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Postman Pat: The Movie [DVD]
Postman Pat: The Movie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Mangan
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Mangan as Postman Pat, David Tennant, Robots of Death and a Dalek!, 7 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Postman Pat: The Movie [DVD] (DVD)
07/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

(sing-song) "Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat!"

I enjoyed `Postman Pat: The Movie'! Yes I know, I sound like a big kid! But I really immensely enjoyed watching this film in the cinema back in May this year and I haven't seen Postman Pat in years. It was a nice diversion and is a film for both kids and grown-ups. I happened to watch this film on a whim with my parents and enjoyed the story with the stellar guest cast including Stephen Mangan and David Tennant who I was delighted were in the film. It brought the 'Doctor Who' fan in me out as well from watching film and that's not just David Tennant.

I remember watching `Postman Pat' when I was a kid during the 90s.I have fond memories and enjoyed watching the stop-motion animation `Postman Pat'se series set in Greendale and the characters including Mrs Goggins, Reverend Timms, Ted and Alf. I also love Postman Pat's red van which I had as a toy when I was a kid playing it in the house.

`Postman Pat' is still going on but nowadays it's a computer-animated series compared to the stop-motion animated series it was, which made me feel how much things have changed during that time. This is reflected in the `Postman Pat' movie I'm reviewing. I was amazed Postman Pat was getting his own movie and wondered how it would work for today's audience.

`Postman Pat: The Movie' is a story about Pat living his happy married life with Sara and his son Julian, delivering mail to the village folk of Greendale. But things are changing at the sorting mail office especially when Mr Carbunkle takes over with new technology. When a famous talent show comes to visit Greendale, Pat enters the competition to win a holiday to Italy for his wife. Impressing the judges with his amazingly good singing voice, Pat is swept into the celebrity culture. Can Pat overcome the temptations of being a celebrity whilst also having to deal with a number of Pat robots taking over the posting office?

When I saw this film in the cinemas on a whim, I was pleased that it had this nostalgic kick in it as well as a modern contemporary atmosphere reflecting today's society. I also had some sci-fi elements in it which I did not expect and brought the `Doctor Who' fan out of me especially when David Tennant's around. This film has a balance of a good story as well as some really good moments of humour for a kid's audience and works for well for grown-ups. I like how this film brings in the celebrity culture element for Postman Pat and has the singing competition show `You're The One' that echoes the contemporary `X-Factor' show that's currently shown on ITV and also `Britain's Got Talent' on BBC1. I also like how the atmosphere of the Royal Mail sorting office is affected by technology reflecting on how British society is at the moment.

I really like the voice cast as it's a stellar cast with well-known names of actors appearing in the movie.

There's Stephen Mangan doing the voice of Postman Pat. I've seen Stephen playing Dirk Gently in the BBC4 TV series of `Dirk Gently' before this movie, and was delighted and amazed to hear him voicing Pat. I really like Stephen's performance as Pat, delivering many layers to the character and making him sound exactly as I remember him sound from the TV series. I like the northern-ness element brought into voice of Pat by Stephen and he balances the normality of a postman as well as the excitement of being a celebrity into the character very well in this movie. I also like Pat's loving relationship with his wife Sara as it added an emotional and mature element into Postman Pat's character which I've never seen before and was delighted to find in this film.

I really like Jess the cat in this movie. I don't remember Jess being so active as she was in the original TV series, but she's so funny and cute every time I see her in her scenes. Jess is Pat's little helper and friend and brings out the comic relief in any scene with Pat very well as well as being loyal to Pat and rescuing him from danger when being chased by robots. Both Pat and Jess are inseparable when they have scenes together. I found it funny when Jess gave Wilf (David Tennant's character) allergies whenever she's around him.

I was delighted to see Postman Pat driving his `PAT 1'red van in this movie which I remember very well from the TV series. Even with the Pat robots driving the red van, I was pleased to be seeing it in the film. I was also delighted to hear the original `Postman Pat' song from the TV series at some point during the movie.

It was really nice to see the Postman Pat characters from the TV series appearing in the film, even if the voices sound different to how I remember them long ago. There's Sara, Pat's wife (voiced by Susan Duerden) as well his son Julian (voiced by Sandra Teles). There's Ted (Dan Hildebrand); Alf (Darren Richardson); PC Selby and Reverend Timms (both voiced by Enn Reitel).

The biggest star for me in this Postman Pat movie is of course David Tennant doing the voice of Wilf. David for me is well-known for playing the Tenth Doctor in `Doctor Who' and one of my favourite Doctors. I was thrilled to hear him doing a voice for a character in a `Postman Pat' and couldn't miss out on hearing him in this. The character he plays is Wilf, a singing manager for Josh (another contestant for `You're the One' show) who's obsessed with seeing Josh win the competition and to stop Pat. I like David's performance as Wilf and he gets to bring out the Scottishness of the character in his voice. Wilf even looks like David Tennant when seeing im in the movie. I found it funny when Wilf is annoyed that Postman Pat has his own video game on Josh's Gameboy and when he's trying to stop Pat's delivery service but it is the Patbot driving and he outwits Wilf's attempts on stopping him. It was great to hear David doing a voice in this movie and made it more enjoyable.

There's also Jim Broadbent voicing Mr Brown, the CEO of SDS Post Service. Jim is well-known veteran actor of many parts, and I remember him for playing Professor Kirke in the movie version of `The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. There's also Rupert Grint voicing Josh, Postman Pat's rival in the song competition. Rupert is well known for playing Ron Weasley in the `Harry Potter' films.

In the film, Ronan Keating does the singing voice of Postman Pat in the movie and makes Pat sound amazing when he's singing. So it's not Stephen Mangan singing for Postman Pat I'm afraid. Ronan also plays himself when auditioning for `You're The One' in front of Simon Cowbell and gets rejected immediately. As I said before, there's Simon Cowbell (an obvious interpretation of Simon Cowell from the X-Factor amusingly), voiced by Robin Atkin Downes who voices Simon remarkably well.

The film's villain is Mr Edwin Carbunkle (played by Peter Woodward). Carbunkle is the new executive at SDS Post Service who introduces new technology. He has no feelings or compassionate nature for any workers at the postal sorting office and wants to get rid of them and replace the workers with machines and robots. Carbunkle hopes to get a promotion and be the new CEO to replace Mr Brown. He creates a robot of Postman Pat called the Patbot 3000 who does the postal work for Pat at Greendale whilst he's off doing a celebrity tour. Carbunkle does seem two-dimensional with his objective to replace humans with machines, but it's performed remarkably well by Peter Woodward who adds so many layers to the villainous part and you can't help but think of managers like that in today's society.

I found the `Postman Pat' movie going into the realms of sci-fi fantasy as `the robots of death' came along. Of course I'm talking about the Patbots that Carbunkle creates to take over SDS. I like the Patbots who introduce this emotionless and unfeeling aspect and are programmed for `efficiency'. Some of the lines the Patbots say are delievered really well by Stephen Mangan who contrasts the robots with the `real' Postman Pat. These Patbots remind me of the Cybermen from `Doctor Who'. I don't know why that is but it just does and it made it pretty exciting to watch in the movie. The way that Patbot smiles to make him look friendly is really creepy and he also drives crazily on his rounds and is being very rude to people when delivering mail.

There's also the Jessbot to replace Jess the cat, who I thought looked pretty freaky and scary. Even for a kid's movie, I wouldn't want to get in the Jessbot's way. The Jessbot can fire laser bolts from its eyes when firing on Pat and Jess as they run away on the rooftops at night.

A Dalek appears in this movie! A Dalek! I had not expected that, and I was laughing myself silly. During the test demonstration of robot postman by Carbunkle to CEO Brown, Carbunkle's movie gets attacked by a robot that looks like a Dalek which I found really amusing. Now you know the makers of this `Postman Pat' movie are `Doctor Who' fans, ha, ha.

The special features are limited on this DVD, as I'm sure there's more extras to be gained on the Blu-ray version. On the DVD however, there's a short `Making-of' feature which I enjoyed containing interviews with Stephen Mangan, David Tennant, Rupert Grint, Ronan Keating and director Mike Disa which I liked and it gives a little taste of what the movie's like from behind-the-scenes. There's also a photo gallery to enjoy on the DVD containing images from the movie.

I really enjoyed `Postman Pat: The Movie' in the cinemas. It was a nice diversion and it was great to hear the voices of Stephen Mangan and David Tennant as well as seeing a Dalek and scary-looking Postman Pat robots attacking. It sounds silly and ridiculous, but in a good mood as I was in I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has a nice flavour of humour with the use of the `You're The One' talent show in it. This movie brings back nostalgic memories of `Postman Pat' when I was young as well as a sense of a modern up-to-date atmosphere which I've come to today. I'm sure you'll love this film. Even if you're not a `Postman Pat' fan, it's good entertainment.

Like `Postman Pat', the film delivers the goods!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 12, 2014 10:07 PM GMT


Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Price: £16.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turlough arrives, Nyssa leaves and the race for Enlightenment begins!, 6 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
06/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

This is one of my favourite trilogies from the Peter Davison era of `Doctor Who'!

I have fond memories watching this trilogy for the first time in the summer of 2009. It contains three exciting stories from the Fifth Doctor's second season and is the first three to feature Mark Strickson as new companion Turlough. It also features the main villain of the trilogy - the Black Guardian (played by Valentine Dyall)). `The Black Guardian Trilogy' has for me the happiest and saddest of times in `Doctor Who', especially as the second story includes the departure of Nyssa - my all-time favourite and much loved companion in `Doctor Who' - played by lovely Sarah Sutton!

I've recently seen Sarah at a convention in Brighton and have had all DVD covers of the three stories in the trilogy signed by her (the third I'll talk about later).

`MAWDRYN UNDEAD'

I enjoyed this first story in the trilogy very much. It's the first to feature Turlough and it's also the first to feature the return of the Black Guardian. It also features the return of an old favourite from the series - Nicholas Courtney reprising his role as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

The Doctor is traveling in the TARDIS with his companions Nyssa and Tegan. They find themselves on an abandoned space ship going in a loop on an endless voyage. They discover a mystery connected to Earth in two time zones - 1977 and 1983 and meet up with Turlough an alien schoolboy from the planet Earth who's working as an agent for the Black Guardian. Separated from Nyssa and Tegan, the Doctor has to find a way to get his TARDIS back. He meets up with an old friend, the Brigadier, who is now a teacher at Turlough's school. Will the Doctor be able to survive the menace of Mawdryn?

`Mawdryn Undead' is a four-part story written by Peter Grimwade, who directed many `Doctor Who' stories including 'Earthshock'. Grimwade previously wrote 'Time-Flight' but felt he had done a bad job on it. Script Editor Eric Saward gave Grimwade another chance and he came up with `Mawdryn Undead' inspired by the Flying Dutchman legend. This story predates the fiddly timey-wimey stories by current show-runner Steven Moffat and is well directed by Peter Moffatt and has inspired me to write my own timey-wimey stories of `Doctor Who'.

This story features the return of the Brigadier. Nick Courtney returns to `Doctor Who' like he's never been away. He doesn't remember the Doctor when he meets him in 1983 and with prompting from the Doctor, an exciting flashback sequence with the Brigadier remembering occurs. I really like how Nick Courtney plays the Brigadier in this as he gets to play two versions of the character - from 1977 and 1983. I watched this story to commemorate the memory of Nick Courtney when he sadly passed away in 2011. This story features one of his best performances in the series.

Mark Strickson appears as Turlough for the first time in the series. I've had the pleasure of meeting Mark at a convention recently in Weston-super-Mare. Turlough is an alien public schoolboy who works for the Black Guardian as an assassin to kill the Doctor. Turlough is pretty devious, selfish and manipulative when introduced. He works for the Black Guardian so that he can get home. But he can't bring himself to kill the Doctor and is easily scared. He uses a crystal to communicate with the Black Guardian and can't seem to get rid of him. Tegan doesn't trust Turlough when she meets him.

The Black Guardian returns (played by Valentine Dyall)! He previously appeared in the `Doctor Who' story `The Armageddon Factor' at the end of 'The Key to Time' series. The Black Guardian seeks revenge on the Doctor and employs Turlough to kill him. Valentine Dyall delivers a menacing, booming performance as the Black Guardian. His voice is so deep and rich and you really feel the power from him. I like his interaction with Turlough both on screen and off. The Black Guardian wears dark clothes and has a dead black crow on his head when appearing in the trilogy.

Mawdryn is played by David Collings. David has appeared twice before in `Doctor Who' and has played Legolas in the radio version of `The Lord of the Rings'. Mawdryn is a pretty tragic character, who is trapped aboard the spaceship with other aliens. He and his brothers tried to become Time Lords, and the result is they can never die. Mawdryn dupes his way to convince Nyssa, Tegan and the 1977 Brigadier that he is the Doctor. Mawdryn and his brothers want to die and plan to steal the Doctor's eight remaining regenerations to do that.

Peter Davison is brilliant in this! I really like how Peter's innocence as the Doctor. I like those scenes where the Doctor is with Nyssa and Tegan exploring the spaceship. He seems to accept Turlough quickly and is delighted when reuniting with his old friend - the Brigadier. I like Peter's Doctor and the Brigadier working together in this. I like how the Doctor works thing out with the connection between 1977 and 1983. Peter's Doctor is about to make a noble sacrifice to save Nyssa and Tegan.

Sarah Sutton is a joy to watch as Nyssa. She seems side-lined I'm afraid but I love her screen time in this story. I love Nyssa's costume in this story as it's a blue-grey jacket and skirt. She looks so lovely and glamorous in her new costume. I like her scenes where she's waiting around in the TARDIS looking after Mawdryn and waiting for Tegan. Nyssa gets to show her caring side in this story, especially when showing sympathy for Mawdryn. I love Sarah's performance as Nyssa in this story.

Something really horrible happens to Nyssa and Tegan. When the Doctor tries to escape in the TARDIS with the girls and the Brigadier, Nyssa and Tegan are infected and start to deform and decay like corpses, which is pretty horrible to watch and really scared me. Nyssa and Tegan also age younger and become children when the Doctor tries to escape again. The children versions of Nyssa and Tegan are really unconvincing as they don't look like Sarah or Janet Fielding as children at all.

The story ends with Mawdryn and his people dead and their ship blows up, and the Brigadier is restored to normal both in 1977 and 1983 and the timelines restored. The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan return to find Turlough at the console in the TARDIS. Turlough asks the Doctor if he can join them. "I think you already have," says the Doctor. Nyssa and Tegan don't seem happy about Turlough being on board with them in the TARDIS, whilst the Doctor readily welcomes him.

`Mawdryn Undead' is a great story to kick off the trilogy. It's a great introduction to Turlough and features a superb return for the Brigadier and the Black Guardian. It's cleverly written by Peter Grimwade and well directed by Peter Moffatt. I enjoyed the timey-wimeyness of it as well as the school setting and the luxury of Mawdryn's spaceship. I was looking forward to seeing the next story of the trilogy, knowing it would be the sad departure of my favourite `Doctor Who' companion...

The special features on this DVD for `Mawdryn Undead' are as follows.

There are `audio options' including an enjoyable, entertaining commentary with Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, Nicholas Courtney and script editor Eric Saward. There's also an isolated music only option by Paddy Kingsland as well as `info-text' commentary option to enjoy featuring some lovely comments by Sarah Sutton about `Mawdryn Undead' from her interview in 'Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 110'.

There's a making-of documentary on `Mawdryn Undead' called `Who Wants To Live Forever?', featuring interviews Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, Nicholas Courtney, David Collings; director Peter Moffatt; script editor Eric Saward; etc and is narrated by Floella Benjamin (from `The Sarah Jane Adventures').

There's a lovely special short drama called `Liberty Hall' that stars Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier with Simon Ockenden as journalist Phillip Clarke talking about his time at Brendon School. There's an impressive `CGI effects' option to watch as you watch `Mawdryn Undead' completely afresh with brand new CGI effects replacing the original video effects of the story.

There are some `deleted and extended scenes'; `film trims' and `out-takes' from the story's location filming. There are PDFs file including the `Radio Times Listings' of the story and some `CGI storyboards and Studio Floor Plans' which can be accessed via a PC or laptop. There are `continuity' announcements'; a `photo gallery' and `set photo gallery' from the story. There are two Easter Eggs found on the DVD special features menu to find and enjoy too.

`TERMINUS'

Here's my first review of `Terminus' published in the `Galaxy Forum' of `Doctor Who Magazine, Issue 413', September 2009.

"I've just watched `Terminus', part of `The Black Guardian Trilogy' DVD, and the thing that stood out for me in that story was Nyssa. She's my favourite `Doctor Who' companion. I felt heartbroken when she made the decision to stay on `Terminus'.
I love Nyssa! I've listened to the Big Finish dramas starring Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison, and Nyssa for me has become a well-developed character. Her gentleness and compassionate nature is what, for me, makes a `Doctor Who' companion."
TIM BRADLEY, CARDIFF

I was delighted to find my letter in DWM. My name was print as well as my appreciation for Nyssa. I was in tears from watching `Terminus'. I didn't want Nyssa to go. It made me realise Nyssa was my favourite `Who' companion and made me want to write a letter to her and see Sarah at conventions. When I asked Sarah to sign the DVD cover of `Terminus' for me in Brighton, I showed my DWM letter to her. She read it and thanked me saying it was really sweet of me. I've seen Sarah at lots of conventions over the years and have become her biggest fan.

`Terminus' is the second of the trilogy and a four-part adventure by Steve Gallagher. Steve wrote `Warriors' Gate' before this and here he delivers an intriguing sci-fi tale and one that I could follow about a bleak society in the future and depicting the heart-breaking departure of Nyssa.

The story continues with Turlough working for the Black Guardian and trying to kill the Doctor. He sabotages the TARDIS and puts Nyssa into danger when working in her bedroom. Nyssa escapes through a door and finds herself on a spaceship. She's soon joined by the Doctor as the spaceship gets boarded by space pirates. They are on their way to Terminus where all the Lazars come to die!

The futuristic setting is pretty bleak and depressing. Terminus is supposed to be a hospital to cure those with Lazar's disease. But the Lazars are stored and left to rot. It's a pretty run-down place and the company that owns Terminus is only interested in money. The concept of Lazar's disease is pretty frightening as it's a form of leprosy, which was pretty contagious during Biblical times. The idea of a futuristic society still heavily infected with the leprosy disease is chilling to contemplate.

It turns out that Terminus is at the centre of the universe and caused the Big Bang to happen. Whether you believe this or not is up to you (I personally don't). In the story, the threat is that Terminus could destroy the universe with another `big bang', and the Doctor and Kari have to stop a great big lever from destroying the universe.

This story suffered a troubled production as it was heavily affected by industrial action. It was a stressful time for director Mary Ridge who made this her first and only contribution to the series. Delays and production problems occurred that caused stress for everyone, and it didn't make things easier for Sarah Sutton's departure story as Nyssa which is a real shame.

The guardians of Terminus are the Vanir, who are a group of humanoids running the space station. They wear skeletal armour that protects them from radiation. The Vanir depend on a drug called hydromel which is meant to keep them alive. Some of the Vanir are very unsympathetic including their leader Eirak (played by Martin Potter). The rest of the Vanir include Valgard (Andrew Burt); Sigurd (Tim Munro) and Bor (Peter Benson from `Heartbeat').

There is a hulking dog-like beast on Terminus called the Garm (played by R.J. Bell). The Garm looks pretty impractical with its oversized dog head, but I found it frightening to look at. The Garm is meant to save the Lazars from their leprosy and is summoned by the Vanir through a signal box to do their bidding. The Doctor and Kari enlist the Garm's help to save the universe as he has `the strength of a giant'. I found that scene exciting and intense with the Garm pulling that red lever.

The story guest stars Liza Goddard and Dominic Guard as space pirates Kari and Olvir. Both Kari and Olvir meet the Doctor and Nyssa when they board the spaceship. They split up as Kari joins the Doctor and Olvir joins Nyssa. Kari helps the Doctor to save the universe, whilst Olvir rescues Nyssa captured by the Vanir and to be sacrificed for the Garm

Sarah's lovely as Nyssa in this. It's a shame this happens to be Nyssa's last story. It wasn't Sarah's decision to leave as it was made for her, and the problems making this story didn't help. I have sympathy for Sarah. I really love her performance in this and enjoyed the scenes she shared with Peter's Doctor. I felt for Nyssa when she was with Lazar's disease and being chained up to be sacrificed for the Garm. I wanted to be Olvir and rescue Nyssa when she calls for help.

I won't say much about Nyssa taking her skirt off. All I will say is I found her really sexy in this story.

Nyssa's farewell scene was heart-breaking to watch. She decides to stay on Terminus to help the people with Lazar's disease and to use her to make it a better hospital. Tegan begs Nyssa not to go and the Doctor is clearly saddened. But Nyssa is `adamant' in her decision and shares a tearful farewell with Tegan and the Doctor. I really was in tears when I saw this first time. Nyssa has had this life in Big Finish audios that have greatly developed her character, which I'm very happy about.

`Terminus' is a deeply gut-wrenching and heart-breaking story for me to feature Nyssa's exit from the series. I was so sad to see how Nyssa left and as the Doctor says, she's `a very brave person'. I didn't want Nyssa to go and Sarah is a lovely actress and person. I will always be grateful to this story as it started for me to go to conventions and share my fondness of Nyssa with Sarah. It was so heart-breaking watching this story, as the trilogy was coming to an end...

The special features on this DVD for `Terminus' are as follows.

There are `audio options' including an enjoyable commentary with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Mark Strickson (Turlough) and writer Stephen Gallagher. There's also an isolated music only option composed by Roger Limb and an `info-text' commentary option to watch.

There's a making-of documentary on `Terminus' called `Breaking Point' and features interviews with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Mark Strickson, writer Stephen Gallagher, etc. The documentary is narrated by Flloella Benjamin.

There's a short featurette called `Origins of the Universe' which I found a little boring. There are some `original storyboards' and `unused model shots' from the story. There's a `CGI Effects' option to watch that replaces the original dodgy video effects with new ones.

There's a `Radio Times' listings PDF document of the story that can be accessed via a PC or laptop. There are some `continuity' announcements as well as a `photo gallery' to enjoy. There also some Easter Eggs to look out for the special features menu of the DVD.

Find out what happens to Nyssa in 'The Darkening Eye' that takes place after `Terminus'.

`ENLIGHTENMENT'

`Enlightenment' is the third and final story in `The Black Guardian Trilogy' and is considered to be the most imaginative and creative out of the three stories.

This is a 2-disc DVD edition with Disc 1 containing the standard four-part story and Disc 2 containing a special edition version of the story.

I must admit I found it hard watching `Enlightenment' as I was upset with Nyssa leaving in `Terminus'. I couldn't enjoy this one since she wasn't it and there wasn't even a reference to her. I wish Nyssa was in `Enlightenment' as I'm sure Sarah would enjoy doing this story with the nice period costume style of drama and would have looked lovely wearing a ball gown like Janet Fielding did as Tegan. This story came after Sarah left the series and it all seems unfair somehow.

But after watching `Enlightenment' a number of times, I really enjoyed this story by Barbara Clegg. The concepts and ideas are well conceived and realised and Barbara delivers a fascinating and invigorating story with sailing ships in space on a race for Enlightenment. The story is also well directed by Fiona Cumming who puts her heart and soul into making this adventure and it's beautifully made in terms of pace and drama.

`Enlightenment' is a story about the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough receiving a message from the White Guardian who tells them to stop something terrible from happening. The TARDIS team arrive on an Edwardian sailing ship that is in space along with more sailing ships from other time periods. They meet the Eternals who are in a race in space against each other for the prize of Enlightenment. Will Turlough kill the Doctor or endure agony from the menace of the Black Guardian?

I really like the intriguing concepts running through the story, especially with the Eternals who are a race of beings from the void. They play on the minds of humans and use them to exist in our reality. They kidnap the human crews of the various sailing ships that take part in the race. They are selfish and easily bored when playing on the minds of humans. The concept of Enlightenment is mind-boggling as the prize could mean anything and how easily corrupt one can be to obtain it.

I like some of the historical aspects of the story. Fiona Cumming has realised the familiar feel of the Edwardian and Jacobean ships really well. The party sequence (which feels Christmassy) has the floating incidental music in the background and seeing all those Eternals in various period costumes from human history is a real treat. Seeing the sailing ships racing through space is pretty exciting to watch and you wonder who's going to win Enlightenment.

Peter Davison's extremely good as the Doctor in this. His Edwardian manner and cricketing appearance blends in well aboard the Edwardian ship. I like the Doctor's relationship with the Eternals and how he challenges them with the likes of Captain Striker calling them parasites. I also like the Doctor's relationship with his companions as he shows concern for Tegan when troubled by the Eternals and observes Turlough on the choices he makes.

Janet Fielding as Tegan gets to have her own story as she's troubled by the Eternals reading her thoughts. She's anxious about first mate Marriner showing an interest in her and I like their relationship is played out as he keeps on reading her thoughts and she doesn't like it. The character development's really good and you wonder if Marriner's in love with Tegan. When Tegan puts the question to him, it turns out he doesn't know what `love' is and only wants Tegan in order to exist.

Mark Strickson as Turlough has come a long way since the trilogy began. He's got to know the Doctor more and can't bring himself to kill him. He's tormented by the Black Guardian and attempts to commit suicide by throwing himself overboard in order to be free from his agreement. There's a tense moment when Turlough's locked in a chamber with a vacuum shield and he cries out begging for the Doctor to save him, to which he eventually turns up to find him.

The individual Eternal characters are pretty interesting and well performed by the actors. There's Keith Baron who plays Captain Striker of the Edwardian ship and delivers a `strikingly eternal' performance. There's Christopher Brown who plays Marriner, the first mate aboard the Edwardian ship and finds Tegan very fascinating. There's Lynda Baron who plays Captain Wrack of the Jacobean pirate ship, the Buccaneer, who's pretty ruthless in the race for Enlightenment. And there's Leee John who plays Mansell, Wrack's first mate aboard the Buccaneer who's ruthless with a sword.

The story concludes with the White and Black Guardian appearing at the finishing line. The White Guardian is played again by Cyril Luckham (who appeared in `The Ribos Operation' of `The Key To Time' series). The White Guardian wears a dove on his head, compared to the Black Guardian who wears a crow. I like the confrontation between these two and seeing the two actors Cyril Luckham and Valentine Dyall opposite each other was spell-binding to watch.

I also liked it when the Doctor meets the two Guardians at the end and especially confronts the Black Guardian. The White Guardian soon sends the Eternall back to the void, before offering a share of Enlightenment to Turlough. Turlough makes a choice as to whether to choose Enlightenment over the Doctor. It's a defining moment for Turlough's character. Will Turlough accept Enlightenment and sacrifice Doctor or will he refuse it and end his contract with the Black Guardian?

`Enlightenment' is a great story to watch concluding `The Black Guardian Trilogy'. It's a great story for Turlough that concludes his eventful journey over twelve episodes with the Doctor and the Black Guardian. It's an imaginative tale with and creative ideas in terms of writing by Barbara Clegg and direction by Fiona Cumming. It definitely is the strongest story and ends the trilogy on a high. Just remember though, "Enlightenment is not the diamond, enlightenment is the choice'.

The special features on the 2-disc edition of the DVD for `Enlightenment' are as follows.

On Disc 1, as well as the standard four-part version of the story, there are some `audio options' including an enjoyable commentary with Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, writer Barbara Clegg and director Fiona Cumming. There's also an isolated music only option composed by Malcolm Clarke as well as an info-text commentary option to watch during the story.

There's a making-of documentary on `Enlightenment' called `Winner Takes All' and features interviews with Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, Janet Fielding, director Fiona Cumming, writer Barbara Clegg, etc. The documentary is narrated by Floella Benjamin. There's `Casting Off!', which is an additional feature looking into the cast of `Enlightenment' featuring interviews with Peter, Janet, Mark and director Fiona Cumming as well as Keith Barron, Christopher Brown and Leee John.

There's `Single Write Female' which features an interview with Barbara Clegg looking back on her writing career as well as her work on `Enlightenment'. There's `The Story of the Guardians' which looks into the White and Black Guardians in `Doctor Who' played by Cyril Luckham and Valentine Dyall and includes interviews with Robert Luckham (Cyril Luckham's son) and Sarah Leppard (Valentine Dyall's daughter), Shame they didn't mention the recent Big Finish stories with the Guardians including `The Key 2 Time' season.

There are `storyboards', a multi-angle feature narrated by visual effects supervisor Mike Kelt who explains how he did storyboarded the model shots for Enlightenment. On this disc there's a PDF document that includes the `Radio Times Listings' of the story that can be accessed via PC or laptop. There's also a photo gallery of the story, and two Easter Eggs to look for on the special features menu of the disc.

On Disc 2, there's a very special treat. There's a brand-new feature-length version of `Enlightenment' made especially for this DVD by director Fiona Cumming. It is a 75-minute version of the story and contains brand new CGI effects and a new Dolby Digital 5.1. surround sound option to enjoy. I enjoyed watching this new version of `Enlightenment' by Fiona Cumming. I was expecting it to be a longer version of the story with new additional scenes in it. It feels more like a new series episode or a Christmas special since it lasts for 75 minutes. But it's enjoyable all the same and I like how Fiona Cumming's reshaped the story with new CGI effects; incidental music and tightening it in terms of editing. There's a short introduction by Fiona Cumming at the start before the episode begins.

The rest of the special features include `Re-Enlightenment', which is a behind-the-scenes look into how Fiona Cumming discusses with her production team on making the special edition of `Enlightenment'. There's also an `original edit comparison' focusing on the opening of `Part Three' of `Enlightenment' as well as some `film trims' taken from the filming sequences of the story.

There are two very special interviews of two `Doctor Who' companions who look back over their acting careers that are called `Finding Mark Strickson' and `Finding Sarah Sutton'. I enjoyed Mark Strickson's interview very much and found him an interesting person especially since he's recently become a producer of wild life and nature films being made in his current home of New Zealand.

The highlight of this DVD for me is the `Finding Sarah Sutton' interview. I asked Sarah to sign the DVD cover of `Enlightenment' for me at Brighton recently. I know Sarah's not in `Enlightenment', but I wanted to sign the DVD cover because her interview was on it. To be honest, her interview shouldn't be on the `Enlightenment' DVD. It should really be on the `Terminus' one. Sarah however was very happy and signed the back of the `Enlightenment' DVD cover where the `Finding Sarah Sutton' interview was displayed. It's a lovely interview with Sarah who talks about her acting career from being in ballet school to `The Moon Stallion' and `Doctor Who'. I liked it when Sarah talks about the Big Finish audios at the end and they showed 'The Land of the Dead', 'Primeval' and 'Circular Time' (my favourite) during her interview. Adding to what Sarah said at the end of her interview, I'll always have fond memories of her being Nyssa in and being a lovely lady to meet at conventions.

There's also `Russell Harty's Christmas Party' that is except from the Christmas show which has Peter Davison and his then wife Sandra Dickinson performing a song and dance routine from a pantomime production of `Cinderella' that they did together. There are also `continuity' announcements from the story as some PDF materials including `The Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special' (which I got as a physical collector's item) and the `Doctor Who office Production Bible' which can be accessed via PC or a laptop.

There's an Easter Egg on this disc, which is a photo gallery showing the making of `The Black Guardian Trilogy' DVD Box Set. This contains behind-the-scenes photos of the making of `Liberty Hall' (from `Mawdryn Undead') and photos of the `Re-Enlightenment' documentary with Fiona Cumming (from Disc 2 of `Enlightenment'). There are also photos of the cast and crew being interviewed for the `making-of documentaries' of the three stories in the trilogy. There are some lovely shots of Sarah being interviewed for `The Black Guardian Trilogy' DVD which were a joy to see for me.

`The Black Guardian Trilogy' is definitely one of my favourite box set trilogies from `Doctor Who'. From the cleverness of `Mawdryn Undead'; to the heart-breaking departure of Nyssa in `Terminus' to the imaginativeness of `Enlightenment' (including the special edition), I hold fond memories of this trilogy. It prompted me to see Sarah Sutton at conventions and I've enjoyed going to them. I'm glad Sarah's signed all three of the DVD covers for me.

All three stories have a `Coming Soon' trailer for the next `Doctor Who' DVD - `The Twin Dilemma'.

The next story for the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough is 'Freakshow'.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2014 3:14 PM GMT


Lords of the Red Planet (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
Lords of the Red Planet (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
by Brian Hayles
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ice Warriors on Mars with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, 5 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
05/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

This is a true gem of a Lost Story from Big Finish!

We've had origin stories for many monsters in `Doctor Who', including the Daleks (`Genesis of the Daleks'); the Cybermen (`Spare Parts') and the Sontarans (`The First Sontarans'). But never have we had an origins story of the popular Martians in `Doctor Who' - the Ice Warriors. Until now that is.

This is a 6-part story spread across a 3-disc CD set, which is pretty exciting.

I've also had the CD sleeve notes of `Lord of the Red Planet' signed by lovely Wendy Padbury at the convention in Brighton I've recently been to.

`Lords of the Red Planet' is another of the Lost Stories in `Doctor Who' from Big Finish with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I knew about this story already from watching the DVD documentary of the special edition of `The Seeds of Death'. `Lords of the Red Planet' is a story originally developed by Brian Hayles, writer and creator of the Ice Warriors. It was meant to be a story in the slot for Season 6 of `Doctor Who' during the late 1960s. However, due to script and production issues, this story never saw the light of a day and was shelved in favour of another Brian Hayles Ice Warriors story which became 'The Seeds of Death'.

Years later in 2013, Big Finish went for producing this story by Brian Hayles into an audio drama of `Doctor Who'. It's pretty exciting and John Dorney was chosen to adapt Brian Hayles' original story into an audio drama. Surprisingly John worked from two drafts of the original story by Brian Hayles, utilising the second draft more with incorporating original elements of the first one into the final script. With a dose of watching `The Seeds of Death' and many Doctor, Jamie and Zoe stories over and over again, John delivers a really engaging and exciting Ice Warriors story that fans deserve on knowing where these Martians came from and what the origins story could have been like had it been made for telly.

The story of `Lords of the Red Planet' has the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arriving on the planet Mars. By this time, the Ice Warriors aren't rulers of the planet yet and the Doctor thinks they won't exist during this time. But the Doctor's wrong, as deep below underground the Ice Warriors are about to be born. An evil ruler and dictator called Zaadur is intent on wreaking havoc and using the new Ice Warriors to conquer the universe, starting off with conquering the planet Earth. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe have to stop Zaadur's plans and save Mars before it gets completely blown up.

The Ice Warriors made their first appearance in `Doctor Who' in the story 'The Ice Warriors' and have since then appeared in four more stories on TV including the recent Matt Smith story 'Cold War'. They've also appeared in numerous Big Finish audios, comics and novels in `Doctor Who' over the years and seem to have become a really popular recurring monster. I wouldn't say the Ice Warriors are my favourites as they lack something for me. But listening to this story and enjoying `The Seeds of Death', I somehow managed to find some enjoyment from watching/listening to these monsters/aliens. The Ice Warriors have distinct personalities and behaviours and certainly in this story, there are a number of Ice Warrior characters with interesting stories and don't necessarily have to be evil and have some admirable and honourable traits.

I enjoyed this story being set on Mars. If this were made for telly, it would have been the first TV story of `Doctor Who' to be set on the red planet before 'The Waters of Mars'. I'm curious and surprised John Dorney didn't add in the Flood or have a story explaining why the Ice Warriors froze the Flood in the glacier on Mars in the first place. But of course John is respecting Brian Hayles' original work and the story with the Flood and the Ice Warriors is set for another time. I like how this story depicts the original Martian society and introducing us to the Gandorans of Gandor and their city. The Gandorans are as reptilian as expected before they became cyborgs in the Ice Warriors. It emphasises how life on Mars was ancient and seemingly legendary before the planet seemed to die out of life as we know it today.

Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury are back again to narrate this marvelously encapsulating six-part story. Frazer plays both Jamie and the Doctor just as Wendy plays Zoe. Both Frazer and Wendy are engaging and easy to listen to when listening to this story and I always enjoy it when they describe the action of the story making it pacey and allowing me as the listener to connect to the characters. I enjoy listening to the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in a story with the Ice Warriors, and Frazer and Wendy are the ones who make that possible.

The Doctor is well-performed by Frazer who does a really good interpretation of Patrick Troughton and making him sound like he's in the story, as I'm sure I've said many times before. I like the moments when Patrick's Doctor gets to be very quirky, impish and funny as we know him to be. The moment when the Doctor goes through his pockets is one of my favourite moments. It's very funny when Jamie and Zoe are anxious and impatient waiting for him to fetch what he wants from his pockets. I like the Doctor's scenes with Quendril when both are sharing scientific knowledge and also his confrontation scenes with Zaadur when resisting to give her the information she wants about Earth and he's terrified when his companions are threatened. I like it when the Doctor tries to back an Ice Warrior off saying, "Nice Ice Warrior" or something like that.

Jamie is great to listen to and being pretty heroic as ever. Jamie is the one who realises they're on the Ice Warriors' planet and is doubtful of the Doctor's claims that they're not on Mars. I like it when Jamie's alone and eventually runs into Princess Veltreena's chambers and he seemingly likes her as she's a `lassie'. Jamie learns more about Veltreena and the culture on Mars and despite being out of his depth takes an interest. He shares mini-adventures with the Doctor and Zoe simultaneously when the group split up with each other. Jamie finds himself with the Doctor when under a ceiling after a bomb blows up destroying the city of Gandor, before they get help from Aslor and escape.

I enjoyed listening to Zoe in this adventure. I've recently enjoyed watching a Myth Makers interview with Wendy and it's pretty clear that the Ice Warriors are her favourite monsters. I like Zoe's scenes in this story, especially when she's horrified with Quendril's experiments on the Ice Lord called Aslor. Zoe stops the experiment on Aslor out of true compassion before panic and trouble is caused when Aslor breaks out. Zoe somehow manages to connect to Aslor before he kills her and manages to stop him from killing the Doctor in Episode 5. Zoe soon becomes Alsor's mistress and gets to do things for her including saving her, the Doctor and Jamie from danger. I like it when Zoe gets to express her compassionate side in this story and isn't so much the technical bright spark she usually is.

The guest cast in this story is more than one person and makes this story really exciting and engaging to listen to. It feels more like a full-cast audio drama rather than a division of narration and performance as is usually the case with Lost Stories and Companion Chronicles. We also have one of Patrick's sons and one of Wendy's daughters appearing in this story. How amazing is that?! Keeping it in the family hey?!

Michael Troughton appears in this story playing Quendril, a scientist on the planet Mars. Michael is one of four sons of Patrick Troughton - David Troughton (who appeared in the 'Doctor Who' TV series) is another. Michael has written an autobiography on his dad Patrick Troughton and is set to appear in the upcoming Christmas Special with Peter Capaldi's Doctor in 2014. I was really nice to hear Michael in this story and sometimes he sounds like his dad when speaking, and I have a problem when there are scenes between the Doctor and Qundril (played by Frazer and Michael) as I can't tell who's who, ha, ha. Quendril is a troubled scientist working with Zaadur on the Ice Warriors and is appalled at her immoral behaviour. He gets the chance to rebel against Zaadur with the Doctor and his friends, but it's at a personal cost for him.

Abigail Thaw plays Zaadur, the villainess of this adventure. Abigail has done a `Doctor Who' story with Peter Davison called `The Lady of Mercia'. Listening to Abigail as the villainess is truly chilling and thrilling. Zaadur is an insane despot in charge of the city of Gandor and of Quendril who works day and night for her. She's an amoral person with a gleeful and sadistic personality. She wants to create an army of warriors to conquer other planets and galaxies including Earth. She's determined to have her way even if it means threatening the Doctor or killing Princess Veltreena in front of Quendril. Zaadur leads her army of Ice Warriors on a ship making her way to Earth and blows up the city of Gandor behind her once they've left. Zaadur is truly a nasty villainess and Abigail plays the part very well in this audio adventure.

Charlie Hayes appears in this story playing Princess Veltreena. I was pleased to hear Charlie in this adventure. Charlie is one of Wendy Padbury's daughters and has done a number of Big Finish audios in `Doctor Who' including some audios with her mum, one with Lisa Bowerman's Bernice Summerfield and played Jenny in the audio adaptation of `Seven Keys to Doomsday'. Charlie sometimes sounds like her mum when listening to her and its really refreshing to hear her. Veltreena is a princess on the planet Mars who sounds pretty much like a modern-day princess who's bored and sulky and wants some attention from people who visit her like the Doctor and Jamie. She's obsessed with something called the `life-drink' and gets too much of the stuff when Zaadur gives it to her and kills her.

Nicholas Briggs returns to plays the Ice Warriors in this six-part adventure. Nick is a versatile voice actor for `Doctor Who' both TV and audio especially when it comes to monsters. He enjoys doing the Ice Warriors and certainly has a knack for it. As well as playing the Ice Warriors in general, he also plays Aslor the Ice Lord who wakes up and goes out on a rampage when Zoe frees him. I like Alsor who connects to Zoe and restrains his violent tendencies and becomes a true ally to the Doctor and friends, giving a noble sacrifice towards the end. Nick also plays Risor, a semi-Ice Warrior like Martian who works for Quendril and Zaadur and has feelings for the princess Veltreena who doesn't return them back. When Zaadur kills Veltreena, Risor is far from happy and goes out to get the one who killed his beloved princess. Rislor also makes a sacrifice killing Zaadur by killing himself in honour for the one who loves which was very moving and effective. The Ice Warriors are pretty defined and well-rounded characters and not just two-dimensional hissing and snarling lizards and stomping about the place as they sometimes tends to do in my opinion.

At the end of each of the 3 discs of this story, there are a selection of behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew on the making of `Lords of the Red Planet' to enjoy. These include interviews with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Michael Troughton, Abigail Thaw, Charlie Hayes and writer John Dorney. I like how Frazer and Michael interact with each other and talk about Patrick Troughton and comparing notes on Frazer's performance as Michael's daddy; and also like Charlie talking about her mum and being made to watch some of the `Doctor Who' stories she was in which I found amusing.

`Lords of the Red Planet' has been a great audio adventure of `Doctor Who' to listen to and is a fitting origins story for the Ice Warriors. I enjoyed listening to Frazer and Wendy's performances and narration of the story, as well as listening to the four guest stars playing various characters throughout making a full-on action-packed adventure. The story is well adapted by John Dorney from Brian Hayles and is worthy to add to the collection of `Doctor Who' audios from Big Finish. Highly recommend this one!

The next story for the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe is 'The Final Sanction'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 12:14 PM GMT


The Queen of Time (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
The Queen of Time (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
by Brian Hayles
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing Games! - A female foe for the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, 4 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
04/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014.

I'm enjoying these Lost Stories with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe.

With Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury reprising their roles of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe recently, the Big Finish audios of `Doctor Who' bring a nostalgic sense of the Second Doctor era and have it brought back to life again. I've enjoyed listening to stories such as 'Prison in Space' and 'The Rosemariners' that I knew I would enjoy further stories with this memorable TARDIS trio. For the 50th anniversary of `Doctor Who', Big Finish released their fourth series of Lost Stories on audio. In this series we have not one but two exclusive `Doctor Who' stories with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe that were meant for television but never got made. `The Queen of Time' is first out of the two, with 'lords of the Red Planet' being the second.

I've had the CD cover of `The Queen of Time' signed by the lovely Wendy Padbury who plays Zoe in `Doctor Who' at a convention recently in Brighton.

`The Queen of Time' is a four-part story on a 2-disc CD set. It was originally pitched by writer Brian Hayles, who previously wrote 'The Celestial Toymaker' and created the Ice Warriors for two stories including 'The Ice Warriors' and 'The Seeds of Death'. It is one of many pitches proposed to the `Doctor Who' production office during the 1960s. But for reasons unknown it never got past the scene breakdown and scripting stage. This is a shame as from listening to this audio story it's really good and has been well-adapted by Catherine Harvey.

Catherine Harvey was chosen to adapt Brian Hayles' original pitch of `The Queen of Time' following her previous work for `Doctor Who' in Big Finish as she wrote for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in '1001 Nights' and for the Sixth Doctor and Peri in `Recorded Time and Other Stories'. Catherine is an inspirational choice to adapt Brain Hayles' story and write for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I'm really impressed with Catherine's writing for the characters and the adaptation of the story as it's really compelling and she brings a sense of the late 1960s era of `Doctor Who'.

The story of `The Queen of Time' is about the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in the TARDIS and they arrive on a strange world - a place outside the universe, where a deadly and beautiful woman is waiting. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves in a world of clocks and where time is a key aspect of this world. They meet Queen Hecuba who invites the Doctor and his friends for dinner and cocktails. But Hecuba has set a trap for them as the Doctor and his companions get split up and have to play her deadly games of time. Whilst the Doctor has to endure Hecuba's attention during dinner, Jamie and Zoe are on the verge of death and have to use quick-thinking to get out of a deadly predicament.

The world of `The Queen of Time' is very eerie and unusual which Catherine depicts very well in Brian Hayles' story. There's a 1930s sense about it with familiar jazz music in the background and antique grandfather clocks ticking and cuckoo clocks cuckooing with their cuckoos going off. There's an element of `The Celestial Toymaker' about this with the game playing and puzzle solving elements and also in connection to the Queen of Time which I'll mention later.

I enjoyed listening to Frazer and Wendy's third-person narration of this story again as I enjoyed listening to them narrating for previous stories in `Prison in Space' and `The Rosemariners'.

Frazer Hines delivers again in playing both the Doctor and Jamie in this adventure. I've said it before in other reviews but Frazer does a really fantastic interpretation of Patrick Troughton's Doctor, bringing the mannerisms and traits of the character to life. It feels like Patrick's in the story, even though Frazer's voicing him. The Doctor is anxious about where he and his friends are, who Hecuba is and shows concern for his companions when they get in trouble. He doesn't like Queen Hecuba's company and the way she mistreats his friends during their puzzles and game-playing. The Doctor is determined to outwit Hecuba and save his friends, and doesn't like the courses given during dinner.

Jamie is brave and heroic as ever and Frazer brings out the spirit of the young boy despite being older from working on the series. Jamie is with Zoe a lot of the time in this story as they're going through games and puzzles involving clocks and time. Jamie seems to like Hecuba at first, saying she's a `bonnie lassie'. But he doesn't like what's going on and how Hecuba taunts them in their game-solving endeavours. Jamie shows concern for Zoe when she's growing older and getting younger with time accelerating or decelerating. Jamie gets to be resourceful in trying to think how Zoe would think logically which is unusual since he doesn't often have that capacity. With trial and error he manages to save Zoe's life and even makes a joke about it calling Zoe a `wee bairn'.

I really like Wendy Padbury's performance as Zoe in this adventure. Despite her voice deepened over the years, Wendy manages to bring the youth in Zoe with a higher-pitch voice making her sound like she did in the TV series back in the 1960s. Wendy also gets to play an older Zoe and a baby Zoe when time accelerates and decelerates for her which is pretty frightening and funny at the same time. I was worried for Zoe when she was aging at the end of `Episode Three'. Zoe gets to use her logic in solving a problem especially when trying to free the Doctor from one of the clocks and noticing one of them has stopped working. I like the friendly banter shared between Zoe and Jamie, especially when they're playing a board game in the TARDIS and she manages to win every time.

The villainess of this story is Hecuba played by Caroline Faber. Caroline delivers an extremely invigorating and terrifying performance as Hecuba, making her sound seductive, beautiful and deadly at the same time. Hecuba is described as beautiful with blood-red lips and finger nails and is pretty deadly when conducting her games on the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. She's a worthy adversary to the Doctor as they both match in their knowledge of dealing with time and trying to outwit each other. She's pretty sadistic and ruthless and tries to seduce the Doctor with her feminine almost vicious ways and takes delight when wanting to see Jamie and Zoe dead in her games. I couldn't help wonder if this was the Celestial Toymaker and whether a sex-change had taken place, especially since watching the recent episodes of `Doctor Who' with Missy in `Dark Water'/'Death In Heaven'. But the true identity of Hebuca is far more interesting and makes sense when the Doctor reveals it to Jamie and Zoe.

At the end of Disc 2 of this story, there are behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `The Queen of Time'. These include Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, director Lisa Bowerman and writer Catherine Harvey, conducted by David Richardson. I like the stories shared between Frazer and Wendy including buying/getting costumes and props from the series and Frazer's undeniable sense of humour which makes me laugh every time he plays gags and tells jokes. It demonstrates how great Frazer and Wendy are in recreating the Second Doctor team from the 60s.

`The Queen of Time' has been a great audio listening experience with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I've enjoyed listening to this audio adventure and it is well adapted by Catherine Havery from Brian Hayles' story and is well performed by Frazer, Wendy and Caroline. I found this adventure very easy and engaging to listen to and was looking forward to the next adventure.

The next story with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe is 'Lords of the Red Planet'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2014 3:23 PM GMT


Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs [1937] [DVD] [1938]
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs [1937] [DVD] [1938]
Dvd ~ David Hand

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first and fairest Disney film of them all!, 3 Dec. 2014
03/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

"Lips red as the rose, hair black as ebony, skin white as snow."

This is one of the important and treasured films of cinema history. `Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' is the very first full-length animated feature film by Walt Disney made in 1937. It is a landmark film and is a classic in cinema history. I remember watching this film when it was re-released in the cinema during the 90s and it's still impressive to this day and hasn't at all dated. Coupled together with `The Wizard of Oz', it's a well-loved classic fairy tale about a princess dreaming of her prince with seven dwarfs providing comic relief and an evil queen/witch providing elements of horror that still look scary watching it on the screen.

When this movie came out on DVD in 2001, I was getting into the worlds of DVD with our new family DVD player (which was a bulky TV set I remember). I was pleased dad got the film on DVD as I have happy memories of this film. I was very impressed with the quality of the DVD, the menus and the special features with it probably being one of the earliest films to come out on DVD. Of course, there have been many renditions of `Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' including a 2 Disc Platinum DVD Edition. But I have the movie on this 1-disc edition and still love it to this day.

When the DVD starts, you are directed to the `Magic Mirror' on the wall who sets up the main menu and is done in an exciting and exhilarating way. I really like the `Magic Mirror' introducing us to the `Snow White' DVD especially for those who are new to using the DVD and it helped me to know where everything is before starting to watch the film. The Magic Mirror goes through each of the options on the menu from `Play' to `Scene Selection' to `Set Up' to `Bonus Features' and the infamous `Guided Tour' which I'll come onto later. It's pretty scary when pressing the `Play' button the Magic Mirror face vanishes in a ball of flame and we're drawn into a black void before starting the movie.

`Snow White' is a well-known fairy tale even if you have or haven't seen the Disney film. It's the story about a young beautiful princess who is made to work as a scullery maid by her wicked stepmother the Queen. As long as the Queen asks her Magic Mirror on the wall, `who is the fairest one of them all?' and the mirror says `You are', Snow White is safe. On one occasion when the Magic Mirror says Snow White is fairer than the Queen, the Queen is determined to have Snow White killed by her Huntsman. When Snow White manages to escape into the forest, she comes across a cottage belonging to seven dwarfs who look after her whilst hiding from her stepmother. But the Queen is out to get her and transforms into a Witch and attempts to poison Snow White with an apple. Can Snow White survive the end of this tale?

I really like the animation and design of this animated film as it must have been painstakingly hard work putting this film together, especially for Disney's first feature-length feature back in 1937. The story holds very well with a mixture of comedy, horror and songs that help to keep the story going.

I like Snow White's character design in the movie, as she looks really beautiful and believable as a human being and you wouldn't think it was hard for the animators to design the human characters in the story. Snow White is sweet, kind and friendly all the way through and is willing to look after the Seven Dwarfs at their cottage if they let her stay. I like how Snow White's rather motherly to them and tells them to wash their hands before dinner. Snow White is pretty dreamy that `someday her prince will come', but then we all do when looking for our true love and that's what makes this film so appealing.

I really like the seven dwarfs in this film who all have their own names and personalities to go with them. There's Doc, the appointed leader of the group. There's Grumpy, who doesn't like Snow White staying with them at the dwarfs' cottage. There's Happy, who keeps the dwarf company in good spirit. There's Sleepy, who's yawning and sleepy in every scene he's in. There's Sneezy, who suffers from hay fever every time his nose comes into contact with flowers. There's Bashful, who's secretly in love with Snow White and blushes every time he sees her. And there's Dopey who's the silliest out of the seven dwarfs and the funniest as he doesn't speak at all in the movie. I love the scenes with these seven dwarfs, especially when they sing their `Heigh-Ho' song from `work to home they go'.

The Prince appears in this movie of Snow White although he has a slim appearance. He only appears at the beginning when he meets Snow White and at the end when he gives her `love's first kiss' and brings her back from the dead. He has a song to sing called `One Song' for Snow White and provides the romance element for Snow White. Animators had difficulty designing the human male character of the Prince, which is why he doesn't appear much in the movie, but it's nice to see him in scenes with Snow White and to provide the happy ending.

The Queen, Snow White's stepmother appears at the beginning as a very beautiful woman with a cold edge about her. She doesn't like Snow White being prettier than her and is determined to have her killed. When her Huntsman fails to do the job, the Queen is furious and is determined to do the job herself. To do that she concocts a potion containing mummy dust; an old hag's cackle; the black of night and a scream of fright mixed by a thunder bolt to make her old. When she takes the potion, she becomes a hideous witch and makes a poison apple for Snow White to bite and die from. Seeing the Queen transform into the old Witch is pretty scary and even today still scares me every time I see her as the old Witch.

The songs are pretty good in this movie and have gone on to become classics in their own right. The songs include `Whistle While You Work'; `Heigh-Ho'; The Dwarf's Washing Song, The Dwarf's Yodal Song and the famous `Someday My Prince Will Come'. These songs work well especially with a balance of humour and sentiment in them.

At the end of film, there's a music video of a new rendition of the song `Someday My Prince Will Come'. It's introduced by Michael Eisner and is sung beautifully by Barbra Streisand.

I really like the bonus features on this original DVD for `Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. I love the designs of the interactive menus featuring 3D versions of some of the settings of the movie including the Dwarfs' cottage for the `Scene Selection' and the Witch's Lair for the `Bonus Features'. The bonus features include a brief documentary on `The Making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', narrated by Angela Lansbury. There's also an Audio Commentary with audio recordings of interviews with Walt Disney. There's a sing-a-long video of `Heigh-Ho' that was on the original Disney `Sing-a-Long' song videos that I remember watching when I was a kid. And there's `Dopey's Wild Mine Ride' game that is my favourite part of the DVD and was pretty exciting and scary when I played it back in 2001.

There's also a Guided Tour which is basically a look at what's on this DVD, mainly the special features. It's introduced by the Magic Mirror and Roy Disney, and once selected you're given the guided tour by Angela Lansbury through a sample of all the special features from `The Making Of' documentary to `Dopey's Wild Mine Ride'.

`Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' is a truly epic and beloved fairy tale movie that will be remembered for years to come. It was the one that started it on and continues to be `fairest of them all'. My heart skips a beat when I watch this film and I will remember it fondly and lovingly always.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2014 11:37 AM GMT


Alien Attax - 196 NYSSA (Companion) Individual Trading Card.
Alien Attax - 196 NYSSA (Companion) Individual Trading Card.
Offered by Gaming Extras
Price: £0.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Nyssa Trading Card, 2 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
02/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

I rarely get the chance to review any `Doctor Who' merchandise, but this for me is a very special item.

Nyssa is my favourite `Doctor Who' companion, as I've said many times before in my reviews. I love Sarah Sutton who plays Nyssa as she gives wonderful performances with her character in the stories she's in both TV and in the Big Finish audios I've enjoyed. In my opinion, Nyssa is the best companion of `Doctor Who' from the Fifth Doctor/Peter Davison era.

It's pretty clear though that Nyssa is a very underrated companion and she often gets neglected by the majority of `Doctor Who' fandom with the popularity of other companions including Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, Romana, Tegan and Ace as well as the recent companions Rose, Donna, Amy and Clara. Through no fault of her own, Nyssa tends to get left out a lot in `Doctor Who' circles.

Nyssa deserves her own Top Trump trading card and it's rather sad her character's not included in the 45th anniversary collection of `Doctor Who' Top Trump trading cards which I purchased in Cardiff during 2008. I remember Sarah Sutton wishing on the 'Four to Doomsday' DVD commentary for her own trading card.

How lucky I was to find this rare item on Amazon that is a collector's items for definite Nyssa and `Doctor Who' fans in general. This trading card is part of an `Alien Attax' series that was launched in March 2013 by Topps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of `Doctor Who'. It is card #196 and is part of the `Companions' card collection.

Being a Nyssa fan and that I love collecting any Nyssa memorabilia and photos of Nyssa and Sarah, I couldn't resist purchasing this from Amazon. It's a really nice collector's item and one I treasure keeping in my scrapbook of Nyssa items over the years from conventions and photos bought for me over Christmas from Amazon or eBay.

The card itself is very good. There's a lovely profile picture of Sarah as Nyssa in her blue and white stripy outfit from 'Snakedance'. It's a very complimentary picture of Nyssa who looks really nice in her `Snakedance' outfit despite being the least favourite of the fans. Nyssa's name is placed really well in a blue box on a vertical angle. According to the card, Nyssa has a `defence' of 42 and an a `attack' of 38. Now I don't know much about statistics and how to use trading cards in this game, but those statistics for Nyssa in defence and attack seem about right.

In the post, the Nyssa trading card came with two non-related 'Top Gear' trading cards. Now I didn't want these cards, but the supplier who sent this item must have put them in to protect the Nyssa card from being damaged or scratched. It was very good of them and the Nyssa card looks perfect in every detail.

So if you're a Nyssa fan like me, you should really add this trading card to your collection of `Doctor Who' memorabilia as it features a complimentary picture of Nyssa in her `Snakedance' costume against a nice background. A worthy purchase and one I was pleased to receive from Amazon during the 50th anniversary of `Doctor Who'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2014 10:35 AM GMT


The Complete Oh, Doctor Beeching! - First and Second Series [DVD] [1995]
The Complete Oh, Doctor Beeching! - First and Second Series [DVD] [1995]
Dvd ~ Su Pollard

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, Doctor Beeching What Have You Done?", 1 Dec. 2014
01/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014

`Oh, Doctor Beeching!' is a lovely quaint TV sitcom series about trains, railways and an English rural village with a colourful cast of characters. It was created by David Croft (co-creator of 'Dad's Army'; 'You Rang, M'Lord?' and 'Hi-De-Hi') and Richard Spendlove. The series stars a well-studded cast of comedy actors including Paul Shane, Su Pollard, Jeffery Holland, Julia Deakin and Stephen Lewis (Blakey from 'On the Buses').

This DVD collection contains the complete series of series 1 and series 2 on four discs. The first series is on Discs 1 and 2, whilst the second series is on Disc 3 and 4.

It's a series about nostalgia and a historical setting of old-fashioned steam railways and how they declined in the 1960s. I love the old-fashioned steam trains and railways that happened back in the day and a nostalgic kick gets in me when watching this series. I fondly remember going on trips with my parents to the Seven Valley Steam Railway before some Christmases, and most of the series was filmed there including the Ardley railway station acting for Hatley station. The characters are easily enjoyable to watch with their Northern accents and eccentric ways.

The series is set in 1963 at Hatley Railway Station. A small community of people live in Hatley running the railway station including Jack Skinner (Paul Shane) his wife May (Julia Deakin) and daughter Gloria (Lindsay Grimshaw) with Ethel (Su Pollard) and her son Wilfred (Paul Aspen). There's also Harry Lambert the signal man (Stephen Lewis) and cleaner Vera (Barbara New). With British railways under threat from closure by the infamous `Dr Beeching', Hatley station gets a new stationmaster Cecil Parkin (Jeffery Holland) who is determined to make this station stand despite the changing times. With lots of comedic disasters and eccentricities happening, would Hatley station even last to survive the Beeching axe?

I really like the series set in 1963 and the historical aspects of Dr Beeching being responsible for closing down the steam railway stations at the time. The atmosphere of 1963 is about change, and David Croft and Richard Spendlove depict this element in the railway series really well. I like the comedy moments at the railway station and with the train stopping at the platform not always going according to plan and the company spirit in the buffet.

The cast of characters are very memorable for this series with the likes of Paul Shane and Su Pollard.

Jack Skinner (Paul Shane) is the acting station master when we meet him before he's replaced by Parkin and becomes his deputy. Jack deeply loves his wife May and is overly jealous when he suspects men take advantage of her. He was an ex-soldier during the Second World War and got a limp from it in his right leg. He bullies Wilfred, Ethel's son when they work on the station and isn't too keen on stationmaster Cecil Parkin bossing around and seemingly interested in May. Jack is a good soul however despite not thinking and using brawn instead of brain. He shouts on the platform giving announcements to passengers, "Hatley, Hatley, Hatley! Change here for Buston and Winstead."

Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard) is the ticket clerk in the booking office at the station. Ethel is a really funny character and Su does the physical and verbal comedy really well. Ethel is a scatter-brained person who gets her words mixed up when talking to people and constantly goes `"What's going off?" She has a grown-up son called Wilfred who she mollycoddles and scolds off every time he does something wrong or stupid. She tells Jack off for getting suspicious with May and is like his conscience and telling him to get out of his fiery temper. Ethel has a crush on Percy the station guard and is trying to get herself another boyfriend despite her eccentric nature.

Mr Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland) comes to Hatley station as the new station master. Parkin is a posh, youngish man who is very strict on discipline when meeting the staff at Hatley. He's easily disappointed when his station master's office is a mess and when people like Jack, Ethel and Harry do bizzare things like stopping the train to save a turkey. Parkin is a perfectionist and seems refined on the surface. But it turns out that he and May once had a romantic love affair during the war. Parkin still has feelings for May despite her being married to Jack, and makes failed attempts to win her way to her and be with her again.

May Skinner (Julia Deakin) is Jack's wife and buffet manageress in the refreshment room of Hatley station. May is considered beautiful and easily catches the eye of male admirers causing Jack to be suspicious. May once had a romantic love affair with Parkin during the war, and despite his attempts to fraternise with her she resists his advances. May tries to cover up her former affair with Parkin to prevent Jack knowing and becoming jealous. She shares this only with Ethel who agrees to keep the fling she had with Parkin a secret. May does genuinely love her husband Jack saying he's a good man, despite having buried feelings for Parkin.

Harry Lambert (Stephen Lewis) is my favourite character from `Oh, Doctor Beeching' and is very different to the character Stephen plays in Blakey from `On The Buses'. Harry is a grumpy, old man who is the signalman of Hatley station. Harry is fed up with sitting in his signal box all day long and gets annoyed when the signal goes and `another ruddy train' comes along. Although miserable and grumpy like Blakey, Harry is on the rebels' side and doesn't like Parkin despite sucking to him on occasion. During his time as signal man, he is a part-time hairdresser; bookmaker; bicycle-mender and grocer doing it on request and getting some money out of it.

Vera Plumtree (Barbara New) is an older woman who is the station's cleaner. Vera is very helpful in getting things tidy at the station and often helps May with the buffet. Vera, like Ethel, is pretty scatter-brained and weird at times and often talks about her late husband, "He was an engine driver you know." Vera has this unrequited love for Harry the signal man and gives him lunch and tries to keep him company in his signal box despite him not returning her feelings. Vera manages to interrupt during Cecil and May's moments in the refreshment room and sometimes seems she knows what's going on in their relationship.

The rest of the cast of characters include Wilfred (Paul Aspen), Ethel's dopey son. Gloria (Lindsay Grimshaw), Paul and May's pretty daughter with a love for men and short skirts. Percy (Terry John), the station guard who flirts with every woman he sees including Ethel and Amy. Arnold the train driver (Ivor Roberts) who's elderly and has a wife called Jessica who's mentally ill. Ralph (Perry Benson) a trainee train driver who's rather dim and Arnold tells him off with his bad train driving and tells him to 'stop playing with his whistle!' There's also Amy, Gloria's friend (played by Tara Daniels) and Mr Orkindale (Richard Spendlove, one of the show's co-creators and writers) who is the district inspector (like the Fat Controller from `Thomas the Tank Engine').

The list of episodes from this series are included on the following four discs.

SERIES ONE
DISC 1
1. `All Change'
2. `Talking Turkey'
3. `The Train Now Standing...'
4. `A Moving Story'
5. `The Late Mr. Buckly'

DISC 2
6. `Horse Play'
7. `Past Love'
8. `Job Opportunity'
9. `Sleeping Around'

SERIES TWO
DISC 3
1. `No Milk For The Minister'
2. `Father's Day'
3. `The Gravy Train'
4. `The Van'
5. `Lucky Strike'

DISC 4
6. `Love Is A Very Splendid Thing'
7. `A Bowl In The Hand'
8. `Action Stations'
9. `A Pregnant Pause'
10. `Ton Up'

The special features included on this DVD collection are on Disc 1 including biographies on the writers and stars as well as a photo gallery and production notes of the series.

`Oh Doctor Beeching' is a wonderful, nostalgic comedy series about trains and railways. It's something to settle down and enjoy over a nice cup of tea and makes you want to visit and go and have a ride on an old steam railway such as the Seven Valley Railway and going on the Jacobite train used in the `Harry Potter' film series in Scotland. I highly recommend this series to get you out of a bad mood when things aren't going right and is just pleasurable comedy viewing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2014 11:41 AM GMT


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [DVD] [2014]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'Amazing' Era of Spider-Man Continues!, 30 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Spider-Man is back! In 2012, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' became an `amazing' success. Everybody warmed to this new version of Spider-Man; and Andrew Garfield put his own take on the wall-crawler and the character of Peter Parker. Even though it wasn't Tobey Maguire anymore, it was still recognisably Spider-Man. It was an inevitable that a sequel would come after the success of `The Amazing Spider-Man' and how right I was.

`The Amazing Spider-Man 2' was released in 2014. The film stars Andrew Garfield returning to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man along with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Sally Field as Aunt May. It also stars Jamie Foxx as the main villain Electro/Max Dillon and Dane DeHann as Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin.

I enjoyed watching this second film to the Andrew Garfield era when it came out in April 2014 in the UK. I remember going to see it with my best mate from school at the cinemas. We knew we'd enjoy this and have a good ride with this film. It was before I went on a two-week period of jury service that I watched the film. I watched it again afterwards I went with my parents to see it in the cinema. Although I enjoyed this film, I wouldn't claim it to be the best Spidey film as I have reservations and a mixture of the good and the bad from it and feel that things could have been better.

Again like with the first film, `The Amazing Spider-Man 2' derives from the modern day comics of `Spider-Man' rather than the classic 1960s feel in the original 'Spider-Man' trilogy. There were lots of changes made to certain characters from the comics put into the movie which I noticed being a Spider-Man myself. Also the story seemed to take an artistic license in what it could do and it became more about OsCorp and the mysteries surrounding it and also about Peter discovering more about his family history rather than focusing on his ordinary life and balancing his life as Spidey and Peter together seen in the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi trilogy. Also there were too many villains appearing in this as was the case with `Spider-Man 3', even though Electro was the main villain.

In `The Amazing Spider-Man 2', Peter Parker is currently enjoying his life as Spider-Man and has managed to find a balance in his two lives spending time fighting crime in New York City and time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacey. But Peter's still trying to discover more about what happened to his parents and why they left him since he was a boy. Pretty soon, Peter has a lot to contend with. As well as sorting out his relationship with Gwen; he has a new foe to face in the form of Electro and dealing with the return of his old friend Harry Osborn. All of his enemies have one thing in common, and it has to do with OsCorp.

Spidey's costume has changed since the last time we saw it in `The Amazing Spider-Man'. Spidey now looks like his traditional look from the comics, with the familiar white-eye patches where they should be and the red and blue spandex patterning matching exactly how he looks in the comics and also in the original `Spider-Man' films. This really pleased me as I love that look so much and wasn't too keen on the first costume look Andrew wore in his first film of the series.

Andrew Garfield returns to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man again in this second film of his era. I enjoyed watching Andrew playing Peter/Spidey. He's no Tobey Maguire, as he's got that cocky attitude about him and is more of the modern kid than the bookworm character in Peter from the comics. But I like Andrew's sense of humour when he plays the character and he's very good in doing his scenes of intense emotion. I like how he interacts with Gwen and Aunt May; and how he reunites with his old friend Harry and also meeting Max Dillon as Spider-Man after rescuing him. Andrew's managed to settle into the action spirit of the web-slinger being spider-like and I really like it how he gets into all the fight sequences and how he talks to other people in the costume trying to calm Electro down; when he interacts with kids in the movie; and also when he gets annoyed at Gwen for following him to stop Electro towards the end of the movie.

Emma Stone returns to play Gwen Stacey again, Peter's love interest. Both Peter and Gwen form a romantic relationship from the first movie. Both are happy together and blissfully unaware of the dangers surrounding. But Peter keeps seeing Gwen's father (Denis Leary) as a ghost every time he's with her. It reminds Peter of the danger she's putting Gwen through as Spider-Man and two split up at one point because of this. But even though they split up they still seem to want to meet up with each other. I really like the interaction between Andrew and Emma as their characters, as they are currently in a relationship together through the making of this movie and it helps to build the romance between Peter and Gwen. I enjoyed watching those scenes between Peter and Gwen played by those lovely actors. Something tragic happens to Gwen in this movie. And if you're Spider-Man fans like I am, you know what I'm talking about.

The main villain of this movie is Electro/Max Dillon, played by Jamie Foxx. I really enjoyed watching Jamie playing Max Dillon who becomes super-villain Electro. In the movie, Max is an electrical engineer who works at OsCorp Industries, the place where Gwen works. But during an electrical accident at OsCorp, Max transforms into a being that can control and absorb electricity within his power. This makes a living conductor of electricity and causing havoc in New York. I like the look of Electro in this film, as it reminded me of the look of Electro in the short-lived 'Spider-Man - The New Animated Series' from 2003 that I enjoyed watching. The inspiration for the Electro look also came from the comics of `Ultimate Spider-Man'. I found it interesting with how Max seems a social outcast at the start and develops a fan obsession with Spider-Man at the beginning before turning into Electro. He becomes aggressive and angst-driven towards Spidey with his new-found electrical powers.

Harry Osborn appears in this movie, played by Dane DeHaan. I found Dane's interpretation of Harry, son of Norman Osborn really interesting. He's not James Franco, who played Harry in the original `Spider-Man' films. Dane does a completely different version of the character making him bitter. He returns to OsCorp when his father Norman (Chris Cooper) dies. An interesting twist is made here, as its Harry who becomes the Green Goblin in this movie instead of his father. Harry also becomes sickly in this story as he's dying from a family disease inside his body and he tries to get Peter to give him Spider-Man's blood so that he can be cured, and becomes angry when Spidey refuses to give it to him. It's an interesting journey that Harry takes as he goes to great lengths to get Electro and get back into OsCorp in order to fulfil his destiny to become the Green Goblin. I found it disappointing that Harry only becomes the Green Goblin for a short period of time towards the end of the movie.

It was great to see Sally Field playing Aunt May again in this second film of `The Amazing Spider-Man' series. I love Sally's interpretation of Aunt May and how she constantly does on Peter whenever he he's home and shows concern for him and is unaware of his double life as Peter and Spidey. I found the scene funny when he's hiding under the bed clothes in his Spidey costume and she notices how filthy his face is and they don't have a chimney. I like it when Peter tells her still in bed in Spidey costume `I love you' and she goes, "I love you too, now get up!" I found that scene funny when both Peter and Aunt May fight over the laundry when he's trying to get his Spidey costume washed. I also like the scene Peter and Aunt May share when he's trying to get information from her about his father's past and she's unwilling to tell him anything. Sally is really good as Aunt May in this movie, being the motherly figure she could in Peter's life.

Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz return to play Richard and Mary Parker, Peter's parents at the beginning of the film. The film opens with a prologue that is similar to the one in the first film, although it's taken from Richard and Mary's point of view instead of Peter's and we see what happened to them when their plane crashed. In this film, we do get to learn more about Peter's parents' history and find out what happened all those years ago and why they left Peter to be with his aunt and uncle in the first movie.

The film also features Colm Fedre playing Donald Menken, who works at OsCorp and as a board member and vice president and doesn't get on well with Harry Osborn who takes over his father's business. There's also Paul Giarnatti playing Aleksei Sytsevich who is a big-time Russian mobster that Spidey fights at the beginning and then turns into the Rhino, another Spidey super-villain appearing at the end of the movie. I noticed that Felicity Jones appears in this movie playing Felicia Hardy (who in the comics becomes the Black Cat). I'd seen Felicity before in a ITV version of `Northanger Abbey' and in an episode of `Doctor Who' called `The Unicorn and the Wasp', so it was really nice to see her in this Spider-Man film.

J. Jonah Jameson still doesn't appear in these Spider-Man movies, which is a shame as I miss Jamesom from the Spider-Man films. But we do get Peter receiving e-mails from Jameson when sending photos of Spidey to him at the Bugle. Peter tells Jameson that Spidey's good and is a hero even though Jameson responds, "WRONG!" which I found funny.

Marc Webb returns to direct `The Amazing Spider-Man 2' following the first film, which is nice to have that continuity. Again Marc does a fantastic job capturing the action of Spider-Man in this movie as he did with the previous film, although he makes it faster and more action-driven than ever before. Especially the fights between Spidey and Electro are executed remarkably well in terms of direction with a mixture of camera angles; visual effects and everything. The film is very engaging to watch, and the web-slinging scenes are superb. I really like how Marc does it again with blending the grittiness of tone of the movie and balancing it with the sense of humour incorporated in the story.

The set design and location work is equally good in this film. We get to see more of OsCorp and discover various levels that are unfamiliar compared to the previous film. OsCorp seems more advanced with holographic technology and holographic lift attendants in the form of pretty ladies. We get to go down to the lower levels of OsCorp where the special projects are kept. The city of New York is utilised effectively in this film with the web-slinging scenes and also the fights between Electro and Spidey in the city.

Again the visual effects of `The Amazing Spider-Man 2' are really impressive. I'm impressed especially with Electro and how they've applied a mixture of make-up and CGI effects to make Jamie Foxx appear pretty creepy and scary as the super-villain. You're never sure what aspects of Electro are CGI or not, and the action set pieces are pretty impressive with a mixture of stunts and CGI effects in the mix. Spider-Man's swings through the city are incredible and he's pretty agile in every scene he does in costume, and we see more of Spidey in the costume compared to previous movie outings when fighting crime or interacting in certain emotional moments.

Without giving too much way, the movie ends on a rather sad note. I was wondering how the story of `The Amazing Spider-Man' can continue with Peter losing so much. But the movie ends on a conclusion that looks to the future and the continuation of the series. It looks like there is going to be `The Amazing Spider-Man 3' coming up in the future. There are lots of areas to explore in this series left unexplained, especially regarding Peter's family history and the connection to OsCorp. There's a hint of the Sinister Six appearing in the next movie, as we do get to see glimpses of Doc Ock's tentacles; the Vulture's body armour and the cameo appearance of the Rhino at the end of the movie. Harry Osborn seems likely to return as the Green Goblin. There's also the possibility of Mary Jane Watson appearing properly in the third Amazing Spider-Man film. It seems like a lot of things to look forward to in the third installment of the `Amazing Spider-Man' series, one which I'm sure we're all looking forward to when the third film comes to the cinemas.

I enjoyed watching `The Amazing Spider-Man 2' in the cinemas. It's not the great Spider-Man film I've seen, but it was good fun to watch. There are things about which I felt could have been better such as the development of Peter as a person and his normal life rather than his continuing search of family secrets. The villains seemed too many and not enough time was developed on them, including Harry as the Green Goblin who only appears briefly at the end. Also the film ends on a sad note which didn't feel so uplifting as the previous film seemed to do. In no way do these latest films match the Tobey Maguire era. It doesn't have the emotional core and intensity that the original films have and is pretty more action-driven than character-driven in some aspects. But I enjoyed how Andrew plays Peter and his relationship with Emma as Gwen is lovely to watch. I look forward to seeing how this movie series develops as the next instalment is already in the pipeline.

The special features included on this DVD for `The Amazing Spider-Man 2' are as follows. In the previews before the main menu, there's a special short advertising video of `Worldwide Orphans' that has a classroom of kids receiving a surprise visit from Andrew Garfield himself. There's also a trailer for the first `The Amazing Spider-Man' movie.

On the special features DVD menu, there's an audio commentary with the filmmakers including producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach and writers Alex Kurtzman (also executive producer) and Jeff Pinkner. There are some deleted and extended scenes from the movie. There's also a music video of the song `It's On Again' by Alicia Keys that was performed at the end of the movie in the closing credits, which can also be found on 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' music CD. There are also more previews of other movies found on this DVD. If you want to see more extras on the making of `The Amazing Spider-Man 2', you'll probably want to buy the Blu-ray version of this movie which contains 9 additional deleted scenes cut from the movie and much more.

The next instalment of Spidey's adventures is `The Amazing Spider-Man 3'.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2014 10:36 AM GMT


The Children of Seth (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
The Children of Seth (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
by Christopher Bailey
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death to Seth and Nyssa sent to hell on Level 14!, 30 Oct. 2014
`The Children of Seth' is the third and final story in the trilogy of `Lost Stories' with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan, starring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding.

I felt sad with this being the last story in the trilogy of Lost Stories with the Peter Davison Doctor ass I enjoyed listening to these three stories. I didn't get this one with 'The Elite' and 'Hexagora' for Christmas 2011 since it was delayed in the post from Amazon. But I got it from my parents the following year and was happy to be listening to it then.

This story is quite an intriguing and complex to listen to on audio. This story was originally written by Christopher Bailey. Chris Bailey is well-known for writing the two 'Mara Tales' - `Kinda' and `Snakedance' for Peter Davison's Doctor back in the 80s. This story would have been set before `Snakedance' had it been made for telly. Chris has been commissioned to write a third `Doctor Who' story for the TV series back in the 80s that didn't feature the Mara in it. Unfortunately due to script problems and anxiety with production, Chris didn't complete this story and was left abandoned in the `Doctor Who' script cabinet.

Marc Platt, who wrote `Ghost Light' for the TV series and has written many Big Finish audios over the years for `Doctor Who', managed to get hold of the script for `The Children of Seth' as a keepsake back in 1989. Many years later, Big Finish asked Marc is he would adapt Chris Bailey's original TV script into an audio drama for the `Lost Stories' range. Happily agreeing and with consent and help from Chris Bailey himself, Marc adapted and completed `The Children of Seth' as a Big Finish audio.

`The Children of Seth' is a story about Nyssa conducting one of her experiments in the TARDIS about probability theory. The TARDIS temporal scanner picks up one word from her experiments. The word is `Idra'. Curious about the message, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to the Archipelago of Sirius, a world inside an asteroid. Once there, the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan are caught up in a web of political intrigue and events as the power-hungry Byzan takes to carry out his crusade through the Autarch, ruler of the Archipelago of Sirius, against Seth. Can the mysterious Queen Anahita help the Doctor or will one of his friends be sent down to Level 14 known as `hell' forever?!

This is unlike any other story I've come across from Big Finish and is a completely different to Chris Bailey usually contributes to `Doctor Who' in his Mara tales. This is an intriguing and complex story that is based on the historical city of Byzantium as well as elements of `I, Claudius' in space. Now I don't know what Byzantium is apart from it being a Greek city or knowing its historical value. I also don't know much about Seth and who he is or what he represents in the actual story. But the concepts running through this story are intriguing and Chris certainly knew his stuff about Byzantium and Seth when originally writing this story. I really like how Marc Platt has developed Chris' story for audio and how he adapts it for that medium in a historic-like setting and the complexity of the subject matter including the numbers, the integral workings of the system and the addition of androids. I don't know how this story would have been for TV, but I can imagine it would been pretty complex to make in production.

I enjoyed Peter Davison's Doctor in this adventure. The Doctor is immediately curious about the message `Idra' in one of Nyssa's experiments and is keen to get to the Archipelago of Sirius as soon as possible. He manages to disable the Manti robot that invades the TARDIS. Both he and Nyssa get arrested under orders of Byzan when discovering someone's an android and being condemned as `agents of Seth'. The Doctor remembers Anahita from his last visit on this asteroid world and was even given a book from her which he didn't get time to fully read. The Doctor is anxious for Nyssa's well-being when she's sent down to Level 14 and is determined to go down and save her. The Doctor accesses one of the Manti robots attacking him, Tegan, Anahita and Shamur at Anahita's house and goes blind when seeing only numbers from the system's data stream. It's a pretty tense and frightening moment when the Doctor is blind with numbers and gives Peter the chance to deliver a pretty unsettling and mad-driven performance.

Janet Fielding gets to have a good share as Tegan in this adventure. Tegan is pretty baffled by Nyssa's experiment and doesn't immediately get the punch-line when Nyssa tries to tell a joke. I found it funny when Tegan is being picked on by the Doctor and Nyssa about waiting for years with Nyssa's experiment. Tegan gets concerned for her friends when they get arrested and is immediately drawn into the service of Queen Anahita and is made her consort. Tegan declares herself as an Aussie Republican as well as being downright Bolshie. I like it when Tegan tries to seduce one of the guards and knocks him out in order to free the Doctor from his prison cell. Tegan gets chosen to deliver the book Anahita gave the Doctor back to her in order to use against Byzan and his tyranny before she loses it. Tegan gets to show a more compassionate side in this adventure balanced by her fieriness which is nice to see and is making herself useful and being helpful as well as showing concern for the Doctor when he's being blinded by numbers or is worried for Nyssa on Level 14.

Sarah Sutton as ever is wonderful as Nyssa in this `Doctor Who' adventure. I love Sarah's performance. Nyssa doesn't get a bigger role in this story I'm afraid. I found Nyssa to be mostly side-lined for this adventure which is a shame since she's mostly kept out of the main action and is trapped on Level 14 with her memory wiped. I don't think these Lost Stories have been the best for Nyssa's character in my opinion which is a dreadful shame. But I do like the moment when Nyssa appears in certain parts of the story. I like it when Nyssa tries to make a joke to Tegan. Nyssa declares how much she likes probability theory which is interesting. I really like it when Nyssa is the one who notices that someone's son is an android and how she fights through the interrogation she's been given by Albis and she can see that he's an android too.

I was frightened for Nyssa when she had her mind wiped and was sent down to Level 14 known as `hell', which put me on edge reminding me of her traumatic experience in `The Elite'. I didn't that to be repeated again in another Lost Story but sadly it was. I found Nyssa's moments when she's suffering amnesia and isn't herself pretty disturbing, and Sarah gives an almost childlike and innocent performance as the out-of-control Nyssa. Nyssa seems to think she's `the Doctor' and doesn't like it when people like the `real' Doctor keep calling her `Nyssa' and she tells them to stop it. Nyssa laughs like a little girl when she's losing her mind at some point almost like she's `floating' which is an example of Sarah's beautiful and (I hate using this word) `underrated' acting. I liked it when Nyssa comes round and breaks through her amnesia, remembering her name and destroys the source causing her to go mad.

This story features a number of superb guest stars in `The Children of Seth', making this story really special to listen to.

There's Honor Blackman playing Anahita, Queen of the Poisons. Honor is well-known for playing Cathy Gale in `The Avengers' with Patrick McNee for ABC Television during the 1960s. She's also been in `Goldfinger' with Sean Connery and has appeared in a `Doctor Who' with Colin Baker in the `Terror of the Vervoids' segment of `The Trial of a Time Lord'. The character Honor plays as Anahita is a sharp strong-willed woman who is officially married to the Autarch Siris. Anahita knew the Doctor from long ago and was called `Idra' when he met her. She wears a hood covering the scars of an accident she had from long ago. Anahita is threatened by Byzan who tries to catch her out and she's trying to stop his tyranny. She gets Tegan to be her maidservant before meeting the Doctor. Anahita gave the Doctor a book and hopes he will help her against Byzan and his war against the mysterious Seth. She has a tense relationship with her husband Siris as they're both separated but still bicker like an old married couple.

There's Adrian Lukis playing Byzan. I've seen Adrian in the BBC TV production of `Pride and Prejudice' with Colin Firth and he played Mr Willoughby in that. Adrian has also done another `Doctor Who' story with Peter Davison in Big Finish called `Cobwebs'. Adrian plays a power-hungry person in Byzan. Byzan is pretty passionate and driven to rule the Archipelago of Sirius and see Queen Anahita down and have the Autarch Siris abdicated. Byzan uses the propaganda of Seth in order to frighten the people and get his own way of political power into operation. He has this unstoppable belief that Seth is real and uses that belief for his own ends. He even has the Doctor and Nyssa arrested for blasphemy about androids and steals the Doctor's face to be chosen as the face of Seth to frighten the people at the end of Part 3. He relies on his secretary Albis when conducting day-to-day matters of political importance. Adrian delivers a terrific villainous performance as Byzan, who I think enjoys playing the villain in `Doctor Who' and is really good at getting the fieriness out of his character.

And of course there's David Warner playing Siris, the Autarch of Sirius. David is a big movie star and Shakespearean actor with a huge track record of acting parts to his name. I know him well for his appearances in `Star Trek' and also for doing `Doctor Who' both TV and audio, and have met him at conventions. David delivers a really spell-binding and grand performance as Siris in this adventure. It's not a really big character part that David's playing as he's not in every scene of the story. Siris is a rather absent-minded character who is in a world of his own and is pretty ignorant of the tyranny caused by Byzan and his crusade against Seth. Siris is more concerned about his beard being trimmed and what he's getting for his birthday rather than anything else and doesn't seem to get on well with his consort Anahita who visits him. But when Siris learns that Anahita is in trouble, he quickly shows concern for her and gets involved with the events of the story towards the end. It's a really great performance from David playing a small part in the story.

The rest of supporting guest cast include Vernon Dobtcheff playing Shamur, who has been in `Doctor Who' before in the Patrick Troughton story `The War Games' and has appeared with Peter Davison in a Big Finish audio called `The Cradle of the Snake'. There's Matt Addis playing Albis, Byzan's secretary who has a secret agenda and identity about him. There's Emerald O'Hanrahan playing Mira, Shamur's granddaughter and former maidservant to Queen Anahita before she gets sent down to Level 14 with Nyssa. And there's John Banks playing Radulf Varidi, who has done various parts for Big Finish audios in `Doctor Who' over the years.

The CD extras on this 2-disc CD for `The Children of Seth' include the following. At the end of Disc 1, there are behind-the-scenes interview on the making of this story. These are conducted by David Richardson and include Marc Platt; Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding; Peter Davison; Adrian Lukis; Matt Addis; John Banks and Vernon Dobtcheff. At the end of Disc 2, there's a trailer for the next Lost Story with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant called `The Guardians of Prophecy'. Also there are some more behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `The Children of Seth' including Sarah and Janet; Marc Platt; director Ken Bentley and Honor Blackman. I like Sarah and Janet's comments about this story and how it could be made as a TV story by director Fiona Cumming. I also like how they enjoyed working with Vernon Dobtcheff and listening to his stories going around the world.

I've enjoyed listening to these Lost Stories with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan and `The Children of Seth' has been a good story to finish the trilogy off. I don't' think this has been the best trilogy of stories in `Doctor Who' in my opinion and it's not the best for Sarah Sutton's Nyssa as her character is mostly side-lined and wouldn't have had her doing much as they were being made for TV. But I enjoyed listening to them and they're a great addition to the `Doctor Who' collection of audios with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan.

The next story with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan is 'Fear of the Dark'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2014 11:20 AM GMT


Hexagora (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
Hexagora (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
by Paul Finch
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tudor London on Luparis and Tegan's ex-boyfriend, 30 Oct. 2014
`Hexagora' is the second of the trilogy of Lost Stories with the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa, starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton.

After enjoying 'The Elite' the first story in the trilogy, I was looking forward to listening to the two following stories. I got `Hexagora' for Christmas along with `The Elite' back in 2011. `Hexagora' is quite a different type of story from the first one, but I enjoyed listening to it. It has a familiar historical setting on an alien planet and is a story about the TARDIS team finding Tegan's former boyfriend who gets kidnapped in the story.

This story is a 2-disc CD set. `Hexagora' was a story originally conceived by writers Peter Ling and Hazel Adair, who worked together creating the TV soap `Crossroads'. Peter actually worked on `Doctor Who' before as he wrote the Patrick Troughton 'The Mind Robber', which is one of my favourite `Who' stories from that era. This story was originally called `Hex' but was changed to `Hexagora' to avoid confusion with the Seventh Doctor companion Hex (played by Phillip Olivier) in Big Finish. Sadly this story contribution by Peter and Hazel didn't make it on the TV screen and was left in storage for a number of years until now. When Big Finish found this story and decided to make it an audio adventure, Paul Finch was chosen to adapt the story into audio. Paul had done a remarkable job adapting `Leviathan', a Colin Baker story, into an audio adventure for Big Finish. Here he is again writing the Peter Davison Doctor with Nyssa and Tegan.

In the story, Tegan's former boyfriend Mike Bretherton goes missing. Whilst holidaying in Brisbane, Tegan tells the Doctor and Nyssa about Mike's disappearance and asks if they could find him. Readily agreeing, the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan investigate into Mike's disappearance eventually until the TARDIS takes them to the planet Luparis. The planet they've come across is strikingly like London during the Tudor Times which surprises the Doctor and his friends. They are eventually brought to the inner court of Queen Zafira who welcomes them. As the Doctor discovers more about Luparis and its people, he faces a tricky situation as Zafira has chosen him to be her next husband.

I really enjoyed listening to this audio story as Paul has written an intriguing adventure with lots of unusual concepts including an insect-like alien species taking on human form to live a new life on Luparis. It's quite complex in itself when exposition dialogue is given, but it's pretty intriguing. Also the idea of an alien planet looking like Tudor London is very appealing and helpful to people like Sarah recording the story and gives the listener a visual setting to reference from when following the story. I also like how Paul introduces Tegan's boyfriend Mike Bretherton and how he gets involved in the events of the story. We don't get to explore a lot of Tegan's relationship with Mike in full detail, but touches of it appeal throughout.

The Doctor in this story is pretty surprised when chosen as Zafira's husband as I'm sure many `Doctor Who' fans listening to this story would be. Peter as ever delivers a fine performance as the Doctor and his youthful energy shines throughout. At the beginning, the Doctor's watching cricket with Nyssa at the place they're staying in Brisbane. He shows concern for Nyssa following the traumatic events of `The Elite' and gradually agrees to help Tegan find her former boyfriend when they're investigating at his apartment and go to find him on the planet Luparis. The Doctor's Time Lord status impresses Zafira immediately as well his scientific knowledge that prompts her to make him her next husband. I like how the Doctor uncovers more of Luparis' past and shares a scientific knowledge and respect with Astorius who reveals about the Hexagora. The Doctor also gets into the swing of the action when fighting Lord Zellenger or Sergeant Zax during some sword fights. The Doctor manages to dodge the sword blows pretty amazingly, and gets to have the last line of humour before he leaves. The Doctor also gets to declare his happiness to marry Zafira for a cliff-hanger in `Part Three' as well as speaking out during the wedding ceremony against Zafira calling it farce.

Tegan gets a chance to have her character explored in this story and a completely new side is shown. I'm sure Janet enjoyed doing this story with the new character stuff to play with Tegan. Tegan is immediately concerned for the disappearance of her former friend Mike and is insistent the Doctor and Nyssa help her to find him. She's surprised when they come to Luparis to find it looking like Tudor London. She's put out when Zafria disregards her for not being lordly or ladylike like the Doctor and Nyssa are. Tegan's joy at seeing Mike again is short-lived when he doesn't recognise her and turns out to be Sergeant Zax. She gets even more shocked when the real Mike is inside an insect's body and she can't take it in. I like how Tegan's past is explored in this story and we find she did have a sort-of boyfriend in Mike when they were neighbours and went to school together. There's a tension between Tegan and Mike especially when he's an insect and she's surprised that he had fallen in love with him when they were young and she didn't notice. I like that last scene between Tegan and Mike when they say goodbye to each other and he offers her to have cans of beer on ice with him. I also like it when Tegan saves Mike from Lord Zellenger when he's about to execute him on the spot.

I really like Nyssa in this story played by Sarah. Nyssa is recovering from her traumatic ordeal during `The Elite' and enjoys the holiday she and her friends have in Brisbane. But Nyssa is willing to go and help Tegan find her friend Mike as they go off in the TARDIS. Nyssa's aristocratic side gets explored which I enjoyed, especially when they meet Queen Zafira and she gets the attention of Lord Jezzavar. Nyssa seems to enjoy expressing her aristocratic nature when staying at Zafira's inner court during this adventure. I really like the references to Traken and Nyssa's heritage as they're nice character touches on her history as well as her home planet. Sarah has said in the CD interviews that Nyssa's a snob in character terms from this adventure, but I'm inclined to disagree with her on that. A snob in my opinion is someone who looks down on people and thinks themselves superior. Nyssa certainly doesn't look down on people and in no way does she think herself superior to anybody like Romana or Hyacinth Bucket (`Bouquet' sorry) from `Keeping Up Appearances' does. Nyssa is asked by Lord Jezzavar to help him conspire against Zafira's rule on Luparis, which she cleverly uses to her advantage in order to stop what's happening with the Hexagora and reveals Jezzavar out into the open.

Toby Hadoke plays Mike Bretherton in this adventure. I really like Toby's performance in this audio adventure. Toby is well-known for his comedy stand-up shows `Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf' and `My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver' (which I've seen a live-performance of). Toby has also contributed to many `Doctor Who' DVD commentaries and documentaries and has done a number of previous Big Finish audios before this. He's also a huge `Doctor Who' fan. I like how Toby plays Mike and brings the Australian accent out of him since he's half-Australian apparently and gets to play a former flame of Tegan's which he plays to very well. Mike is a newspaper reporter who gets kidnapped during the events of this adventure. Toby also gets to play Sergeant Zax who looks exactly like Mike but doesn't have the Australian accent and doesn't recognise or know Tegan. Toby also gets to do an insect-like version of Mike when he's inside an insect's body, is tired and recognises Tegan when she and Nyssa come into the caves to find him. I've really enjoyed listening to Toby as Mike performance in this story as he gets to express his `Doctor Who' passion throughout as well as deliver a great acting performance. And I'm sure it's an honour for Toby to play Tegan's former boyfriend.

Jacqueline Peace appears in this story as Queen Zafira. I was delighted to hear Jacqueline's voice in this audio adventure. Jacqueline is well-known for playing Servalan in the BBC sci-fi series `Blake's 7' and has done a `Doctor Who' story before playing Chessene in `The Two Doctors' with Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton. Jacqueline has also done a number of Big Finish audios including the `The Fearmonger' with Sylvester McCoy and recently some audios for `Blake's 7'. I wish Jacqueline's portrait images on the CD cover for this story as well as the comic book images in the sleeve notes made her look as she was then in `Blake's 7' and `The Two Doctors' as she looks older compared to today. Queen Zafira rules Luparis with her subjects and has two husbands Lord Jezzavar and Lord Zellenger. But she now sets her sights on the Doctor who she wants to marry. Zafira is described as being gorgeous by Tegan. But she doesn't marry the men she chooses for love, as she prefers them for their social standing and intelligence and uses them in her rule over Luparis. The Doctor sees this in Zafira, although he keeps polite about it in order not to offend her until their wedding day. Zafira seems to disregard Zellenger who despite his love for her is banished from the inner court in the fourth episode of the story.

The rest of the supporting guest cast includes Richard Mark playing Lord Jeezavar, who seems charming and pleasant towards Nyssa but has a hidden agenda against Zafira. Dan Starkey, who is well known for playing the Sontarans both in TV and audio, is playing Lord Zellenger who loves Zafira passionately and is easily jealous when the Doctor is chosen to marry her and fights it out with him during a sword fight. Sean Brosnan plays Astorious who seems to know a lot about Zafira and her plans and willingly helps the Doctor in revealing the history of the Hexagora and find a way to save the abducted humans and send them back home to Earth.

Just to say as I mentioned before, I really like the comic-book like artwork for all the CD sleeve notes in the three Lost Stories with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. To see the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan's faces with guest characters in scenes depicting how the story would have looked for TV is pretty exciting and I wish they could do that for all the Big Finish audio stories they've done with the Peter Davison era. Sarah as Nyssa looks lovely in every photo she's in in the sleeve notes for `The Elite', `Hexagora' and `The Children of Seth'.

At the end of both CD discs, there are behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `Hexagora'. At the end of Disc 1, there are interviews conducted by David Richardson with writer Paul Finch, Toby Hadoke and Dan Starkey. At the end of Disc 2, there are more interviews with Paul and Toby as well as with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton, Jacqueline Pearce, Richard Mark, director Ken Bentley, etc, which I've enjoyed listening to. I like Janet and Sarah's comments about what the story would have looked like on TV and Janet suggesting they should go to Brisbane to film it and Sarah saying Big Finish can do anything with a big budget if they made it for telly.

I have enjoyed listening to `Hexagora' as an audio adventure with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. It's not so pacey as `The Elite' but it's full of intriguing ideas and concepts especially with the Hexagora creatures and having a Tudor London like setting on an alien planet. I like Tegan's character development in connection with her former flame Mike Bretherton. I like Nyssa's aristocratic nature being explored though I don't think it's well exploited enough and Nyssa is not a snob in my opinion. A really enjoyable audio adventure that I'm sure you'll enjoyed and a good one to add to your collection of `Doctor Who' Big Finish audios.

There's a coming soon trailer for the next Lost Story with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan called 'The Children of Seth'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2014 11:17 AM GMT


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