This is the hundred and fiftieth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. Colin Baker as old Sixie and Nicola Bryant as Peri. This release is a portmanteau of four very different stories, intended as a little celebration of the 150th release. Each story is about 30 minutes long, 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.
Recorded Time - A delightful opening story that combines the historical and science fiction aspects of Who. Landing in the court of Henry VIII, both the Doctor and Peri are disturbed to find things are not going the way that recorded history say they do. Peri is even more disturbed to find out just who Henry intends to be Anne Boleyn's successor! It's a great blend of character, comedy and science fiction that really allows Colin and Nicola to shine.
Paradoxicide - As good a timey-wimey story as you are likely to find. In thirty short minutes we are led full circle over millennia as seemingly paradoxical conundrums are set up then resolved satisfyingly. Baker and Bryant fairly crackle in this one, giving us another excellent and entertaining slice of Who.
A Most Excellent Match - The other thing the Who does well is whimsy. And this piece celebrates that by delivering as delicious a slice of whimsy as I have ever heard. Taking a meander through classic romantic fiction the Doctor and Peri have yet more wonderful character moments while defeating the bad guy.
Question Marks - Finally we have the darkest and best story on the set. The Doctor and Peri are on board a space ship, and no-one has any memory of how they got there. They slowly try to make sense of what is going on, and the picture starts to become clearer until WHAM! The story throws in a twist at the tail that leaves you stunned. It's a cleverly constructed piece that does something new and interesting with the whole `everyone has amnesia' premise. And Baker and Bryant are again superb, especially Baker in the final scenes.
In all an excellent celebration from Big Finish of all that is good about Who. Lets hope that the next 150 releases are of the same quality as this! 5 stars.
This is a really great collection of 4 stories; each in a different time and place, but each really well plotted and played. I think more and more, as I listen to Colin Baker audio stories, that it's such a great pity that his time on the tv series portrayed him as rather unlikeable and aggressive; in the Big Finish audio stories, his character is really well portrayed, and his interaction with Mel and now Peri is really great - the Sixth Doctor really is a likeable chap!
These stories range from an adventure with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and a really fascinating concept on the recording of time; to the search for a fabled cache of weapons; to a story based on the great eighteenth-century British novels; to the last story where we seem to come into the beginning of the story, but find ourselves at the end of it.
All the stories have in common the fact that time is somehow twisted in them all; nothing is quite as it seems, and each story has a catch in it that really shows the masterful plotting and writing involved in each; while these could be considered `short stories' the listener is never short-changed on the deliverable.
One of the things that really struck me, in the last story, was the really clever way in which dialogue cuts from being behind, say, a door, to the perspective of being right beside the speaker - for the listener, this audio trick allows the listener to `move' within the scenarios of the story, from one place to another, and remaining connected to both the characters and the story. Not sure I explained that well, but you'll see (or hear) what I mean when you listen to the story.
Thoroughly recommended; a great addition to the Doctor stories. All the cast play their various parts brilliantly; I found the third story a little weaker than the others, but they were all tremendous.
on 22 September 2011
Continuing his impressive progress from 'least-liked' TV Doctor to audio darling, Colin Baker provides four more seamlessly strong performances, ably supported by Nicola Bryant's feisty transatlantic botanist, Peri. The stories range from historical intrigue to futuristic drama, and are all excellent. A great way to celebrate the big 150 for Big Finish's Doctor Who monthly releases, and a reminder that there are plenty of great Doctor Who stories still waiting to be told.
In my experience most of these 4x1 episode collections contain a great story, two average and one not so good; I'm pleased to say that this collection contains four gems for the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
Recorded Time - Henry VIIIth, Anne Boleyn, proposals of marriage and so forth make for a great romp that sets the collection rolling
Paradoxicide - a timey wimey story of abandoned planets, super weapons and just desserts
A Most Excellent Match - Jane Austen, marriage proposals (again) this time from the Doctor to Peri, dodgy geezers and war refugees that works much better than it should
Question Marks - a poignant tale with a clever ending that also has a great performance from Raquel Cassidy (who also featured in Paradoxicide)
My favourite is Question Marks, but there isn't a bad story amongst the lot
Latest Doctor Who audio play from Big Finish. Being the 150th release in their regular range it means they've done the same thing did for number one hundred. Break the usual four part story format and instead present four individual stories instead. Each being the length of a regular episode.
They feature Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri.
And all of them stand on their own and have no tie ins to any other audio, so casual listeners will have no trouble getting into this one.
There are two stories to each of the two discs.
First story 'recorded time' sees the TARDIS arrive at the court of Henry the Eighth. At a time when his marriage to Anne Boleyn is all but over. The King is looking for a new queen. And he sets his sights on Peri. Which is not how history worked out. But sometimes, people can write their own...
A rather long story at thirty seven minutes. The first half has good character scenes as the Doctor and Peri try to stay on the King's good side. And all the time there are hints that they're there for a specific reason. All of which becomes clear in due course. Thanks to a clever bit of plot that gives you some food for thought. The cast members who play Henry and Anne are excellent, the latter portraying a woman who knows her time is short. It's a very good bit of drama all in all.
Second story 'Paradoxicide' runs for thirty one minutes [approx] and sees the Doctor and Peri visit a desolate world. Created by good sound design and the haunting image of them in world war one gasmasks. They run into a very nasty group of lady humanoid aliens who want the weapons that are supposedly in a sealed vault. They will stop at nothing to get inside. But what happened to the inhabitants of the planet? And how did the vault come to be?
A story that does use the concept of time travel very well. Has some really good villains. And has you waiting on tenterhooks for a big payoff. It more than delivers.
Third story: 'A most excellent match' sees Peri in the middle of pride and prejudice. Being courted by a rather sinister sounding Mister Darcy. And another suitor: Doctor John Smith. All this is played in true Jane Austen style.
There's obviously more going on here. And the first twist comes about a third of the way through. It brings in a couple of very good supporting characters. Plus a very good threat. It is a little long at thirty seven minutes but it works fine, allowing for a clever resolution. Lovers of classical literature will find lots to appeal here.
Last story: 'Question marks' sees five people wake up in the middle of what appears to be a spaceship. They have no idea who they are. One of them is a man with question marks on his collar. Can they learn to trust each other and work out what's going on? Because they might not have much time in which to do it?
An interesting mystery and a small case makes for good and intriguing drama. The revelation when it comes is a clever one and it leads to a memorable and emotional ending. This one runs for just under thirty minutes, and that makes it very nicely paced.
Four great stories. In one good collection. A great release and well worth a listen.
There are seven minutes of music [approx] from the episodes at the end of disc one.
A trailer for the next release in the range can be found after the second story on disc two.
And eight minutes [approx] of interviews with cast and crew right after that.