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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Casino Who!
Ready for a gamble?!

This is `House of Cards'! A companion chronicle by writer Steve Lyons, featuring the Second Doctor team from Season 4 including Polly, Ben and Jamie. It stars Anneke Wills as Polly and Frazer Hines as Jamie who narrate the story from their perspectives in the first person. I bought this audio adventure in February 2013 to celebrate the...
Published 2 days ago by Tim Bradley

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's alright Nothing special!
An average production.
Nothing brilliant and nothing awful.
Not a 'must have' item or a terrible one just OK!
The cast are good but the story's just so-so.
Published 13 months ago by S. Phythian


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Casino Who!, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: House of Cards (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Ready for a gamble?!

This is `House of Cards'! A companion chronicle by writer Steve Lyons, featuring the Second Doctor team from Season 4 including Polly, Ben and Jamie. It stars Anneke Wills as Polly and Frazer Hines as Jamie who narrate the story from their perspectives in the first person. I bought this audio adventure in February 2013 to celebrate the Patrick Troughton era of `Doctor Who' for the 50th anniversary! I've enjoyed listening to this story with the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie and have had the CD cover for this story signed by Anneke Wills at a convention in Newcastle in October last year.

In this story, we have the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie arriving in the TARDIS at a futuristic space casino. There's lots of gambling going on at the casino and the Doctor's friends join in the fun and games. But there's also monsters about this casino as well as cowboys. The Sidewinder Syndicate is here who are snake-like gangsters; vicious robot dogs and a mysterious masked woman named Hope. As the gambling takes place, there is some who maybe cheating on their games as Polly discovers when she finds herself travelling back in time. Can Polly and her friends avoid being tracked down and arrested or will the Doctor have to play a deadly game of games with a sinister lady named Fortune?

Steve Lyons has claimed that the early Second Doctor team are his favourite and Season 4 is his favourite era of `Doctor Who'. Steve has written for the Second Doctor team before in 'The Selachian Gambit'. Here he writes for the Second Doctor team again and clearly relishes writing for the characters of Ben, Polly, Jamie and the Doctor.

In this story Steve creates this alien atmosphere of a futuristic space casino, much like Las Vegas as that's much of an alien place anywhere. There's a lot of classic American idioms featured in this story especially with the cowboys with phrases like "You're darn tootin' right!" or "You dirty rat" as Steve creates the feeling of a James Cagney film in this one, and my dad's a fan of James Cagney. Sometimes the story seems silly with its cowboy characters like Lucky Bill and those freaky aliens. But the heart and themes of this story is all about risks in gambling and how important it is to not cross the threshold when you spend too much either in gambling or whatever as I can always get you into trouble and you have to face the consequence. That's a part of the story that does appeal to me.

I enjoyed listening to both Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines in `House of Cards' as they bring back the early Patrick Troughton days from Season 4, since we're denied seeing those adventures as most of them are lost in the mists of time.

Anneke returns to play Polly in this companion chronicle with Frazer. I've had the pleasure of meeting Anneke at conventions. I remember she complimented on my acting when I was taking part in an interactive panel by director Graeme Harper and she said I was very good. I really liked that. I took part in group photo with all the Troughton companions including Anneke; Frazer; Wendy Padbury and Deborah Watling. I eventually got chatting to Anneke at signings and mingling's at conventions in Slough; Swansea and Newcastle last year and being able to get things signed by her such as this story's CD cover. I've enjoyed meeting Anneke and she seems a genuinely friendly person to meet. I remember chatting to her during one evening about her work in `The Saint' and `The Avengers'.

Polly is at the centre of this story as she drives the story forward in witnessing events and seeing what Ben, Jamie and the Doctor do in terms in gambling. She's horrified when she sees Ben over indulging himself and eventually getting himself into trouble with the Sidewinder Syndicate or with Lucky Bill. She gets to share scenes with Jamie as they talk about what casino and sharing their experiences with meeting Hope which I liked as to how their stories of perspective come together. Polly gets abducted by the Sidewinder Syndicate at some point and is eventually held under interrogation by Fortune. She uses a time amulet to travel back in time and seeing her own earlier self before her eyes. She's anxious when she get to see the Doctor gambling and playing cards with Fortune . I enjoyed listening to Polly in this adventure and it's lovely to hear Anneke playing the character with such enthusiasm and fondness for her `Doctor Who' years.

I really like Anneke's interpretation of Ben in this story as she makes him sound so much like Ben with his cockney accent and rough manner. I really like it when Ben goes `Duchess' to Polly, and it's a great dedication to Michael Craze who originally played Ben since Anneke knew him so well. I'm sure Michael would have enjoyed doing these Big Finish audios if he was still alive. I also like how Anneke's interpreted Patrick Troughton's Doctor with his voice sounding deep yet very comforting and reassuring, almost as if he's giving Polly a pat on the back. It's not as good as Frazer's interpretation of Patrick, but it's certainly like him when Anneke does it and it's clear she enjoyed working with Patrick when she was on the TV series.

Like Anneke, I've had the pleasure of meeting Frazer Hines at conventions and enjoyed chatting with him during signing and mingling sessions. I enjoyed him as Jamie as this. Jamie gets to witness events from his perspective, so we have Frazer in his Scottish accent throughout his performance. I like it when Jamie's in awe by the space casino environment he and his friends have arrived in. It reminds of the gambling dens in London where he comes from in his own time. Jamie's still relatively new to the TARDIS crew, but has fitted in very well. I enjoyed his story when he sees what's going on with the woman called Hope; the Sidewinder Syndicate and what Ben does with his gambling and Lucky Bill. It's nice to hear Frazer as Jamie in this, and apparently there was a lot of laughter and joking between him and Anneke in the making/recording of this story.

The monsters in this story are Sidewinder Syndicate, who are snake-like gangsters. They've appeared in `Doctor Who' before. Have they? When? These monsters have been in the comics of `Doctor Who Adventures' which is a children's magazine for young Who fans. They've been in adventures with the Tenth Doctor and his comic book companions Heather McCrimmon (Jamie's descendant apparently) and Wolfgang Ryter in Prohibition Chicago (1920s) and also with the Eleventh Doctor and Amy. To have them in a Big Finish audio play is quite unusual as they were created by Steve Lyons in the comics and brought in by him for this story `House of Cards'. If only they could get Doctors Nine; Ten and Eleven into the Big Finish world. Anneke provides the voice for these snake-like gangsters in the Sidewinder Syndicate. Anneke really enjoys playing these snake gangster providing a hissing tone to their voices. Sometimes they sound silly and rather too hissy for my liking. But it kind of works and especially in the context of this story.

The CD extras on this disc are as follows. After this story, there's a trailer for the next companion chronicle with Katy Manning as Jo Grant called `The Scorchies'. Then there's some behind-the-scenes interviews on `House of Cards' with Anneke Wills, writer Steve Lyons and director Lisa Bowerman, which is conducted by producer David Richardson.

This is an enjoyable Second Doctor audio adventure with Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines playing Polly and Jamie with the Doctor and Ben vs. the Sidewinder Syndicate from the comics. I enjoyed listening to this audio adventure for the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Second Doctor last year in February and enjoyed listening to it again for this review. It's a fun adventure that brings back the Second Doctor era in full form!

The next adventure for the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie is 'The Faceless Ones'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time for a gamble, 17 Mar 2013
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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Cards (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a range of talking books that see an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on TV return to the role to read an all new story for their character.

They do all the narration and all the voices save one which is done by a guest actor.

They usually are complete stories in two episodes that run for just under thirty minutes each with both on a single cd.

This is another that sees Anneke Wills return to the role of Polly, whom she played alongside both William Hartnell and then Patrick Troughton back in the 1960's. The story features the Second Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie. Frazer Hines is the guest actor here, returning to the role of Jamie.

The story sees the Doctor and friends at a casino on an alien world. A place that offers all sorts of games of chance. And danger as well. From vicious robot guard dogs to the Sidewinder syndicate, aliens who dress and act like 1920's gangsters but who have heads like snakes.

The casino also doesn't take very kindly to time travellers. Not least because of the opportunities for cheating that the technology offers gamblers. When the TARDIS crew fall into danger, can they find a way to escape with their lives?

This one does take a little while to get going, but you do slowly get used to the setting and the style of the story. Anneke Wills does some decent narration and an excellent range of voices for other character. Frazer Hines slips back into the Jamie role as effortlessly as he always does. And the aliens of the piece are quite decent creations. They originally appeared in a comic strip story in the magazine Doctor Who Adventures, where they fought the Tenth Doctor. Which for them came before this story. But you get the picture.

The first episode does click come the very good cliffhanger, and then in part two the story does use the idea of time travel to very good effect.

The Doctor is rather sidelined from the action for a while, but he does come into it in the final third. The way things are resolved is very nicely done. But what makes this one especially memorable are two great character scenes at the end. The second of these with live with you for a while.

This is not the greatest release in this range, but it's a good solid story that ably recatures the feel of it's era and it's well worth a listen.

There's a trailer for the next companion chronicle on the track after the end of part two.

And just over seven minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's alright Nothing special!, 18 Jun 2013
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This review is from: House of Cards (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
An average production.
Nothing brilliant and nothing awful.
Not a 'must have' item or a terrible one just OK!
The cast are good but the story's just so-so.
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House of Cards (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
House of Cards (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) by Steve Lyons (Audio CD - 28 Feb 2013)
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