Their Finest Hour was the first story in the audio anthology Ravenous 1, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by John Dorney and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Nicola Walker as Liv Chenka, alongside Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
In the early days of the Second World War a strange and elusive craft attacks British targets. Could it be a German superweapon? Churchill calls for the Doctor's assistance and with the help of a squadron of Polish fighter pilots the TARDIS crew take to the skies to investigate.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Red Leader leads the Red Squadron of the Royal Air Force over Great Britain, finding no sign of the enemy aeroplanes that they were sent to engage following the implosion of a munitions factory. He spots something and leads an attack against it, telling base that there is a "transluscent rectangle". Base order the Red Squadron to disengage but, after Red Leader refuses and disappears, they inform the War Office that it has happened again.
In the TARDIS, Liv hurries the Doctor to find Helen but is told that the TARDIS is working out where she is from the artron trail. The Doctor receives a phone call from Winston Churchill asking for help during the Battle of Britain in 1940, which he accepts despite Liv's protestations that they should be looking for Helen. Upon arrival, Churchill, whom Liv has never heard of, informs them of massive destruction caused by an alien "nothing" in the form of a rectangle. The Doctor says they need to speak to the Poles.
Pilot Officers Wilhelm Rozycki and Jan Ostowicz are ordered to return to base whilst flying without permission and pretend not to be good at speaking English. Later, at Northolt, the Doctor attaches a portable force field to a training plane and has Wilhelm and Jan take him and Liv into the skies and sweep around military targets which have not yet been attacked. Wilhelm and Liv eventually locate the rectangle and inform the Doctor, but they disappear and are presumed dead.
The Doctor and Jan report to Churchill, with the Doctor deciding that Liv would not die in such a small way and might have survived.
Liv and Jan wake up in a spacecraft and are welcomed by the Heliyon, who are startled by their use of force fields and assume hostile intent. They reveal their own ship and move to attack the RAF base. The rest of the Polish pilots are deployed to fend them off, while Liv and Wilhelm escape the ship via a parachute jump.
The Poles fend the Heliyon off and the ship head towards London. Churchill orders RAF squadrons to join the fray, while he, Liv, the Doctor, Jan and Wilhelm all make their own way towards London. Liv and Churchill return to the TARDIS, Liv making sure to keep Churchill outside. Inside, she contacts Heliyon Prime and asks why the Heliyon are attacking Earth. Heliyon Prime explains their rules of war: in order to preserve their own population, the two blocs chose another planet on which a war is already being fought and chose sides randomly. The winning side of that planet's war determines who wins the Heliyon war.
However, Heliyon Prime determines that fanatics have been interfering in Earth's war by preying on the RAF to influence the outcome in their favour, an illegal action which constitutes a war crime. As the British and Poles overpower the Heliyon ship, the crew attempts a kamikaze attack to wipe out London. Just in time, Heliyon Prime intervenes, freezing the ship in place and then taking it away from Earth to justly punish the crew.
The Doctor and Liv stay in England a while longer. Before returning to their search for Helen, they take the time to say goodbye to Jan and Wilhelm. They find Jan who informs them the British were impressed by the Poles' performance against the Heliyon and have allowed them to engage the Germans in aerial combat. He also delivers the sad news that Wilhelm was shot down by the Germans and killed on the night of 28 August. After Jan departs, a shaken Liv laments how Wilhelm survived a frantic engagement with aggressive aliens, only to be killed the next day by another human.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Liv Chenka - Nicola Walker
- Winston Churchill - Ian McNeice
- Wilhelm Rozycki - Laurence Dobiesz
- Jan Ostowicz - Gyuri Sarossy
- Secretary / Ground Control - Tracy Wiles
- The Heliyon - Beth Chalmers
- Pilot - James Joyce
References[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor assumes that his phone is being called by Ringo Starr.
- In 1939, Germany invaded Poland and defeated the Polish Air Force with the Luftwaffe, after which World War II was declared. The Germans took France, Norway and "pretty much" the whole of Europe. The United Kingdom refused an armistice and the Royal Navy hold the English Channel, leading to the Battle of Britain between the Germans and the Royal Air Force.
- The Doctor equips the fighter planes with force fields.
- Wilhelm mentions his mother.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- This story was recorded at The Moat Studios.
- This is the first story since The Red Lady that doesn't feature Hattie Morahan as Helen Sinclair, though she would return later in World of Damnation.
- Although Ian McNeice was in the Eighth Doctor Audio Immortal Beloved, this is the first time he played Churchill (his most recurring role in Doctor Who) alongside this incarnation.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Liv mentions Molly O'Sullivan and the First World War. (AUDIO: The Great War)
- The Doctor sometimes feels like he should be Scottish. (TV: Time and the Rani, etc.)
- The Doctor notes how Liv has survived the Eminence, (AUDIO: Time's Horizon, Eye of Darkness) and Padrac and his cohorts. (AUDIO: Stop the Clock)
- The Doctor doesn't trust Churchill having access to the TARDIS. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)