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R. Le Quin "Harlequin" (Hampshire, England)

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Tommy Cooper - Just Like That - Complete Series [1978] [DVD]
Tommy Cooper - Just Like That - Complete Series [1978] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tommy Cooper

2.0 out of 5 stars The golden era of television?, 14 May 2014
I love television from 1955 onwards. The 1950s is a bit difficult for me to watch, but 60s onwards is always rewarding for me. I have bought, over the years in excess of 3000 videos and DVDs. Sadly this DVD would have to rank in the bottom 1%. Tommy Cooper is far from his best sadly, added to which he is hardly the focal point of the programme.

The non-Cooper bits are just not the sort of thing anyone wants to watch now. A few bits of Cooper are totally inspired and therefore about 1% of the running time is superb. 4% is entertaining, 20% is just very poor and the rest is trite.

So Cooper far from at his best, episode lengths of 18 minutes, a rather unsubtle recurring theme to all the songs, and a very dated cheap entertainment feel, I even wondered how the studio audience of the time, which the camera endlessly pans-on, could have really enjoyed this, aside from seeing the man himself.

Real shame, but easily the worst thing Network (a superb archival-DVD company whose banner means more to me than any other brand) have every released.

Two stars means " I don't like it". Very few audiences today, of any age will in all honesty, it is the very worst of variety acts and just reminds one of how far television has moved on, and in this case for the better despite the 1970s still being my favourite television decade even by 2014.


The Mega (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
The Mega (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)
by Bill Strutton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fits to era perfectly, 9 Mar 2014
I do feel like I have just listened to an era-specific story. 180 minutes is a long time, but it was worth it.

Good points are that at times you forget that not all original cast members were present. The characters are captured perfectly. It might be a bit overlong by today's standards, but I have no issue with 6-part Pertwee stories, and even The Mutants is a far more intelligent story than some of the modern stories. Appreciations change over time.

Bill Strutton, the original author to submit ideas/story details etc for this product does not have the best starting point as his "The Web Planet" was a hugely ambitious Hartnell story and probably one of the most "ludicrous products" of the shows history. At least with The Mega we do not get that impression, although some/most credit perhaps goes to the modern adapters.

Grant and Franklin do a superb job here, perhaps moreso than some of their more regular Companion Chronicles works.

I would give this 5 stars for what it is trying to do. Reimagine a "lost/rejected" Doctor Who story. But it was rejected for a reason and the previous story, from the original author was far from ideal for Doctor Who, so neither of those bode well as a pedigree. Therefore what Big Finish have done is somewhat marvellous. My only quibble is that I do sometimes tire of dramatic monster voices, and whilst the actor is doing the best he can, I found it a bit cliche-ed at times, mindful of what modern audiences might think. That is not why it loses a star. I am taking account of the rather long format that, again, detached listeners might struggle with.

Dwell on the plus points. At times I forgot it was not Pertwee himself, as Manning delivers his part beautifully. Her character too is both performed and written extremely well. Yates and the Brigadier are well captured. The plot is pretty good. The monster is perhaps the weakest element (akin to Strutton's The Web Planet), but then at least, in both cases they are both different and in the case of The Web Planet, whilst awful on television made a superb Big Finish product with Return to Web Planet.


Impossible Mission (Nintendo DS)
Impossible Mission (Nintendo DS)
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: 4.74

3.0 out of 5 stars It is ok, for a couple, of quid and most importantly this is strictly for those who played it at the time, 4 Feb 2014
Yes, I played it at the time. It was awkward, but fascinating. But in the 1990s we had the NES and more significantly the SNES, which elevated 2-D scrolling platform games to a far far better level.

This might have worked as one game on a multi-game cartridge, but on its own, well there are about 20 SNES games that I later owned that I would far rather play than this. And none of them have seen the light of day by 2014.

Ambitious, but misjudged. I have not wanted to even pay a fiver for it, and picked it up for 2 which makes it "ok" just for that money.


An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Bradley
Price: 7.00

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very Verity..., 13 Dec 2013
Somewhat amazing that we even have this drama that, for me, was the absolute highlight of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. I cannot fault it. Very moving, very accurate, very touching, very realistic, very thought provoking ... Verity Lambert ... was just amazing to have pulled this off when she did.

For anyone who has an interest in television history this is just perfect. This is a perfect celebration of Doctor Who. Very poignant.


Counter-Measures: Series Two
Counter-Measures: Series Two
by Matt Fitton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 30.45

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... one of my favourite 60s television programmes..., 9 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Of all the Doctor Who spin-offs, Counter Measures is one of the least obvious and ironically, one of the better ones. It fits into the Doctor Who ethos, and of course its own, like a glove. It is best to "accept" that 75% of the main cast are Doctor Who characters and then enjoy this series in its own right, much as you might do with Torchwood. I would rather listen to this series than watch an equivalent 1960s-made television programme in a similar vein, because this is so much more engaging.

I very much liked the stories of CM1, but was critical that there was too much 1960s incidental music to remind you of the era. Fortunately in CM2, either there is less to begin with or is far less intrusive; perhaps Big Finish are banking on 99% of listeners having already listened to CM1.

What we have is another four stories "of their time", but obviously written in the last year or so. The cast are all very good, and their dynamic is managed through Sir Toby Kinsella, head of Counter Measures, a well written and portrayed politician/pen-pusher type who is working to higher objectives.

It might just be my interpretation of the episode endings, but they seem a little vague deliberately to allow the listener to interpret either way. This I particularly like.

Counter Measures is a very solid audio programme and one that I hope continues for some time. We have Jago & Litefoot and Counter Measures, that do not receive any negative criticism in the circles I move in,

If they are to be annual releases, then at this quality, I am not going to complain.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2014 4:48 PM GMT


The Liberator Chronicles: Volume 6 (Blake's 7)
The Liberator Chronicles: Volume 6 (Blake's 7)
by Peter Anghelides
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential fan purchase to know what happened next, 8 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
None of the stories here are the best or worst stories, but they are all rather important in terms of developing the narrative post Star One.

I am most fond of Avon stories, and perhaps Incentive is sadly one of the least good Avon ones, which does not mean to say it is bad. It is highly entertaining and Steven Pacey as Tarrant is yet another milestone engagement from Big Finish. Probably the guest actor outshines the "regulars" which is unfortunate but rather impressive.

Jenna's Story is the best Jenna Stannis story so far. Previously the narratives have been dull, but this one has an epic feel to it and is credibly done. I genuinely bought into her story and it contains a very dramatic moment.

Blake's Story is probably Gareth Thomas's best performance to date too. Again rather than dull narrative which we have had before, here we are learning of "what happened after" which is quite fascinating. Perhaps this will unsettle die hard fans a little, but the way I see it, it is as about as official as it is going to get. It is a perfectly feasible development given the complex development of a rather straightforward character that we got over the four seasons of Blake's 7 on screen; what goes on in this story does work well.

This set is for me is one of the more key releases and fills in some significant gaps in our understanding of Blake's 7. It is a bold step, but there are plenty of continuity references to work with to make it perfectly credible. Each story has some very strong points and I really cannot decide which I like the most.

Incentive 7.5/10
Jenna's Story 7.5/10
Blake's Story 7.5/10

They are all good for different reasons, and probably the set for me that is of the most consistent quality; not quite perfect, but incredibly well thought out. A very welcome release indeed. Blake's 7 The Liberator Chronicles, for me, has been the highlight of Big Finish 2013. Well done.


The Liberator Chronicles: Volume 5 (Blake's 7)
The Liberator Chronicles: Volume 5 (Blake's 7)
by Simon Guerrier
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 21.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different ends of the spectrum in one box, 29 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Logic is a seemingly and deliberate pedestrian narrative which beautifully builds up a picture which is literally shattered. It is an example of how these audios can tell us so much more about what really goes on in the worlds of Blake's 7 than the television could. Louise Jameson, not normally associated with Blake's 7, is an inspired choice and was vocally perfect for the nature of the role to perform here. Very powerful stuff.

Risk Management is a narrative story that emulates the average early-Blake's story, but sadly the narration is lackluster and the two contributors do not dovetail well together because their tones suggest they are not in the same recording session when in fact they could be. Sadly Thomas barely resembles the voice of his 1970s character and I find it tough to accept narration when permanent dialogue with the other performer is surely not that much more costly to record and far far more engaging for the listener.

Three is simply a stunning two-hander. Jacqueline Pearce is brilliant. The story too takes us further than the series could. As with Logic, the story builds up a situation which inevitably is beaten down and this one of the strengths of this box set.

Logic 10/10
Risk Management 2/10
Three 10/10

Logic and Three are the best two The Liberator Chronicles stories we have so far had, and there have already been some very good ones. They take the Blake's 7 ethos to a new level and all the performers and writers have done the programme a very good service, because quite frankly they are right up there with the very best of the tv series.


Doctor Who : Shada : L'Aventure perdue de Douglas Adams
Doctor Who : Shada : L'Aventure perdue de Douglas Adams
by Gareth Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Ermmmm...., 27 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My copy just arrived. For a "hardcover" the cover is, well, very very soft. In fact it is a paperback.

I am not reviewing the book content. This is purely about what to expect. It is definitely not a hardcover. My paperback has ISBN 978-2-8112-0925-4. It is 21.90E and the publisher, who so far has provided me with paperbacks only, is Milady.

It is a large paperback. Bigger than the Italian edition which arrived about 2 weeks ago. Strange that.

Good on Amazon UK for allowing UK collectors to get all these different editions of Shada, although 15.98 did feel a little steep for a paperback even if unnecessarily thick. If it is 16 quid or no opportunity for a copy then 16 it is.


The Wrong Doctors (Doctor Who)
The Wrong Doctors (Doctor Who)
by Matt Fitton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 13.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Two Doctors,..., both of him., 13 July 2013
Sometimes, these Doctor-crossing-his-own-path stories need to be told, despite being reminded on-screen by some writers that it is not possible. The Wrong Doctors is done so in a clever way. It needs to be clever to work and unless you have absolute concentration, you will invariably lose the time track at some point. For me this story therefore does not quite hit five stars because of the potential confusion. There are plenty of easy-to-follow stories that are five star, that this one will alienate all bar the absolute aficionado. I always have one request from any audio story or book; I don't want to be alienated, I want to be part of it. Here, the interesting theme and performances allow one to skip any misunderstood parts and enjoy the rest of the narrative.

In my view, Big Finish often better the classic stories (and certainly the new series). Added to which the younger and then more inexperienced actors and actresses have opportunity to flourish a quarter of a century later. Melanie Bush is a great character, and I have very much enjoyed her Big Finish work. Had not appreciated that it has been some years since she has done any.

Of all the Doctors to have a two-Doctor story where it is the same incarnation at different points in time, Colin Baker is the obvious choice.

Very ambitious and a nice experiment. Exploring the name theme, we had The One Doctor a few years ago (Colin Baker again), had it not been for the 1985 story The Two Doctors, this would invariably have been called The Two Doctors, ..., unless of course there were more than two unlikely, but one can never be sure when one really considers such a plot.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2013 10:25 PM BST


Spaceport Fear (Doctor Who)
Spaceport Fear (Doctor Who)
by William Gallagher
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 14.17

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An overlong backward culture story is a backward step for Big Finish, 13 July 2013
Big Finish boast they like to tell stories. This is a good story on paper but is it a good audio production? It starts off very well, but there is far too little here to sustain four episodes. Although nice ideas the weak cliffhangers are a big clue as to whether it is worth tuning in to the next episode. By the third episode I have really had enough and completely switched off by the fourth. There are not many Big Finish stories I do not complete, but this one just rambles and the moment I am not sure I will go back as some of the later vocal work is unappealing too.

One for completists only. First episode is 4-5 stars, then it loses a star each episode, hence the low average.

A waste of a 6th Dr and Mel story. After the excellent 1001 Nights where the production team gauged correctly the length for several stories, here we have one that should have been edited to two episodes maximum, allowing another 2 parter to follow it.

Stories about backward cultures have limited appeal in the first place, the 1987 television story Paradise Towers being a good example of how opinion is divided. They can be good in places and quite entertaining, but the overall product can be poor and one that does not represent the range very well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2013 10:26 PM BST


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