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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2010
Set in Ireland during the 10th century (a period when Kells Abbey was plundered by Vikings regularly) this story covers how the book got stolen and recovered a few months later, and naturally the Doctor is involved.

This is the first story recorded for Tamsin Drew (her third in the chronology) and mid way through you are struck by the high quality Big Finish production, acting and also still unsure of how well the Doctor / Tamsin relationship will develop. Meanwhile there is the mystery of who plucked the TARDIS from the vortex!

Suddenly the plot takes off and with the Doctor you get led down a series of events that totally misleads until the final revelation of who the villain is.

At this point the story is hovering at four stars, then after the closing of the story from the Doctor's pov comes a revelation that sets the whole story arc for this series alight - sadly I can't mention what it is without spoiling the whole, but take it on trust this is brilliant!
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Latest Doctor who audio play to feature Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor, with Niky Wardley as his companion Tamsin.

This follows on from earlier eighth doctor plays but stands mostly on it's own. Although if you don't know your doctor who continuity from tv and haven't been following this range regularly a couple of things may go over your head.

It runs for two episodes of roughly thirty minutes each and is complete on one disc. There's a trailer for the next in the series at the start of the disc and roughly twelve minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end.

The story sees the TARDIS forced to land in Ireland in 1006 near the Abbey of Kells. Where the Doctor and Tamsin are thrown straight into a real bit of history. An illuminated version of the gospels is about to be stolen. And nobody knows who by. But the doctor has bigger concerns. Because something pulled the TARDIS out of the vortex. Who would have the technology to do that in this time period?

Surprising answers and big shocks await.

This one works well right from the start because the audience are as much in the dark about the setting as the Doctor and Tamsin initially are and listening to them slowly discover things becomes very entertaining. Tamsin is better written here than she was in the previous story and she comes over very well, being very much a modern person thrust into strange worlds without any of the mod cons we take for granted and having to use her wits on occasion.

The rest of the cast are also very good, every supporting character being very believable and convincing as the kind of person you'd find in this time period. Some of the dialogue can sound a bit too modern at points but you get so used to it you probably won't notice that after a while.

And this is a story with a lot of twists and turns leading to great moments for fans of the show. One bit of utterly perfect casting. And a story that works itself out very nicely.

But do be sure to listen to the very end of the disc because something happens after the end credits to part two that, among other things, will make you look at the two episodes in a slightly different light.

Both a very entertaining play in it's own right and an integral part of it's season this is highly recommended and a great listen.
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on 28 January 2014
OK, it's hardly much of a spoiler to say that this features the "Meddling Monk" after glancing at the cover. Queue images of one of my favourite ever TV episodes "The Time Meddler". That 60s serial feature was very well crafted with an excellent plot, excellent dialogue and the first episode in particular made me laugh out loud. The Time Meddler himself was portrayed as a lovable rogue. He was affable and charming on the surface but mischievous underneath and ultimately just misguided. Basically he was the opposite of William Hartnell's Doctor. Needless to say, that bit of characterisation worked extremely well. However all that is only really hinted at here. There are a few amusing moments, especially near the start of this play and some historical facts are quickly thrown in.

To be fair, I think there is a general problem with the two episode format, in that it leaves plays feeling underdeveloped and unsatisfying. This play is confusing enough to warrant a repeat listen but the main twist is so heavily hinted at that it hardly comes as a surprise. The ending is quick and neat although things get interesting again after the final credits.

Finally, I found Tasmin to be the rather annoying. Young, brash and lots of play around her supposed stupidity. I would expect the Doctor to do a Christopher Eccleston and dump her at the first opportunity!

I do like Paul McGann and I would strongly recommend the likes of "Natural History of Fear", "Chimes of Midnight" and "Time Works". For a truly excellent historical, try "The Marian Conspiracy" or "The Lady of Mercia", which are both outstanding plays.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 14 April 2011
Ah, I was in heaven listening to this - my two favourite things in the world - history (especially medieval) and the fine Doctor.

As other reviews have already well covered, the story is set in Ireland at the time of King Sihtric Silkbeard's rule of Dublin, contested by the King of Munster, Brian Boru. The story had a really authentic and muddy feel to it with plenty of mud, middens, and horrid smells which made you feel like you were really there. The cast is good - this is the first audio cd I have heard with Tamsin, and she seems to hold her own against the Doctor when she needs to.

Paul McGann is in fine form as always, and the remainder of the cast also play their parts well. For a historical story, this one certainly played out well.

And make sure you listen carefully after what appears to be the final music of the two part story; that's where it gets really interesting!
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on 26 October 2010
This is a medieval mystery adventure for the eight Doctor (Paul McGann). It is a story worth it's Doctor Who status, as it features the return of a Time Lord not seen or heard in a very long time. You would expect to hear the Master, Romana or Rani as the other Time Lord in this adventure, but no. This Time Lord left Gallifrey some fifty years after the Doctor did in a stolen Mark IV TARDIS. Also meddles in history for amusement and for what is considered to be the better. The Daleks' Master Plan was a first Doctor (William Hartnell) adventure and the last adventure to feature this meddling Time Lord. If you have not guessed by now, the meddling Monk (Graeme Garden, originally played by Peter Butterworth) is back. To hear the return of this Time Lord, purchase your copy of this adventure now.
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on 5 February 2015
loved it
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