This is the 116th release in the Main Release range by Big Finish, and picks up on the locale and characters of an earlier story, The Condemned (#105). The Doctor and Charley are enjoying a hearty English breakfast, when a story in the local paper makes the Doctor anxious to go to Manchester and meet up with their old acquaintance DI Menzies.
This is another wonderful story written by Eddie Robson, who has created a wonderful character in DI Menzies, and a wonderful environment in which to tell his stories, in 1980s Manchester. Reading in the Writer’s notes with this story, Eddie Robson tells how he wanted to pick up on potential that he had seen start to be realised in a 1980s story of the Sixth Doctor; Attack of the Cybermen. The beginning of that story featured the character Lytton and his gang; Eddie Robson wanted to realise more of the potential of that time and place, and has admirably succeeded in doing so with DI Menzies, the police force and Manchester in the 1980s. Because, as Doctor Who fans will know, Manchester in that time was also a port of call for alien species, who walked among the humans, most often unnoticed and unrecognised except by a select few. And it’s the activities of some of those aliens, and the humans in Manchester as well, that the Doctor needs to investigate.
This story very cleverly and seamlessly turns somewhere along the way from a police procedural to an alien … well, a large number of aliens, each with their own apparent motives and reasons for doing what they’re doing. The Doctor and Charley are still finding their relationship rather awkward, as Charley is lying to the Doctor, and the Doctor knows it, but hasn’t found out what about or why. Their personal issues threaten to get in the way of much bigger problems, and the listener is drawn into a 2 hour experience which throws everything and the kitchen sink in to entertain us, all very admirably.
This is the hundred and sixteenth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as old Sixie, and India Fisher as Charlotte Pollard and is a welcome return for Anna Hope as the curmudgeonly DI Menzies. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of each disc.
The Doctor and Charlie are in Manchester to track down the origins of a pound coin that seems to hint at someone using time travel irresponsibly. They are soon mixed up in the current investigation of DI Menzies, who after the events of The Condemned is now a magnet for all sorts of alien problems.
There are two strands to the story. The first is the ongoing tension between Six and Charlie as a result of her inability to admit to him the truth of her past - and his future. Baker and Fisher excel at this, Baker playing Six with a piqued curiosity, alive to the possibility of the danger that Charlie might bring him bust still able to trust her, like her, and most importantly, wishing to help her. This mellower, compassionate Six is a masterpiece, a pity we did not get the opportunity to see just what Baker could do on the TV screen. Fisher Is also excellent as Charlie, feeling the pressure of keeping things from Six but still wanting to join in the fun and adventures.
The second strand is the alien incursion in Manchester, and this is brilliantly realised. As the truth behind the various alien factions is revealed you find a fascinating idea at the heart of the story, and prepare to have your perceptions of the villain shifted somewhat. The grand finale, in which Six plays a very unusual game of cards is a real thrill.
As well as the pleasure of the acerbic DI menzies, there is also a guest turn from the honey voiced Michael Fenton Stevens as the casino owner, a pitch perfect performance that really hist the spot.
Another great outing from Six, Charlie and Menzies. Here's hoping thet there is more form Menzies in the future. 5 stars all round for a thrilling, thoughtful and entertaining adventure.
Having massively enjoyed The Condemned with it's blend of the 6th Doctor in a modern contemporary setting, i was looking forward to this follow-up release immesnely. As per-usual with Big Finish it is amazingly produced and turns out fantastic performances from the cast, but whereas The Condemnded presented a gripping, imaginative and tension-filled storyline, The Raincloud Man felt a little flat for me.
First off, it is great to see Patricia Menzies again, her character injecting energy and a keen sense of dry-humour into every scene she appears in. The 6th Doctor/Charley pairing also comes up trumps, their relationship developing further as Charley struggles to keep who she really is from the Doctor. There is a lot of underhand dealings going in in this story and as with The Condemned, Colin Baker's Doctor slots wonderfully into the crime/thriller genre.
Caught up in a mix of a hi-tech boat, gambling and battling alien races, there's a lot on offer here and things pick up in the 2nd half of the story. But whereas the Condemned felt slick and streamlined, there at times feels like there's perhaps just a little too much going on in this story.
Still, another enoyable addition to the Big Finish range and another stellar performance from Colin.
on 13 March 2009
There is much to commend this release in terms of science fiction concepts that I found highly original even after decades of watching sci fi and having listened to all previous Big Finish.
The story continuing from events in The Condemned would still work well in its own right but benefits from listening to the prequel. The police woman is a particularly engaging character worthy or more returns to the series as is her involvement in aliens on Earth over and above her normal duties. I always like stories where ordinary people are involved in aliens.
The Condemned and The Raincloud Man would have made an excellent 8 episodes towards a separate mini-series. I just hope there is more of this to come.
on 17 February 2009
This intriguingly titled Sixth Doctor and Charley Pollard story is the latest Big Finish monthly release to feature this particular combination of time travellers. The titular character is a humanoid alien named Lish, who acts as a `damper' in any situation in which he is involved, and who proves to be the key to the events that soon unfold. The Doctor and Charley encounter him when they come to Manchester in the present day to and The Doctor is reacquainted with DI Menzies; a sarcastic Mancunian police officer who once arrested the Timelord for murder. Between them they become involved in the machinations of the enigmatic Brookes, played by the suave Michael Fenton-Stevens of KYTV fame. Brookes is a renegade Talabbacian who is being hunted by his people and who is using the essentially peace-loving Cyrox to fight them for him. Added to the mix, and the reason The Doctor headed for Earth in the first place, is Carmen, another time traveller who is using her ability irresponsibly by journeying through time and gambling. To thwart the warlike Tabbalac The Doctor has to put at stake not only his TARDIS, but his very existence; will he win his freedom or is this finally the end..?
Continuing the will he/won't he thread regarding whether The Doctor will finally discover Charley's duplicity - she has previously travelled with a future incarnation of the Timelord - this story is a refreshingly Earth-based tale that enables The Doctor to play detective and has him sparring effectively with the blunt and caustic Menzies. Anna Hope plays the DI and it is a wonder to hear her real home counties accent when she is interviewed on the CD extras. During the story, Charley herself shows signs of becoming increasingly furtive as The Doctor starts to get nearer to the truth, and it can only be a matter of time before all is revealed...
Colin Baker excels as always, with his Doctor continuing to impress on audio with his intelligence and his humanity, and the guest cast are uniformly excellent. The CD extras are informative and light-hearted, with Fenton-Stevens in particular proving to be as erudite as the characters he regularly plays. Overall this is one of the best audios in the series so far and it will be a shame when the Charley Pollard/Sixth Doctor pairing finally has to end.
on 15 August 2013
Being a real whovian I tboroughly enjoyed this audio & would recommend it too any fellow whovian. I'll certainly be collecting more of them.
another audio adventure for the sixth doctor who, as played by colin baker. in this one his companion is charley pollard, played by india fisher. anyone who has been following with this range will know that charley previously travelled with the eighth doctor before meeting the sixth, and she hasn't told him the truth. yet. despite the fact that he has suspicions of her and that her presence with an earlier doctor is affecting the time line.
thus there's a bit of a story arc going on. whilst you could pick it from this one if you haven't heard the earlier stories featuring the pair it's best to listen to them to get the most out of it. the sequence so far consists of the audios the condemned, the doomwood curse, and brotherhood of the daleks. and after that is a one off story called return of the krotons, but that cd was only released to subscribers to the range and wont be on sale to everyone else till later this year. although you can listen to this without having heard that, as although this follows on from return of the krotons there's no direct link and it didn't have any major bearing on the story arc.
the story consists of five twenty five minute long episodes, spread over two discs. the first disc begins with a trailer for the upcoming next release in the range, and ends with roughly fifteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew. and the second disc ends with roughly eighteen minutes worth of same.
this story sees the tardis crew return to manchester, where the condemned was set, and meet up again with policewoman anna menzies, a rather tough and no nonsense lady who takes things in her stride. not least the way she's become involved with aliens and time travellers ever since her previous meeting with the doctor. menzies is played by anna hope, who played novice hain in the tv episodes new earth and gridlock, and is quite an appealing and well acted character.
in this story the doctor is on the track of a time traveller who is on the loose in manchester, and this leads him and charley and menzies into an underworld populated by people from other worlds who have some very major agendas. it's like a criminal underworld with aliens, and the mixture of present day life and the fantastical is well portrayed.
the meaning of the title is not what you might expect it to be, and is quite an interesting concept. all of which leads to the doctor and charley being caught up in an interplanetary war, and having to do some gambling for very high stakes. this results in a card game the nature of which is incongriously amusing.
the doctor charley story arc gets some interesting attention in part one, which moves it on nicely, but the two are apart for a lot of the remaining episodes. which is a shame because colin baker and india fisher have an excellent chemistry together. however the end brings them back together and develops things nicely, leaving you eager to find what will happen to them next.
this isn't a classic release, but it's a decent little story with some clever science fiction concepts, and it's well worth a listen
on 4 April 2015
Interesting story, takes Sixy + Charlotte back to modern day and another encounter with DI Menzies. Would like to here more of these.