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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 August 2015
This is the 67th release in the Main Range by Big Finish, and was released in March 2005.

The Seventh Doctor, with Ace and Hex, who is still fairly new to travelling in the Tardis have landed on an asteriod, where there doesn’t seem to be anybody about, just some strange stone statues and monuments amongst the buildings. Then they realise they can see a familiar landmark at the end of the main road. As they try to understand their context in space and time, a spaceship lands; the Galyari have come looking for trade.

This is a four-part story, and I thought the first and second episodes showed great promise. There is a mysterious-sounding catastrophe, the context of which we don’t immediately understand. And there is the mystery of where the Tardis has landed, and where the people of the asteroid are. And then the added complication of the arrival of the Galyari. The Doctor is well written here, and Sylvester McCoy seems to play him with a good amount of mystery and imagination. At the end of the second episod, we understand a lot more of what has happened, but still no further knowing why or how.

Unfortunately, the answers for why and how are given in episode three, and I remained unconvinced. When it all comes together in a great confrontation and struggle between all sorts of various parties in episode four, I still remained rather unconvinced. It all got rather vague, and I thought a bit airy-fairy in its expositions and motivations. There are strengths in the story overall; I think the Galyari are a great creation, and I’d like to see them in yet further stories. And I think that having Australian actors playing the parts of the humans in the story added a good level of context and authenticity to the structure of what the author appears to be trying to sell us. But the drama element, and the resolution of that drama just didn’t drag me into it, and didn’t leave me with any feeling of engagement overall. A pity.
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on 20 May 2015
There is a fine line one has to tread when writing a story, and that is how much exposition you should give. Too much, and the story is bogged down, and the pacing is ruined. Too little, and you get this story.

I know why you need to limit the explanations as to what is going on; it is for dramatic effect. This is why it is perfectly acceptable in a programme to have the Captain call on the intercom: "Engineering - what happened?" and get the response "You'd better come and see for yourself", whilst the camera slowly pans down to the latest trouble in store for the cast this week. In real life, a reply like that is likely to get you reprimanded.

A small amount of this is allowable, but this Doctor Who story takes it to extremes. The situation is that The Doctor and his companions land on a rock in space where there is a serious problem, but as yet, they are unaware of what it is. Elsewhere, a ship of aliens also land, and they too are clueless to the issue at hand. They each encounter inhabitants of this planetoid, and ask what is going on. Fortunately, the people they encounter know what is going on. But you get exchanges like this (paraphrased):

“We need to go into the city”
“Don’t go there, it is dangerous”
“What’s the matter”
“You don’t want to go there”
“Okaaaay…. And why shouldn’t we”
“You really don’t want to go there”
“Why not?”
“You really don’t want to go there”
“Blow this for a lark. We’re going, and you’re coming with us”
“Don’t make me go there, it’s dangerous!”
“Then for the love of all that is holy, why won’t you tell us what the danger is?”
“You don’t want to go there”

Ok, a lot of that conversation was running through my head whilst I was listening to the actual dialogue, but there wasn’t a lot of difference. It’s conversations like this that drove me to distraction throughout this episode. It had a lot of potential, but it was spoiled for me by the completely unrealistic way that people behaved. I’m willing to accept Uluru in space, but not people with-holding information from others when there is no need. Even the Doctor gets in on this (again, paraphrased):

“Don’t do that!”
“Why not?”
“Just don’t, you’ll regret it”
“Tell me why not?”
“Don’t do it”
“For crying out loud, tell me what the consequences are, or are you really an imposter who is trying to stop me from doing this?”
“Don’t do it!”
“I will do it!”

And does so, and a new problem arises for the Doctor.

If the characters had a legitimate reason for not replying with a straight answer (such as shame for causing the danger), then this would have been understandable. What's more, we would have had a storyline that works well, where The Doctor and his companions try to solve the mystery. But no, the reason they are withholding is purely for dramatic effect, and the result is the characters end up looking stupid.
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This is the sixty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as new companion Hex Schofield. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs.

Following the events of the 58th adventure, the Harvest, Hex now travels in the TARDIS with Seven and Ace. And the first alien world that they land on is a pretty weird one. A rock in space, which seems to have a large chunk of Australia in the form of Uluru and some very creepy statues on it. Pretty soon they are plunged into a weird adventure in the Aboriginal dreamtime, along with some other visitors to the rock, the Galyari.

I quite enjoyed this adventure. It is one of those which suits the particular Doctor very well. There is a scene of Seven emerging across a desert with umbrella in hand that you just cannot imagine any other aspect of the Doctor in. Ace gets some good moments, and Philip Olivier gets a meaty opportunity to make Hex into one of the great companions. It must be hard for him to join the well established and well loved pairing of Seven and Ace but he manages well, largely through the generosity of McCoy and Aldred. It's got all sorts of aspects, the return of one of the best Big Finish aliens the Galyari, some interesting ideas, well realised dreamscapes, all along with cracking action and cliffhangers. Added into the mix are a great performance from McCoy, with the Doctor at his most persuasive. And there is a cracking contribution from John Scholes as the charming, reassuring, wise Baiame. It's an all round cracking release, 5 stars.
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on 18 August 2007
"'The Dreamtime is living time. The Dreaming is living myth.'
"A city travels the stars, inhabited by stone ghosts. At its heart, an ancient remembrance of Earth. Mythical creatures stalk the streets and alien visitors have come in search of trade. But there is nothing to trade. Only fear. And death. And the stone ghosts.
"For Hex's first destination in the TARDIS, it's about the strangest place he could have imagined. Weird and very far from wonderful. Adjustment to his new life could prove tough. But he will have to adjust and do more, just to stay alive, and Ace will have to be his guide through this lost city of shadows and predatory dreams.
"And the Doctor is the first to go missing.
"The Doctor has crossed into the Dreamtime."

"Dreamtime", by Simon A. Forward, is one of those stories that attempts to transcend "Doctor Who"'s usual boundaries and venture into mythology - this time, the focus being the myths and legends of aboriginal Australia. It's quite a nice idea, in a way, that after the people of Earth have practically destroyed their planet, it should be an aboriginal messiah (Baiame, played by John Scholes), that manages to save a little bit of the planet for future generations - but whether or not the idea of Ayers Rock and its environs floating around in an oxygen bubble in space can really be considered a credible concept in a sci-fi series will really depend on the listener's ability to suspend their belief.
None the less, it's an imaginative and suitably out-there situation for the Doctor and Ace's new companion Hex to find himself in on his first trip in the TARDIS, and Philip Olivier plays the young Londoner's struggle to understand the new concepts he's exposed to very well (cue ample repetition of the "Oh my God!" joke from "The Harvest"). Once the Doctor "crosses into the Dreamtime", Ace and Hex carry much of the story, along with the various supporting characters that they surround themselves with. Amongst these characters are several human "Dream Troopers", who are, unfortunately, little more than ciphers, with little personality and only average acting talent. The story also features a return appearance by the Galyari, last seen in author Simon A. Forward's previous play "The Sandman", who are at least slightly more interesting than the human characters. The very-sci-fi Galyari, however, seem out of place in this rather fantastical story where very little of what happens is actually explained in any satisfactory way - a deliberate attempt at a meaningful contrast, I suspect, that doesn't really work.
I suppose the mysterious nature of the "Dreaming" and the "Dreamtime" are supposed to be half of the play's appeal, but one could also suggest that they represent lazy writing, providing the author with an excuse to make crazy things happen without having to explain why. Perhaps further listens to "Dreamtime" will prove more satifying, but on first listen I found myself unconvinced. One thing's for sure: to fully enjoy "Dreamtime", fans must be prepared to let go of the usual sci-fi conceits and go with the flow.
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on 8 September 2007
For a start Hex does seem to get quite a good amount of stuff to do. Its not as if hes absent from most of the story is it? Philip Olivier is just as good if not better on here than in his debut the Harvest.

And the aussie setting is interesting. Ayres rock floating on a chunk of debris and floating off into deep space. Thats an original idea for once. And yes, this story is actually highly entertaining with its stone ghosts and great australian feel. Getting genuine aussies is a good idea too, and gives the story a more realistic feel.

The galyari are a strong race of aliens and i feel they are more interesting in this story than in the Sandman. And the digeridoo music score in some parts is cool and different. This story just highlights how flexible the format of Doctor Who can be. And its even better when the story actually works because of it.

The opening episode especially is creepy and eerie, a great bit of acting from the three regulars of Sylv SPohie and Phil. They are one of the best teams that big finish has helped to create. They are just totally different but totally cool characters that make any story sound great.

Simon A Forward gives us a good story about myths and fairytales, but also with a good amount of sci fi to keep alien enthuisiasts happy and entertained. Baiame is a great character. So overall this play is well made and interestingly done. A great story again...
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Strewth mate, doctor who's only gone and headed into aussie territory!

Only this not australia as you'd know it. Ayres rock is now on the middle of a big chunk of land that's floating through space.

That is certainly an original setting.

But what's happened to the people who left earth along with it?

Doctor and companions investigate. The supporting characters are convincingly australian, and the setting is atmospheric.

But just when you think you've gotten a handle on the mysteries of this story, it loses it's way badly in the third part and gets far too involved for it's own good. Poor old hex, superb in his debut story, gets short shrift here because the writer doesn't seem to be sure what to do with him.

Things are resolved with convenience in part four.

A pity this story fails, because the idea and the setting are great. The plot, however, is flimsy by comparison, and that's a shame
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2011
This is the first full companion story for Hex and his interactions with Ace and the Doctor are the only bits of this tale that work. For the rest we have an Uluru in space / dreamtime / didgy alien tale that I struggled to pay attention to. Fortunately I know that the Ace stories improve vastly in the future!
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