Reviews

The Third Doctor Adventures – volume 1

At last, the Third Doctor is getting a Big Finish series all his own. Not a Companion Chronicle – although those are very, very good of course – but a full-fledged, all-cast action drama audio just like Doctors Five to Seven (and more recently Eight and Four) have had for years.

Nearly.

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The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 1 is a two-story boxset, with the usual behind-the-scenes volume bringing up the rear. Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Richard Franklin as Capt Mike Yates are companions across both stories to the Third Doctor, ably played by Tim Treloar in the sad absence of Jon Pertwee.

First story is Justin Richards’s Prisoners of the Lake: a sunken village at the bottom of a lake hides an ancient, hidden menace that threatens the entire world. Second is Andy Lane’s The Havoc of Empires in which a political marriage between the CEO of a human commercial empire and the leader of an alien hegemony threatens to descend into diplomatic chaos and possibly galactic war. (more…)

Ol’ Sixie: The Last Adventure

Colin Baker famously refused his regeneration scene with the incoming Sylvester McCoy on TV, leaving it to the latter, an exercise bike and a somewhat underinspiring wig. And that, it was thought, was that.

But no! For Big Finish have produced a wondrous thing: a boxset that gives Ol’ Sixie the regeneration he deserves, without breaking the all-important exercise bike canon. (Completists will be disappointed to learn that the wig goes unmentioned.)

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The Last Adventure is a series of four interconnected adventures spread across the Sixth Doctor’s life, each with a different companion, and each facing off – to a lesser or greater degree – with Sixie’s ultimate nemesis, himself (in the shape of the Valeyard). (more…)

Series 9, Episode 1 – The Magician’s Apprentice

Doctor Who is a huge monster.
Doctor out for a stroll
It’s a behemoth of a beast with layers and layers of extraordinary continuity and history. It is an antique and a shiny new gadget all at once. The Magician’s Apprentice (BBC1 19th September at 7.45pm) manages to be all these things in the first fifteen  minutes. A planet hopping, continuity fest, Easter egg filled whirlwind that goes from this planet to that station to this planet, all of which we’ve visited before and all of which we’ll recall with a thrill of fanboy squee. You’ll recognise the style from such episodes as The Wedding of River Song with the planet hopping info dump/mystery building scenario as someone trails the Galaxy looking for the Doctor.

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Film4 Frightfest 2015

August Bank Holiday weekend, and putting excitement for Series 9 on the back burner for a few days, it was time for the annual visit to the Dark Heart of Cinema that is Film4 Frightfest 2015.

Pass and programme, always needed!

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The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Return to Telos

It’s destination Telos for the TARDIS crew, but the Doctor and Leela are by themselves as K9 has upgraded to new masters!

What surprises are in store in the icy Tombs of the Cybermen? Can the Doctor escape from a Cyber-Controller and Planner who can strike across space and time? This isn’t a  pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship, this is the Cybermen at their most devious. Can the fate of Krelos be reversed or are it’s people doomed to be the first recruits of a powerful Cyber army?

Return to Telos

When danger calls the Doctor needs a powerful warrior companion to help save the day but perhaps this time it’s not Leela who will fill the brief…

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Big Finish: The Omega Factor

Long story short, The Omega Factor is an awesome piece of work.

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For those who don’t know, The Omega Factor was a 1970s supernatural horror series that went out on BBC1 and starred, amongst others, one Louise Jameson. It was scheduled badly, and was on the receiving end of the wrath or Mary Whitehouse, and thus survived only a single season. However it was different to anything else at the time and pretty much since, and genuinely (in my humble opinion) had legs far stronger than the run it received .

Ms Jameson returns to the role of Dr Anne Reynolds. And she slips back into the role beautifully, just as she has the role of Doctor Who’s Leela – although this is far different, not least in the fact that unlike Leela the character Reynolds has been allowed to age with the actor. Hearing Jameson play a strong woman of her own age (differently strong to the journalist Jackie Burchill she plays in BF’s Survivors, at least) is a wonderful thing, with believable nuances of pathos and cynicism, anger and empathy, repeatedly jumping out in ways lesser actors would struggle to provide.

Jameson’s performance is complemented rather well by John Dorney’s Adam Dean, son of the original series’s Tom Crane and inheritor of the latter’s psychic ability. Again, a fine and believable performance that nicely illuminates the horror of the piece. (more…)

Doctor Who Main Range – We are the Daleks ( or We are the DAAARRRRLEKS as Matt Smith would say it)

In the 80s greed is good, and bankers and brokers are the masters of the universe.  But supreme among them is the mysterious media mogul Alex Zenos, head of the powerful Zenos Corporation.  He is a man who with a lot to offer and he’s offering it to Britain, just when it needs an economic miracle to offset the strikes and riots.  He has powerful backers who wish to invest and with the terms they are offering, who can refuse? So while the Doctor is distracted investigating a suspiciously advanced computer game called Warfleet, Mel is left to go undercover to find out just who Zenos’s partners are.

 

We are the Daleks

For the Daleks, power is good.  The power of the free market will let them take over the earth, and the only shot fired will be inside a game.

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The Fourth Doctor Adventures – The Fate of Krelos

There are dark skies on Krelos and something gigantic is descending.  Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela have set off for some relaxing fishing in the planet’s peaceful mountain pools .  But their fishing is interrupted by an explorer in distress – an explorer who is not quite as he seems.  Far below, left interfacing with the TARDIS, K9 has made a troubling discovery.  Will he be able to warn the Doctor of the Fate of Krelos?

The Fate of Krelos

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Big Finish, 4th Doctor Adventures 4.06 – The Cloisters of Terror

Legend has it that St Matilda’s college in Oxford is haunted. Three ghostly nuns wander the halls of the ancient institution, formerly a convent, and anyone who sees them will not be long for this world.
The Cloisters of Terror
When a student disappears, the new Dean, one Dame Emily Shaw, wants to call the police in. But it’s not just her staff who would rather she didn’t, as her call is answered by the Doctor and Leela.  Are the ghosts real or is there a millennia-old secret that’s even more terrifying hidden behind St Matlida’s walls and cloisters?

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Jago and Litefoot: Series 9

Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot are back – and for their ninth series no less. With four stories loosely hung on the central conceit of a cruise aboard the Fata Morgana, a mysterious and somewhat ill-fated ocean liner, series nine lacks nothing of the style of its earlier stablemates.

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In Jonathan Morris’s The Flying Frenchmen, our heroes embark on their cruise only to find themselves engulfed by and becalmed in a multi-dimensional fog. The intrigue is heightened by well-fleshed ‘guest’ characters, and the only downside is the plethora of suspicious foreign accents that show up towards the latter half. (more…)

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