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Released in 2011, this is the fourth release in the second season of Lost Stories from Big Finish. It is the second of four full cast audio adventures for the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and finally give us the scripts that were planned for the season following ‘Survival’. The adventure is 4 episodes of half an hour each, on two discs. The end of each disc has some interviews with cast and crew.

On the strength of the episodes that I have listened to, it seems a mercy that the classic series finished on the high that it did, if these stories had been made and transmitted I think that the show’s demise would have inevitable and it would have left on a very sour note.

This adventure has a very strong opening scene, new companion Raine meeting the Doctor in some very unusual circumstances, but then totally fails to build on it. There are some hangovers from the previous adventure (Thin Ice), including Raine herself. Unfortunately Ace is still hanging around, and while I like the character I felt that she had no place in this particular story. Many of her scenes would have worked a lot better with Raine instead, and her presence felt forced into the script and often unwelcome. The scrip itself is incredibly lacklustre, after the one good opening idea it just tails off completely. The alien threat are awful, and the idea to make them sound like whingy surfer dudes is just an abomination that I hope never gets repeated.

The plot makes little or no sense, certain characters just do not work, the aliens are terrible and there does not appear to be an actual crime of the century as per the title. Apart from Raine, who could be an excellent character if not shackled by Ace, this is a bit of a turkey. 2 stars.
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Back in 1989 when the bbc cancelled Doctor Who, another season for the Seventh Doctor had already been in the planning stages.

Now these stories are being adapted for audio, we can hear what might have been.

This is the second in this series of stories that never got to tv, and it follows on from Thin Ice (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories).

It runs for four episodes of twenty five to thirty minutes approx each, which are spread over two cd's.

And it introduces us to a new companion for the Doctor. Raine Creevy. A girl with an upper class voice who has been raised by the finest finishing schools by a father who only wanted the best for her. But who has become estranged from him [not least because he's a womanising gangster] and who gets her thrills from safe cracking and cat burglary.

You will learn a few things about the former from this. We can but wonder how the media of the time would have reacted. Or if they'd have paid any attention.

When cracking a safe at a high class party, Raine gets a big surprise when she sees the contents. Caught up in one of the Doctor's schemes the two find themselves in a middle eastern country under threat from soviet invaders. And invaders from much further away.

Ace is there as well. On a mission for the Doctor. Where she runs into another old acquaintance.

The Doctor, as ever, has a plan. But they don't always go as they should.

Raine is an instantly appealing character thanks to a very appealing voice provided from the actress who plays her. And for the first two episodes this is an intriguing caper movie as you wonder how things are going to come together.

But then episode three rather drifts by, and also sidelines Raine. And exists largely just to set up a startling final few minutes.

Things all come together nicely enough in the final part and tie everything up whilst setting up a new dynamic in the TARDIS. It may seem that Ace - who would have been gone from the show by this time had this one made it to tv - still being there takes material away from Raine. But the two do form a good double act in their scenes together, so it may well work out.

This is a pleasant listen but really it just ties up loose ends from Thin Ice and brings in Raine, so it's not quite as strong a story as Thin Ice was.

Casual listeners may be able to get into this without having heard that, but you might be better off if you have.

There is a trailer for the next story in this run after the end of part four.

And roughly fifteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end of both discs.
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Continuing on from the excellent Thin Ice (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories) is the next story originally written with the consequently cancelled 1990 series of Doctor Who in mind. The Seventh Doctor has more universal chess games in mind as he manipulates people and events for reasons unknown; companion Ace, possibly my favourite of the Time Lord's travelling companions, is sent to the Middle East on a perilous errand, while The Doctor is reunited with safecracker Raine and her dodgy East End father Markus. All these characters are part of The Time Lord's masterplan, but as the blurb says: '...even masterplans can go awry...'
Sylvester McCoy's puckish Seventh Doctor has gone from strength to strength during the Big Finish years, whilst Sophie Aldred's wonderfully ballsy Ace still sounds like the bolshy seventeen year-old she was in the original TV serials. Andrew Cartmel's script, plus great support from Eastenders' Ricky Groves and Beth Chalmers as the urbane yet vulnerable Raine all gel together perfectly to create another superb 'Lost Story'.
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If Doctor Who hadn't been cancelled in 1989 then we might have been enjoying these season 27 lost stories on dvd rather than audio but the bbc who had gotten fed up with and embarrassed by Doctor Who were determined to kill the show off and finally succeeded even though there were these scripts already in development. Crime Of The Century introduces Raine, who would have been 7th Doctor Sylvester Mccoy's new travelling companion. An upper class girl whose father is a London gangster who was previously introduced in previous story Thin Ice and despite getting all the best schools and education money can buy is an expert safe cracker. An interesting very different new companion, it would have been interesting to see how Raine and her father would have fitted into the show, i strongly suspect her father Marcus would have become a reccurring character if the show had stayed on air in the 90's. The story itself sees Ace on a mission for The Doctor in a middle eastern country getting mixed up with Russian soldiers and an alien invasion and one of The Doctor's latest grand plans. Not as good as Thin Ice but a strong indicator of how the show was improving before being taken off the air and fun and enjoyable.
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