another audio adventure for sylvester mccoy as the seventh doctor who, with companions ace played by sophie aldred and hex played by philip olivier. the former appeared on tv but the latter was a new character created especially for the audio series a few years back.
this release slightly alters the usual format because it's not one story in four twenty five minute part. it takes the formula used for an earlier fifth doctor story called circular time, and a sixth doctor story called 100, and has four one part stories instead. all of them, by way of celebrating the show being forty five years old this year, use the number forty five by way of inspiration and other things. this isn't quite as arbitrary as it may seem.
the first disc begins with a trailer for the next release in the regular audio range, a sixth doctor story called the raincloud man.
then comes the first story on this release, false gods. this is set in egypt in the early twentieth century, and has the tardis crew meeting howard carter, years before his most famous excavation. the one he's doing here leads the tardis crew and the rest of carter's expedition into a problem involving monsters and time travel.
there's a surprise development in the middle that may seem at first like a deus ex machina, but it turns out to be anything of the sort, and the central crux of the story. this leads to a good character based climax. it's well written and well acted, especially by the actor who plays carter who makes him a very strong character.
the second story, also on disc one, is called order of simplicity, and is best described as a mad scientist story. the tardis crew are drawn to an old house where a rather mad professor and his housekeeper dwell. there are strange machines in the basement - wonderful sound design gives them a noise like crackling electricity, like machines in old horror movies - and actor jon glover playing the mad scientist does make him a very three dimensional character who's anything but a characature. one stumbling block with this one is that whilst the plot is clever, it's really rather complicated containing some detailed and rather clever science, and you need to really have your wits about you at all times to follow it. it will probably benefit from future listenings, though.
the disc concludes with roughly fifteen minutes of interviews with the writers and cast from the first two stories.
onto disc two, and it starts with casualties of war, the third story. this is set on VE day in 1945 and has the tardis crew on the track of an alien device that has fallen into the hands of a petty crook. in addition to finding him, they also run into doctor who continuity, both in the shape of something from the original tv series and earlier audios. both of these things shouldnt prevent people who don't know the continuity from enjoying and understanding the story, though.
this is another well drawn character piece, and the characters and setting are very convincing. it also seems to push one story arc that has been in the background of the seventh doctor audios a little further on. one minor complaint with this one is that it has a grown up actress playing a very young child, and despite her best efforts in the role the age difference was a bit too obvious.
and next on this disc is another story called the word lord. the writer of this one set out to create a foe who could frighten the doctor, and he succeeds, with a rather amoral character who starts off acting not unlike the tenth doctor. but turns out to be a rather different individual. the tardis is in a military base in the future and a murder that has just been committed there leads to the tardis crew coming face to face with this monster. the creature is quite an original creation and well acted, and the effect it has on the doctor is well portrayed. things work out very satisfyingly in the end, though, with once again something that could be a deus ex machina proving not to be the case. it also manages to tie all four stories on this release together in a clever way.
make sure you don't turn the cd off once this episode ends, as something else on the final track needs to be heard.
and the final disc concludes with roughly eighteen minutes worth of further interviews with cast and writers and crew.
not the most exceptional release in this range, but a good and solid and entertaining one, and well worth a listen