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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whispers in the graveyard
The second of three 2010 Big Finish dramas to feature the reunited early-Eighties TARDIS team is an absolute belter. The story is styled like something straight out of 1983 and as such is another nostalgic treat for those of us whose first Doctor was Peter Davison.
The Fifth Doctor is firing on all cylinders here; Tegan and Turlough have reached an uneasy truce, and...
Published on 13 April 2011 by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ssssssssllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwww............
This is sadly a slow, boring story where the is a rubbish society based around being clean. Also, the lines are ocasionally terrible, like"..purity shines in beads of BLOOD..." and "...comes the spin cycle..". Dissapointing.Cole could be better.
Published on 19 Mar 2011 by RustInPeacePolaris


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whispers in the graveyard, 13 April 2011
This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
The second of three 2010 Big Finish dramas to feature the reunited early-Eighties TARDIS team is an absolute belter. The story is styled like something straight out of 1983 and as such is another nostalgic treat for those of us whose first Doctor was Peter Davison.
The Fifth Doctor is firing on all cylinders here; Tegan and Turlough have reached an uneasy truce, and Nyssa is as calmly knowledgeable as ever. The travelling companions arrive in the middle of a fractured community on the curiously named planet Purity; who are the ethereal `Shades' and why are they spiriting away sick and injured people? Why are the inhabitants of Purity so obsessed with hygiene and why does The Doctor's name cause such consternation and interest..?
Stephen Cole's script is terrific and the cast rise to it admirably. With excellent support from Sue Wallace as the deranged Mertil, and Four to Doomsday's Paul Shelley as the naïve Jestan, the four principals provide what must be their best performances to date, and the trilogy is nicely set up at the end of disc two when an old adversary and ancient evil rears its scaly head once more...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Purity Bay!, 17 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I enjoyed `The Whispering Forest'! It's one of the most fascinating and inventive stories I've come across in `Doctor Who' written by Stephen Cole.

`The Whispering Forest' is the second story in this new series of adventures with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. Following on from 'Cobwebs', the four regulars have re-established themselves as the new team for `Doctor Who' from Big Finish. Stephen Cole especially wanted to write for this TARDIS team since the characters are his favourite and he's served each of the four regulars very well.

The story of `The Whispering Forest' is about the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough visiting Purity Bay on the alien planet of Cherdor. Purity Bay is in the heart of a forest where voices whisper in the trees. It's a settlement where a small group of people live. They have beliefs of `holding tight' and preserving to become clean. They've recently been scared out of their wits by a group of robot drones called Takers that `take' the weak and decrepit of Purity Bay away. Soon the Doctor and friends get caught up in the affairs of Purity Bay and have to solve the mystery as to why these Takers have taken Purity Bay's people away.

Stephen Cole has written for the Fifth Doctor before in 'The Land of the Dead' and wrote the creepy Tenth Doctor story `The Feast of the Drowned'. `The Whispering Forest' is extraordinary in terms of an alien world and intriguing concepts running through it. Steve Cole has come up with a unique setting in Purity Bay. The people like Mertil; Seska; Jestan; etc are obsessed and devoted with cleanliness. The people want to rid themselves of the dirt and disease on the planet. But it comes with a cost, as the people have scrubbed themselves too hard with soap. If you look inside the CD cover and see what Mertil, Seska and Anulf look like, they look pretty disturbing. They have bald-heads and their skin's described as red raw and swollen. Some of these people are pretty fanatical in their cleansing obsessions and they're damaging themselves in spirit and body.

When I attended a convention at Newcastle last year, I asked a question to Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding with Matthew Waterhouse on a panel. My question was `Which Big Finish audio would you like to see turned into a TV story?' Sarah said 'The Emerald Tiger'. Janet said `The Whispering Forest'. Janet said she enjoyed `The Whispering Forest' and said this would be a story directed by Peter Grimwade on TV. And I can imagine this story would have been directed by Peter Grimwade as he would make it very action and pace-driven, and he certainly would have directed it in the way he did 'Kinda', although hopefully filmed some of it at Ealing studios rather than as a studio set.

Sarah Sutton is wonderful as Nyssa in this story. Nyssa has recently re-joined the Doctor in the TARDIS. I was getting into these new adventures with the older Nyssa, played by lovely Sarah Sutton. I'm enjoying how she's slipping back to having adventures and facing new situations with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. Nyssa is hoping to provide the cure to many worlds infected with Richter's Syndrome. Nyssa spends more time in this story with Turlough, as they share scenes and get chased by Mertil and her acolytes. Nyssa rescues Turlough from drowning in a river. They both discover the hideout where the Takers live. I love the moment when Nyssa steps in and protests to Mertil who's hell-bent on having Tegan killed. I really like Sarah's performance as she's reassuring as Nyssa and helps to balance the vibrant attitudes of Tegan and Turlough with the Doctor in this story.

Janet Fielding plays Tegan again in this second story of the new TARDIS team-up. I found Tegan very good in this story. She's not argumentative as she was in `Cobwebs'. Tegan has this degree of compassion and concern that balances her fieriness, which I'm sure Janet enjoyed playing. Tegan is supportive of Seska who is the rightful leader to the people of Purity Bay. She's horrified by Mertil's aggressive and hygiene-obsessed beliefs. Tegan stands in the way to save the Doctor's life when Mertil is ordering to have him zapped by the `spark wand'. Tegan gets to be with the Doctor more in this story, compared to other stories especially TV. This was a nice change for me to see Tegan who supports the Doctor and doesn't backfire with hot-temper. Tegan gets spirited away by the Takers to their base where he finds Anulf, the previous leader of Purity Bay.

Mark Strickson plays Turlough in this story. Turlough is with Nyssa for the most part of this story and gets to follow her lead when they're journeying through the forest. Turlough gets a brilliant name by Mertil and her acolytes. Turlough is `Red Thatch'. Apparently that's what the Taker's headsets look like, and the people of Purity mistake Turlough for being one of them with his red hair. The scenes between Nyssa and Turlough are very interesting, as both share their intellect with each other. Turlough's more pessimistic than Nyssa as he doubts about surviving and what goes on with the Takers and Purity Bay. Both he and Nyssa manage to capture on the Takers so that they can bring to people of Purity Bay and also eventually to the Doctor. Turlough gets to help the Doctor in disarming the Takers in the climatic scenes of the story.

Peter Davison as the Doctor is exceptional good as ever in his performance. I like it when he and Tegan try to convince Seska to trust her and when they have to deal with Mertil and her extremist ways. The Doctor gets zapped violently by Jestan with the `spark wand' under Mertil's orders. The Doctor is learning more about Purity Bay and where its people come from in a medical ship and how they crash-landed onto the planet. The Doctor is shocked when Jestan kills Hervey by breaking his neck and putting the blame on him in order to convince the people to adhere to Mertil's leadership. The Doctor manages to get everyone to sleep in Purity Bay in order for him, Nyssa and Turlough to escape with Seska. The Doctor and his companions get into the heart of the matter when trying to break into the Taker's hideout and eventually rescue Tegan.

The story features a superb guest cast by Barnaby Edwards, the director, who's selected people he knows very well and and also actors who want to do Big Finish away from the movies.

Hayley Atwell appears in this story playing Sister Seska, daughter of Anulf. I've seen and heard Hayley a couple of times in TV, movies and audio. As well as doing `Doctor Who', she's also starred with Billie Piper in `Mansfield Park' and the two Sally Lockhart mysteries on TV. She also played Peggy Carter in `Captain America - The First Avenger'. Seska is the current leader of Purity Bay. Seska's a compassionate person who gradually trusts the Doctor and Tegan when she meets them. She wants to lead her people in Purity to a better future. She doesn't get on well with her step-mother Mertil. I enjoyed Hayley in this particular audio, as she provides a lovely performance.

Sue Wallace appears as Sister Mertil, the fanatical step-mother of Seska and second wife to Anulf. Sue is married to Lennox Greaves who also appears in this story with her too. Both appeared in the Paul McGann story `The Chimes of Midnight'. Mertil is a very horrible, nasty woman who fanatical and obsessive in her beliefs of purity and cleanliness. She keeps telling people to scrub harder. She doesn't take to strangers and is determined to see the Doctor and his friends killed. She wants to become Purity's new leader and won't let anything stop her. A ruthless woman Mertil is. I'm sure Sue Wallace isn't like that and is a really nice lady.

Paul Shelly also appears in this story as Jestan, who seems a willing accomplice to Mertil. Paul is well-known in `Doctor Who' circles for playing Enlightenment in 'Four to Doomsday' and has appeared in the BBC production of Charles Dickens' `A Tale of Two Cities'. It was great to hear Paul in another `Doctor Who' story and reuniting with Peter Davison as the Doctor. The character he plays in Jestan is not too dissimilar to the part he played in his TV story. Jestan is sly and cunning and goes to great lengths to ensure Mertil gets her way, by breaking Hervey's neck. It's suggested that he and Mertil once had a thing going on between them, but that's not talked about too much.

Lennox Graves plays Anulf, the original leader of Purity Bay. As I said before, both he and his wife Sue Wallace have appeared together in `Doctor Who' before but also have done theatre productions together. Lennox plays an interesting character in Anulf, who only appears in the last two episodes. Tegan comes across him when he's trapped in the Taker's stronghold at the edge of the forest. Anulf seems a strong and resolute man who loves her daughter Seska and has less love for his second wife Mertil. He's initially shocked when told the news that Seska's mother was killed by Mertil, but it turns out that things aren't what they seem.

The rest of the guest cast include Harry Melling playing Hervey (who also played Dudley Dursley in the `Harry Potter' films) and also Anuerin Barnard playing Antan.

The Takers are a group of robot drones who were from the medical transport ship that crashed-landed on this forest planet. The voices for the Takers are quite eerie and unusual and are done by certain members of the cast. This includes Paul Shelley; Harry Melling; Lennox Greaves and Anuerin Barnard. I'm not sure I get what the Takers are trying to say when speaking since their voices come across as being too distorted. They certainly make little sense when the Shades (the voices in the trees) take over and they say things like `Make fresh; take flesh' or something like that. I'm not sure I fully understand the concept of the Takers but they're intriguing and I like what they look like on the front cover and possibly inside the CD notes.

Cleanliness and hygiene-obsession runs throughout this story especially with the people of Purity Bay. It connects very well to Nyssa's story in that she's a medical scientist on the search of a cure to Richter's Syndrome. It's strongly-evident throughout the story and its intriguing listening to on audio. I don't think I grasped the whole concept of Purity Bay with its being futuristic. But I like the vibrant attitudes and the eerie atmosphere created in the story that provides the full effect of what `The Whispering Forest' is all about.

`The Whispering Forest' is a nice story continuing this trend of adventures for the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. I found the story interesting and intriguing throughout. I certainly enjoyed the characters in this story like Seska and Mertil who are strong in their attitudes, belief and character relationships with each other. I don't admit to fully understanding the story entirely, but it's definitely one worth the entertainment. I'm positive that this story would have been well-directed by Peter Grimwade for a TV production as Janet Fielding suggests.

The CD extras on `The Whispering Forest' include the following. There's a suite of incidental music from `The Whispering Forest' at the end of Disc 1 that's sweetly eerie to listen to. There are also some behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of the story at the end of Disc 2. These include Peter Davison and Janet Fielding; Sue Wallace; Lennox Greaves; Paul Shelley, etc. No Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson, I'm afraid. This really disappointed me! Apparently when recording these stories, it was during the winter periods before and after Christmas and there was heavy snowfall. I remember a funny story when Sarah at a convention told us that she had dig the drive clear of snow with a shovel in order to get into her car, determined to make it to the recordings. Ha, ha. Bless her, dear Sarah.

The story ends on a cliffhanger. Tegan feel strange is and acting strangely. She changes. She's not the Tegan we know before. This happened before. Somehow it's returned! Tegan's voice has changed and she lets out an evil laugh! "I live Doctor! The Mara lives!"

There's a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Turlough called 'The Cradle of the Snake'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of My Favourite Fifth Doctor Audiobooks, 15 Mar 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
CD Info.
2xCD of a 4 episode story, Running time 120 minutes approx, Trailer, Behind the scenes interviews.

Trivia.
1)Hayley Atwell has appeared in several Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays, Blood Of The Daleks, War Against The Laan/Sands Of Time but more recently she starred as Peggy Carter alongside Chris Evans in Captain America The First Avenger.
2)Harry Melling is the Grandson of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.
3)Paul Shelly appeared in the Fifth Doctor tv story Four To Doomsday.
4)Keep a listen out for a surprise villian at the end of this adventure that ties into the next story.

Synopsis.
The Tardis lands on the Alien world of Purity were a small band of humans hold tight during the night as the weakest members of the group are spirited away by the mysterious Takers.

But there's one thing the colonists on Purity Bay fear more than the Takers is dirt & disease that is spread by these ew visitor's wlho have just arrived in a strange Blue box, There named the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa & Turlough.

What is the mystery of the Whispering Forest? & just who are the Takers & why do they always take the weakest human's into the forest?

Timelord Thoughts.
I adore this audio adventure as for me it's a superb Doctor Who story that delivers a intriguing story, Fast paced adventure &, plenty for the Tardis crew to get involved in.

Peter Davison is excellent in this story as the Fifth Doctor giving his boyish curiosity charm to event's here, While Tegans character is expanded on here with Janet Felding delivering a great performance as Tegan here especially in the story's final scene.

Sarah Sutton as the older Nyssa is wonderful & it's intriguing in were Big Finish will take the older Nyssa character, Only Mark Strickson as Turlough seems slightly underwritten here but writer Stephen Cole has done exceptionally well in delivering a great arc with the 4 main characters & delivers an intriguing story here that builds the tension quite nicely.

The guest cast features Haley Atwell who is superb as Seksa while Sue Wallace's character of Mertil is a decent written character but I found this character did grate on my nerves after a while.

Big Finish sound effects & music department have come up triumphs once again as the sounds of the forest adds a great chilling atmosphere to the story, Big Finishes high quality production values are a credit to them as Big Finish always seem to deliver a great sounding atmospheric environment in whatever story they attempt to do.

This is one of my favourite Fifth Doctor story's & the final scene comes as quite shocking & unexpected, So sit back turn off the lights & prepare to be entertained for 2 hours of solid entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Whispering Forest, 19 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
The Whispering Forest is the second in a trilogy of adventures featuring the 5th doctor, tegan, turlough and nyssa. It is perhaps not the best of them but it is still jolly good. Tegan is superbly portrayed by Janet Fielding and the cast are great, But no matter how great the rest of the release is, nothing can beat the ending, the return of the MARA!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleanliness is next to godliness, 15 Sep 2010
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Another Doctor Who audio play, this one featuring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor with companions Tegan, Turlough, and Nyssa. The latter having met up with the others fifty years after she left the TARDIS. Although only a matter of days have passed for the others since they last saw her.

This is the second in a trilogy featuring this line up, following on from Cobwebs (Doctor Who). Although there is a running story that follows on from that one this one almost stands on it's own and those who haven't heard cobwebs should have no trouble getting into it.

It runs for four episodes, spread over two discs, and each episode is twenty five to twenty seven minutes in length.

The story sees the TARDIS land in the middle of a forest on a strange world. The four travellers are quickly separated and soon find that humans live on the planet. In fear of strange beings called the takers. Their settlement has strange legends, and the people are obsessed with body hygiene. Danger also comes from within as an ambitious lady makes a power play. Can the Doctor survive that and find out the secret of this planet?

In many ways this ia a very typical story. The Doctor investigating a strange world and finding a leader who is unsure of themselves and also having to deal with would be leaders who don't trust him at all. The Lady who is chief of these characters - the one making the power play - can be fantastically irritating at points but some very good scenes of character do make her into a very believable villain with plausible motivations.

And the slow uncovering of what's going on here is most intriguing. The obsessive cleanliness of the humans and the fact that Turlough's hair colour spells danger for him being interesting plot points that make you desperate to find out what the truth is.

All of the characters are used well, and after spending most of cobwebs arguing it's nice that Tegan gets to do different things here.

A perfect recreation of it's era and an interesting and entertaining listen. A very strong entry in the range.

Although it does stand mostly on it's own it does end with a very good cliffhanger. The third of the trilogy The Cradle of the Snake (Doctor Who) will reveal what happens next.

A trailer for that can be found at the start of disc one.

Roughly six minutes worth of the music from the story can be found at end of that disc.

And roughly fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew, containing some interesting talk about the writing of this story, are at the end of disc two.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ssssssssllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwww............, 19 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is sadly a slow, boring story where the is a rubbish society based around being clean. Also, the lines are ocasionally terrible, like"..purity shines in beads of BLOOD..." and "...comes the spin cycle..". Dissapointing.Cole could be better.
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The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who)
The Whispering Forest (Doctor Who) by Stephen Cole (Audio CD - 31 Aug 2010)
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