During their tenure on TV there the sixth Doctor and Mel were not many fans favourite pairing, due often to lacklustre scripting and that jacket, but not so much due to the actors themselves, it’s one of the reasons why Big Finish have been able to successfully rehabilitate these characters, and make them some of my favourites. I will try to avoid Spoilers but if you haven’t heard any of these there may be some in referencing the ongoing plot.

Purity Unleashed is part of the new adventures featuring Mel and Colin Baker’s often spiky Doctor, and it finds them with a new friend,  Marine biologist Hebe Harrison played by the always good Ruth Madeley, soon to be seen in the TV series as well.   *SPOILERS* In the previous boxset Hebe had been wiped from the timeline and this boxset sees Mel and the Doctor trying to get her back by finding out where the timelines changed. The boxset is in 3 stories, so I’ll talk a little about each.

Broadway Belongs to Me! by Matthew Sweet

The Doctor and Mel begin their search for Hebe in 1930s New York, where history is taking a dark turn all of its own. On Broadway, they discover a genuine aberration of the timestreams: Behold America! – a hot shoe show set in a future Fascist United States. The theme of these sets seem to be how fascism and scary ideologies can sneak into every day life almost, how normal people, trying to do good can end up supporting horrible ideologies, something epitomised by Imogen Stubbs’ Patricia McBride character.  This story is a fun and silly diversion from the sometimes heavy themes in the rest of it and gives Bonnie Langford a chance to go back to her stage roots, I don’t want to give to much away about who’s behind it but it shows the Doctor does not view all his enemies as equal in stature… It’s lovely to see Matthew Sweet taking a break from his attempts to call out people with real fascistic tendencies to write this piece! It’s a funny story and showcases the considerable strengths of both leads.

Purification by Chris Chapman

The Doctor and Mel follow the trail to a port in New Zealand, 1910. A ship is being prepared for a journey to Antarctica and the Doctor realises that this is Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. But this is merely the beginning of an intricate scheme to rewrite the future of humanity. This is a fun time romp with different time zones, and a lesson on the butterfly effect, with one person manipulating the time line in what seems like small ways in order to create a new future. Again, despite the dark overtones this is a fun story, and the team of the Doctor and Mel stand out, it’s good to see them back together. It’s always good to see the historically based stories come through, even the ones which are set in slightly adapted time lines. We don’t find out whether the plans that were put in place lead to an adapted future as some changing of the web of time definitely takes place.

 Time-Burst by Ian Potter

The final one in this set, Tracking the anomaly that erased Hebe from history, the Doctor and Mel find an instability in Sheffield, 1864. Who is Mrs Virtue, the mysterious owner of the new steelworks? And can the Doctor untwist history before a natural disaster washes them all away…? A strong ending to a good set, at one point he Doctor mentions Sheffield being complicated time wise because it’s where he took Evelyn from, and it’s always lovely to get an Evelyn Smythe mention. This episode again deals with the changing of history in order to change the future, both this and the previous one deal with real life historical events so creating the fixed point in time needed to notice the change. Again a fun romp, and again despite the dark overtones of the set it feels quite light. It finishes with a surprise cliffhanger and you’re left to wonder if the changing if the timeline in the last 2 stories did more than was suspected…


I really liked this set, I am really enjoying seeing Mel and Sixie back together, although Hebe isn’t really in this, they make an interesting team and the idea of showing how someone with disabilities traverses life in the Tardis is an interesting and thoughtful one. The standouts are Bonnie and Colin, who have created a real warmth in their characters, something often missing from the TV version, I can’t wait to see where this goes next. I liked all of these stories, with my favourite possibly being Matthew Sweet’s just because it was so funny (though they all had a great sense of humour – something this team excels at)and I loved the not all enemies are equal motif…  I would certainly recommend this set.

This title was released in May 2023. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until 30 June 2023, and on general sale after this date.

Author Rating

  • overall
  • writing style
  • plot/information
  • enjoyment
Pros & Cons
  • Loved Sixie & Mel
  • Very funny at times
  • You probably need to have heard the other boxsets to get the most out of this one

User Reviews


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