I will not die listening to lift music!”


The Death Collectors. As one might reasonably infer from the play’s morose title, this play is about death. And it’s grim. Sheargold himself describes it as a “dirge for the seventh Doctor on his forthcoming death” and such sentiments do sum up the story almost entirely. Big Finish have even gone all out and had David Darlington record a stunning in-house rendition of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly to really hammer home the link to the (apparently near-imminent) TV Movie.


I really like how Sheargold deals with death in this play; somehow he manages to rationalise it without destroying its mystique. His Dar Traders, the titular ‘Death Collectors’, are the perfect example of his walking the line – they are creatures that live on the precipice between life and death; husks encased in machines. And they work marvellously on audio too – Derek Carlyle does a masterful job with their voices.


Most interesting of all though is how Sylvester McCoy’s moribund Doctor fits in to the play. As a Time Lord of thirteen lives, he confuses the hell out of the Dar Traders with his unusual “death signature”. There is a delightfully played scene towards the end of the story where the Doctor prepares to sacrifice his seventh life “early”, as it were, to save the lives of those on the sky station and also to finally put a merciful end to the decay virus plaguing Antikon.


Apart from McCoy, who is also on fine form, The Death Collectors features some impressive performances. Most noteworthy is Katherine Parkinson as Danika Meanwhile, a troubled young woman in the centre of a peculiar love triangle who becomes the latest in a long line of ladies to turn the increasingly broody seventh Doctor down at the end of the story! What must all these rejections be doing to his confidence? Unlike Jeavon and Genevieve, though, I get the strong feeling that Danika will have been regretting her decision soon after the TARDIS’ departure…


All told, The Death Collectors builds upon the dark and intelligent Red, Sheargold delivering another highbrow piece of science fiction that is conceptually flawless. Whilst it isn’t the sort of story that I would normally go for, it entertained me throughout and so, particularly for those who revel in the Jim Mortimore-style hardcore science fiction take on Doctor Who, this one is a must.





Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988

to be identified as the author of this work.



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