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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent NA Companion Chronicles Adventure
Bernice Summerfield & the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles).
Doctor: Seventh Doctor
Companion: Benny
Main setting: Shanquis
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
Writer: Eddie Robson
Director: John Ainsworth
Release number: 4.6
2 - Episodes - 1 x CD
Running Time 60 Minutes

Extras.
Trailer...
Published 4 months ago by Timelord-007

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a botch up.
I have a few general comments about the current series of Companion Chronicles and a few specific to this release. Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code has a great central idea that is ruined by the sloppiness of the execution. Big Finish are now churning these stories out at such a rate they appear to have forgotten to make sure everything is in place before they...
Published on 18 July 2011 by Mr. D. Harris


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent NA Companion Chronicles Adventure, 8 Nov. 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Bernice Summerfield & the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles).
Doctor: Seventh Doctor
Companion: Benny
Main setting: Shanquis
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
Writer: Eddie Robson
Director: John Ainsworth
Release number: 4.6
2 - Episodes - 1 x CD
Running Time 60 Minutes

Extras.
Trailer
Behind The Scenes Interviews

Cast.
Bernice Summerfield - Lisa Bowerman
Gatlin - Charlie Hayes

Trivia.
1)This is the first of the Companion Chronicles to star a companion who does not feature in the television series.
2)The Doctor & Benny without Ace who has left the Doctor.

What's Up Doc?
The Doctor & Bernice Summerfield are on the planet Shanquis, where the Doctor is trying to negotiate a peace settlement between this world & the neighbouring world of Esoria. The Doctor should be in his element, in an arena where the fighting is done with words, not weapons.

Yet after days of talks, the situation is getting worse. The planets are on a war footing & the Doctor cannot break the deadlock. He'd planned to join Bernice at an archaeology conference on the planet, but she ends up going on her own in an effort to distract herself from the increasingly dismal situation.

Whilst there, Bernice learns of the Shanquin "forbidden language", which it is illegal to read, speak or even think. As Bernice pursues the root of this obscure, archaic law, she finds herself obstructed & threatened as she realises that her investigations may have given her the only hope of stopping this war...

Timelord Thoughts.
Benny Summerfield is my type of Doctor Who companion as she's more like the Doctor's equal & on level footing with him & has a very unique personality who can be manipulative, sarcastically funny & zen like cool in a crisis.

Once again the wonderful Lisa Bowerman does a fantastic job of reprising Benny for this excellent Companion Chronicles adventure who's character is funny, dramatic & dazzling as Bowerman has simply made this character her own & does well in her vocal interpretation of the cunningly manipulative Seventh Doctor.

The Criminal Code is written by the superb Eddie Robson who has delivered another cracking story here full of intrigue combined with a very inventive plot & a great twist in the tale with the truth behind the forbidden language that's works well for this audio adventure.

The guest actor is Charlie Hayes (daughter of Wendy Padbury) & she does very well as Gatlin who's a enthusiastic open-minded character who is attending the same archaeology conference as Benny.

The sound design & music score by Jamie Robertson succeeds in capturing the The Criminal Code's tone of the story which brings the story to life that works well during the plays dramatic moments & adds a great atmosphere.

John Ainsworths direction is solid throughout building up the plays drama throughout episode one & in doing so allows a more action packed scenario through episode two which is all the more superb, although I feel may have worked better as one sixty minute episode than 2 thirty minute one's as the cliffhanger seems weak & felt tagged on.

Bernice Summerfield & The Criminal Code is a fast paced witty clever & most of all a entertaining audio adventure featuring a superb performance by Lisa Bowerman that is combined with excellent production values via Big Finish & tightly paced direction by John Ainsworth that delivers a unique Seventh Doctor Companion Chronicles adventure, overall I enjoyed it.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solving the Criminal Code with Bernice Summerfield!, 12 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
I've had this story's CD cover signed by the lovely Lisa Bowerman at a convention in Newcastle, October 2013.

`Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code' is a `Doctor Who' companion chronicle that changes the standards of what a companion chronicle does. Most notably, this is the first time we have a companion of the Doctor who never appeared at all on television to perform a story from the companion chronicle range. Lisa Bowerman reprises her role for Bernice Summerfield, Benny to her friends, as she recollects a tale from her travels with the Seventh Doctor during the New Adventures book series. I found this a really enjoyable listening experience and so refreshing to hear a different slant of a companion chronicle.

Bernice Summerfield was a character created in `Doctor Who' for the Virgin series of New Adventures novels during the wilderness years of the series in the early 1990s. Benny was first introduced in the novel 'Love and War' (now an audio drama) written by Paul Cornell, where she met the Doctor on the planet Heaven and eventually joined the Doctor at the end of the story. Since then she's had more adventures in the `Doctor Who' novels, had her own book series and has now appeared in plenty of Big Finish audios in her own series as well as the one-off `Doctor Who' stories with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. In fact, Benny was the character that started Big Finish in the first place and was responsible for getting the licence for Big Finish to do `Doctor Who' audio. Benny has been one of the longest-serving `Doctor Who' companions ever to feature in any medium, even though she's never been on television.

In the Big Finish audios, Lisa Bowerman (who played Karra the Cheetah-Woman in the last `Doctor Who' story of the classic run called 'Survival') has brought Benny to life as a character and we as fans and listeners have the luxury of hearing what she sounds like. Lisa really puts her heart and soul into Benny, who's witty, clever, slightly sarcastic at times and yet had this boldness to drive the traits of what makes a really good `Doctor Who' companion. I've had immense pleasure meeting Lisa who's such a nice lady and is a truly keen supporter of Big Finish as well as Benny in general. There have been plenty of Big Finish audios with Benny's character and Lisa has been blessed with directing many of the other companion chronicles featuring other companions other than herself from the First, Second and Third Doctor eras of the series.

This is a change for Lisa in this companion chronicle since she doesn't get to direct in this story but merely perform in it as her character. John Ainsworth gets to direct this story with a good number of Big Finish audios to add to his name such as `Circular Time' and `The Nightmare Fair'. Lisa also gets to indulge in Benny's character with a script by Eddie Robson.

This story is set during the New Adventures of `Doctor Who' during the Seventh Doctor era. It takes place after Ace has left the Doctor for the second time in `Doctor Who'. For those of you unfamiliar to the New Adventures, Ace left the Doctor in `Love and War' when Benny joined; then she returned to re-join the Doctor in 'Deceit' as `New Ace' (three years older when she last met him) before leaving a second time in 'Set Piece'. I like how Benny makes reference to Ace in this companion chronicle, to explain at what point in her and the Doctor's lives has Ace left them.

In this story, Benny recollects when she and the Doctor visited the planet of Shanquis as he takes part in peace negotiations between this world and its neighbouring planet Esoria. Negotiations don't seem to be going very well as the Doctor's out of her element. But Benny is occupied with other things whilst the Doctor's sorting out these negotiations as she attends an archaeological conference. During that conference, Benny discovers a forbidden language on the planet that hasn't been spoken in years and is illegal to read and speak. As the story progresses, Benny soon discovers that this forbidden language maybe the key to the Doctor winning his peace negotiations.

There's a political flavour running throughout this story, especially when the Doctor's involved with the peace negotiations although we don't get to hear that side of the story so much. It's mostly from Benny's point of view we get to hear and enjoy, as she's back to her archaeology and using her expertise. I found it intriguing when Benny discusses with Gatlin, one of the attendees at the conference, about the forbidden language. I like the banter that Benny shares with the Doctor, especially she gets annoyed about him not listening to him. I've haven't read many of the New Adventure novel from `Doctor Who', but this story has a flair of the New Adventures in it I wouldn't be surprised. It's certainly sophisticated and grown-up in tells of storytelling, context and how it addresses the listening audience who perhaps aren't familiar with what goes on in a New Adventures novel.

I really enjoyed Lisa's amusing interpretation of the Doctor. It certainly sounds like Sylvester McCoy with its Scottish accent and rounded `r's on the r words in some of the Doctor's dialogue. Lisa brings across the broodiness and sometimes darker, thoughtful aspects of the Seventh Doctor, which is something similar to what Sophie Aldred when impersonating the Doctor in 'Shockwave' from the `Destiny of the Doctor' audio series.

Charlie Hayes guest stars in this companion chronicle as Gatlin, one of the attendees at the archaeological conference. I really have enjoyed listening to Charlie Hayes. Charlie happens be the daughter of Wendy Padbury who played Zoe alongside Patrick Troughton's Doctor in `Doctor Who'. Charlie has done quite a number of Big Finishes, including the audio adaption of `Seven Keys To Doomsday', a stage play that was performed in the 70s and she played the companion character of Jenny that was originally played by her mum. Here in this audio, Charlie plays a keenly enthusiastic and open-minded person attending the conference and is interested in what Benny's discovered about the forbidden language on Shanquis. Hearing Gatlin performed by Charlie is interesting as she sometimes sounds like her mother on the odd occasion and has this sunny texture to her voice that I liked.

There's no specific monster in the story as there's no apparent villain throughout. But what stands out is the stakes and rising tension in the negotiations between the two planets and how Benny relates the Doctor is essential to these negotiations. It gets pretty tense when the Doctor is arrested by the end of `Part One' and Benny goes off to rescue them. I like how the Doctor and Benny work things out in their prison cell and how the use of thought and word command is developed for these particular type of nano-robots that are featured in this story. This story may require a few more listens to get to understand what's going on in this audio, but I'm certain its intriguing especially as the Doctor and Bernice solve layer by layer about what goes on in discovering the `criminal code'.

The CD extras on this disc include the following. At the start of the disc, there's a `coming soon' trailer for the next companion chronicle called `The Suffering' with Maureen O'Brien and Peter Purves. At the end of the disc, there are behind-the-scenes with Lisa Bowerman and Charlie Hayes, conducted by director John Ainsworth. I enjoyed how Lisa and John compared notes on directing these companion chronicles and the complex nature of acting and performing involved.

So `The Criminal Code' has been really great to listen to and a I enjoyed hearing Lisa Bowerman playing Benny again in her first companion chronicle. The story feels like a diary entry as is sometimes often the case to how Benny tells her adventures in her own `Bernice Summerfield' series from Big Finish. If you're not familiar with Bernice Summerfield, I'd certainly recommend listening to this or better still hear the audio adaptation of `Love and War' in order to get to know who Benny is and how popular she is in `Doctor Who' and with Big Finish.

The next story for the Doctor and Benny is 'Original Sin'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Such a powerful idea, and almost too late, 11 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Bernice Summerfield was not a television Doctor Who companion but was introduced in post-1989 novels, and has had a range of her own Big Finish audios some of which have featured Doctor Who television monsters. She has appeared as the Doctor's companion in a few Big Finish monthly Doctor Who audios. For those that have not followed her range, this story might be a good place to start.

The Companion Chronicle range is occasionally brilliant. Three things need to be in place. Appropriate Doctor Who companions, a decent/clever/fresh story and a suitable story pace to engage the listener when there is mostly only one narrative voice. The story is in keeping with other Big Finish featuring Bernice Summerfield, but is a far cry from anything 1987-1989 and more in keeping with the evolution of the post 1989 Doctor and events. Lisa Bowerman is a good narrator playing a likeable character and one builds up a good mental picture of the seventh Doctor at times. The plot is good with two separate story threads (Summerfield's being the heavier) joining in the second episode for quite a climax as it is a very strong and memorable idea.

I always go into seventh Doctor stories with some apprehension but have to say that this story had me growing my interest throughout and I was captivated towards the end even on just one listen. Some stories take a relisten to an episode to follow events fully (The Suffering), and the occasional one, after 3-4 listens (The Drowned World) I have just lost interest. This story gets so good when it is running out of time; it is a huge risk writing/editing a story this way, but I actually feel on this occasion it pays off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars words of power, 7 Feb. 2010
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Sixth in the latest series of doctor who companion chronicles talking books. These usually feature an actor who played a companion in the show reading a new story for the character that is complete in two thirty minute episodes on one disc. They will do all the voices save for one guest actor voicing one character.

Mind you this one slightly breaks the format because the companion here is bernice summerfield, free spirited archaeologist who featured in a lot of the novels featuring the seventh doctor that appeared from 1997-1997 and has since been spun off into her own book and then audio series.

For those who did read the novels, this story is set in between the books infinite requiem and sanctuary.

It sees bernice and the doctor visiting a planet where the doctor is trying to act as negotiator to stop an impending war between it and another planet. Things are not going well and the doctor is getting frustrated. Benny then happens to find out about a forbidden language that used to be spoken on the planet. But now you can't speak, read, write or even think it without breaking the law. It could though be the only hope of stopping war....

Lisa Bowerman proves a very amiable reader and is very pleasant to listen to as the first part positively flies by. Most of this part is set up for the storyline, but its involving because bernice's investigations are quite intriguing and seeing the seventh doctor entirely through her eyes makes him an interestying enigma. Just the way the character should be presented.

Part two is stronger because the nature of the language is quite a clever plot development. Things develop in standard doctor who style afterwards, in the way that the main situation is dealt with. But again it's all a good listen. And the last scene is very good. It's not in every one of these stories when you find who the main character is talking to. But you do here. And why. It makes very good sense.

Theres a trailer for the next release in the range at ths start of the disc, and a nine minute long interview with cast and crew at the end. A very lively one and well worth a listen.

Not the strongest story in this range but not a bad listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 20 Oct. 2013
By 
K. E. Slater "Happy-rea" (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
I didn't know the character of Bernice before listening to this companion chronicle but I feel in love with her and am now listening to more of her big finish stuff.
Well done big finish for giving us another brilliant story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a botch up., 18 July 2011
By 
Mr. D. Harris "duncle" (Bath, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
I have a few general comments about the current series of Companion Chronicles and a few specific to this release. Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code has a great central idea that is ruined by the sloppiness of the execution. Big Finish are now churning these stories out at such a rate they appear to have forgotten to make sure everything is in place before they release it. Case in point: this story leaves in a passage read by Charlie Hayes where the name of the neighbouring planet (which is important, particularly when the entire story concerns language!) is muddled up and mis-pronounced. The sound design is barely adequate, the music leaves much to be desired and the overall effect is that of something too shoddy to have been put on the shelves for sale.

Lisa Bowerman reads the story well but is stymied by a ponderous part one and a turgid part two. The snag is that all the revelations are left until the last five minutes of reading time which leaves the listener metaphorically gasping for breath after the terribly slow burn of the build up. This is where a script editor needs to have been more on the ball. The Companion Chronicles are an adjunct (an extremely lucrative one) to the main range of audio plays but it needs a deal of tightening up and a producer who is much more hands on, paying attention, than the current crop seem to be. I hope there is better to come.
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