This is the one hundred and thirty second release from Big Finish in their range of audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. This one stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven and Tracey Childs as Klein. The release has four episodes, two episodes per disc on two discs. Each episode is 25-30 minutes long and has cliffhanger endings and original theme music between each episode. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc one, and the end of disc two features a few minutes of incidental music from the production.
Following the events of `Survival of the Fittest', Klein is busy rewriting history her way. Not just trying to restore her timeline, but improving on it. Or improving on it in her mind at least. But things just keep going wrong and she is forever having to tinker with history to get things to go right. On the new Nazi outpost on the moon she is suddenly faced with a threat that should not exist in the form of an invasion force of Selachians, fearsome marine predators in environment suits that allow them to walk on land. She has a mysterious little man with a question mark umbrella prisoner in a dungeon, and she is ssure this is one of his schemes, but he denies all knowledge, or indeed any knowledge of this timeline.
What follows is a halfway decent tale as the Seventh Doctor, transplanted from the original timeline and replacing the physical form of the Doctor of the new timeline tries to work out what his other self had planned and plays along with it. An especially neat idea is that of the Doctor's assistants, of whom he has no knowledge because he has no knowledge of this time line. It's a bit of a weird timey-wimey tale at times, but has some great moments and most of it hangs together with most of the important plot points being covered. It falls a bit flat for me though as no explanation for the central premise, which sets up most of the interesting situations, is satisfactorily explained - just why was the Doctor from the original timeline transported into the new timeline all of a sudden? Why did he not just vanish along with the rest of the timeline? So what would have been a solid 4 star story drops to a three for me as I just didn't really `get' an important aspect of it.
Apart from that this is a well produced and well acted story, especially by McCoy who obviously relishes this opportunity to play the darkest version of the Dark Doctor yet. And Tracy Childs as Klein is superb, driven, ambitious but now paranoid and starting to tire of the constant effort.
All in all a solid 3 star effort from the BF team, and an almost satisfying wrap up to the Klein trilogy.
on 23 March 2010
As the previous reviewer says, this is an excellent full-cast audio adventure, featuring Sylvester McCoy portraying the Machiavellian Seventh incarnation of the Time Lord, and rounding off the recent 'Klein trilogy' in fine style. The story opens with the Doctor's TARDIS in the hands of Elizabeth Klein, a now time-travelling Nazi from an alternative dimension, who is determined to restore the universe to what she considers to be its correct reality; one where the Third Reich triumphed against the Allied forces and went on to conquer the stars, as well as the Earth. The Time Lord appears to be her prisoner, but as always he is manipulating events furiously, and is clearly in control from the start.
What I like about Steve Lyons' creation is that she is unashamedly unwilling to learn from her mistakes - in a time when writers insist on us seeing the good in everyone, Klein appears to be thoroughly blinkered and utterly bent on her own selfish course. Tracey Childs' portrayal of Klein is utterly appropriate, and extremely compelling, while Sylvester McCoy too is as excellent as ever, showing how the Seventh Doctor would have gone on to be portrayed on TV if he'd had the chance to develop properly. New 'monsters', the anthromorphic Selachians, are pretty good if underused here, and the remainder of the cast is top-notch.
At the end of the first disc, there is an extended piece of music as a bonus, and the second CD includes the always interesting interviews with the play's cast and crew. Overall another excellent drama, showcasing all that is right with the Big Finish Doctor Who collection.
I loved Klein's character and Childs portrayal of her back in Colditz and have been delighted with her return in this trilogy. This is very much a portrayal of the New Adventures 7th Doctor, one rarely seen in the Big Finish range. This trilogy just wouldn't work with any other Doctor.
I adored Leonara Crichlow as Rachel Cooper, especially that heartbreaking final scene with her. However I'd like to just keep the character and the performance in this bubble. Despite being only in one story she's already one of my favourite companions.
McCoy has never been better than in this, plus obviously the superlative Childs as Klein. The music was stirring, extremely pleased to note that it got its own track. A clever final scene too which I wont spoil as it deserves to come as a shock for full effect.
on 22 March 2010
Sylvester McCoy gives the kind of performance Doctor Who fans dream of in the last of this trilogy, showing that the seventh face of the Doctor has lost none of his cunning, or his ability to create his own problems. Tracey Childs continues to be superb as Klein. After hearing the first two tales, both very strong stories, it seems here that the Klein era could have done with being a little longer. From the start this is a story that can only be a final ending for Klein, with so many possible stories that emerge from her morality and background never developed or used. That said, this is a strong story with superbly voiced monsters, and very well written and performed characters. This is one that needs to be listened to with great care, as it can be a little confusing, I found I needed to hear the last episode twice to be sure I had fully appreciated all of the plot threads and their resolution. If you enjoy the Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy at his dark and manipulative best, then sit back and enjoy.