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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth Adventure with the Laan - Part 2
This is the second disc of the five-part Tom Baker `Doctor Who' story with the Laan. It contains the last two episodes of the story - Episodes 4 and 5.

`War Against The Laan' is a great follow-up to the previous CD release 'The Sands of Life' in the Fourth Doctor Adventures with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm as the Doctor and Romana. It's not so fast-paced as the...
Published 5 months ago by Tim Bradley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars paying twice for 1 story!
The previous story, "The sands of Life" set up the events that are continued in this story so basically this is part 2 of a two-part story. Be aware of that as otherwise you will be clueless!

In "the sands of life" (basic outline no spoilers)a race of aliens have come to a future earth with a mysterious plan and the military and a mysterious corporation attempt...
Published 24 months ago by The Avenger


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth Adventure with the Laan - Part 2, 7 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
This is the second disc of the five-part Tom Baker `Doctor Who' story with the Laan. It contains the last two episodes of the story - Episodes 4 and 5.

`War Against The Laan' is a great follow-up to the previous CD release 'The Sands of Life' in the Fourth Doctor Adventures with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm as the Doctor and Romana. It's not so fast-paced as the first three episodes of the story, but it's very exciting and resolves lots of things that were happening in `The Sands of Life' that weren't fully explored.

The story catches up with the Doctor and Romana witnessing the massacre of the Laan space-whale creatures by Cuthbert and his men firing on them. One of the Laan gets captured and is taken away back to Cuthbert's science labs at the Conglomerate. The Doctor and Romana try to reassure the Laan that they mean no harm. But the Laan are intent to recover their sister, even it means provoking a war with the humans. The Doctor and Romana need to find a way to stop Cuthbert from causing any more damage. Can they do that with the help of newly elected Earth President Sheridan Moorkurk?

If you're wondering what's become of K9 from the previous story, the Doctor's managed to recover him in the TARDIS. But it's going to take the Doctor a while before K9's fully repaired and recovered from his previous ordeal.

The last two episodes of this story take us away from the Sahara Desert and are set more in the urban cities of the world where the action takes place including London and Africa. The atmosphere is there whether it's either the Earth's Presidency is or where the Conglomerate's platform and labs with Cuthbert and Mr Dorrick takes place. The episodes also take on a moral stance on Cuthbert's actions against the Laan and the desperate strive to prevent an outbreak of war between humans and Laan. It also focuses on the journey of President Sheridan Moorkurk who develops from a reluctant leader to making decisions with the help and advice of her new friends, the Doctor and Romana.

I really like how the Doctor and Romana meet up with President Sheridan Moorkurk. Sheridan wants to know what the Doctor and Romana have experienced with the Laan creatures and she's recently had telepathic contact with them. The Doctor and Romana know that Sheridan is not a typical Earth President and know she's inexperienced at this kind of leadership. They gently help Sheridan with making the right decisions and how to stop the war breaking out between the humans and Laan as they go to the heart of the matter in confronting Cuthbert and his Conglomerate. I really like the relationships developed between Sheridan, the Doctor and Romana as it's made up for in these two episodes of the story which were denied in `The Sands of Life'. Also Hayley Atwell who plays Sheridan is really lovely actress and it's great that a Hollywood star fresh from `Captain America' wants to take part in these Big Finish audio adventures of `Doctor Who'.

We get to see what goes in the Conglomerate and what dodgy dealings Cuthbert's up to at his base with Mr Dorrick assisting him. `War Against The Laan' introduces us to a new character in the scientist called Professor Harold Tallister (played by Hugh Frazer). Hugh is well known for playing Captain Hasting in `Agatha Christie's Poriot' on ITV and has done a number of Big Finish audios in `Doctor Who'. The character of Tallister is a nervous scientist under orders from Cuthbert to do experiments on the Laan creature. Tallister is reluctant to do the experiments, but Cuthbert forces it upon him. Tallister inadvertently kills the Laan they experient on which gets the Doctor anger. Tallister does redeem himself as he helps the Doctor to find out more of the Laan using the data scans he took on them during the experiment to discover some interesting revelations.

Of course the guest star worth talking about is David Warner playing Cuthbert. I've met David Warner twice at conventions and he signed the CD cover of `War Against The Laan' for me at a convention in Swansea. I really like how he plays the character of Cuthbert in this story, full of electricity and sharp edge. He's very good in scenes with Tom Baker's Doctor and Mary Tamm's Romana, and the scenes between Tom and David are terrific as they spark of each other tremendously when the Doctor confronts Cuthbert in stopping him provoking a war between humans and Laan. Cuthbert is a pretty ruthless character in the story who's all powerful and full of business intent. He's hiding a secret as Romana's curious as to what he's really up to. `Mind your own `bleedin' business, dear' , he says to her. I wonder what he's hiding.

There's a shocking moment in Episode 4 when it ends on a cliff-hanger with the Laan killed and the Doctor, Romana and Sheridan are horrified as there seem no chance of winning round the Laan now. We get to learn from interesting revelations about the Laan. The Laan have this ability to produce their young in `the sands of life' in the Sahara Desert. But it causes temporal explosions when they do it and it's what's caused Cuthbert and many humans to react aggressively against them. But it turns out the Laan were sent to the wrong planet that has `the sands of life' for them. This is a result of the time experiments made by Cuthbert, which he won't reveal anything about. Still wondering what Cuthbert's hiding.

I really like how Romana develops her telepathic communication with the Laan in this story, and she's a stronger character in making her protests to Cuthbert and developing a friendship with Sheridan on advising through her presidency. This gives Mary Tamm plenty to do and making Romana sound more like the Doctor on some occasions which is very refreshing. Also the Doctor is on top form as well as Tom is really enthusiastic playing the Doctor for these audios and seems to be really enjoying them in exploring new aspects of the Fourth Doctor we get to experience and enjoy on audio.

The final showdown of the story has the Doctor, Romana and Sheridan trying to reason with the Laan and explain to them why they're on Earth by mistake and how Cuthbert's responsible. The Laan don't understand at first, and seem intent on wiping out humanity. But soon, the Laan come round to the Doctor and Romana's arguments and soon the Laan are on their way back into the time vortex to head off to the planet they were meant to go for `the sands of life' and to have their birthing of young take place. This means war's averted, and the Earth is safe. Listening to that audio was pretty tense and made me wonder how the moral aspects of the story will turn out by the end.

In the end, the Doctor and Romana return to the Sahara Desert for the TARDIS and Sheridan wishes them a fond farewell. Cuthbert is still alive and needs to be dealt with. But Sheridan is now determined to make her own decisions and not have Cuthbert bully her around as she will soon sort him out given time. The Doctor and Romana wish Sheridan well in her new presidency. The Doctor gives Sheridan a jelly baby which she enjoys and a moment I like, as she gives the Doctor some hard boiled eggs which he's been asking for earlier in the story. The TARDIS leaves with Sherdian watching them go on a satisfactory note.

The CD extras of `War Against The Laan' include some behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `The Sands of Life' and `War Against The Laan'. These include interviews with Nicholas Briggs, the writer and director of this story; Tom Baker; David Warner; Toby Hadoke (who plays Mr Dorrick); Hayley Atwell (Sheridan); Hugh Frazer and Jane Slavin (as the Laan). There's also a sneak preview of Cuthbert and Mr Dorrick returning in the season 2 finale with the Daleks which David Warner and Toby Hadoke are looking forward to.

`The Sands of Lfie'/'War Against The Laan' has been great five-part Tom Baker `Doctor Who' story that I've thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the Doctor and Romana together in this with Tom and Mary enjoying playing their characters so much and deliver superb performances. It's also been great listening to David Warner as the main villain Cuthbert with Toby Hadoke as Mr Dorrick at his side. I was keen to find out what happens to Cuthbert as he was going to return to the series again for the last two-part Dalek story 'The Dalek Contract'/'The Final Phase' later in the year. What's going to happen in that?! We'll have to wait and see...

There's a `coming soon' trailer for the next story with the Doctor and Romana called 'The Justice of Jalxar'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent If Predictable Follow Up To The Sands Of Life, 15 Jun. 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
Doctor Who War Against The Laan.
Doctor: Fourth Doctor.
Companion(s): Romana.
Main enemy: Cuthbert, The Laan.
Main setting: The Sahara Desert, Africa, London.
Writer: Nicholas Briggs.
Director: Nicholas Briggs.
Format: 1 CD, 2 Parts
Running time 60 minutes approx.

Extras.
Trailer.
Behind the scenes interviews.

Trivia.
1)EP One is the President of Earth's personal jet.
2)Sheridan Moorkurk was elected due to an unexpected surge in the protest vote against the Conglomerate.
3)All of the Laan are female.
4)When the Doctor is introduced as one of President Moorkurk's new advisers, he uses his customary alias of "Dr. John Smith".
5)The Doctor tells President Moorkurk that he is an expert on "practically everything." (Tv: Spearhead from Space, Utopia).
6)The Laans' ability to navigate through time and space was damaged by Cuthbert's experiments with the Quantum Gateway in the Proxima System. (Audi: The Final Phase).

Plot Synopsis.
The Fourth Doctor, Romana and newly elected President Sheridan Moorkurk take on the all-consuming powers of business tycoon Cuthbert and his vast Conglomerate as the recent situation goes beyond a struggle for political power.

Cuthbert is intent on revenge on the Laan creatures he feels have attacked his interests, But when his revenge looks like leading to inter-species war, the Doctor knows the stakes couldn't be higher & intervenes to foil Cuthberts plans...but will he be successful with the Laan on the move, Could it too late for the Doctor to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth?

Timelord Thoughts.
This is a decent if predictable conclusion to The Sands Of Life written again by writer/director Nicholas Briggs who tightens up the pace of the story adding character development that was sorely lacking in The Sands Of Life allowing Hayley Atwell to come into her own delivering a great performance as President Moorkurk.

The Doctor faces a great dilemma here that wasn't quite apparent in the previous story, Once again actor Tom Baker excells as the Fourth Doctor giving another eccentric yet at times sombre performance while Mary Tamm as Romana gets to share more time with Hayley Atwells character President Moorkurk who both others character's superbly.

David Warner who delivers a superb brilliant performance as Cuthbert is quite a vicious sadist & egotist, A man similar to the Doctor with lots of secrets who doesn't show all his characteristics in this play & it'll be interesting were Big Finish go with this character next.

The issue of this story is its a very average alien invasion story, The Laan aren't really a menacing enemy to fight so the danger often feels false & the solution is a predictable one & why the Doctor couldn’t have explained all of this a lot earlier s then this unpleasantness would've never have taken place.

Overall this story moves along at a great pace, Has some exciting tension filled moments & great character development making for a entertaining enjoyable is slightly underwhelming Doctor Who audio adventure.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars paying twice for 1 story!, 29 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
The previous story, "The sands of Life" set up the events that are continued in this story so basically this is part 2 of a two-part story. Be aware of that as otherwise you will be clueless!

In "the sands of life" (basic outline no spoilers)a race of aliens have come to a future earth with a mysterious plan and the military and a mysterious corporation attempt to stop them. The 4th Doctor, Romana 1 and K9 are caught up in these events. That story set things up nicely and at 3 episodes gave enough time for the story and characters to develop. The story ended on a cliff-hanger which I felt was a bit of a cheat-fans will buy this series anyway so it seems a bit mean to try to force them to.

Now events in the story have reached a head and this story deals with that in 2 episodes. There is a definite feeling of anti-climax at the resolution to the story, as expectations were high from the previous story. I therefore think it would have been much more wise to have made the previous story a 2-disc set and told the story in full. This would have avoided fans having to pay twice for what is basically one story! Yes, from a business perspective I suppose it makes sense, but it does tend to smack of greed a bit as the buyer is not getting a brand new story in this set.

I would like to make it clear that I am not disappointed with the actors who are all excellent, but with the producers of the 4th Doctor series. They knew interest would be extremely high for Tom Baker reprising his role, especially as he is now joined by previous TV companions, but I feel that the stories have not been of high quality. For a start they have been far too short (you're just getting into it and it's over!) and in the case of the Doctor/Leela series they were mostly under-par and not really worthy of the actors involved. Now with this series, if this disc is indicative of future releases, we will have some stories being released in 2 separate sets which, while maximising profits, will leave fans like myself feeling slightly cheated and (literally) short-changed!

Big Finish-you have been warned!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War Against the Laan, 1 Dec. 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
This story follows directly on from the Sands of Life, where the Doctor and Romana come across the Laan species, set on completing their birthing cycle in the Sahara desert on Earth. But the Doctor knows that if they do so, it will mean destruction of all life on Earth. And to stop the Laan, he must also stop the all-powerful Conglomerate under the nasty Cuthbert and his minions, while allaying the military and political concerns of the rulers of Earth.

I enjoyed this story, and it certainly follows well from the Sands of Life. But I did find it lagged a bit and became a bit like a Greenpeace/Doctor Who crossover at times. The Sands of Life introduced people and species that had loads of potential, but I'm not sure they were fully utilised in this continuance story.

Tom Baker and Mary Tamm were on top form as always, and David Warner as the nasty and amoral Cuthbert was brilliant. Definitely good, but just not great.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Conglomerate vs the Laan, 7 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
War Against the Laan’ suffers in a similar way to its predecessor in that it is only one half of a larger story. As such the listener is thrown into the outbreak of war between humans and the Laan at the very outset. All the background, build up and establishment of characters is done in the previous release in the series. Despite some fine moments and good performances there is little reason to listen to this as a standalone play. It needs to be enjoyed alongside ‘The Sands of Life’ to do it justice.

The war is portrayed throughout as a pointless war caused by a lack of willingness to understand on both sides. The Laan instinctively react in self-defence. The human reaction is generally one against aliens, assuming an invasion. Close minded military minds resort to violence and the Conglomerate reacts with dissection of a Laan. It is, therefore, the fate of the Doctor and Romana to spend most of the story trying to make people see reason and negotiate a peace. Throughout both plays Romana exhibits a certain level of unexpected shock at the mindless violence from humans. She experiences similar surprise when trying to convince the Laan not to react in retaliation. The Doctor, who was more subdued perhaps in the first half, continually shows his contempt for Cuthbert’s actions and policies. He has a particularly poignant rant against the Conglomerate scientist, Tallister, for ‘just obeying orders’, echoing issues involved in the experiments of psychologist Milgram.

The President has bigger role than in ‘The Sands of Life’. She comes into her own, as actress and character, in eventually standing up to Cuthbert. In doing so she becomes the Conglomerate’s main opposition rather than the Doctor or Romana who support her endeavours. In a way the Doctor almost returns to his UNIT role in becoming an advisor to President Moorkurk.

With the Laans' behaviour one of retaliation to save their migration and birthing, it is Cuthbert who remains the definitive villain of the piece. David Warner makes a good opponent for the Fourth Doctor. He has the gravitas to make Cuthbert’s unwavering conviction that he is right in his actions utterly believable. It leads to some interesting moral squabbles between the two.

The positive aspect of having this continuous story running over two releases and five episodes is that it helps to give it an epic feel suitable for the subject. It also provides the opportunity to fully explore the Laan, who are probably an alien who only have one story in them. Overall the story is a bit wandering and could have been a little more concise. But it is a story of decent ideas and concepts that is a little different.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the next one but still brilliant, 25 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
I liked this release but not as much as the other three that have been realeased so far. It is good to get if you already know what happens in the Sands of Life but not good if you are a casual listener.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War with the Whales, 15 April 2013
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
Latest in the current run of Doctor Who audio stories that feature Tom Baker as the Doctor. Along with Mary Tamm as his companion Romana.

This one runs for two episodes of thirty minutes in length each [approx] and is complete on a single cd.

It is a continuation of the story begun in the previous release The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures). And there's no reprise or any exposition to help new listeners catch up. So do be aware from the off that you will not really get into this one if you haven't heard the earlier story.

Mild spoilers for which follow...

At the end of that one, a mass horde of whale like alien creatures called the Laan had landed in the Sahara, intent on using it as their birthing ground. Ruthless businessman Cuthbert had kidnapped one of the creatures. And the newly elected President of Earth needed the help of the Doctor and Romana to prevent an inter species war that could spell disaster for the human race.

The story continues and is resolved here.

In much the manner you might expect.

The production is once again a very high quality one, with sound design and settings and music that really feel like something out of the tv show from the late seventies. The Doctor has great moments of moral outrage. Cutherbert is a very three dimensional character who isn't evil just for the sake of it.

And the way things are resolved is something that the story has subtly hinted about right from the off.

Although it does leave a few things slightly up in the air. Which are clearly going to amount to more in later stories in this run. We definitely have a story arc, although the exact details aren't quite clear as of yet.

This is not the strongest audio, are perhaps it could have been slimmed down into a single release, and it possibly should have made more concessions for casual listeners. But it's a perfectly capable production and quite a decent listen. So long as you've heard the preceding release.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the track after the end of part two.

And just under fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks after that.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good disc, but let down by the previous story which was the first half, 29 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
War Against the Laan continues where the previous story The Sands of Life left off. They form a 2 disc story, with different titles. This is not a good thing because if anyone starts with this story they will be mid-adventure.

There is something not quite right about these two stories. They have been stretched out way too far and would have benefited from being a slightly over-running 1 disc adventure. As it stands the first story is padded out excessively with periodic incidental music and unnecessarily long helicopter flights. This disc is the better of the two, with some clever story resolves.

I am a great fan of Briggs's writing, but someone should have said "No, edit it down to one disc." I did not enjoy The Sands of Life, but it did open an intriguing story-line, and War Against the Laan develops it nicely albeit with a little too much repetition because the story is so stretched.

David Warner is a guest but does not stand out as he should do. Tom Baker is given appropriate dialogue and is thus a credible mid-Baker story (unlike some of the first series of Fourth Doctor Adventures).

A real mixed bag. Had it been one disc, then it would have deserved 4 stars but as it is War of the Laan gets 3 and The Sands of Life 2. When I relisten I will skip The Sands of Life as I simply did not enjoy it. War of the Laan is better.
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