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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sands of Life
The Sands of Life is a hugely entertaining release. Tom Baker is on top form in a script that gives him some good dialogue, getting the balance of humour and drama about right. He is well supported by Mary Tamm in a story that makes use of her Time Lady status, and by a terrific performance from David Warner as the head of a powerful business empire. There is a clear...
Published 16 months ago by Mark J. Heckford

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I did not like it, but the next story (the second half) is much better
The Sands of Life is one half of an adventure, concluded by War Against the Laan. They really should have been one disc. Padding it out to two you get lots of helicopter scenes and periodic incidental music. Bizarrely split into three episodes (title music therefore pads it out further).

Some nice ideas are set up, the Doctor and Romana well written and...
Published 16 months ago by R. Le Quin


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sands of Life, 28 Feb 2013
By 
Mark J. Heckford (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
The Sands of Life is a hugely entertaining release. Tom Baker is on top form in a script that gives him some good dialogue, getting the balance of humour and drama about right. He is well supported by Mary Tamm in a story that makes use of her Time Lady status, and by a terrific performance from David Warner as the head of a powerful business empire. There is a clear premise, and it is explored well, with the future Earth being shown as a global state that uses the wealth of David Warner's businesses to bank-roll its actions, good and bad. Sound effects and music help to create a story that I could clearly and easily visualise throughout, helping to make this one of the strongest Tom Baker stories from Big Finish. It has two small flaws; one is a sudden and jarring reference to badger culling that is so much out of place (seeming to be lifted from the news of 2013 and dropped into the middle of an adventure set in another era) and the portrayal of the global government military in a stereotype of 'shoot first' thinking complete with American accent. I would have enjoyed this a little more had the military been written in a rather more intelligent way, defending the Earth in the best way they can, even if very misguided. This is the first of several linked releases, and the end of the story is a cliff-hanger. It isn't perfect, but it is fun; I will certainly be listening to this one again. Worth buying; and at the same time, maybe treat yourself to 'Robophobia' or 'The Silver Turk'. All in all a good day at the office for Big Finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Traditional 70's Doctor Who Adventure, 15 Jun 2014
By 
Timelord007 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
Doctor Who The Sands Of Life.
Doctor: Fourth Doctor.
Companion(s): Romana, K9
Main enemy: Cuthbert, The Laan
Main setting: The Sahara Desert, Africa
Writer: Nicholas Briggs
Director: Nicholas Briggs
1xCD, 3 episodes of a 5 part audio adventure.
Running time 75 minutes.

Extras.
Trailer for War Against The Laan.
Behind the scenes interviews.

Trivia.
1)Hayley Atwell starred in Captain America The First Avenger as Peggy Carter & featured in several Big Finish audio adventures.
2)The Laan can navigate through the Time Vortex.
3)The Doctor mistakenly calls Romana Leela and K9 Sarah Jane.
4)Unusually this story is in three parts, very few of Big Finish Productions' stories are told across three parts.
5)The parrot would remain in the TARDIS until at least the Doctor's eighth incarnation. (Audio: The Light at the End).
6)First apperance by Cuthbert played by David Warner.

Plot Synopsis.
Sheridan Moorkurk has just been elected president of Earth but the harsh realities of who really runs the planet are just beginning to dawn on her & what's more, she's starting to hear voicescalling out to her.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Doctor & Romana encounter a mass of invasion of aliens called the Laan are heading to Earth.

The Laan who have already made the mistake of upsetting the infamous Cuthbert, all-powerful CEO of The Conglomerate, by destroying one of his space platforms.

Will the Doctor & Romana be able to avert an inter-species war by peaceful means or will Cuthbert bring about a war with the Laan that will destroy all life on Earth?

Timelord Thoughts.
The Sands Of Life is a big Fourth Doctor audio adventure with the first 3 parts told on this release will it's conclusion features on the next Fourth Doctor release War Against The Laan.

Writer Nicholas Brings seems to have captured the tone of season 16 with this adventure giving a alien invasion plot that could destroy the Earth with the Doctor having to intervene in the events while this plotis nothing new Briggs at least keeps it well paced & gets good performances out of his cast.

Tom Baker is on cracking form as the Doctor delivering some great moments of eccentricity.

Tom Bakers Doctor like the actor playing him has a huge personality as Tom's incarnation of the Doctor needs to be pitied against a actor as strong as him & David Warner is more than up to the task who delivers a superb believable performance as the mysterious Cuthbert whos motive become questionable, Warner gives the character a underling edge of sinister without the usual megalomania as these two excellent actors spark off one another giving the play such drama.

The late Mary Tamm is on sparkling form as Romana in this story who shares a great on screen chemistry with Tom Baker as the duos bickering humour is reminiscent of the season 16 The Key To Time series yet showcases a underlying mutual respect.

This is a very plot based story which could've benefited from a bit more character development especially Hayley Atwells character Sheridan Moorkuck which needed more backstory & feels underwritten in this adventure here.

I'm pleased this was extended to 3 parts because it gives the story time to breathe & adds some nice touches to the storys setting, I feel sometimes the 60 minute format of the first Tom Baker season felt at times Big Finish were cutting down on details to squeeze a four part Doctor Who adventure into two.

But overall this is mostly an enjoyable audio adventure that ends with a great cliffhanger to be resolved the concluding part of this story War against The Laan, But as they say that's another story.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sands of Life, 20 Nov 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
This is an original audio adventure featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, with the wonderful Mary Tamm as Romana, his timelady travelling companion. Caught up in the eddy of what appears to be an enormous number of beings travelling to Earth, the Tardis and its crew set off in hot pursuit. But a ruthless businessman, Cuthbert, CEO of the global power Conglomerate, is also tracking the alien beings, because they ruined a very expensive and mysterious experiment he was carrying out in space. Can the Doctor and Romana find out what the aliens are doing? Can K-9 get the sand out of his insides? And what does the Sahara desert have to do with anything? Find out all this, and more in this great adventure.

I really enjoyed this, and the story finishes at a point which leads on to another adventure War Against the Laan. So you really need to get that story to find out where this story leads to.

This story really truly felt like a story from 1978 - even the music seemed eerily reminiscent of the right time and place. The sound effects in the story seemed, for some reason to be very distinct as well - even the footprints and walking across the sand seemed to be absolutely spot-on - you could hear the characters right beside you and `feel' the desert air. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I did not like it, but the next story (the second half) is much better, 29 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
The Sands of Life is one half of an adventure, concluded by War Against the Laan. They really should have been one disc. Padding it out to two you get lots of helicopter scenes and periodic incidental music. Bizarrely split into three episodes (title music therefore pads it out further).

Some nice ideas are set up, the Doctor and Romana well written and performed, but that's about it. An otherwise excellent writer, who has contributed so much good stuff to Doctor Who faltered a bit here, and no-one seemed willing to tell him.

I really did not enjoy this story, but the ideas carried through to the next story are progressed well.

2 stars because I did not enjoy this story, I think it poorly judged; better condensed to 15 minutes or so and shoved onto the front of War Against the Laan, the two of which would have made a 4 star story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doctor in the desert, 25 Mar 2013
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
Second in the latest series of Doctor Who audio stories that feature Tom Baker as the Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana. In this one they are joined by John Leeson as K9.

This story runs for three episodes, which vary in length from twenty nine to twenty three minutes, and is complete on a single cd.

It can be heard without having heard any of the previous Fourth Doctor audios. Although you need to be aware that it ends on a cliffhanger which will be resolved in the next story in this run. Thus it does feel like the first half of a bigger story rather than something that's complete in it's own right.

Set on Earth, somewhen in the future, the story sees the result of the election for President of Earth return the first ever independent candidate to the role. But she has a few lessons to learn. And a strange problem.

A ruthless tycoon sees a horde of aliens headed towards Earth.

They land in the Sahara desert. With the TARDIS following along.

With the military and the corporation on the scene, can the Doctor and Romana find why the aliens have come to Earth? And can they prevent a war that could prove very costly to all sides?

This does have a very 1970's feel to it, and there are moments when you can imagine the visuals in the style of the show at the time. Even the incidental music feels like something out of this particular tv era of the show.

The first episode offers lots of intriguing set up, a great performance by David Warner as the aforementioned tycoon Cutherbert. He does a good accent and makes him more ruthless than evil.

The three TARDIS crew members are all at the top of their game and have some excellent scenes together.

And a decent cliffhanger makes you want to know what will happen next.

The next two episodes aren't quite as strong, and it's a bit of a shame that the three leads are separated for most of them. It gets into more conventional Doctor Who territory with the two Time Lords having to deal with typical human reactions to this kind of thing.

Episode three does start off with a bit too much in the way of shooting and explosions, but it all does come together rather well in the end as various plot strands are brought together.

Not all the answers are forthcoming, and as mentioned it does end on a cliffhanger that will be resolved in the next release.

Said story is Dr Who 2.3 War Against the Laan CD (Dr Who Big Finish), and there is a trailer for it on the cd track right after the end of part three.

So whilst this isn't a particularly stand out story it does though offer some great acting and some good Doctor Who in a fond nostalgic style. Thus it makes for quite a pleasant listen.

The final track of the cd is a short - four minutes approx - chat with John Leeson. Plus Tom Baker. This is also worth a listen
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more like it but minus a star for cliff-hanger!, 19 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
I think I am one of many who found themselves disappointed with the quality of the 4th Doctor & Leela stories-not with the actors I hasten to add who were perfect but with the quality of the stories. I felt, with the exception of Energy of the Daleks, that the stories were under-par and far too short (you're just getting into it and it's over!). I just didn't think they were worthy of the talents of Tom Baker & Louise Jameson. I felt the stories in the "Lost stories" set were so much better as they were longer and gave the plots & characters enough time to breathe. Plus the pacing seemed less rushed as there wasn't so much to be crammed into a short running time.

So I approached the 4th Doctor & Romana stories with caution. And, of course, sadness as Mary Tamm is no longer with us. On the one hand great excitement to hear her voice again while on the other real sadness knowing these stories would be the last time.

The 1st story (the Auntie Matter) had a very nice "behind the scenes" which included a tribute to Mary. Tom Baker's comments about her were very touching. Plus the story itself was a promising start for this particular series. This is the 2nd story and I think some lessons have been learned from the aforementioned Doctor/Leela stories. It is longer so there is more time for the story to develop. Plus there is now more room for longer solo scenes for both the Doctor and Romana and gives each more time to shine. I feel in this story that Mary Tamm is now very comfortable with playing Romana again after so long (yes she did reprise the role previously in one of the stories in the "Gallifrey" series, but she was almost totally alone in that story and there was no interaction with the Doctor of course). I really felt that this was the Romana I remember, with nice touches of the comic sarcasm that she had in the classic TV series. Here it was directed effectively at the military. I could just picture her giving one of her withering looks!

The story itself is a very simple one- (basic outline-no spoilers)large numbers of a race of aliens have come to a future earth with a mysterious plan and the military and a mysterious corporation are attempting to stop them.

The only niggle I have with this story is with the cliff-hanger ending. I think that is a bit of a cheat. Fans will buy this series anyway so it seems a bit mean to try to force them to. However, that doesn't detract from the fine performances, apart from that American accent-oh dear! American fans beware!
(The 3* is only because of the cliff-hanger ending! The story and performances are worth 4-5*)
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The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) by Nicholas Briggs (Audio CD - 1 Feb 2013)
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