In celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, the folks at Big Finish have brought together the greatest collection of past Doctors and companions ever assembled on a single project. Thirty years after "The Five Doctors", they have assembled five actual Doctors (4-8) and the first three Doctors, two of which played by their primary companions (William Russell and Frazer Hines). “The Light at the End” begins with the Master (voiced by Geoffrey Beavers) making a choice that can only mean something disastrous for the Doctor. The Doctors are alerted to a blinking red light in their respective TARDISes (TARDI?) having to do with the date Nov 22, 1963. Separately, they arrive in Hampshire, England on that date.
First up are The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) and Charley (India Fisher). They are greeted, yet hardly welcomed, by war machines tearing the Earth to pieces. Somehow, they are transported back to the TARDIS, but not the TARDIS as she knew it. There, Eight and Charley come face-to-face the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his Amazonian companion, Leela (Louise Jameson). The mechanical race known as the Vess have impounded the TARDIS and Charley is trapped with them while the others escape. This is where the Master gets to her. Soon, Leela meets a similar fate.
Six (Colin Baker) and Seven (Sylvester McCoy) pair off with their companions, Peri (Nicola Bryant) and Ace (Sophie Aldred). Together, they ponder the importance of the red light and discover that they are ripping through dimensions. Also in the mix is a man named Bob whose family has gone missing. When he comes across Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), he believes they are from the police department. Clearly, something is off with this man. The Master has driven him mad.
As time folds in on the TARDIS itself, the companions vanish one-by-one, the Time Lords are found to be working with the Vess, and the Master's greater plan is revealed. All of the Doctors' works are coming undone, erased from existence. This is maybe the best Master plot ever recorded. The cast alone makes this a must-have for Whovians. It's great to hear the Bakers again as well as McGann becoming a more inclusive part of the pantheon of beloved Time Lords. He got a raw deal with the movie but his portrayal of the Doctor is excellent.
Nicholas Briggs, who voices the Vess as well as the Daleks on TV, has written numerous books and audio plays of Doctor Who. He manages to celebrate the Doctor without the scope seeming unnecessary. Unlike older TV episodes with multiple Doctors, this is a story big enough to actually require all of these characters. With a month to go before the 50th Anniversary special, "The Light at the End" will be sure to whet the Whovians' collective appetite.