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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anger denial depression discussion but no acceptance, 7 Dec 2010
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
Latest Doctor who audio adventure is the second in a trilogy for Sylvester Mccoy's Seventh Doctor, alongside his companions Ace and Hex.

This consists of four episodes running in length from twenty eight to thirty six minutes approx and is spread over two cd's.

It follows on directly from the end of the first part in the trilogy Project: Destiny (Doctor Who) and like that it serves to wrap up loose ends that have run through the seventh doctor audios for years. Thus it's not one for casual listeners to get into easily. It also sees the return of a villain called nobody no one, who first appeared in Forty Five (Doctor Who). But he's well enough introduced so you won't be confused if you haven't heard that one.

Oh, and sixth doctor audio companion Evelyn Smythe also turns up. Because she has a part to play in loose end tying up.

The story sees the Doctor forced to fight nobody no one. He's a word lord. A being from a universe where the laws of physics are verbal, and words have power. Thus one well chosen phrase can literally change reality. He's also quite dangerously made. A great performance from actor Ian Reddington in the role really convinces you of this.

The word lord banks on the fact that there are things the Doctor will never do.

And then the Doctor promptly does.

The consquences for all concerned take people across the universe, see them fall in love and make new friends. And time passing.

But as ever with the seventh doctor, there's more going on than initially meets the eye.

You can't say more about the plot without spoilers. And it's a very clever plot too. It does sag a little in part three where the narrative has to get through a lot and Ace do things that are a bit over familiar, but all this is righted by some very clever exposition in part four. Then we get right to the heart of the seventh doctor as an old friend chides him for his new ways, and you find out why he is the way he is.

So in addition to clever plotting there's a lot of character drama to be had as all the main characters go through a lot of emotional trauma. All the cast rise to that superbly.

You may need to listen to this more than once to take it all in. But that should be a pleasure.

There's an eight minute long interview with the writer at the end of disc two.

And a trailer for the final part of the trilogy Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge (Doctor Who) at the beginning of disc one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Word Is Death But For Whom?, 28 Jun 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
Doctor Who A Death In The Family.
Doctor: Seventh Doctor.
Companion(s): Ace, Hex.
Featuring: Evelyn Smythe.
Main enemy: Nobody No-One (Word Lord).
Main setting:
London, 25 June 2026, 24 June to August 2027, January to 24 May 2028
Pelachan, billions of years BC.
Writer: Steven Hall.
Director: Ken Bentley.
Release number: 140.
Format: 4 Episodes on 2 CDs.
Running time 120 minutes.

Extras.
Trailer for Lurkers At Sunlight Edge.
Behind the scenes interviews.

Cast.
The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy.
Ace - Sophie Aldred.
Hex - Philip Olivier.
Evelyn Smythe - Maggie Stables.
Nobody No-One - Ian Reddington.
Corporal/Novice/Henry Noone - John Dorney.
Ayl-San/Faber/Nurse - Alison Thea-Skot.
Captain Stillwell/Applin/Tour Guide - Andrew Dickens.
Ann-the-Van/Story Speaker/Webster - Harriet Kershaw.

Trivia.
1)The Doctor has something like a calendar of when his friends will die.
2)Nobody No-one wears a scarf in his new incarnation. He claims that it is a homage to the Doctor's fourth incarnation.
3)The Doctor dies, killed by Nobody No-One.
4)Evelyn wistfully recalls "her" Doctor & criticises the Seventh Doctor for his scheming, manipulative nature.
5)Evelyn dies of a heart attack, capturing Nobody No One as she does though.
6)The Doctor and Ace search the remains of the Forge's building for alien technology with Captain Stillwell of UNIT.
7)Evelyn Rossiter was transported from Világ to the planet Pelachan via a temporal device.
8)Clips from numerous previous audio dramas are heard in Part One, including (Audio: Son of the Dragon, Castle of Fear, Project Twilight, The One Doctor, Jubilee, Colditz, The Magic Mousetrap Enemy of the Daleks, The Pyralis Effect, The Angel of Scutari).
9)Evelyn's reference to spending time "in a spacesuit bouncing about Axos with that poor boy Brewster" foreshadows both the Fifth Doctor's former companion Thomas Brewster rejoining the TARDIS crew as a companion of the Sixth Doctor in (Audio: The Crimes of Thomas Brewster & the events of Audio: The Feast of Axos).
10)This story marks the first appearance of Evelyn Smythe in the main range since (Audio: Assassin in the Limelight) in May 2008.
11)The Doctor, Ace & Hex previously encountered Nobody No-One in Antarctica in 2045. (Audio: The Word Lord) In a manner similar to a Time Lord, he has regenerated since his previous encounter with the present Doctor. He claims to have battled the Doctor numerous times in the Doctor's personal future.
12)The Doctor mentions that meeting his past or future selves is something which he is "very much not supposed to do." (Tv: The Three Doctors)
13)Nobody No-One refers to the Doctor as "Lazarus", the codename given to him by the Forge during his sixth incarnation. (Audio: Project: Lazarus).
14)Evelyn relates the events of( Audio: Project: Twilight & Audio: Project: Lazarus) to Hex in which she and the Sixth Doctor met his late mother, Cassie Schofield.
15)When the Seventh Doctor arrives on Pelachan, Evelyn is initially disappointed to see him as she had been hoping that it would be "her" Doctor. (Audio: The Marian Conspiracy).
16)Evelyn previously met the Seventh Doctor in Audio: Thicker than Water. Prior to that brief encounter, she saw him, Ace and Hex from afar in (Audio: The 100 Days of the Doctor).
17)The voices of past Doctors being heard, as well as the Doctor dying and being brought back to life by a companion, will happen again. (Tv: The Name of the Doctor)
18)The Doctor's TARDIS is still white. (Audio: The Angel of Scutari).
19)Ian Reddington played the Chief Clown in Seventh Doctor (Tv story The Greatest Show In The Galaxy).

Plot Synopsis.
The Seventh Doctor learns that a Time Lord casket is somewhere in the remains of the Forge. When he finds it, he sees a very familiar face inside. But the worst is yet to come.

The Word Lord is loose in 21st Century London, with an almost endless amount of words & information to take advantage of as The Doctor must make the ultimate sacrifice to stop him.

The future folds into the past. The homeless hero has fallen, The Tale of the Herald,The Tale of the Hidden Woman. The Tale of the Final Speaker.

Nobody No One is running amok, only this time, he's unbeatable as a terrible tragedy is about to unfold a death in the family awaits.

Timelord Thoughts.
In 2008 writer Steven Hall wrote a single part adventure called The Word-Lord as part of the main range titled Forty Five a 4 single parters anthology release, here he writes the second part of this Seventh Doctor trilogy bringing back The Word-Lord who has regenerated & is about to cause no end of chaos for the Seventh Doctor.

A Death in the Family picks up right from where the previous story Project: Destiny left off, Angry at the Doctor's deceit & horrific events concerning his mother Cassie, Hex has taken off in emotional turmoil, Meanwhile, the Doctor & Ace have gone back into what's left of the Forge to recover a Time Lord sarcophagus & find an older version of the Seventh Doctor inside, But the future Doctor isn't dead as he's serving as the Word-Lord's watcher & in waking up the older Doctor, the Doctor & Ace have unleashed the Word-Lord who is about to bring down chaos & destruction upon the world.

This is the finest Big Finish adventure for many a year as A Death in the Family is a story packed with substance as Steven Hall's script is intelligent brimming with clever ideas, memorable dialogue & writes the four regulars with absolute perfection.

Ian Reddington who played the chief clown in Seventh Doctor tv story The Greatest Show In The Galaxy delivers a phenomenal chilling dark sinister mesmerizing performance here as Nobody-No-One (The Word-Lord) a character with no redeeming features yet somehow actor Ian Reddington pulls of a masterstroke & makes a unlikable character somehow likeable & dominates every scene he's in.

The Seventh Doctor has never been better in any story than in this audio adventure & this play showcases one of actor's Sylvester McCoys greatest performances as the Seventh Doctor who's manipulative cunning nature is on fire in this script as the Doctor is given plenty to do throughout the 4 episodes.

With Ace we get to see a far more emotional side to her character thats is so beautifully performed by actress Sophie Aldred & as for Hex well he's has never been better written than in this adventure as actor Phillip Olivier gives a excellent emotional charged performance tapping into every human emotion possible from anger, heartbreak, shock & despair.

Sixth Doctor companion Evelyn Symthe returns in this adventure as actress Maggie Stables gives her character such a warm caring performance in events that ties into Project Twilight & Project Lazarus adventures.

Evelyns scenes with Hex are wonderfully emotional & engaging & superbly performed as her characters final fate which features a wonderful performance with Sylvester McCoys Doctor is such a integral part of the plot, rarely has a Doctor Who adventure been better written with a script that looks inward into what makes all of these characters tick as they come to life & engage the listener dramatically like never before.

Overall A Death In The Family is one of the best Seventh Doctor audio adventures ever produced, with heartfelt emotionally driven performances by Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Phillip Oliver & Maggie Stables plus a terrifying performance by Ian Reddington as Nobody-No-One (The Word-Lord) this is audio adventure Doctor Who fans don't want to miss out on hearing.

Timelord Rating.
10/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Death in the Family, 14 Jan 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
At the end of Project: Destiny the Doctor (Seventh, as played by Sylvester McCoy) has discovered that there is a Timelord casket in the Forge; but when he and Ace find who is in the casket, it all gets rather messy.

This is a story which would not be kind to new listeners - there are heaps of loose threads which come together in this story, continuing from the Project: Twilight, Project: Lazarus and Project: Destiny storyline, and picking up with the previous companion Evelyn Smythe as well, if you come to this story new you would not get the most from the experience. So it pays to do the groundwork in these earlier Project stories, as well as understanding some of the relationship of the Doctor and Evelyn first. That's no hardship, though as the Project trilogy was brilliant, and the Evelyn Smythe stories are very strong. This story also sees the return of another foe of the Doctor, who has appeared in an earlier story in the cd release Forty Five (a single part story, The Word Lord). But if you haven't heard that story, it's not a deal breaker, as this appearance is very well backgrounded (if that's a word) in this story.

So, having got all that out of the way, the story itself begins. Hex has his own issues, and the Doctor and Ace are trying to work out what to do about the Timelord casket discovery when things get well out of hand, for all of them. Saying much more than that would ruin the rather delightful unfolding of this story, which takes part over four episodes on two cds, and runs the gamut from action to contemplative introspection, and just about everything in between. Ian Reddington plays his part here extremely well; you can visualise him very clearly through the extremely clever use of his voice. The other characters are also strong in their roles, although I admit to often finding Hex rather whiny and `woe is me'. Maggie Stables as Evelyn plays a delightful guest role in this Seventh Doctor story, and Ian Reddington as Nobody No One is absolutely brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Death In The Family: A can of words...., 22 Aug 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
This is the hundred and fortieth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with cliffhangers and original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc and a few minutes of the soundtrack at the end of disc 1.

This story follows directly from `Project: Destiny', and deals with the fall out from Hex finding out the truth about his heritage. It also brings back the trickiest of foes for the Doctor, Nobody No-one, Word Lord and all round nasty piece of work.

It's a complex story who's plot I will not try to summarise lest it give away a few spoilers. Suffice to say that it is a desparate struggle to the death between the Doctor and Nobody, who uses other people's words to reshape reality. It gives a lot of time for the companions, with Ace and Hex getting a lot of good moments. But the focus of the story is on a reappearance of the Sixth Doctor's companion the redoubtable Evelyn Smyth. It a release that spends a lot of time wrapping up a few story strands, notably Evelyn's guilt over the death of Hex's mother and, of course, Hex's own feelings towards the Doctor for hiding the truth from him. In these respects it is not a place for newbies to start, as it picks up a few continiuing story arcs. And overlaid onto all of that is a complex scheme to defeat the word lord which has a lot of `timey wimey' stuff in it and at the end becomes quite multilayered and left me wondering what was the `real' reality, and what, in fact, had just happened?

The character study is well done and worth while, 5 stars for this aspect. The overcomplicated plot to defeat Nobody was a bit too confusing, so three stars for this aspect. 4 stars on average.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best BF release of 2010, 18 Oct 2010
By 
Tony Jones "Tony" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
As someone who prefers other Doctors to McCoy's, highly rates the eighth series 4 with its twists and turns, and also doesn't really like the Evelyn character I was astonished to find this adventure growing and growing in quality until by the mid point of disc 2 I had decided that (in my limited exposure) this is probably one of the great Big Finish releases.

I can't reveal a lot without spoiling but we get the Word Lord, and more more interesting we get Ace and Hex separated from both the Doctor and each other living post-TARDIS lives. This story follows immediately from the end of Project Destiny and so commences with the search for the time lord sarcophagus mentioned at the end of Destiny and from their we get a well written / acted / directed and produced masterpiece.

I fail to see how this episode can be surpassed, and whilst it leaves some talking points is Doctor Who of the highest quality
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are words worth?, 26 Oct 2010
This review is from: Dr Who: A Death in the Family (Audio CD)
After the shocking revelations of Project: Destiny (Doctor Who) The Doctor, Ace and Hex are confronted by another old adversary - this one even more deadly than Nimrod. This story ramps-up the timey-wimey quota and sees the travellers each battling on different fronts. With The Doctor out of action - seemingly forever - it's down to Ace and Hex to defend the universe, and along with the surprising appearance of a former TARDIS companion they set out to do just that.

Sophie Aldred really steals the show here, initially sounding just like the bolshy but determined teenager who first encountered The Doctor several lifetimes ago. However, she sheds this skin pretty quickly and at one point even seems to have embraced married life, although the wimpiness of her husband is a clear indicator to the audience that this is never going to be a permanent arrangement. With the added bonus of a star turn from the redoubtable Ian Reddington - chief clown in 1988 Doctor Who story `Greatest Show in the Galaxy' - this has to be one of the best audio dramas Big finish have produced, and I await the third installment in the trilogy with bated breath.
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Dr Who: A Death in the Family
Dr Who: A Death in the Family by Steven Hall (Audio CD - 31 Oct 2010)
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