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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 3 December 2015
This story is the 147th release in the Big Finish Main Range, and features the Fifth Doctor, travelling with the reunited team of Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa, who has returned following her departure in Terminus and a fifty year gap before meeting the Doctor again.

The crew are having an enforced break on the beach world of Vektris. While Tegan and Nyssa are enjoying the nice weather and good food, Turlough has been in a self-imposed exile in the Tardis. But the Doctor sends him off to join the ladies, while he works on repairing the Tardis. Unfortunately, somebody else has been waiting for Turlough to leave the Tardis, and it’s only a short while before Tegan, Nyssa and the Doctor find themselves having to attempt to rescue Turlough; and the Tardis isn’t available for them to travel in.

This had the potential to be a really great story. At last, before the tv story Planet of Fire, we get the chance to hear some of the backstory of Turlough, and to find out about his own background and family, as he is taken captive by those who are fully aware of him and his associations. While the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa find their own way to try and save Turlough, Turlough must use all his skills to try and save himself, and along the way we find out more about him. So far, so good.

But the story itself, of why Turlough has been kidnapped, and what’s going on that requires his presence, was a little run of the mill. Bad guys figure large; and they’re a bit cardboard cut-out in their characterisations. Michael Maloney plays Rennol, who is masterminding a fiendish plot, but he never really seems very comfortable in his role. Lizzie Roper, who is great at all sorts of voices and characters, plays Hoss, a nasty piece of work, and John Banks plays Kanch, her sidekick, Cockney and brash and brutal. Lucy Adams plays Deela, someone from Turlough’s past, but I can’t say I really wholeheartedly brought in to her characterisation. And the Morass, who turn up part way through the story, are a great idea, but given their nature, it’s quite hard to understand what they’re saying, and you have to run each sentence back in your head after they’ve finished to try and make sense of it.

The story itself wasn’t bad; and on its own would make a narrative worth hearing. But it seemed a shame, even in the constraints of not letting the Doctor in on Turlough’s past (because of Planet of Fire), to not make more of Turlough in this rare opportunity. It was great to hear more of Mark Strickson as Turlough, and it was nice to hear the character development of Tegan, as she and Turlough find some common ground in this story, and grow to understand each other a little better.
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Kiss of Death: Some good ideas lost in a morass of poor production

This is the hundred and forty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as the Sixth Doctor, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Mark Strickson as Turlough and Janet Fielding as Tegan. 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 is the second in a trilogy of adventures for the Fifth Doctor and this particular TARDIS crew of an older Nyssa teamed with Turlough and Tegan set somewhere after Enlightenment. I have to say that I thoroughly disliked their first trilogy (Cobwebs, The Whispering Forest and Cradle of the Snake), mainly due to the presence of the ever annoying Tegan. I ummed and aahhed quite a bit before buying this trilogy, the first time that I have seriously considered not getting a BF main range release. The first story in the trilogy (Heroes of Sontar) has little to recommend it, I had hope for something better here.

And again this is a story that I did not get on with, though this time it was not due to Tegan! This one sets off on a very interesting path, exploring the background and character of Turlough, reuniting him with an old flame and going back into his past. This pleases me, as Turlough has long been one of my favourite companions, and any story centred around him is more than welcome. But aside from the interesting ideas around Turlough's back story, there is very little here, and it descends into a general running around tunnels while the Doctor does something techno-babbly to defeat some alien menace. My main problem with this story is one that is becoming a regular problem in the Big Finish main range, and that is a poorly produced monster. Too often recently they have resorted to whispery, gurgly voices overlaid with swishing sound effects to such a degree that I just cannot make out what the creature is saying. I couldn't hear it at all in the car, and when I re-listened through headphones later I had to really strain to catch what the creature was saying.

So, pluses, Turlough gets some character development, Tegan is an effective character for a change and not her usual whinging self, and the story manages to explain away the Doctor's ignorance of Turlough's history in Planet of Fire quite neatly. Negatives - Nyssas quest to find a cure for space plague is all but forgotten, the story is largely formulaic and some of the production annoying and renders a main character un-hearable. On balance three stars. And to date the highest score I have been able to give for the adventures of this particular TARDIS crew.
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What promised to be an intriguing story delving further into Vislor Turlough's murky past, instead turned out to be just another laser-blasting breathless runaround. Whilst awaiting TARDIS repairs and relaxing on pleasure planet Vektris, the companions are stunned to see Turlough kidnapped by a pair of galactic mercenaries alongside old flame Deela. It soon transpires that they are working for the mysterious Rennol and that Deela herself is not quite what she seems. Meanwhile, The Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa are confronted by the grotesque Morass, as they seek to rescue their friend, who appears to be somewhere within the icy catacombs that the Morass is guarding...
Lots of squelchy alien voices, nasty Cockney-voiced killers, creepy music and whingeing Aussie air-hostesses later, I was left nonplussed; despite the best efforts of cast and crew this is utterly forgettable.
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Latest Doctor Who audio story. featuring Peter Davison as the Doctor. Plus Janet Fielding Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton as his companions Tegan Turlough and Nyssa.

For those who don't follow the range regularly: this is the fifth story in a run to feature this particular TARDIS crew. Although it involves Nyssa having bumped into the Doctor again decades after she first left the TARDIS. Although it's only been days for everyone else. She's also travelling with them again whilst tracking down a cure for a disease.

None of that particular story arc gets mentioned here though so casual listeners should be able to get into it without any problem.

It runs for four episodes of twenty five to twenty nine minutes approx, and is spread over two discs.

It starts with the TARDIS on the holiday planet of Vektris, where some of the crew are enjoying the place. Some are making repairs to the ship. And Turlough is keeping himself to himself.

When he runs into a face from his past he ends up being kidnapped. The Doctor and the others pursue the kidnappers to a frozen world where someone would like Turlough and his old acquaintance to do something for them. But they and the Doctor soon find that danger and death await, as the planet has a few secrets....

This one gives a prominent role to Turlough and lets him do far more than he ever got to in some stories on tv.

Tegan gets some great scenes.

Nyssa gets a couple of good character moments.

But the villains of the piece and the person from Turlough's past are rather cliched characters and just sound a bit over familiar.

And the monster of the story has a very soft voice which can be hard to hear at points. Especially in the second cliffhanger, which rather spoils it.

These audios are never able to do anything to interfere with tv continuity so you know it's not going to amount to much and never be mentioned again. Although it does deal with that fact quite nicely in the final scene. Mind you said final scene ends in a manner that would work better as a visual rather than an audio fade out, so it seems a bit abrupt.

There's nothing wrong this story. It's a thoroughly professional production. And there are some clever elements to it. But ultimately it's only slightly above average and not too memorable.

There are nine minutes or so of the music from the story at the end disc one.

A trailer for the next release in this range right after the end of part two on disc two.

And fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew right after that.
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VINE VOICEon 19 June 2011
For much of his time aboard the TARDIS during the TV series, apart from his debut in Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] and his swansong in "Planet of Fire" (available in Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set: The King's Demons / Planet Of Fire [DVD]), the intriguing character of Vislor Turlough was woefully overused. This audio drama at last seeks to develop him further... but how do you delve into the background of a character whose secret origins were not disclosed until his final adventure?

Writer Stephen Cole solves the problem in such an ingenious way that I didn't even register how circuitous a route he was taking through "Doctor Who" continuity until a line of dialogue towards the end of the play made me realise: "Hey, that actually fits in really well with 'Planet of Fire'!" Unlike the "Star Wars" prequels, "Kiss of Death" doesn't undermine the impact of the revelations made in the "sequel" that has gone before.

At first, there seems to be little or no mystery surrounding the honey-trap scheme that sees Turlough (Mark Strickson) getting kidnapped, though the fact that the TARDIS is grounded on the holiday planet Vektris undergoing repairs means that we get a nice bit of space-opera action as the Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) have to "borrow" a spaceship in order to mount a rescue. However, the simple set-up is just as well in view of the complications and plot strands that arise, which include a monstrous subterranean security system called the Morass (John Banks). What with the Tractators and now the Morass, those Trions don't have much luck with underground monsters, do they?

The biggest problem with this production is (not for the first time) an incomprehensible voice. It is very difficult to tell what the Morass is supposed to be saying. Fortunately, the Doctor and Nyssa reiterate most of the salient points.

Each of the TARDIS crew gets something substantial or memorable to do in this story, including some agonising jeopardy for the Doctor and a delightfully sarky line about Enid Blyton from Tegan. However, the real star of the show is Strickson as Turlough - and about time too!
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on 11 July 2011
The most exciting Turlough story since Planet of Fire! Highly recommended, all the characters are well-written and in character, not always the case with the audio dramas. Turlough's back-story is well-presented as the story nimbly weaves around the revelations of Planet of Fire and Mark Strickson gives the character a real emotional depth. And you get to hear Tegan say "Oh rabbits"...
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