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on 27 February 2013
Jon Pertwee was keen to bring the Doctor back, according to Elizabeth Sladen he somewhat regreted leaving the show when they refused him a pay rise. Anyway, this is a good adventure and stands up very well as being modern - could be anywhere from the 1970's to the presnt day. OK some of the plot is a bit standard fair, assitant being tied up, Dr coming to the resucue etc but then a lot of Dr Who was like that. The charecter of Jeremy is a bit irritating but it sort of works as a distinctive voice for audio and slight comic releif. The villans are excellent and although Jon Pertwee does occasionally sound older, the performances of the cast are great. I think in some ways it is a real shame that the BBC didn't make more of these, (only Ghosts of N-space followed) on the otherhand the team at Big Finish productions have done a much betetr job of producing Dr Who audio than the BBC ever managed.
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on 3 June 2014
The main thing I take away from this is that it's not nearly so bad as its reputation suggests.

Pertwee is certainly of my least favourite Doctors and part of the frustration is that he's so often presenting a terrible version of the Doctor in an otherwise finely crafted story. Here, whether mellowed by age, or having his scripts in front of him, or simply because you can't see his often hideously aggressive body language towards his companions, Doctor #3 is a far friendlier, relaxed variation on the character. So much of the rest of story up to the usual early 70s level, it makes this better than most of his TV stories. He's a little overly superpowered, as sometimes happened in the Pertwee era... at one point he uses "bone relaxation" to survive falling hundreds of feet off a gantry.

Lis Sladen perfectly embodies Sarah Jane Smith as always and her performance is cast over with the sad foreknowledge she only features in a handful of Doctor Who audios; meanwhile Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier really shines. This is a real return to form for the Brig, as time went by he verged terribly close to being played for laughs but here he's reset to basics, where his defining characteristic is his unflappable acceptance of whatever mad weirdness confronts him, rather than a moronically obtuse denial of it. This is a Brig perfectly at home slashing his way through an alien jungle on a far flung planet, and who, confronted by a T-Rex style alien animal, simply coolly begins pondering his list of the best ways to kill it.

More than that, almost uniquely cast adrift from the rest of the UNIT, the Brig's personal guts and spirit really shine. Rather than standing around shouting orders, here he gets into a dog fight with alien fighter planes while riding his own giant bat and leads a rag tag bunch of dissidents in a commando raid.

The guest cast are largely brilliant, too. Harold Innocent, Peter Miles and Maurice Denham as, respectively, a sociopathic CEO, a sadistic 'head of entertainments' and a doddering President must be among some of the strongest actors you could hope to assemble for a project like this. Meanwhile, the concept itself is a very strong one in line with what you'd expect of Letts- a malignant corporation leapfrogging from world to world in a galactic ponzi scheme, with the resources and wealth of planets depending on siphoning out those of worlds down the line, until it collapses in on itself to cause war and genocide.

All that said, the play is far from perfect. It's greatest problem may be that it's either too long or too short but certainly exactly the wrong length. It would have made a tight, exciting four parter. Or an extra part would have left room, perhaps, for an additional subplot to keep the story rolling over.

As it is, all the pieces are set up by the end of Part Three, ready for what would be a blistering Part Four... but instead the five episode length means the last two episodes are full of treading water. The worst thing about this is how it undercuts otherwise successful elements. When, midway through Part Five, we stop for ten minutes of the Doctor virtually leading his companions through a Powerpoint presentation on the evils of globalization for instance. The villains become increasingly difficult to take seriously and the prose becomes purpler and purpler. It's impossible to listen to the scene of Innocent of describing his lunch in detail - almost orgasmically expounding on his souffle "quivering in anticipation of ravishment" - and not suspect something's gone off the rails.

Some of the plot doesn't quite hang together either. There's a global conspiracy hinting at senior politicians being under some form of mind control but this is forgotten about and never resolved (similarly, the invasion of Earth is set up and then forgotten about). And, most boggling, we're given a totalitarian state where the secret police plant bugs in peoples' brains to spy on them. Yet a plot point later hinges on them not having such a thing as a register of vehicle licence plates and their owners...

The last major problem with the story is Jeremy Fitzoliver. Unlike most, I didn't find him that annoying as a character. He's clearly a Harry Sullivan substitute played just a little too Wodehousian to work quite perfectly. He is, however, utterly pointless. There's perhaps one scene where he gives Sarah Jane someone to exposition to when nobody else is present but that's it. Save for one point where he gets his foot stuck in a tree root for a couple of moments Jeremy doesn't even perform this function of 'getting-into-trouble-and-needing-rescuing'. He doesn't do anything. He's just kind of THERE. But in being there, he sucks time and dialogue away from Sarah Jane and this reinvigorated version of the Brig. And that's unforgivable.
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on 19 April 2015
Very good story but got a little lost with the wandering thoughts of o.n.y.a..still enjoyed it in the whole .
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on 20 February 2002
Author Barry Letts had written several Dr Who stories for television in the 1970's, but always in collaboration with another writer, so this was his first solo Dr Who script.
Jon Pertwee had had many years experience as a radio actor, but had never before played Dr Who on the radio, and had not made a Dr Who story for nine years, when he recorded this 5 part BBC radio serial.
The sound effects are very good, and the story is not too badly affected by the fact that Jon Pertwee was at this point 18 years older than when he had retired from the television series in the 1970's; but you can tell from his voice that he was now much older.
The plot is not too well grounded in the tv series. The Brigadier for instance has acquired pink toes - only an illusion, fortunately, as virtual reality arrives in Doctor Who. In breach of established continuity, of course. Barry Letts has in fact chosen to base a significant part of the story on virtual reality, a very 1990's concept, in total disregard for the fact that the story is supposed to be set in the 1970's!
Sarah Jane Smith meanwhile has acquired a side-kick, an irritating young journalist, who has no basis at all for being in the story. In the tv series, Sarah had no assistant. It was she who was the assistant!
The plot puts the Tardis on an alien planet, and the Doctor is soon hip-deep in monsters, so not much wrong there! But nevertheless, the story has very much a 90's feel to it, not a 70's feel at all, and this rather grates. As does the needless use of violence. Somehow, the Daleks managed to take over half the universe in the 1960's and 1970's - frequently! - without ever descending to the level of violence which is present in this story.
So, in many ways, the plot is not authentic; and there is no feeling of being back in the Pertwee years on tv. However, it's good to have Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney and Elizabeth Sladen back together in their tv roles, and somehow this goes a long way towards making up for the plot's shortcomings. After 18 years, this production was worth it, just for the magic of bringing them all together again.
Don't expect classic tv Doctor Who; this is a souped-up nineties version. But the cast sound like they're enjoying themselves, the plot moves along at a fine old speed, and there's always death and disaster just around the corner. I even felt sad (half way through episode 5) when I realised that there were, in fact, only 5 episodes. Now where did I put that recording of 'The Ghosts of N-Space'...
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on 17 January 2001
If you're a Doctor Who fan, even you'll be disappointed with this extremely weak version of the popular sci-fi tv show.
Jon Pertwee makes one of his last appearances as the Doctor in a specially made for Radio 4 production. Whilst his return (and that of many old voices) is a plus, the production is let down by the one thing that always made Doctor Who great - the storyline.
The writer seems to have muddled through a range of cliches from Who and beyond to produce a weak, plodding and heavily padded affair. The director (I'm assuming there was one), seems to have given his directions through the phone, chinese-whispers style. Only this could explain the mess that is the Paradise of Death.
Typically in bad Doctor Who stories, it is the Doctor who saves the day, quite literally. Pertwee lifts the production to make it tolerable, and there is a real sense we're back in the good old days of Who. Completists will enjoy, newcomers will be confused. It's worth a listen, but borrow it from your mate before you split with your cash.
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on 22 February 2004
To celebrate Doctor Who's 30th Birthday, they reeled out some old doctor who actor's , an ex producer turned writer, and made ' The Paradise of Death '.
It's is an attempt for a slice of 70's nostalgia.
The Brigadier is called about the suspicious goings on at a new Theme Psrk ' Spaceworld'
While there , Sarah get's kidnapped on a spaceship, and is taken to Parakon ' The Paradise of Death '.
Jon Pertwee saves this performance and makes it listenable, being a highly expirenced radio actor ( I only need to mention the Navy Lark , need I go on ).
Nick Courtney does well.
But my heart goes out to Liz Sladen who had to put up with most cliched of conversations and the most appalling lines in ther whole story.
And for some reason they've thrown some screaming woman of an up and coming reporter , Jeremy , who tags on to Sarah , and has no real use or purpose in the story.
We have two veteran Doctor Who acotrs , Peter Miles ( Genesis of the daleks ) , and the great Maurice Denahm ( Twin Dilema )
Jon P sounds old and some how it just doesn't work.
The first episode is promosing but it just goes downhill ,
a good attempt , and it is worth listening to, just to hear the best doctor's performzance , one of his last, as the doctor.
But it's a damn sight better thatn Ghosts of N-SPace.
See my review for that.
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on 16 April 2015
great item
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