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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars trading in death, 8 Sep 2008
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
sixth release in the third series of talking books called doctor who: the companion chronicles. these involve an actor who played a companion to the doctor in the old version of the tv show returning to the part to read a new story featuring their character in an adventure with the doctor.

the disc, like all in this range, runs for roughly seventy minutes, and has the story divided into two episodes of roughly thirty five minutes each in length. the penultimate track concludes with a clip from the forthcoming next story in the range, but does not give it's title, and the final track is a short interview with the cast and director.

also usually with these, the actor in this release does almost all the voices, but there's one other actor who does one part. well, normally they do one part, but in this case the guest actor does two.

this release is the first in the run to step outside the era of the first four doctors, as it features sarah sutton returning to the role of nyssa. she played the part alongside the fourth and fifth on tv, but the story here is set during her time with the fifth, thus other companions tegan and adric also show up. sarah sutton voices both of them. As with the doctor, she doesnt do a direct vocal impression, but does manage to imitate their speech patterns very well. the story is set somewhen between the tv stories black orchid and earthshock, and it features a race of aliens called the dar traders. they recently appeared in the seventh doctor audio the death collectors, and this is a prequel of sorts to that, but there's no need to hear one to understand the other as they both stand very much on their own.

in this story, nyssa, sometime after she left the doctro, tells a hospital patient about something that once happened to her. an occasion when the tardis was forced to land on a derelict spaceship. during an exploration of it the companions were separated from the doctor, and forced into helping the dar traders open a mysterious box. the contents of which spell death for the doctor. can nyssa stop this from coming to pass?

the script is a good recreation of the fifth doctors tv era in style of story. the first episode is involving and paced just right, but it's all set up for what comes next. the second is stronger although at thirty five minutes it does take a little while for the plot to really get going and come together.

the outcome of it does tie in well with the scenes with nyssa and the patient. like most of the stories in this range, the companion goes through a bit of an epiphany, and that has an effect on them.

it's very well read by sarah sutton, and whilst it's not the most stand out story ever, it's a decent little bit of doctor who, and not a bad listen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Audio Adventure Featuring The Sinister Dar Traders, 15 Nov 2014
Timelord007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles).
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Adric, Nyssa, Tegan
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
Writer: Stewart Sheargold
Director: Ken Bentley
Release number: 3.6
Format: 2 Episodes on 1 x CD
Running Time 60 Minutes

Behind The Scenes Interviews

Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
The Dar Traders - Derek Carlyle

1)Nyssa states that she was familiar with the theory of dimensionally transcendentalism before travelling with the Doctor & claims that she may have understood it better than the Doctor at times.
2)The previous night, Nyssa had a nightmare about being strangled by a man dressed in black.
3)The Dar Traders, who not only trade but consume the dead, have no jurisdiction over the living.
4)Nyssa mentions her suffering from Lazar's disease & her departure from the TARDIS. (TV: Terminus).
5)Nyssa refers to the destruction of Traken by the Master in 1981. (TV: Logopolis).
6)The Dar Trader states that death follows Adric closely. (TV: Earthshock).
7)Adric reminds Nyssa that Alzarians are able to heal faster than other species. (TV: The Visitation).
8)Nyssa mentions the Master stealing her father Tremas' body. (TV: The Keeper of Traken).
9)During his seventh incarnation, the Doctor would encounter the Dar Traders once again on Antikon. (AUDIO: The Death Collectors).

What's Up Doc?
While investigating a debris-littered battlefield in deep space, the TARDIS crew are salvaged by an ancient race of collectors known as Dar Traders.

Separated from the Doctor after an accident, Adric, Tegan & Nyssa find themselves at the mercy of the Traders' curiosity. But the Traders have salvaged a cabinet from the battle that could be very dangerous indeed.

What does the suave assassin, Damasin Hyde, know of the cabinet? And why is everybody so interested in the missing Time Lord?

To find the Doctor, the TARDIS crew will have to enter a violent inter-planetary war. Where someone will die, & it will change everything.

Timelord Thoughts.
The Darkening Eye is my type of Doctor Who adventure & opens post adventure Terminus with Nyssa recalling an old adventure to one of her patients, The story sees the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa & Tegan arriving on a disintegrating spaceship during a space war were they encounter an mysterious assassin known as Damasin Hyde & are soon confronted by the sinister Dar Traders whos only fascination is death.

Sarah Sutton gives a wonderful reading as her narration is clear & dramatic read engages the listener throughout & reprises Nyssa superbly & is my favourite Fifth Doctor companion, while Suttons interpretation of the more vulnerable Fifth Doctor is a spot on while Sutton adds a slight Australian accent for mouth on Legs - Tegan & voices Adrics personality as a annoying & condescending little brat which sums his character up perfectly.

Derek Carlyle returns to voice the chilling tones of the Dar Traders which he does magnificently here creating a genuinely terrifying vocal evilness that is presented here in it's purest form as the Dar Traders motives are quite unique & sinister who make for a fascinating alien race & one of Big Finishes best original creations as there obsession with death gives the play a chilling & unnerving tone & I hope the Dar Traders soon return to Doctor Who perhaps encountering the Fourth or Sixth Doctor.

The character of the ruthless & mysterious Damasin Hyde is well written & adds great menace too our time travellers current dilemma as he searches for a certain type of power source to fuel his craft which just so happens to be the lifeforce of a Time Lord.

Writer Stewart Sheargold stories are usually dark & creepy adventures & he writes in a similar tone to the late great Robert Holmes & again as with his main range story The Death Collectors Sheargold delivers a wonderful scary Doctor Who script & creates some wonderful imagery to fire ones imagination especially the scene were Nyssa is lying on the ground in Tegan's arms as the windy autumn leaves blowing around her the `grove'is quite a beautiful moment in the play as Nyssa seems at peace for an eternity.

Ken Bentleys solid direction keep the storys pace moving along nicely & builds up the tension & suspense brilliantly while sound designer David Darlington adds a chilling atmospheric tone to this Companion Chronicles adventure which is another strong addition to the range & deserving of repeated listens.

Timelord Rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and beautiful narration from Sarah Sutton (as Nyssa), 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
`The Darkening Eye' is a Doctor Who Companion Chronicle from Big Finish starring Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, and I must say I absolutely loved every minute of it. It was the first Companion Chronicle I had ever listened to, and it was a pleasure to hear it.

I had this on my birthday in May 2009 when I was getting to know Nyssa through the Big Finish audios. I already had listened to a fair amount of audio adventures with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa from 'The Land of the Dead' to 'Time Reef' (which was the latest one at the time).

Usually companion chronicles focus on the earlier eras of `Doctor Who' where Big Finish can't do proper full cast audio dramas due to obvious reasons that the first three Doctors are no longer with us. But this is the first time where Big Finish focuses on a companion from the Fifth Doctor era. And in this case it features not only the Doctor and Nyssa, but also Adric and Tegan - the TARDIS team from Season 19. I have a fondness for Season 19 of `Doctor Who', so it was lovely to hear Nyssa telling her adventure with her friends. Like most companion chronicles of this format, the story is narrated in the first person and is taken from Nyssa's perspective as she experiences events.

Set between 'Black Orchid' and 'Earthshock', Nyssa recollects her adventure after the events of 'Terminus' (part of 'The Black Guardian Trilogy'). The story itself is quite dark and grim and manages to get inside Nyssa's thoughts and feelings as the writer Stewart Sheargold intended. It starts off where Nyssa is on Terminus and she visits a sick patient with Lazar's disease. She tries to help him as she tells him a story about something that happened to her when she went beyond `death'.

Nyssa narrates the story where she, the Doctor, Tegan and Adric arrive on a ship in deep space after a bloodthirsty battle. They are then met by a race of ancient death collectors - called the Dar Traders. Nyssa, Tegan and Adric are soon separated from the Doctor when the ship breaks up, and are captured by the Dar Traders who take them to their ship as they go through a series of disturbing events such as being catalogued when checking if they're dead and helping them to solve the mystery of a black cabinet which contains a deadly assassin - the suave Damasin Hyde.

Sarah not only gets to play Nyssa in this story but also the Doctor, Tegan, Adric, a woman soldier and Damasin. Sarah manages to play a variety of parts with tremendous enthauasm. Since she knows Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse so well due to working with them, she's able to get the tone and pitch of their voices pretty well. She may not have a `man's voice' or an `Australian voice', but it certainly does feel that Tegan, Adric and the Doctor are actually there in the story.

The Dar Traders are played by Derek Carlyle in this story. This story is also a sequel/prequel to another Doctor Who story featuring the Dar Traders called 'The Death Collectors' featuring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. `The Darkening Eye' is the first time I ever heard the Dar Traders, and I must say I found them very frightening if not disturbing. They're an unusual set of Doctor Who monsters in that they have a strong connection with death. Sheargold the writer goes into great detail explaining the Dar Trader's love of experiencing death and considering it as a business. Sometimes it's quite frightening to listen to. Nyssa's description of the Dar Traders and how she sees the dark dank corridors of their space ship is so visual, detailed and quite horrific.

Derek Carlyle plays both the Dar Traders and the Patient on Terminus in this story. When he plays the Dar Traders his voice is rasping, throating and very alien compared to his ordinary voice when playing the patient. I've heard Derek Carlyle lots of times now in various Big Finish production and he's very versatile.

I found Damasin Hyde (the villain of the piece) a very interesting and chilling character in the story. Sarah manages to get the suave elegance of the man very well, and it put me very much in mind of the Master. Even Nyssa's descriptions of him being middle-aged, black shoulder-length hair and polished boots put me in mind of him, and it gave Nyssa the shivers when she saw him. I liked the scenes when they're on the autumn planet and Nyssa confronts Dasmasin about why he's an assassin and shares the loss of her father and defies and accuses him of being malicious in killing people. What Dasmasin does on the planet when he manages to survive gun shots and slaughters soldiers one by one is very shocking. I loved the moment when Dasmasin's about to kill the Doctor and Nyssa stands in front of him to block Dasmasin's aim. The final moments of the story where Nyssa confronts Dasmasin in the Dar Trader's threshold (which looks very much like a Traken grove) are truly defining for Nyssa when she defies him for his coldness and disregard for other people.

I liked the connection they made to 'Terminus' when there were scenes with Nyssa attending to the patient and telling her about her travels with the Doctor. I'm glad there was some resolution as to what happened to Nyssa when she got cured by the Lazar's disease on Terminus because of the Dar Traders. I also liked the connections made to Nyssa's Traken heritage (with references to her first story 'The Keeper of Traken' and how she connects things to what she believes in during events of the story such as `the marriage of the scientific and the spiritual' and aspects of the Dar Traders reminding her of Trakenite concepts when concerning death.

Nyssa's physic abilities are also dealt with in this story as she experiences premonitions through the Dar Trader's machine seeing herself cradled in Tegan's arms. It reminds me very much of other stories where Nyssa experiences premonitions such as 'Time-Flight', `The Land of the Dead' and 'Primeval'.

There's a sense of autumn in this story as `autumn leaves' feature prominently in this story, especially when Nyssa and her friends are on the alien war-barren planet.

As ever I'd liked the music and sound design in this story very much, as I found it creepy yet beautiful as the same time. The sound of harp music to accompany the moments of beauty and death for Nyssa were quite eerie.

Sarah is a lovely narrator with such a beautiful and clear voice. I asked Sarah to sign `The Darkening Eye' for me at a convention in Swansea, 2011. Sarah is reluctant to do any more companion chronicles since she finds them hard work and is terribly exhausted once finished the recording. I suppose it's because she prefers doing full cast audio productions rather than narrating audiobooks, but I wouldn't like to judge. But I like it when Sarah narrates since she's got a beautiful clear voice for narration. She did an audiobook called 'The Jarillion Mercy' and I listened to that recently and enjoyed that as well.

I told Sarah this was my favourite CC with her in it since she kept my interest going. I stunned her when I said that and she told me 'she liked me' afterwards. Something I'll never forget.

The special features of this CD include a `coming soon' trailer for the next companion chronicle `Transit of Venus' featuring William Russell as Ian Chesterton. There's also some behind-the-scenes interviews with Sarah Sutton, Derek Carlyle and director Ken Bentley conducted by producer David Richardson, which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

So overall, `The Darkening Eye' is a lovely companion chronicle with Nyssa and her friends. I don't quite fully understand the story, but I enjoyed it all the same. I wish I can listen to more companion chronicles with Nyssa since I enjoyed this one so much. But that's up to Sarah Sutton though, and even though I repeat myself her voice is beautiful when narrating.

The next story for the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric is 'Iterations of I'.
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The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
The Darkening Eye (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) by Stewart Sheargold (Audio CD - 1 Dec 2008)
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