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House of Blue Fire (Doctor Who)
Format: Audio CDChange
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a story featuring the Seventh Doctor without any companion. But he doesn't turn up at first.

The story opens with what seems to be a classic horror slant - creaky doors, mysterious butlers and the elusive "Master" - whoever he/she may be?! Visitors to the house are expected, apparently, but they cannot remember who they are, where they came from, or what they might be there for. For the first two episodes, we follow these visitors as they attempt to make some sense of their surroundings and their place in them. And somewhere in there, the Doctor appears. But what is his role here? And why is it relevant that the four amnesiac visitors appear to have specific and strong phobias?

The listener is drawn deeply into this half of the story; it sounds like a gothic horror, and the sense of the unknown, the terror lurking in the dark, is really real. The second half of the story (third and fourth episodes) takes us a step back; into the background of the story, what it means and how these people have been drawn into something much larger than they could ever have anticipated.

The story is well-crafted; extremely well-cast and the actors in this really bring the whole story to life. It's great to hear a well-respected actor such as Timothy West getting involved in a Doctor Who story; just goes to prove, yet again, the relevance of the good Doctor. I really enjoyed this story, and it's one that I would listen to again more than happily and get something new out of it every time; highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2015
"Fear itself is largely an illusion", The First Doctor, 'The Five Doctors'.

Welcome to Blue Fire House! 'House of Blue Fire' is another exciting solo adventure with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. I enjoyed listening to this audio drama. It's a story of two halves as it has a twist, starting off as a spooky gothic haunted house story into something completely.

This is a four-part adventure by Mark Morris. Mark has written for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in 'Plague of the Daleks' and 'Moonflesh'. Mark delivers a creepy story that mainly focuses on four young people experiencing their fears and the Doctor helping them to fight against them.

The story starts with a young woman arriving at Blue Fire House, welcomed by the butler. She has no idea how she got here and can't remember her name. She soon meets three more young people who are in the same position as her. They then meet the Doctor who is the master of the house.

I like how this story plays on the sense of mystery as to what's going on and making it spooky and creepy throughout. The Doctor doesn't appear in the story until the end of 'Part One'. When he does turn up, he knows what's going on and has come to rescue the four people from their worst fears.

The four young people are nameless at first and are referred to as their room numbers at Blue Fire House. Their names are soon revealed by the second half of the story when things become clear.

There's Amy Pemberton as Sally Morgan (No. 18); Miranda Keeling as Rachel McMahon (No. 5); Howard Gossington as Toby Dodds (No. 12) and Ray Emmet Brown as Jerome Fisher (No. 16). Each of these four people has certain phobias and they get to experience them in this audio play.

Rachel (No. 5) suffers from aquaphobia (the fear of water). Toby (No. 12) suffers from catoptrophobia (the fear of mirrors). Jerome (No. 16) suffers from blattodephobia (the fear of cockroaches). And Sally (No. 18) suffers from arthazagoraphobia (the fear of being forgotten).

I like how the Doctor in this story helps the four young people to face and overcome their fears in order to survive. Each of the four characters experience their fears in unique ways whilst at Blue Fire House and it is pretty terrifying to listen to when someone's drowning or cockroaches come out.

Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. I really like how Sylvester's Doctor is in the know already, but he's determined to save these people. The Doctor also gets to face his fears as he comes up against an enemy that haunts him from his childhood days.

This story has special guest star Timothy West as Soames. I've seen Mr West in a number of classic dramas including 'Bleak House' and Prunella Scales' husband. Mr West delivers a superb performance as Soames, the butler at Blue Fire House, who has a twist to his character later on.

The lovely Amy Pemberton makes her first appearance as Sally Morgan (No. 18) in 'Doctor Who'. I love Amy's performance as Sally. Sally is a nice person who's quite plucky and willing to listen to the Doctor. She may end up being the Doctor's companion, as she's very reliable and resourceful here.

Miranda Keeling is very good as Rachel (No. 5). Rachel is a no-nonsense woman who's very brash, confident, tough and quite aggressive at times. She gets impatient when demanding to know what's going on, despite the Doctor being hospitable when they're all having dinner at Blue Fire House.

Howard Gossington is equally good as Toby (No. 12). Toby seems to think of himself as a charmer and eye-catching for the ladies. He thinks highly of himself and is a bit of a prat. He gets on Rachel's nerves when he tries to chat to her. Both face the same perils together when they go outside.

Ray Emmet Brown is also good as Jerome (No. 16). Jerome comes across as rather nervous and out of his comfort zone. But Jerome is willing to stay in Blue Fire House like Sally does when Toby and Rachel go outside. Jerome is easily scared out of his wits when he sees cockroaches coming out.

The enemy in this story is the Mi'en Kalarash. It is an ancient myth from Gallifrey, translated into English as 'blue fire'. The Kalarash is the Doctor's worst nightmare as it preys on the worst fears of everybody in this story. It takes on the form of a woman called Eve Pritchard (played by Lizzy Watts).

As I said before, I like how this story shifts from a spooky story into a sci-fi twist when the Doctor wakes up at the end of 'Part Two'. In 'Part Four', there's an 'Avatar'-style of story featured which I must admit was pretty mind-boggling to listen to. But it was interesting and fascinating nonetheless.

The story ends with the Doctor managing to defeat the Kalarash and bustles everyone into the TARDIS. The Doctor seems to like Sally Morgan and compliments her. Sally hopes to get a promotion, but the Doctor suggests she goes AWOL. Does this mean she's going to be a new companion?

'House of Blue Fire' is a great audio story that I've enjoyed. It's pretty spooky throughout, with lots of twists in the story. I enjoyed the performances of Sylvester McCoy; Timothy West and Amy Pemberton in this one. Who knows what's going to happen next when the Doctor comes back?

This is the third of Seventh Doctor trilogy (the previous two were 'Robophobia' and 'The Doomsday Quatrain'). Throughout this trilogy, the TARDIS' exterior has been black. There's still no explanation for why it's black. I hope I'll find out more about this soon as I go on listening to these stories.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music. At the end of Disc 2, there is a trailer for 'The Silver Turk' with Paul McGann. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew including Sylvester McCoy; Timothy West; Amy Pemberton, etc.

I like it in the behind-the-scenes interviews that Sylvester McCoy mentions about his work on 'The Hobbit' films in New Zealand. It was interesting hearing him talk about auditioning for Bilbo Baggins in 'The Lord of the Rings' and talking about working with Ian McKellen in 'King Lear.'

The next story for the Doctor is 'Project: Nirvana'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The House Of Blue Fire - How do you do. I am the Doctor and I believe it's dinner time.

This is the hundred and fifty second release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as a companionless Seventh Doctor. 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 third in a trilogy of adventures for the lone Seventh Doctor, and though all three are linked by a small common thread (the question of the colour of the TARDIS) there is very little by way of a continuing story arc and each release can be listened to in isolation.

This adventure is, I think, going to go up there as one of the classics. The opening episode is atmospheric, creepy, genuinely unsettling and almost doesn't feature the Doctor. A group of amnesiacs find themselves in the mysterious house of blue fire, and it turns out that each of them has a secret fear. The creepy old house starts to unsettle them, driving them to a state of hysteria. In the second episode, things get further out of control as the Doctor's manipulations fail. And just when you think that the story is played out there is a huge curveball at the end of the second episode that totally changes the direction of the tale and gets things moving at a fair clip. Episodes three and four contain answers as well as a lot of running around, and a few sudden changes of location that keep both characters and listeners on their toes. It all comes down to an eminently satisfying conclusion.

McCoy is ion excellent form here as the dark, manipulative Doctor, with a rising panic as his plans go awry. He has some excellent scenes, particularly impressive is the big showdown, where he does angry and merciless very very well. But for all that the show is stolen by Timothy West with one throwaway line at the end of episode three that was an absolutely perfect moment.

It's a dark adventure that had me gripped and off balance right the way through. 5 stars for this excellent production.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Latest Doctor Who audio story, and third and final one in a trilogy that feature Sylvester Mccoy as the Seventh Doctor. Travelling on his own with no companions.

Although this is billed as a trilogy all three stories have stood on their own, with only one throwaway line of dialogue in each that hints at something strange having happened tying the three together. Thus this one can be listened to quite easily by casual listeners as you don't need to have heard the others in order to understand it.

It runs for four episodes, which are each twenty five minutes [approx] in duration, and is spread across two cd's.

The story has a set up straight out of horror movie. As it begins with a young woman arriving at a strange country house. She is greeted by a butler who tells her that she is expected. But she can't remember her name. Or how she got there. Or what might be going on.

Meeting another guest who has similar problems, the two investigate.

But where is the Doctor?

The first episode zips along nicely keeping the listener on tenterhooks as you await revelations about what's going on here. It does start to develop more plot right at the end. But then the cliffhanger is a bit predictable and thus doesn't quite have the impact it should.

Part two however is excellent stuff. The Doctor is as vague with giving out answers as ever. But we find that all the guests at the house are afraid of certain things. All of which might come back to haunt them.

This is a splendidly creepy episode that uses the audio medium to it's full effect. And has a brilliant cliffhanger which makes the story take a rather surprising twist.

After which a lot has to be explained and thus part three is mostly exposition. But it is quite interesting stuff. And there's another brilliant cliffhanger which promises a superb final part.

That part doesn't quite live up to it though because it's a typical fourth episode in many ways. Since what it exists to do is wrap everything up. Thus things are done to deal with the main threat. Schemes and confrontations and daring escapes result.

The ending does promise a big change in the Doctor's life. Will it actually happen? We shall have to wait and see as the next few releases involve other Doctors.

A well written and well acted story, it is very good horror at points, but as whole it's just not quite as brilliant as it could be. it's very good though, and it's worth four stars out of five.

There are also nine minutes [approx] of music from the story at the end of disc one.

A trailer for the next release in this range after episode four on disc two.

And roughly fourteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew after that.
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The first disc of this story is awesome - a mysterious and creepy house, a bunch of seemingly unfamiliar people, each with a bizarre phobia, a text-book butler, and an enigmatic 'Master'...The atmosphere is electric and the story a compelling listen; perfect Big Finish. Unfortunately, the second half of this full-cast audio drama didn't keep up the intrigue or suspense as far as I was concerned, although the performances remain strong - a welcome turn from television and stage legend Timothy West was certainly the icing on this particular cake.
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