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I, Davros 4 - Guilt (Doctor Who S.)
I, Davros 4 - Guilt (Doctor Who S.)
by Scott Alan Woodard
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Davros - Part 4, 6 July 2015
"Men will be gods!"

Skaro is at a critical point in its history. The planet has been ravaged by war for far too long between the Kaleds and Thals. But Davros is about to make his move to secure the future of his people.

The fourth chapter of this mini-series called 'I, Davros' is the episode I was looking forward to the most. Not because this is the last episode, but this is the episode that links into 'Genesis of the Daleks' on TV. It's very gripping and exciting to listen to, as well as gruelling and disturbing.

This is a 2-disc set as Disc 1 contains the episode 'Guilt' and Disc 2 contains a 'Behind-The-Scenes' documentary on the making of the 'I, Davros' mini-series.

'Guilt' is by Scott Alan Woodward, who wrote the Sixth Doctor audio drama 'The Juggernauts' with Davros. Scott has done a fantastic job linking this last instalment of the 'I, Davros' to 'Genesis'.

This story sees Davros now wheel-bound and crippled following the previous instalment 'Corruption'. Davros still has his high rank of Chief Scientist of the Kaled people and continues work on his experiment to secure their future. But his crippled state affects his mind as well as his body.

Davros' experiments have caused more fear from the Kaled people including the Supremo and the Council of Twelve. But Davros is not willing to make compromises as he seeks to secure his future's people by turning them into the genetic mutation they are to become by exposure to radiation.

The Thals also fear Davros and in this episode they manage to capture him in a mission to take him away from his laboratories. Davros is betrayed by fellow scientist Ral (David Bickerstaff) when this happens. But the Supremo wants Davros back and sends a squad of soldiers to rescue him back.

Terry Molloy has excelled himself in this mini-series as Davros. He's now performing as Davros from the TV series and becoming more Dalek-like. If you've listened to the previous three stories, you can see Davros' growing madness in this one and how his status/position affects everyone around him.

Davros is now monster than man, and it's interesting and disturbing how crippled he can be. There are moments when he is out of his `wheelchair' when he's kidnapped by Thals and placed on a bio-bed. But Davros' strength is inside of him as his determination to carry out his experiments is strong.

Peter Miles appears as Lt. Nyder in this episode. Nyder is a character from 'Genesis of the Daleks'. He is sent by the Supremo to lead the squad to rescue Davros from the Thals. I was delighted to hear Nyder in this last instalment of the 'I, Davros' series and how he has his first meeting with Davros.

I liked and found it interesting how Davros and Nyder first meet each other and form a friendship with each other between scientist and soldier. Davros admires something in Nyder, and Nyder is clearly admiring of Davros and his work and gradually becomes loyal to him and works for him.

John Stahl returns as the Supremo in this last instalment of the 'I, Davros' series. The Supremo is older and clearly not liking what Davros does. Yet he sends Nyder and his troops to rescue him from the Thals. The Supremo realises how immoral Davros is and refuses to grant him his requests.

It's pretty disturbing in that scene when the Supremo refuses Davros' request for conducting experiments on the Kaled babies and Davros is outraged and makes a move against him. It's even more disturbing when Nyder walks in and follows Davros' orders instead of the Supremo's.

There is a dream sequence where Davros sees his mother Lady Calcula (Carolyn Jones) and his half-sister Yarvell (Lizzie Hopley). This reminds us how influential Davros' mother was to him.

There is a scene where Davros visits the incubation chamber and the Kaled/Dalek mutants are inside. It's harrowing to listen to those scenes where Davros visits the 'children' in the 'nursery'.

I'm very impressed with the sound design and music by Steve Foxon on all four episodes of the 'I, Davros' series. I'm really pleased to have heard the familiar sounds from 'Genesis of the Daleks'.

At the end of this episode, Davros and Nyder witness the beginnings of the first Dalek ever born. The Dalek mutant is inside the `Mark I' travel machine as it wakes up and Davros talks to it. It was pretty chilling and disturbing to listen to when the Dalek wakes up and declares, "I...AM...ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

'Guilt' is a fantastic finale to this mini-series. It explores Davros' beginnings and past very well before 'Genesis of the Daleks'. I'm pleased that this final episode matched my expectations and it features brilliant performances from both Terry Molloy as Davros and Peter Miles who returns as Nyder.

'BEHIND-THE-SCENES'
The bonus disc of this CD release contains a behind-the-scenes documentary looking into the making of the 'I, Davros' series with cast and crew interviews. It is narrated by Joseph Lidster.

The documentary starts by looking into the history of Davros on TV and in Big Finish audio before coming to the making of this spin-off series. There are interviews with Andrew Wisher (Michael Wisher's son); David Gooderson (Davros in 'Destiny of the Daleks') and Terry Molloy.

There are interviews with director Gary Russell, who has made a significant contribution to Big Finish 'Doctor Who' and this turned out to be his last project. There are also interviews with writers Gary Hopkins and James Parsons. Sadly Lance Parkin and Scott Alan Woodward aren't interviewed.

There are also interviews with the cast. As well as Terry Molloy, there's also Rory Jennings; Richard Franklin; Carolyn Jones; Andrew Wisher; Katarina Olsson; Sean Carlsen; Peter Miles; John Stahl, etc. All have made significant contributions to Big Finish before appearing in the 'I, Davros' series.

There are also interviews with Steve Foxon the music/sound designer of the 'I, Davros' series and with Stuart Manning who designed the CD covers for the four 'I, Davros' episodes.

An interesting question is raised at the end of the documentary about whether Davros is either mad; bad or misunderstood. I personally would say both mad and bad and not misunderstood.

At the end of the disc, there are trailers of other `Doctor Who' spin-off series. These include 'U.N.I.T.'; 'Cyberman'; 'Gallifrey' and 'Sarah Jane Smith'.

The 'I, Davros' mini-series has been exciting excursion into the 'Doctor Who' universe. I enjoyed listening to this spin-off series and exploring Davros' past. It's interesting how Davros became the monster he is today for before making his first meeting with a certain Time Lord from Gallifrey...

This is the end of this mini-series. But for Davros, this is just the beginning...

The next story for Davros is 'Genesis of the Daleks'.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 1:05 AM BST


I, Davros 3 - Corruption (Doctor Who S.)
I, Davros 3 - Corruption (Doctor Who S.)
by Lance Parkin
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Davros - Part 3, 4 July 2015
"Logically, the war ends with one form of life in utter control of the world..."

Davros has become well-established in the Science Elite on Skaro. But how will his actions affect the world for the Kaleds and Thals. Will it do any good? Will Davros' quest for power fail him?

The third chapter of this min-series, 'Corruption', is a grim and insightful episode on how Davros who now a scientist seeks his way on the road to gaining power. This episode features the beginnings of Davros gaining his highest position within Kaled society and becoming the monster we know him for.

This episode is by Lance Parkin, who wrote the Sixth Doctor audio drama 'Davros'. Lance knows Davros inside out from writing that audio and includes elements and characters from that story into this episode of the 'I, Davros' series. It develops on the ghastly choices Davros makes.

By this point, Davros continues his experiments on the mutation of the Kaled people and finding ways for his people to survive and destroy the Thals. But working with scientists and politicians doesn't make him popular and many fear him when he's determined to get what he wants.

Terry Molloy delivers a superb performance as Davros at this point in his life. He still uses his own natural voice as Davros, but there are times when he is so obsessive and passionate with what he wants that he begins to rant and raise his voice. The beginnings of his madness take place here.

Davros also becomes less sentimental when those die around him in the war, as he's more interested in science. When conducting experiments, Davros detaches himself from feelings and makes decisions to remove the rational aspects of the Kaled mutants which is pretty horrible.

Also in this episode, Davros claims to have no interest in politics within Kaled society as his interest for science overwhelms him. But Davros discovers that gaining power is the only way to get what he wants his experiments and he becomes persuasive and manipulative towards people in power.

Carolyn Jones returns as Lady Calcula. She is still a member of the Council of Twelve, and is keen to put forward new schemes to improve Kaled society. It was shocking to hear when Calcula suggests implementing teaching of warfare in Kaled schools and puts me in mind of the Hitler Youth Groups.

The relationship between Calcula and her son Davros has become strained. Where Calcula's interest is in politics; Davros is. But Calcula still wants the best for her son and for him to be in a position of power. Calcula is also interested in Davros' taste in women when seeing him with Scientist Shan.

Tragically, Calcula gets killed in this episode when she and her personal assistant Fenn are exposed to a massive dose of radiation. There's a farewell between her and son Davros before she dies. But Davros doesn't mourn for her mother as expected, as he begins horrible experiments on her.

The episode guest stars Katarina Olsson as Scientist Shan. Shan works with Davros along with Scientist Ral (David Bickerstaff) on his experiments on the mutation of the Kaled people. Both Davros and Shan work well and there's a possibility of a potential romance blossoming between them.

But as the episode progresses, Shan becomes increasingly unsure about Davros' experiments and is horrified when he's considering removing rational emotions from the Kaled mutants. Shan's anxiety leads her to talking to Councillor Valron and both try to find a way to end the war peacefully.

Sean Carlsen guest stars as Councillor Valron. Valron is a Kaled politician who sits in during meetings with the Supremo, Davros and Calcula. Varlon shows concern with Scientist Shan about Davros. He has affair with her which leads them both into trouble as they're both framed as traitors by Davros.

John Stahl returns as The Supremo. The Supremo becomes fearful of Davros when he's conducting his experiments. But when Davros learns of the Supremo's attempts to destroy his works, he coerces him give him complete control of the Scientific Elite and have Shan and Valron arrested as traitors.

The scenes where Davros is disappointed with Shan objecting to his work and he exposes as her a traitor to the Supremo was pretty gut-wrenching and disturbing. This is merely the beginning of Davros' cruelty as his power gaining plans corrupt him into becoming a ruthless dictator.

This episode is significant as we have the scene where Davros get caught in a terrible accident and becomes crippled and blinded. Davros is put in a life-support system as he loses his legs. This completes the transformation of Davros being the monster we know and loathe from the TV series.

Terry Molloy also gets to speak properly as Davros in becoming more Dalek-like. I'm very impressed with how Terry enhances Davros' character in this mini-series. Terry adds more layers to Davros every time I listen to him, and I'm looking forward to how Davros sounds in the final episode.

Again this episode is bookended with scenes with Davros put on trial by the Daleks on Skaro later on. I like how each episode of 'I, Davros' bookends with these scenes as they reflect on how Davros becomes the monster he will be. Again we have a preview of the next instalment of the series.

'Corruption' is a very significant episode of the 'I, Davros' series as it completes Davros' journey into becoming the wheel-bound monster. But this is only the beginning, as I look forward to finding out what Davros will do next in his new position of power and how he finally creates the Daleks.

Davros' future for the Kaleds will soon (in his image) set them up as gods...

The next story for Davros is 'I, Davros - Guilt'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2015 2:01 PM BST


I, Davros 2 - Purity (Doctor Who S.)
I, Davros 2 - Purity (Doctor Who S.)
by James Parsons
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Davros - Part 2, 3 July 2015
"Only my mother believed in me!"

Davros moves from childhood and goes into manhood. He approaches his thirtieth birthday. What decision will he make in his life? How it will affect his world and the Kaled race?

'Purity' is the second chapter in the `I, Davros'. After listening to the first episode 'Innocence' of this intriguing and very disturbing audio mini-series, I was keen to find out how Davros progresses in his life by this point. I was to discover that Davros makes decisions that are sickening and horrifying.

This second episode is by James Parsons and Andrew Stirling-Brown. This is a pretty different episode to the previous one as we see Davros now as a man and working in the military corps of the Kaleds. It also depicts Davros in the field as he goes on a dangerous mission within Thal territory.

Davros has done well for himself, but is now trying to get out of the Kaled military and get into the Scientific Corps. But to do that, the Supremo leader of the Kaleds sends Davros on a mission to discover/collect information on a Thal weapon. Davros takes it and discovers life lessons for himself.

It was nice to hear Terry Molloy proper as Davros. Beforehand, it was Rory Jennings who played a sixteen-year old boy Davros. Now Davros is a man, the real starring actor takes over. It's interesting that Terry uses his own voice as Davros before he gets deformed and sounding horrible as a Dalek.

This episode continues to explore Davros' past as well as the history of Skaro before its people ever heard of Daleks. The war between the Thals and Kaleds is still on-going and it's horrifying as no-one is willing to stop the fighting. There are mentions of people including the Tharons and Dals in this.

In the interim between as a young boy to being a man, Davros has been in the Kaled military for a while and works his way to become a scientist instead. He is given an opportunity by the Supremo to undertake a mission into Thal territory, before being sent home to spend time with his family.

I like the scenes where Davros reunites with his dysfunctional family including his mother and half-sister. It's interesting how flawed Davros' family life was and how his relationships with people including his mother and sister affect his decisions in becoming the man or monster later on.

Carolyn Jones returns as Lady Calcula. Calcula has now become a member of the Council of Twelve within Kaled society. She is besotted with Davros and thinks the world of him and neglects her daughter Yarvell terribly. Calcula is a woman who will do anything to secure her son's future.

The relationship between Davros and his mother is interesting. By this point in their relationship, they clearly share things in common with each other. It's pretty disturbing when they both agree that the Thals should be wiped out and the Kaleds will survive if Davros becomes a scientist.

Lizzie Hopley returns as Yarvell, Davros' half-sister. Yarvell is now a member of the peace activist movement on Skaro. Yarvell has become bitter towards her mother and brother. She's disgusted by Davros who wants to go into science to win the war for the Kaleds instead of stopping the war.

This episode guest stars Andrew Wisher as Tech-Ops Reston. Andrew is in real-life the son of Michael Wisher, the original Davros from 'Genesis of the Daleks'. Both Davros and Reston share an interesting friendship as they've worked and go on the mission together into Thal territory.

John Stahl guest stars as the Supremo, the leader of the Kaled people on Skaro. The Supremo is interesting as he's been checking on Davros and his work in the military field. He's chooses Davros on this mission to find out about this new Thal weapon, even if it means sending him to his death.

Peter Sowerbutts also returns as Tutor Magrantine, Davros' former teacher in 'Innocence'. Magrantine was horribly mutilated by Davros when he was younger. Now he's a wretch out on the wastelands on Skaro and is holding onto revenge before he meets Davros again during his mission.

Davros makes specific discoveries during his mission in the Wastelands and in Thal territory. Davros encounter lethal plants that he calls Vargas, which would feature in the 12-part Dalek story 'The Daleks' Master Plan'. Magrantine's mutation and others like him also become Mutos from 'Genesis'.

Davros also discovers more about the genetic mutation of the Kaled race and has ideas how to improve their make-up. This includes discovering hatred in his former tutor; race purity and superiority. Davros even kills his friend Reston when he discovers how weak he is which is horrible.

It turns out that Davros has been betrayed during his mission into Thal territory as one of the Thal officers recognised him. When Davros tells his mother this, Calcula suspects Yarvell leaked the information. This leads into a brutal scene where Calcula drowns Yarvell in their swimming pool.

I found it horrifying when Davros discovers his sister Yarvell is dead from his mother and begins to conduct experiments on his sister. This leads into how Davros makes his beginnings in altering the genetic make-up of the Kaled race as they would go onto to become the Dalek mutant creatures.

This episode like before in the previous episode is bookended with scenes set later on where Davros is on trial by the Daleks. It's interesting how Davros relates what he remembers from his past to the Daleks, and we have a preview of what's to come next in the next instalment of the 'I, Davros' series.

'Purity' is an extraordinary continuation of this insight and exploration into Davros' past. I find how bleak and gruelling this story of Davros' life was like. Terry Molloy delivers a brilliant performance as Davros and I look forward to how his journey progresses in the next two episodes of this series.

The hints of Davros' creation of the Daleks are getting closer than before.

The next story for Davros is 'I, Davros - Corruption'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2015 1:56 PM BST


I, Davros 1 - Innocence (Doctor Who S.)
I, Davros 1 - Innocence (Doctor Who S.)
by Gary Hopkins
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Davros - Part 1, 2 July 2015
"Nothing dies of old age on Skaro!"

"Who is this Davros?" the Fourth Doctor asked. "Our greatest scientist!" Nyder replied in 'Genesis of the Daleks'. But how did it all start? Where did it all start? When? What happened in the beginning?

This is the first episode of a four-part mini-series featuring the Kaled scientist who created the Daleks on Skaro. 'I, Davros' is a fascinating min-series produced by Big Finish starring Terry Molloy. I've just started listening to this mini-series and was keen to find out more about Davros' origins.

Davros has and always will be one of the greatest baddies in 'Doctor Who'. Since his first appearance in 'Genesis', Davros has terrified the nation with his ideology and his obsessive race hatred in creating the Daleks. So it was interesting that Big Finish managed to explore Davros' beginnings.

Each of the four episodes is over an hour long and are all directed by Gary Russell, who has done some superb directorial duties on many `Doctor Who' audio adventures.

'I, Davros' begins with Davros put on trial by the Daleks on Skaro after he was taken from Necros in 'Revelation of the Daleks'. It's interesting to hear how the series starts with Davros on trial by the Daleks and he recollects how it began for him years ago on Skaro before he created the Daleks.

The first episode is called 'Innocence' by Gary Hopkins. I like how Gary begins this series with this first episode, as we find out what Davros was like as a young boy before he grew up and became the monster in later life. This series is set before the events of 'Genesis of the Daleks' happened.

The Kaleds and the Thals are at war with each on Skaro. No side is winning. No one knows how this war even started. No one even cares. Yet within the house of a wealthy family of Kaled society, a young sixteen-year-old boy named Davros will grow up to do great things, whether by his will or not.

Terry Molloy doesn't feature much in this episode as Davros as he appears in the bookended scenes when he's on trial by the Daleks. In this episode, the young Davros is played by Rory Jennings. Rory delivers an interesting performance as the young Davros from being innocent to not so later on.

It was interesting to discover that Davros came from a wealthy family where his father was a Kaled colonel; his mother was a member of the Kaled House of Congress and his sister was part of the military youth. Everyone has high expectations of Davros, but he has other ideas to do with his life.

It was eerie to hear Rory Jennings as the young Davros who distances himself from his family and has his own scientific interests. When no-one's interested in what Davros wants, he makes to assert himself and get his own way. But he does it with such quietness and calm throughout the story.

Richard Franklin guest stars as Colonel Nasgard, Davros' stepfather. Richard is well-known to 'Doctor Who' fans as Captain Mike Yates from the Jon Pertwee era. So it was quite a surprise to hear him in this audio adventure as somebody else, but a welcome one too and he gives a great performance.

Nasgard is senior member of the Military Elite of the Kaled people. When Davros tells his stepfather he wants to be a scientist, Nasgard dismisses it as he wants his stepson to go into the military and be a soldier. It turns out Nasgard isn't Davros' biological father and he gets killed in a terrible accident.

Carolyn Jones guest stars as Lady Calcula, Davros' mother. Calcula is a devious, scheming woman who wants her son to be a scientist but for her own selfish reasons. Calcula is pretty cold especially when unable to mourn for Nasgard's death and determined to have Major Brogan killed as a traitor.

Lizzie Hopley guest stars as Yarvell, Davros' half-sister. Yarvell doesn't get on well with his half-brother Davros, especially as he's more favoured by his mother than her. Yarvell tries to impress by going in the military, but is appalled by her mother and when Davros conducts horrible experiments.

The guest cast also includes Richard Grieve as Major Brogan; Sean Connolly as Councillor Quested; Rita Davies as Tashek and Peter Sowerbutts as Tutor Magarantine. It turns out that Quested is actually Davros' biological father and Magarantine tutors Davros in some interesting experiments.

The story gets interesting when Davros takes an interest in conducting experiment involving radiation affecting people and mutating them. There's a horrible scene when the young Davros locks Magarantine inside a chamber and exposing him to radiation causing him to mutate horribly.

All these things become significant to Davros in later life, especially when it transpires how many people influenced him like his mother Calcula and his tutor Magarantine. Davros' cruelty develops making him less innocent, especially when he kills his real biological father Quested in cold blood.

The episode ends with a scene on Skaro years later when Davros is on trial by the Daleks. After listening to the main part of the episode, I found it interesting to discover more about Davros' past. There are glimpses of things to come, as teasers are previewed from future episodes of 'I, Davros'.

'Innocence' is a great opening episode to the 'I, Davros' series. I was expecting to find it slow-going when listening to this series. But by the second half it gets more interesting, and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next as Davros continues his ambition to become a great scientist.

Will Davros secure the longevity of his people? Who knows?

The next story for Davros is 'I, Davros - Purity'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2015 7:42 AM BST


Doctor Who: The War Machines [DVD]
Doctor Who: The War Machines [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Price: £6.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "DOC...TOR...WHO...IS...RE...QUIRED", 1 July 2015
This is a thrilling, exciting story from the William Hartnell era of 'Doctor Who'.

'The War Machines' is the final story in Harntell's third season as the Doctor. I immensely enjoyed this story when I bought the DVD in August, 2008 when on holiday in Scotland. William Hartnell is at his best in this story and this could have been his final adventure before he left 'Doctor Who'.

This four-part story by Ian Stuart Black was based on an idea by scientific advisor Kit Pedler (who would co-create the Cybermen). The story was inspired by focusing on the newly-built Post Office Tower in 1966. It's a story full of swinging sixties atmosphere and fab nostalgia throughout.

The TARDIS arrives in London in the 1960s and the Doctor and Dodo visit the Post Office Tower. There is housed a powerful computer called WOTAN that intends to take over the world. The Doctor intends to stop WOTAN and its War Machines with the help of new companions Ben and Polly.

This story was the first time I became aware of the Post Office Tower in London (now called the BT Tower). A month after I saw 'The War Machines', I visited London on a day trip and saw the BT Tower on a bus tour. I took photos of the tower with a camera and was impressed by how tall it was.

I like that this story is set in contemporary London on Earth during the 1960s when this was made. It brings a sense of familiarity and earthbound atmosphere to the story. The Doctor would be brought back to modern Earth on more than on occasion especially during the 70s and the 21st century.

This story is heavily influenced by a science-fiction concept about a supercomputer in the Post Office Tower taking over humanity in London. It was clear that 'Doctor Who' was moving away from the William Hartnell into the Patrick Troughton era. But it's still very gripping and enjoyable to watch.

William Hartnell delivers a brilliant performance as the Doctor. The Doctor is at his best here as he instantly becomes curious about the Post Office Tower and WOTAN. He clearly suspects something goes wrong with WOTAN and is clearly concerned about his companions when they get into trouble.

I like it when the Doctor gets on well with Sir Charles Summer and has more scenes in the story's action when dealing with the War Machines and working out how to stop them. The scenes where the Doctor stands before a War Machine coming towards him and trapping it are inspirational.

This story sadly features the last appearance of Jackie Lane as Dodo Chaplet, who I feel has been badly treated in her exit. I didn't know Dodo that well and wasn't aware how unpopular her character was in the series. Dodo doesn't get a proper farewell scene with the Doctor which is sad.

Dodo has a bad time as she gets taken over by WOTAN's influence and is used to bring the Doctor to the Post Office Tower. This she fails and the Doctor soon discovers that Dodo has been hypnotised. I like that scene where the Doctor breaks Dodo out of her trance by sending her to sleep and forget.

Going back to the Doctor, there's a moment when WOTAN tries to take over his mind when he calls the Post Office Tower on the phone. William Hartnell delivers an amazing performance when resisting the computer's influence and it turns out he hasn't been affected since he's not human.

This story introduces two new companions to the series: Anneke Wills as Polly Wright and Michael Craze as Ben Jackson. I'm pleased I've seen this, their first story together as most of their stories are wiped from the BBC Archives. This is a shame as I really like their introduction in this story.

Polly is a young blonde girl of the swinging sixties and who Ben calls 'Duchess'. She's secretary to Professor Brett at the Post Office Tower. Polly has a cheeky and bubbly attitude; but is really very friendly and gets on well with Dodo. She takes her to the Inferno nightclub where they first met Ben.

Ben is a young cockney sailor that Polly and Dodo meet at the Inferno nightclub. Ben is cheered up by Polly out of his sour mood and the two become good friends. Ben also turns out to be very reliable as he helps the Doctor when saving Polly and stopping the War Machines attacking London.

The story's guest cast includes William Mervyn as Sir Charles Summer. I've seen William Mervyn in the BBC sitcom 'All Gas and Gaiters'. It was a delight to see him in a 'Doctor Who' story and playing a serious character. Sir Charles helps the Doctor when dealing with WOTAN and the War Machines.

There's also John Harvey as Professor Brett; who is in charge of the WOTAN computer; John Cater as Professor Krimpton who helps Brett with WOTAN; Alan Curtis as Major Green, Brett's chief of security at the Post Office Tower and Sandra Bryant as Kitty, who works at the Inferno nightclub.

Of course the main guest star is WOTAN itself. WOTAN stands for Will Operating Through ANalogue. I don't understand the logic of how WOTAN comes to take over people's minds and knowing what TARDIS stands for. WOTAN is a super-intelligent and ginormous computer when taking over.

In certain parts of the story, WOTAN and characters like Brett and Krimpton refer to the Doctor as Dr Who. This is odd as the Doctor isn't called Dr Who in all of his stories and is simply referred to as the Doctor. When WOTAN demands, "DOC...TOR...WHO...IS...RE...QUIRED", it's got a pretty creepy voice.

There are also the War Machines built by the humans under orders from WOTAN. These machines are supposed to take over London and the whole world by destroying humanity. I found these War Machines rather clunky; huge and laughable at times and didn't match to the menace of the Daleks.

At the end of the story, the Doctor defeats WOTAN and the War Machines at the Post Office Tower. After Ben and Polly tell him that Dodo is staying on Earth; the Doctor heads off into his TARDIS. But Ben and Polly follow him inside as they've got the TARDIS key. What will happen next, I wonder?

The DVD special features are as follows. There is a 'Now and Then' featurette looking at the locations of 'The War Machines'. There is also a 'Blue Peter' compilation of clips that I enjoyed. There is also 'One Foot In The Past' with politician Tony Benn at the BT Tower which was interesting.

There is a 'WOTAN Assembly' featurette focusing on the re-mastering of the DVD, narrated by Anneke Wills. There is also a 'coming soon' trailer for the next 'Doctor Who' DVD release called 'Battlefield' with Sylvester McCoy.

There is a commentary with Anneke Wills and director Michael Ferguson. There is an info-text commentary option; a photo gallery and PDF materials including a Radio Times Listings of the story and a War Machine Design Plan. There is also an 'Easter Egg' to look out for on this DVD.

'The War Machines' is definitely an enjoyable adventure of 'Doctor Who'. This features a good introduction to Ben and Polly and William Hartnell is at his best as the Doctor. It's a shame this story couldn't have been his swansong as there are some terrific scenes that make his Doctor heroic.

The next story for the Doctor, Ben and Polly is 'The Smugglers'.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 2:38 PM BST


Daleks Among Us (Doctor Who)
Daleks Among Us (Doctor Who)
by Alan Barnes
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Davros and the Daleks with the Doctor, Klein and Will, 1 July 2015
The final adventure of this Klein trilogy with the Seventh Doctor and the Daleks are back!

'Daleks Among Us' is a four-part adventure by Alan Barnes, starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor; Tracey Childs as Elizabeth Klein and Christian Edwards as Will Arrowsmith. I enjoyed listening to this adventure. It's pretty complex, but it's got Daleks in it and also the return of Davros that is fantastic!

In this story, the Doctor, Klein and Will return to where they last where in 1945 from 'Persuasion' before being diverted to Garundel's Galactic auction in 'Starlight Robbery'. They hope to find the real Kurt Schalk who turns out to be Hinterberger. But as they return, the Daleks are waiting for them.

The Doctor, Klein and Will escape in the TARDIS which takes them to the planet Azimuth. There the Daleks hide in secret and the TARDIS team find the word 'Dalek' is a dangerous word to use in the alien city. The Daleks want the Persuasion machine and it turns out that Davros is on Azimuth too.

If there's one aspect of 'Doctor Who' that excites people it's Daleks. Sylvester McCoy's Doctor faced the metal monsters on TV in 'Remembrance Of The Daleks' and has had a fair share of Dalek stories on audio including 'The Genocide Machine' and 'Enemy of the Daleks'. Here he is facing them again!

Nicholas Briggs provides the voices of the Dalek again in this audio adventure. I was pleased to hear them in this audio adventure. Although I have to say, the Daleks and Davros aren't prominent in this story as I would have liked since most of it focuses on Klein; Schalk and the Persuasion machine.

I was excited when I heard Terry Molloy was reprising his role as Davros in this audio adventure. Terry has played Davros before in other Big Finish audios with Colin Baker. This marks the first time Terry as Davros faces Sylvester McCoy's Doctor again in audio since 'Remembrance of the Daleks'.

Terry as ever delivers a chilling, menacing performance as Davros and adds more layers to the character than previous adventures. It's interesting how Davros managed to survive the events of 'Remembrance' and it was great to hear Sylvester's Doctor facing him and having scenes with him.

The world of Azimuth is interesting as it was once great but is now ruined by the Daleks. The people of Azimuth refuse to acknowledge the word 'Dalek' as it is like a swear word and is referred to as 'the D word'. This gets the Doctor, Klein and Will into trouble when they mention the word 'Dalek'.

There was interesting point about Azimuth's history as there is a 'naked' liberty statue shaped in the image of Ace, the Seventh Doctor's companion. This made me wonder whether the Doctor and Ace been to Azimuth before and had I missed a previous adventure. Perhaps it's not been made yet.

Sylvester McCoy delivers an engaging performance as the Doctor here. It's interesting how the Doctor is so secretive and manipulative with his companions, especially Klein. I like how he works out the connections between the Daleks and Schalk and his scenes with Davros are sensational.

Tracey Childs equally delivers a sensational performance as Klein and I feel I know more about her from these audios. Klein knows that the Doctor is hiding something from her and wants to find out what it is. More of Klein's history is revealed as she travels in the TARDIS back to Germany, 1945.

Tracey also gets to play another character in this story, as she plays Klein's German mother, Elizabeth Volkenrath. It was interesting hearing Tracey in a full German accent as her mother. There were times I thought Klein had been converted into a full-Nazi again and there was a twist to this.

Christian Edwards gives a good performance as Will Arrowsmith. It's interesting how Alan Barnes envisages Will as a male Jo Grant. Had I known that, I would have got a better grasp of the character. But Will is interesting and he has momemts of shock horror when meeting Davros and the Daleks.

This story features the return of Jonathan Forbes as Hinterberger, who turns out to be the real Kurt Schalk. Schalk turns out to be in charge of the Daleks on Azimuth. It's quite unnerving as there is a Nazi in charge of the Daleks, as both are similar in terms of ideals of race purity and superiority.

Davros has two `children' of his who call him 'Father'. They are Falkus (Tim Delap) and Qaren (Jessica Brooks), who Davros influences with a hypnotic suggestion. It turns out they're not as they appear as one of them happens to be the Supreme Dalek inside. Who could it be then, hey?

This story also features the return of Paul Chahidi as the Shepherd, who was in the first story of the trilogy 'Persuasion'. The Shepherd is released by Will who hopes may of help to rescue Klein when connected to the Persuasion machine. But releasing the Shepherd may not have been a good idea.

Yes that's right! Klein gets connected to the Persuasion machine by Schalk. Both the Supreme Dalek and Davros try to make Klein destroy the people of Azimuth by telling them to stop. But Klein is stronger and manages to 'stop' the Daleks instead. But as a result, Klein dies. Or has she?

It turns out it wasn't Klein connected the Persuasion machine at all. It was her mother all along. The Doctor and Will discover this and go back in time to 1945 to rescue Klein from imprisonment by the Russians. This means that this isn't the end for Klein and that there are more stories to tell with her.

Davros also manages to escape as he gets into a Dalek Time Capsule to get away from Azimuth. But Davros' escape plan backfires as he finds himself in a strange eerie world where he can't escape. Does this mean the end of Davros? Surely not! I'm sure Davros will return to haunt the Doctor again.

I've enjoyed 'Daleks Among Us' very much. This hasn't been the best trilogy of stories with Klein, but there are aspects that I've enjoyed from it. The new TARDIS team of the Doctor, Klein and Will doesn't seem to have stopped and they may well return to have more adventures. Who knows?

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there is a trailer for '1963: Fanfare For The Common Men' with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew to enjoy!

The next story for the Doctor is 'The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 12:25 AM BST


Starlight Robbery (Doctor Who)
Starlight Robbery (Doctor Who)
by Matt Fitton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sontarans and Garundel with the Doctor, Klein and Will, 30 Jun. 2015
This is the second story in the trilogy with the Seventh Doctor, Elizabeth Klein and Will Arrowsmith!

'Starlight Robbery' is a four-part adventure by Matt Fitton and is really exciting. I enjoyed this story and found it better than the previous adventure 'Persuasion'. Not only does it feature the Doctor, Klein and Will, but it also features the Sontarans along with the slippery, slimy crook Garundel.

This story continues where 'Persuasion' finished, as the Doctor, Klein and Will are on the search for Kurt Schalk and his Persuasion machine. The TARDIS takes them to a secret arms auction of Garundel Galactic. There they find the Sontarans who have also come for the Persuasion machine too.

This story is written in the style of a heist movie as intended by writer Matt Fitton. I haven't seen many heist movies really, but I can sense the fast-paced atmosphere of them. This story is certainly fast-paced and grips you into how the Doctor and friends come face to face with the baddies.

During this adventure, the Doctor sends Klein and Will on a mission to steal the Persuasion machine during Garundel's auction. All isn't plain sailing, as Klein and Will's disguises aren't conspicuous as the Doctor intended and he goes off to rescue them when the Sontarans and Garundel are involved.

Stuart Milligan (from 'The Impossible Astronaut'/'Day of the Moon') returns as Garundel. Garundel appeared in 'Doctor Who' before in the story 'Black and White'. It's nice to hear a returning character from a previous Big Finish audio with references from 'Black and White' in this one.

Garundel is an amusing and menacing character to listen to when making dodgy deals. Stuart clearly relishes the dialogue he's given as Garundel. Sometimes his high-pitched American accent comes across strongly in his performance, but it's very effective for this wretched toad-like being.

It's interesting how Garundel managed to acquire the Persuasion machine and preserve the seeming body of Kurt Schalk at his galactic auction. The Doctor tries to avoid running into Garundel, having met him before. Garundel soon meets the Doctor and uses him for what he wants at gunpoint.

I was thrilled to hear the Sontarans in a Seventh Doctor audio adventure. This marks this as the first audio story for Sylvester's Doctor to face the Sontarans. Sylvester never faced the Sontarans on TV and it's great to know his Doctor did face them in audio and books including 'Shakedown'.

Dan Starkey provides the voices for all the Sontarans in this story. Dan plays the Sontarans for both TV and audio in 'Doctor Who'. Dan's a great multi-talented actor as he provides distinct voices for three Sontaran characters. You can never tell that the Sontarans are all voiced by one actor.

The Sontarans have also come to Garundel's Galactic auction to get the Persuasion machine. I like how the Sontarans remark on their code of conduct. Some of the Sontarans' lines are funny, including the one where they sent young clone warriors into battle and they never returned.

Sylvester McCoy is terrific as the Doctor in this adventure. The Doctor takes a backseat as he lets Klein and Will do all the work in stealing the Persuasion machine at Garundel's auction. He is forced into the action when threatened by Garundel and shows concern when Klein and Will are in trouble.

Tracey Child equally delivers a brilliant performance as Klein. Klein agrees for her and Will to carry out the Doctor's plans for committing this robbery of the Persuasion machine. Klein goes under a different alias and forms an interesting connection and has some great scenes with the Sontarans.

Christian Edwards is pretty good as Will Arrowsmith. He's still a bumbling young man under the influence of Dr Klein, but he's willing to help out with the Doctor's plans. Will manages to get inside the vault where the Persuasion machine is and forms a fancy for a blue-skinned girl called Ziv.

The cast also includes Jo Woodcock as Ziv, who is Garundel's secretary at the auction. Ziv is a blue-skinned alien called a Gadolaxian and seems to be a sweet-talking girl that Will takes a shine to. But Ziv turns out to be more than she appears and Garundel callously kills her which was a shock for me.

The story introduces a new species of alien called the Krellorans. They're a race of vicious giant lizards. They're led by Krakenmother Banarra (played by Lizzie Roper). The Krakenmother doesn't like the Sontarans very much as she calls them 'vermin' and even tries to kill Klein at one point.

There are number of revelations revealed in 'Part Four'. It turns out the Schalk in 'Persuasion' wasn't Schalk at all and it happens to be Hinterberger from that same story. Also Garaundel turns out to be working for a race of monsters that are far terrible than the Sontarans. Who could they be, hey?

'Starlight Robbery' is a great action-packed adventure with the Doctor, Klein and Will that I enjoyed. I wondered what was going to happen next as the Doctor, Klein and Will still continue to look for Schalk. It turns out that Schalk has some connection to Klein as being a relative of hers. Intriguing!

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy! At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. These include Sylvester McCoy; Tracey Childs; Christian Edwards; Stuart Milligan; Dan Starkey; director Ken Bentley, etc.

There is a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Klein and Will called 'Daleks Among Us'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 12:06 AM BST


Persuasion (Doctor Who)
Persuasion (Doctor Who)
by Jonathan Barnes
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor reunites with Elizabeth Klein with Will Arrowsmith, 29 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Persuasion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
'Persuasion' is the title of one of Jane Austen's novels.

It is also the title of this four-part 'Doctor Who' audio story by Jonathan Barnes. This is the first of a trilogy of stories starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor with Tracey Childs as Elizabeth Klein. If you're not familiar with the previous Klein stories, then I suggest listen to those first before this one.

The Doctor comes back into Klein's life once again, where she is a scientific advisor to U.N.I.T. Klein re-joins the Doctor in the TARDIS. But they're not alone as they're joined by Klein's assistant Will Arrowsmith. The new trio embark on a journey to find Kurt Schalk and his Persuasion machine.

Klein made her first appearance in 'Doctor Who' before in 'Colditz'. Since then, she had adventures with the Doctor including 'A Thousand Tiny Wings'; 'Survival of the Fittest' and 'The Architects of History'. She last met the Doctor with Raine Creevy in the epic story 'U.N.I.T.: Dominion'.

It was interesting to hear Klein again for this new trilogy of Seventh Doctor audios, as he's still keeping watch on her and needs her for these adventures. She wonders why Raine isn't with the Doctor now, but it turns out she isn't travelling with him anymore by this point which is interesting.

This story of course takes place towards the end of the Seventh Doctor's life before he regenerates in 'The TV Movie'. It's interesting how Jonathan Barnes interprets Sylvester's Doctor by this point who planning to make things easier for his eighth self, knowing he won't be manipulative as he is.

Jonathan Barnes has written for 'Doctor Who' before as he wrote 'The Interplanetarian' story for '1001 Nights' with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I enjoyed that story very much and was well-written. But I'm afraid I found his four-part story for the Seventh Doctor and Klein rather disappointing.

Not meaning to disrespect Jon Barnes' writing; but I found this story a struggle to listen to. It has a good start with the Doctor reuniting with Klein and meeting Will Arrowsmith. But I got lost in the plot sometimes and it wasn't exciting enough with regard to Schalk and the Persuasion machine.

Also the first three episodes begin with prologues and the fourth episodes ends with an epilogue featuring the Shepherd and Shepherdess. I couldn't really follow these sequences and didn't understand the point of them. When listening to the Doctor, Klein and Will it was easier to listen to.

This story takes us to three distinct places for the adventure with the Doctor, Klein and Will. The story starts in London where Klein and Will discover the Doctor. When they join the Doctor in the TARDIS, they head off to Dusseldorf, Germany and an island in Greece in 1945 to find Schalk.

Sylvester McCoy delivers a sensational performance as the Doctor. It's interesting how he continues to be manipulative even towards the end of his life. He has some interesting scenes with Klein and seems to like Will. He manages to outwit the Shepherd and Shepherds when he's two Doctors.

Tracey Childs is great to listen to as Klein. Klein was once a Nazi before her timeline was changed by the Doctor. She still doesn't trust the Doctor and suspects he's not telling her the truth. She tolerates Will's persistent inquisitiveness and it was interesting to find her back in Germany in 1945.

Christian Edwards makes his first appearance as Will Arrowsmith, Klein's assistant. Will is an interesting character who is a bit of a nerd and wants to impress Klein. He tends to be annoying when recording on his Dictaphone, but he's loyal and has admirable qualities when helping out.

This story guest stars David Sibley as Kurt Schalk, a German scientist that the Doctor, Klein and Will try to find. David (who I've met) appeared as Pralix in the 'Doctor Who' story 'The Pirate Planet'. Schalk becomes a significant in this story and the trilogy as he created the Persuasion machine.

There's also Jonathan Forbes as Lukas Hinterberger. He's a Nazi that the Doctor, Klein and Will meet in Dusseldorf, Germany. Jon Forbes has done a number of 'Doctor Who' audios before for Big Finish. He turns out to be a friend of Schalk and seems to recognise Klein as someone he knows.

There's also the Shepherd and the Shepherdess (played by Paul Chahidi and Miranda Raison), who come from another dimension looking Schalk and his Persuasion machine. Miranda has appeared in 'Doctor Who' before both in TV and audio and has played Constance, companion of the Sixth Doctor.

The Shepherd and Shepherdess are rather strange beings that speak in Shakespearean language (iambic pentameter) and kill those who they think are insignificant. I don't really understand these creatures as I found them a struggle to listen to especially in those prologue and epilogue scenes.

There was a moment in the story that I found mind-boggling and amazing to listen to. The Doctor tricks the Shepherd and Shepherdess as he materialises his TARDIS around their world in space. This was quite astonishing to imagine - the TARDIS around a whole planet. That's incredible to imagine!

I was unhappy with the ending of this story. I felt unsatisfied that I didn't grasp the whole plot and there were questions left unanswered. But of course this story is the beginning of a linked trilogy as the Doctor; Klein and Will head off in the TARDIS to continue looking for Schalk wherever he is.

'Persuasion' is a very average tale and not the best I've listened to with the Seventh Doctor. It starts the trilogy off and reintroduces the Doctor and Klein with Will very well. But I found it a struggle to listen to and couldn't grab the entire plot. I hope I'll enjoy the next two stories in the trilogy.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there's a suite of incidental music. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. These include Sylvester McCoy; Tracey Childs; Christian Edwards; writer Jonathan Barnes and executive producer Nicholas Briggs.

The next story for the Doctor, Klein and Will is 'Starlight Robbery'.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 12:00 AM BST


Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Re-issue) [DVD] [1978]
Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Re-issue) [DVD] [1978]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: £25.20

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quest For The Key To Time Begins, 29 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is for the lovely Mary Tamm, the noblest Romana of them all.

This is one of my favourite seasons from the Tom Baker era of 'Doctor Who'. I love 'The Key To Time' season (Season 16). It was true bliss for me when I watched it for my birthday in 2009. This DVD box set comprises six stories with a linking theme for the quest of the Key to Time which I enjoyed.

This season stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and features Mary Tamm as Romana. I enjoyed the character relationships between the Doctor and Romana that was developed in this season. I also enjoyed the 'treasure hunt' quest atmosphere of this season, as it's very engaging to watch.

The six stories are as follows; 'The Ribos Operation'; 'The Pirate Planet'; 'The Stones of Blood'; 'The Androids of Tara'; 'The Power of Kroll' and 'The Armageddon Factor'. The six stories range from fantasy, comedy; horror and good action adventure and are exciting in their own right.

1. 'THE RIBOS OPERATION'
The first story is by Robert Holmes and is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. It starts with the Doctor summoned by the White Guardian (Cyril Luckham) who chooses to search for the Key to Time.

The Key to Time is a crystal cube, divided into six segments. When combined the key maintains the balance of time. The Doctor reluctantly agrees to do this mission and is joined by a new companion.

This story features Mary Tamm's first appearance as Romanadvoratrelundar. The Doctor finds her name too long. He calls her Romana instead. She doesn't like it. But it's either Romana or Fred.

I love Mary Tamm's performance as Romana. Mary delivers a cool, gracious and glamorous presence as the Time Lady companion. She's the Doctor's equal, but they clash and don't get on well at first.

The Doctor and Romana use a tracer to locate the six segments. They look for the first segment taking them to the planet Ribos. Ribos is an ice, snowy planet that is medieval-like in appearance.

This story is set on an alien planet, but the atmosphere feels like a historical adventure. This story tends to be slow, but it starts off 'The Key To Time' season nicely as the Doctor and Romana start.

Tom Baker delivers a stupendous performance as the Doctor. I like the Doctor's casual manner in this story. He finds it difficult to get on with Romana and I love the sparkly dialogue between them.

K-9, the Doctor's pet robotic dog is loveable as always (voiced by John Leeson). K-9 gets summoned by his `master' when called to help. I like the scenes between K-9 and Romana in the catacombs.

The guest cast includes Iain Cuthbertson as Garron and Nigel Plaskitt as Unstoffe. These two are a pair of conmen who try to sell jethrik to an unstable, glory-seeking, warlord.

This warlord is Paul Seed as Graff Vynda-K and he's joined by Robert Keegan as Sholakh. I feel that Paul Seed gives an over-the-top performance as Vynda-K and I can't take him seriously.

There's also Timothy Bateson (who I've seen in 'The Good Life' and 'Ever Decreasing Circles') as Binro. The scene between Binro and Unstoffe talking about other worlds is very touching.

There's also Anne Tirard as the Seeker and Prentis Hancock as the Shrieve Captain.

The first Key to Time segment turns out to be disguised as the gemstone jethrik that Garron and Unstoffe try to sell. The Doctor and Romana get it and have five segments left to go.

The DVD special features are as follows. There's 'A Matter of Time' documentary looking into the Graham Williams era of 'Doctor Who' and the making-of documentary called 'The Ribos File'. There are also continuity announcements for 'The Ribos Operation' and a Season 16 trailer.

There's a commentary with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm and an info text commentary option. There's also a photo gallery and a Radio Times Listings PDF of the story.

'The Ribos Operation' is a nice start to 'The Key To Time' season. It's not the most exciting story in the season, but it's a nice introduction for Romana as the new companion for the Doctor.

Take a side-step adventure with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 in 'Tomb of Valdemar'.

2. 'THE PIRATE PLANET'
The second story is by Douglas Adams and is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is a wacky, bonkers and mind-boggling story from 'The Key to Time' season and is one of my favourites.

This is Douglas Adams' first contribution to 'Doctor Who' before he became script-editor of the series. Douglas is well-known as the author of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' and the 'Dirk Gently' novels. Here he delivers a story full of mad ideas and laugh-out-loud humour.

The Doctor; Romana and K9 head for the planet Calufrax to collect the second segment of the Key to Time. But when they end up on Zanak and come up against the menace of a loud Pirate Captain.

I always enjoy the stories by Douglas Adams. I love his humour and even though the science stuff's beyond me, he comes up with some fantastic ideas. My favourite story of his is 'City of Death'.

I like the ideas in this story about a planet devouring other planets and mining for its minerals. The effects are impressive including the particle acceleration corridors; the air cars and holo-projection.

This story almost never got made as Graeme MacDonald, the Head of BBC Drama, said this 'won't do'. But director Pennant Roberts was determined to make this work and it was very brave of him.

I really like Tom Baker's Doctor and Mary Tamm's Romana. Romana control of the TARDIS and giving out jelly babies to people in the streets and the Doctor getting annoyed with her were hilarious.

Tom Baker clearly loves Douglas Adams' lines. I enjoyed watching Tom's Doctor in this one, as he's so bonkers and funny. That scene where he's angry with the Pirate Captain was mesmerising.

Mary Tamm does well as Romana too. I love it when she's not bothered by guards threatening her or being intimidated by the Pirate Captain. Romana gets to explain things as well as the Doctor.

K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) shines here. I like it when K-9 tries to tell the Doctor that Romana's been arrested but the Doctor won't listen to him. K-9's fight with the robot parrot a defining moment.

Bruce Purchase guest stars as the Pirate Captain. The Captain is very funny to watch as he shouts a lot; insults people and has his own robot parrot. But the Captain's shouting isn't all it appears.

The rest of the guest cast includes Andrew Robertson as Mr Fibuli; Rosalind Lloyd as the Nurse; David Warwick as Kimus; David Sibley as Pralix and Primi Townsend as Mula.

It turns out that the planet Calufrax happens to be the second segment of the Key to Time.

The DVD special features are as follows. There's the making-of documentary called 'Parrot Fashion' with cast and crew interviews and there are film inserts; deleted scenes & outtakes. There's a 'Weird Science' spoof with David Graham and Mat Irvine and continuity announcements.

There are commentaries. The first is with Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts. The second is with Tom Baker; Mary Tamm and script editor Anthony Read. There is also an info-text commentary option; a photo gallery and a Radio Times Listings PDF of the story.

'The Pirate Planet' quickly became one of my favourite 'Doctor Who' stories from 'The Key To Time' season. It's funny; it's bonkers; it got Tom Baker and that Pirate Captain is so hilarious to watch.

3. 'THE STONES OF BLOOD'
The third story is by David Fisher and is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is another one of my favourites from 'The Key To Time' season and is about a stone circle with stones hungry for blood.

David Fisher also makes his first contribution to 'Doctor Who'. I like David's stories as he has a knack of writing really good gripping drama tales with elements of humour thrown in and interesting ideas.

The Doctor and Romana head for Earth in the late 20th century to look for the third segment of the Key to Time. They discover a stone circle in connection to blood sacrifices and a terrible goddess.

The story has a gothic horror feel to it as it would have fitted in the early Tom Baker years. I'm not familiar with Druids and blood sacrifices, but it's very disturbing in a familiar earthbound setting.

Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor. He lets his curiosity get the better of him, which leads him about to be nearly sacrificed. I liked the Doctor's friendship with Amelia Rumford.

Mary Tamm's Romana is stunning as ever and gets to be resourceful. She fares well despite not having a good sense of shoes and gets sent to a spaceship in hyperspace where danger awaits.

K-9 was a joy to see in this story. I like it when the Doctor summons K-9 to track down Romana in trouble. I like it when Amelia calls K-9 a `dear' and he defends her to the last dog against the Ogri.

The guest cast includes Beatrix Lehmann as Professor Amelia Rumford. Amelia is an endearing and eccentric elderly lady. She becomes a willing alley when solving the mystery of the stone circle.

Susan Engel guest stars as the villainous Vivien Fay. She starts off as being friendly as she lives with Amelia Rumford. But it turns out she's responsible for the blood sacrifices and isn't who she appears.

The cast also includes Nicholas McArdle as Mr De Vries and Elaine Ives-Cameron as his wife Martha who are Druids. There's also James Murray and Shirin Taylor as Campers who get horribly killed.

The moving stones are the Ogri who come from an alien planet. I'm impressed with these stone monsters, and glad director Darrol Blake didn't have actors in cumbersome rock-suits to play them. The story features the Megara, alien justice machines, which I found pretty appalling in visual terms.

The third segment of the Key to Time happens to be necklace that Vivien Fay wears.

The DVD special features are as follows. There's the 'Getting Blood From The Stones' making-of documentary; the 'Hammer Horror' featurette and 'Stones Free' with Mary Tamm. There are also deleted scenes; continuities and 'Model World' with Mat Irvine.

There are two commentaries. The first one is with Mary Tamm and director Darrol Blake. The second one is with Tom Baker; Mary Tamm and Susan Engel. There's an info-text commentary option; a Blue Peter item and a Nationwide cast interview; a photo gallery and Radio Times Listing PDF of the story.

'The Stones of Blood' is a great 'Doctor Who' story by David Fisher. I'm not one for gothic horror, but I found this an enjoyable tale with the Doctor, Romana, K-9 and sausage sandwiches of all things.

Take some side-step adventures with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 in 'The Shadow of Weng-Chiang'; 'Heart of Tardis' and 'Ferril's Folly'.

4. 'THE ANDROIDS OF TARA'
The fourth story is by David Fisher and is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is my third favourite story from 'The Key To Time' season, full of swashbuckling proportions; humour and adventure.

This story is based on the classic novel 'The Prisoner of Zenda' by Anthony Hope. Having not read the book or seen the film, I was instantly captivated in this swashbuckling adventure with androids.

The Doctor and Romana visit the planet Tara, where Romana finds the fourth segment of the Key to Time easily. But they get caught in the power struggle of Count Grendel intent to be king of Tara.

The fourth segment of the Key to Time happens to be a stone statue of an animal's head

This is a story about double trouble, as androids get used in a medieval-alien setting to duplicate another person. This story focuses on Mary Tamm's Romana who Grendel uses in his schemes.

The story is well-directed by Michael Hayes, making his first contribution to the series. The sunny atmosphere for Tara adds well to the action-packed plot and the beauty of this medieval world.

Mary Tamm delivers a wonderful performance as three characters. She plays Romana; Princess Strella and android copies of Romana and Strella. The android Romana is serious and quite creepy.

Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor with his eccentric humour and bonkers manner. He gets involved with the power struggle of Tara, when knowing how to mend androids.

K-9 gets a huge amount to do in this story. As well as tracking Romana at Count Grendel's castle, K-9 helps the Doctor when detecting the android Romana and cutting a hole through a wall to escape.

The story's guest cast includes the great Peter Jeffrey as the villainous Count Grendel. Peter clearly relishes playing Grendel and is great delivering the balance of menace and humour in the character.

There's Neville Jason as the charming, heroic Prince Reynart. Neville also gets to play an android copy of the Prince to become king, whilst the real Prince is locked up in a dungeon with Romana.

There's Simon Lack as sword-master Zadek and Paul Lavers as swordsman Farrah. Paul as Farrah shamefully cuts up the Doctor's scarf with his electric-powered sword. Gasp, shock! Sacrilege!

There's also Lois Baxter as Lamia, Grendel's android-maker; Martin Matthews as Kurster, Grendel's captain of the guard; Declan Mulholland as Till and Cyril Shaps as the Archimandrite

There's a marvellous sword-fight between the Doctor and Count Grendell. I was thrilled to see Tom Baker's Doctor sword-fighting and you see where the Tenth Doctor got his sword-fighting from.

The DVD special features are as follows. There's a making-of documentary called 'The Humans of Tara'; the 'Now and Then: The Androids of Tara' featurette and the 'Double Trouble' featurette.

There's a photo gallery and a commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and director Michael Hayes. There's an info-text commentary option and a Radio Times PDF of the story.

'The Androids of Tara' is a fantastic story in 'The Key To Time' season. I enjoyed every minute of it with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 as the heroes and Peter Jeffrey as the fantastic Count Grendel.

5. 'THE POWER OF KROLL'
The fifth story is by Robert Holmes and is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is my least favourite story of 'The Key To Time' season, as it's rather uninspired and unimaginative as previous stories.

I'm not criticising Robert Holmes, as he's a brilliant 'Doctor Who' writer. But this is an average tale and didn't excite me as much. It fulfilled its purpose in searching for the fifth segment of the Key.

The Doctor and Romana visit the third moon of Delta Magna. It's full of muggy swamps where the primitive Swampies live; a gas refinery is built and a gigantic squid monster squid called Kroll rises.

This story has swamps everywhere and many themes of deity-worshiping and skulduggery.

Tom Baker delivers a pretty good performance as the Doctor here. I like how the Doctor is curious about a legend regarding Kroll and that he saves Romana from a man with a giant clam on his head.

Mary Tamm also gives a good performance as Romana, although she's rather undeveloped in this one. It was unfair that Romana had to be sacrificed for two rituals (the second one with the Doctor).

K-9 sadly doesn't appear in this tale, as it was impossible to film the robot dog in the swamps.

The guest cast features some actors I know from other TV shows and previous 'Doctor Who' stories.

There's Neil McCarthy as Thawn, controller of the gas refinery. Neil played Mr Bedford in an episode of 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave' Them'. Here he plays a man who wants to wipe out the Swampies.

There's also Phillip Madoc as Fenner, a refinery crewmember. Phillip played the U-Boat Captain in the 'Dad's Army' episode 'The Deadly Attachment'. Sadly, he isn't a villain in this story.

There's John Leeson as Dugeen, another refinery crewmember. John usually voices K-9 for 'Doctor Who'. It was to see him in the flesh as a human character in this story and use his own voice.

There's John Aibineri as Ranquin, leader of the Swampies. John appeared in 'The Moon Stallion' with Sarah Sutton as well as 'Doctor Who'. Ranquin is a great believer in Kroll and worships his power.

The cast also features Glyn Owen as Rohm-Dutt and Grahame Mallard as Harg.

The actual Kroll monster is gigantic and looks very impressive when we see it in full view. The actual tentacles grabbing people are a bit dodgy and laughing, especially when Ranquin gets captured.

It turns out the fifth segment is a holy relic swallowed by Kroll that makes him into a BIG monster.

The DVD special features are as follows. There's 'In Studio' footage and a 'Variations' news item. There are two interviews including 'There's Something About Mary' with Mary Tamm and 'Phillip Madoc - A Villain For All Seasons' with Phillip Madoc. There are also continuities announcements.

There's a commentary with Tom Baker and John Leeson and an info-text commentary option. There's also a photo gallery and a Radio Times Listings PDF of the story.

'The Power of Kroll' is a fairly average tale in 'The Key To Time' season. It's not my absolute favourite from the season, but it's not terrible. It provides the entertainment, but certainly not for Christmas.

6. 'THE ARMAGEDDON FACTOR'
The sixth story is by Bob Baker and Dave Martin and is a six-part adventure in a 2-disc set. This is the epic finale to 'The Key To Time' season and it gets more dangerous for the Doctor, Romana and K-9.

The quest is nearly over as the TARDIS takes the Doctor, Romana and K-9 in the middle of a terrible war between the twin planets Atrios and Zeos. They hope to find the sixth segment of the Key to Time. Instead they come up against the evil, calcified Shadow who is also after the Key to Time.

The war setting of this story adds to the dramatic climax of the season. Bob Baker and Dave Martin boldly depict the horrors of war and what's at that stake with the Key to Time. Where one side hopes to win against the other; there's a powerful computer about to self-destruct to end the war.

It is interesting how this story develops the Shadow is manipulating events in the war by having his world blocking in-between Atrios and Zeos. Also with Mentalis, the Zeon computer as the only entity on Zeos compared to Atrios that is populated by humans is both interesting and quite disturbing.

Director Michael Hayes does a grand job directing this final story of the season on such a low budget. The story has a pretty 'Star Wars' feel to it and despite the lack of money to create convincing sets, the story manages to hold up together especially with the tension and dark scenes.

Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor. I like how the Doctor's curious about what's going on regarding the war between Atrios and Zeos, including the Marshal's odd behaviour. I like some of the Doctor's one-liners and he suspects that Princess Astra is connected to the Key to Time.

Mary Tamm is lovely as Romana in this adventure. Romana clearly has got on well with the Doctor by this point. There's less friction between them and Romana truly cares for the Doctor when he's in trouble. I like it when Romana and the Doctor manage to stop the universe with the Key to Time.

K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) gets a good outing in this adventure. I like it when K-9 has some funny moments including when finding his conversations with Mentalis stimulating. Also when K-9 is on his side and demands to be put upright by Drax. Poor K-9 when he was on his way to the furnace.

The story's guest cast includes John Woodvine (who I've seen in a BBC production of 'Persuasion') as the Marshal on Atrios. The Marshal is obsessed with war and is determined to wipe out the Zeons. But there's something odd about him as he talks to a mirror and is in contact with the Shadow.

There's Lalla Ward who makes her first appearance in 'Doctor Who' as Princess Astra. Lalla would go on to play the second Romana after Mary Tamm. Here she plays the Princess of Atrios, who gets kidnapped by the Shadow and his minions and is closely connected somehow to the Key to Time.

There's Davyd Harries as Shapp, the Marshall's second-in-command on Atrios. I found Shapp really funny in 'Episodes Three and Four'. He has a funny twitch in his eye and makes funny moves with his gun. I can't help laugh out loud when he does that unconvincing fall and scream when he gets shot.

There's Ian Saynor as Merak, the medical physician on Atrios. Merak is in love with Princess Astra and both try to end the war between Atrios and Zeos. Merak joins the Doctor and Romana when trying to find Astra on Zeos. Merak tries to be heroic when saving Astra from the bad guys.

There's William Squire who delivers a chilling performance as the mysterious, evil Shadow. It's not clear who the Shadow really is as to whether he's a man or an alien being. But he turns out to be an agent of the Black Guardian who's on the same quest as the Doctor and Romana for the Key to Time.

In this story, we meet a new Time Lord called Drax (Barry Jackson). Drax is an old Academy friend of the Doctor who calls him Theta Sigma interestingly. Drax is a dodgy dealer in maintenance and repair work when the Doctor meets him. He was employed by the Shadow but helps the Doctor instead.

It turns out that the sixth segment of the Key to Time happens to be Princess Astra herself. This came as a shock and a surprise and it upsets the Doctor and Romana when being used by the Guardian to commit murder as Astra is destroyed and becomes a component instead of a person.

The humour in the story doesn't overplay to a large degree in this story. There is an atmosphere of darkness especially in the Shadow's domain. But there are traces of humour within the story which I enjoyed and could taste, especially as Douglas Adams was coming in as the new script editor.

This story also has elements of the Trojan War in it. There's a moment when the Doctor and Drax shrink themselves to a small size and they get inside K-9 to get into the Shadow's domain.

Thankfully the Key to Time is completed and all the six segments are put together to form this beautiful crystal cube. To see that cube in completion is simply amazing and makes you want to do absolutely anything with it. But absolute power corrupts absolutely as the Doctor demonstrates.

At the end of the story, the Doctor and Romana come face to face with Valentine Dyall as the Black Guardian. The Black Guardian tries to pass himself off as the White Guardian to fool the Doctor. But the Doctor sees through the disguise and refuses to give the Key to Time to him.

This angers the Black Guardian who vows to hunt the Doctor and destroy him. But the Doctor breaks up the tracer and the Key to Time is scattered again across time and space. The Doctor also adds a new device to the TARDIS called the randomiser where they hope to avoid the Black Guardian.

This story features Mary Tamm's final appearance as Romana in the TV series. This is a shame as I enjoyed Mary Tamm's Romana and I wish there were more adventures between with her on TV. Thankfully Mary has done some Big Finish audios with Tom Baker before she recently passed away.

The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there are two audio commentaries. The first commentary is with Mary Tamm; John Woodvine and director Michael Hayes. The second commentary is with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and John Leeson.

There is also an info-text commentary option to watch and enjoy. There are also two PDF documents including a Radio Times Listing of the story and a Doctor Who Annual.

On Disc 2, there is a making-of documentary called 'Defining Shadows' with cast and crew interviews. There is an alternative/deleted scene from the story; a 'Directing Who' interview with Michael Hayes; a 'Rouge Time Lords' featurette and a 'Pebble Mill at One' interview with Tom Baker.

There is a 'Radiophonic Feature' and 'The New Sound of Music' featurette. There's also a funny 'Merry Christmas, Doctor Who' sketch with the Doctor, Romana and K-9. There are continuities and a photo gallery of the story. There are also five 'Late Night Story' features with Tom Baker to enjoy.

'The Armageddon Factor' is a satisfying and enjoyable conclusion to 'The Key to Time' season. I enjoyed watching the Doctor, Romana and K-9 facing the forces of evil and completing their quest in the end. The story has a surprising twist at the end, which is something one shouldn't expect to see.

'The Key to Time' is my favourite season from the Tom Baker era of 'Doctor Who'. I loved watching this season in its lavish DVD box set for the first time. I loved the story between Tom Baker's Doctor and Mary Tamm's Romana and I cherish this season every time I watch with those two together.

On all six stories on DVD, there's a coming soon trailer for 'Planet of Evil' with Tom Baker.

The next story for the Doctor and Romana is 'The Auntie Matter'.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 8:25 AM BST


Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark: 50th Anniversary Edition
Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark: 50th Anniversary Edition
by Trevor Baxendale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Adventure With The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan, 29 Jun. 2015
This is one scary; creepy and 'dark' story!

'Fear of the Dark' is a thrilling BBC Past Doctor Adventure with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan.

This book by Trevor Baxendale was originally published in 2003. It has now been reprinted for the 50th anniversary collection of 'Doctor Who' books in 2013 to represent the Fifth Doctor era.

This story takes place between the TV stories 'Arc of Infinity' and 'Snakedance'. It also takes place (I feel) directly after the Lost Stories by Big Finish with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan including 'The Elite'; 'Hexagora' and 'The Children of Seth' (more on this later).

The story is about the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan visiting a moon of the planet Akoshemon that has a dark history. They meet a team of archaeologists searching for a special kind of mineral. But their discoveries unearth something terrible as everyone, including the Doctor, is forced to face the Dark.

The reprint book contains a good introduction by Trevor Baxendale about the story and the supporting characters. The book is divided into 23 chapters with a prologue and an epilogue. The book is unusually structured as a three-part adventure instead of a four-part adventure which is odd.

I like the prologue sequence focusing on Nyssa waking up in bed in the TARDIS, as she is my favourite 'Doctor Who' companion. Nyssa is troubled as a dark force or presence is with her.

Trevor Baxendale writes well for his supporting characters before killing them off one by one. The themes of darkness and fear are strongly resonant and the descriptive detail is pretty harrowing.

The monster of the story is darkness called the Dark itself as it spreads from beneath the moon of Akoshemon. I wondered how the Doctor and his friends would survive as it's pretty bleak.

The Fifth Doctor is well-written here. The Doctor faces his own fears and it's interesting how this Dark monster affects him and changes his personality, making him vulnerable and doubting his self-confidence. It was quite disturbing to read and it's a side never depicted in this Doctor before.

Tegan is well-established as a companion. I found that Tegan isn't the bossy, combative companion as she has been in previous stories. She's well-balanced in showing compassion to others, especially to Bunny Cheung. Tegan also gets to face her own fears when the Dark comes after her.

Nyssa is reasonably well-written in this story. Although I sometimes felt her character is rather side-lined, since she's used as a medium by the Dark for most of the story and is temporarily taken-over to unleash its horrors. But Nyssa's always a joy for me and I enjoyed reading her scenes in this book.

I would like to outline a few inconsistences regarding Nyssa, Tegan and the Doctor in connection to the Big Finish audios. This isn't the fault of Trevor Baxendale as the book was published before them.

Firstly, Tegan remarks on peashooters and elephants at some point to Nyssa. Nyssa seems not to know about elephants when Tegan mentions them. Yet recently, Nyssa encountered a few elephants in the 2014 audio story 'Moonflesh'. I've written my own story where Nyssa sees elephants too.

Secondly, Nyssa observes Tegan dancing with Jim Boyd and wonders what it must be like to feel close to someone. But Nyssa has been close to someone as she had a romance with Andrew in 'Circular Time'. I'm sure Nyssa has had many romances before Tegan re-joined the TARDIS.

This story indicates that this is Tegan's first story directly after 'Arc of Infinity' since Chapter Two begins saying it's her first morning in the TARDIS. But from 'The Elite', this doesn't seem to be the case. I would prefer to place this book sometime after the 'Lost Stories' trilogy with the Fifth Doctor.

Somewhere in the book, the Doctor is questioned about what his greatest fear is. But as already mentioned in 'Psychodrome', the Doctor's greatest fear is that of letting his companions down. But as Nyssa rightly pointed out in that story, 'you can have more than one fear'.

The supporting characters are superb and intriguing to read. There's Jyl Stoker; Bunny Cheung; Vega Jael; Ravus Oldeman; Captain Lawrence and Silas Cadwell.

Jyl Stoker is the no-nonsense leader of archaeologists on Akoshemon's moon. She's a tough and bitter woman who doesn't trust the Doctor at first and tolerates Bunny Cheung's moral stance.

Bunny Cheung is a big, powerful guy with a big heart. Bunny wants to be reunited with her family after his mission to Akoshemon's moon and see his daughter again. I like Bunny's scenes with Tegan.

Vega Jael is a Vegan working for Stoker on this archaeological mission. Vega is a gloomy, alien mining expert who predicts that death is coming for all of them. Vega sadly is the first one to die.

Ravus Oldeman is an ancient scientist who the Doctor and company find in stasis deep within the moon of Akoshemon. Ravus keeps a dark secret as he was part of a research project.

Captain Lawrence is the commander of the starship Adamantium. The Adamantium responds to a distress call sent from the moon of Akoshemon. Both Lawrence and Stoker once fell in love together.

Silas Cadwell is Lawrence's right-hand man aboard the Adamantium. But Cadwell has a secret mission of his own, as Lawrence doesn't know him well and Cadwell is intent on sorting out the Dark.

There's a monster called the Bloodhunter, a creature that kills instantly and drains blood from people's bodies for the Dark to devour. I found it terrifying when reading this book.

The real monster is the Dark and I did not expect this monster to literally be darkness itself. It makes this book very dark indeed and I was afraid for Nyssa, Tegan and the Doctor.

I would like Big Finish to adapt this novel into an audio drama someday. I wonder how Big Finish would adapt the book into a three-part adventure in an audio. This is because the first two episodes are very chunky whereas the third episode isn't so. How would they fill the gap of a fourth episode?

This book will probably get a BBC audiobook release someday with a 'Doctor Who' star narrating the story. I would very much like either Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton or Janet Fielding to read this story for the audiobook. It would be nice to read the book again with the audio in the background.

'Fear of the Dark' is one unnerving and creepy book to read. I don't think the book develops Nyssa well as a character compared to the Doctor and Tegan; but it's a gripping read. Be warned about reading this book in a dark room as the Dark may come through. I hope my review hasn't scared you.

The next story for the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan is 'The Sands of Time'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2015 8:15 AM BST


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