This is a wonderfully, mysterious, dark and occasionally gruesome story. Cant help but wonder if that's the reason it was never used on TV or maybe the finer points were added at a later date by Marc Platt who is one of this ranges finest writers. I love this story, usually I don't like the bleak stuff but its done right here.
I thought I might be suffering from Sixth Doctor Overload this month with two releases but he continues to impress. Nicola, as always threatens to steal the show. Here, she is given a real chance to shine, and she rises to challenge brilliantly.
Steve Foxon's music is also very creepy and translates the atmosphere very well. The music here is very powerful when used, usually to signify the presence of a threat. And the silence is very effective also.
on 5 May 2010
Number six of the 'Lost Stories' mini-series is a vibrant and highly entertaining historical adventure for Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor and his lycra-clad American Botanist travelling companion, Perpegillium 'Peri' Brown.
After colliding with an asteroid in space, the TARDIS arrives in murky 16th Century London, where playwright Kit Marlowe is attempting to write his seminal Renaissance drama Doctor Faustus. However, behind the scenes there lurks the shadowy and physically monstrous form of mysterious Spaniard Velez, who along with his dwarfish minion Iguano is using the unstable Marlowe to help him locate an ancient Aztec artefact, which he believes will be vital in whatever nefarious business he is engaged in...
So who are 'The Omnim' and what are they waiting for? Why is Velez so horrifying to behold? And what is the significance of the astral plane to which The Doctor and Peri are suddenly transported? As the point of entry approaches, the travellers must confront the Omnim and rescue Marlowe from the clutches of a madman...
Marc Platt has taken Barbara Clegg's unfinished script and created a fascinating adventure; the Elizabethan setting is fantastically realised within the limitations of audio, and the presence of such historical luminaries as Sir Francis Walsingham give the play a real edge. Highly recommended and absolutely excellent.
A superbly dark visit to Elizabethan England and the shadow haunting playwright Kit Marlowe; his inspiration, his temptation and England's doom... 5* (2 episodes, 2 CDs, 120 min)
A strange phenomenon surrounding a wandering planetoid brings the Doctor and Peri to London just a few years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But the Doctor isn't the first alien to arrive, something else is stirring; ancient, cold as stone and thirsting for blood, it fell to Earth many ages since and the Doctor has seen its work before, long ago...
Christopher `Kit' Marlowe, leading playwright and English government spy, has other problems. His latest play will depict the legend of Doctor Faustus, a philosopher who sold his soul for dark knowledge. But Marlowe is running out of ideas - until inspiration visits him in the shape of sinister Spaniard Don Lorenzo Velez, a man so deeply lost in dark secrets that even Death rejects him...
This is a dramatic Sixth Doctor `Lost Story' written by Marc Platt in the best `Gothic' tradition and faithful to the original storyline by Barbara Clegg. Practically perfect, as written here it makes a gripping audio experience with the great script and performances combined with Steve Foxon's excellent sound design.
It's a `history-meets-the-aliens' story with alien science weaving into human supernatural beliefs, and the quality of writing and the actors place it among the very best of that genre. Marc Platt also wrote the fantastic recent story `The Devil's Armada' from Philip Hinchcliffe's thrilling storyline; it's also set in Elizabethan England, just a few years before `Point of Entry' and even with an appearance from one of the same historical figures, so it's no surprise his portrayal of dangerous, exciting Elizabethan London and its people is excellent here.
Matt Addis and Luis Soto lead the guest cast with two superb performances as Marlowe and Velez, the tempted and the tempter. Marlowe risks his moral soul in search of a play while Velez is playing for higher stakes; he seeks an ancient artefact from the New World made from the substance of an old world - the world of the Omnim - to rebuild their world on ours... Surrounding the central plot are the informers of Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, trying to keep England safe from foreign foes whatever it takes - and in this case, it takes the Doctor and Peri!
Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are in top mid-80s form as they try to link their own mystery of an encounter in deep space to the mystery surrounding Marlowe, his friend Tom, Velez and his servant Iguano. The Doctor expects to meet old alien enemies from Time to Time, but probably doesn't expect the old `historicals' to trouble him again - but that's what happens here with some clever links which I enjoyed very much.
I said the story was `practically perfect' and it is. There were just two odd moments, one comes early on when the Doctor goes to warn Walsingham about the peril facing his Queen and country, tells him the truth but ends up on the rack, seems totally nonchalant about it and just tells him the same information again - which Walsingham then readily believes, after which they both sit down and have a friendly chat about the glory of Elizabeth's England! This didn't quite work for me, Walsingham was no doubt professionally suspicious, but he believes the Doctor so easily the second time, why doubt him so drastically the first?
Later there are two comedy sequences as Peri dons a costume and impersonates `an historical personage'. It's appropriate for a plot about a playwright and his plays in one way and Nicola Bryant makes the most of the opportunity and gives an enjoyable and funny performance. However, while I thought the idea would have been great in an `historical' story with the lighter atmosphere of `The Romans' or `The Time Warrior', the sequences felt out of place in this particularly dark, deathly and stylish tale. On the other hand, even `Macbeth' has the supposedly comic Porter's scene, so there are good precedents and Peri's antics are much funnier!
But the comedy is brief in this wonderfully `Gothic' story which I'll remember for the shadowy `supernatural' plot, the links to a culture from the Doctor's remote past and the superb characterisations of Marlowe and Velez. Add in a body that refuses to die, a dark mirror and astral travelling, blood sacrifice and a blood-red moon, along with all the local ambience of London in the reign of `Gloriana' and it's no surprise that the two long episodes fly by (and literally fly at one point!) as the Doctor and Peri face dangers in and out-of-body while the Point of Entry for the Omnim draws ever closer.
The Doctor's very English solution resonates down the centuries and the whole story resonates with clever touches and gloriously literary dialogue for Marlowe, the tempted genius, and his dark mentor Velez.
The price of Marlowe's outstanding encounter with the powers of darkness must be the very highest - five stars, highly recommended! 5*
(The CD booklet has brief notes and cast photos and the documentary tracks are as usual at the end of both CDs but it's best to listen to these after enjoying the complete story.)
Another Doctor who lost story audio. These are a series of audios featuring Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as his companion Peri. They take stories written for the show in the 1980's that never got to the tv screen and adapt them into audio plays.
This one has two long episodes, roughly fifty seven and sixty five minutes each, one two each of the two discs.
Set in 16th century london, Kit Marlowe is suffering from writer's block when a strange man offers him the inspiration he needs. In exchange for his help to find a stone blade from south america.
The TARDIS makes a forced landing in the city after nearly colliding with an asteroid. The Doctor and Peri are caught up with the locals, Marlowe, the authorities, and the quest for blade. An item that could spell doom for planet earth...
The two episodes here are very long, and I do prefer shorter ones, but these can be forgiven much because there's so many delights and memorable moments in each. London of the time was a dangerous and dirty place, and the script vividly creates that atmosphere. All the characters are well rounded and very believable and also very well played. Marlowe's desire to write comes over superbly thanks to that.
Judicious use of sound and music creates great atmosphere, and there are even a couple of bits of comedy thatcould have flopped but instead do manage to make you smile. Plus some very interesting aliens. It's perhaps good that this didn't get to the screen because audio can conjure up strange other astral realms, london in the rain, and crowd scenes better than bbc tv on a budget ever could.
A rich and satisfying epic and one that should benefit from future listenings.
There are roughly ten minutes of interviews with cast and crew at the end of each disc. These are worth it for an insight into the writing process that goes into this range. And a trailer for the next lost story at the start of disc one.