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3.7 out of 5 stars29
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2012
This does not feel like the natural canonical continuation from The Talons of Weng-Chiang, because Horror of Fang Rock is far more serious as it still has the Hinchcliffe feel, so I feel that Leela is very well judged but the Doctor lesser so, because the script lays on a little too heavy the dialogue style from many stories on.

The story is quite good, but not brilliant. There are nice characters although the resolution perhaps not ideal. The crew seem too keen to run away. Picking up on hints of Talons (costumes and initial time period) and Nerva (Ark and Revenge) are a good idea but perhaps underused as Nerva was a key element to season 12, so it may as well been any station.

Tom Baker sounds marginally different to the 1970s which is understandable. Relaunching the mid-4th Doctor period is comparable to the relaunch of Blake's 7. Both have been done by Big Finish recently, and I think the B7 one is better. I am more convinced it is the same people and period-fitting scripts with B7 than I am the mid-4th Doctor period.

Big Finish over the last 10 years have bettered the 5th, 6th,7th and 8th Doctor eras over their television counterparts. Following the trend with the 4th Doctor era will be tricky, perhaps impossible and setting this story between two of the best classic Who stories (Talons and Horror) only draws attention to the fact that Destination Nerva is a weaker story with the wrong era dialogue.
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on 19 February 2012
Not as good as the recent Fourth Doctor Box Set, but still not bad. I do have one big gripe however! The story is only two episodes long, so the format and pace is rather forced. Don't get me wrong; I really do welcome this new Fourth Doctor range, however if you were measuring value for money by minutes you might think these new audio plays expensive in comparison to the usual four episode stories of the other Doctors in the Big Finish range. I hope Big Finish will reconsider the format for future Fourth Doctor stories to allow for story development whilst keeping the price in line with other Doctor stories, so as not to take advantage of their customers. Looking forward to the next one though.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 April 2012
This is, I think, the first of the full cast audio dramas that Tom Baker was enticed back for (as opposed to the series of Fourth Doctor stories starting with Hornet's Nest). As such, there were great expectations for the re-teaming of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela. Would it live up to those expectations? Well - yes, and no, in my opinion.

Firstly, it's great to hear the Doctor and Leela back again - the story picks up when they leave Victorian London after helping Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago against Magnus Greel and the Peking Homunculus. Still in their Victorian garb, the time travelling duo end up in the middle of a rather unexpected situation - what are the Drelleran doing and why are they warning the Doctor against "the humans"? And how is this linked to a future which holds the newly built Space Dock Nerva (another nod to the "classic" tv series - The Ark in Space)?

This starts off really well - action, aliens, mysterious ailments and even more mysterious humans - and the anticipation is growing - and then it's all over! And that's where it all went wrong - the story is only two episodes - one cd - it built itself up in the first episode, kept building up in the second episode - and then all ended with a fizz and a few convenient quick fixes. The story fails only because of this - it needed to be at least three, preferably four episodes with the same pacing - building up, more explanations required, and more threads to be tied off without the convenience of just having them go away, as they seemed to here.

A shame - a great start, but slightly let down; I can't wait to hear more of the Doctor and Leela - the Fourth Doctor has always been my favourite and I am really wanting to hear more stories with him in it - let's hope they get even more exciting from now on.
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on 31 January 2012
When the BBC produced their 'enhanced' talking books with Tom Baker as the Doctor (Hornet's Nest) I found it tedious and dull beyond compare. This wasn't the way I wanted to hear the 4th Doctor and bemoaned the fact that it wasn't a Big Finish full cast production.
And then Big Finish announced they were to produce 4th Doctor full cast dramas... well I was over the Moon!

I pre-ordered a couple and this one arrived towards the end of January.
There was the theme I remember from my childhood and I settled back to listen to a cracking story. Only it isn't.

The actual story is slow and plodding, strange for such a short piece, with rather stilted dialogue from all concerned.
Tom sounds a little older but enough like his old self for me to visualise him, same with Louise. Generally the acting is good, as with nearly all of the BF plays, but this is just so boring.
After the initial excitement at the start of the story it just grinds to a halt and becomes a struggle to stay awake.

Hopefully the next release will be more exciting and up to the usual high standard for BF.

But one thing puzzles me - why are these only 2-part stories?
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on 11 May 2015
Destination Nerva, as it may have been for many of you, wasn’t the first 4th Doctor Adventure I listened to. I got into the range whilst season 2 was underway with Season 1’s ‘Energy of the Daleks’ being my first trip into Big Finish Productions and I absolutely loved it! Hence, I listened to 3 more stories from Season 1 and also the Lost Stories boxset. After that, I finally got round to the first ever 4th Doctor story with Big Finish, namely Destination Nerva and despite what other reviews may say, this is a genuinely great gripping, scary tale.

The story takes place just after ‘Talons of Weng Chiang’, where the Doctor and Leela follow a distress signal back to Earth, where soldiers of the British Empire have clashed with an alien species in a manor house. The departing spacecraft leads our heroic duo to a familiar setting for Doctor Who, namely Nerva Beacon as seen in ‘The Ark in Space’ and ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ but before those adventures occurred. What follows is an intense, enthralling and down-right frightening adventure! Let’s just say it involves body horror…*chills*

This season opener kicks off as it means to go on; at full pelt with never a dull moment within its hour long, 2 episodic format. Some may argue that this is a sacrilegious deviation from the format of the time, which was a mix of 4 part and 6 part stories. However, I’d argue that this allows for a more streamlined adventure, as any fat is trimmed. Also I’d furthermore say that it doesn’t really matter since Doctor Who changed its format many times in its original 26 year run, sometimes for just the one story. The closest example of course would be ‘The Sontaran Experiment’ only shown a couple of seasons earlier.

Production-wise, this drama is exceptionally well executed with wonderful acting, a well-written script as well as extraordinary sound effects and direction, allowing you to vividly imagine what’s occurring. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are absolutely stellar. It’s like they never left the TARDIS. The supporting cast, including Raquel Cassidy from the Matt Smith Series 6 two parter ‘The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People’, also give it their all. As for the sound effects, they are so convincing, they genuinely terrified me, making this the second time a Dr Who story has actually scared me after the exceptional lost story ‘The Foe from the Future’.

My only gripe with ‘Destination Nerva’ is the somewhat lacklustre, abrupt ending á la the Matt Smith era Series 7 story ‘Cold War’ but overall this is an excellent return for Tom Baker playing the Doctor and marked a phenomenal start to his Big Finish tenure. I simply don’t understand the number of negative comments levied at this serial. I assume fans had built up such high expectations, that they were disappointed with the result since it’s not on the same level as ‘Robots of Death’ or ‘Talons of Weng Chiang’. This is a common occurrence among fandom. I too have fallen victim to it with the Matt Smith era Series 7 opener ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. You simply have to realise that whatever your imagination conjures up, the reality will never match up to it. I urge those who have a lesser view of this tale to revisit it with a fresh start and those who have yet to hear it to ignore the negative opinions and go in with an open mind.

Just thank your lucky stars that “It’s Saturday Night Tea-Time in 1977 all over again!”
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on 13 February 2012
Destination Nerva has been an enjoyable listen, and my first proper Big Finish audio I bought and I wasn't at all disappointed. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are on fine form, but the plot doesn't seem to go anywhere as if it is neither here nor there. Normally that would bother me, but as the cast is so strong and it feels like a performance out of 1977, it doesn't detract from the story too much. I have a feeling that the story is part of an arc, so hopefully Nerva should make more sense.

Well worth the £7 I paid for, I could justify paying £11 per audio if they are all as good as or better than this.

8/10.

Roll on The Renaissance Man!
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on 21 March 2012
I can honestly say that this is the first bit of Doctor Who that's actually scared me since I was about ten years old! It's very well done indeed, and if there's any weak point at all it's, I'm sad to say, Tom Baker, who does seem to be phoning in his performance. He definitely doesn't come across as he did in the seventies, but then perhaps I'm being unreasonable expecting him to! (Having said that, Louise Jameson is her usual pitch-perfect self as Leela).
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on 4 May 2013
A great start for Tom Baker's Doctor on big finish, and much better than I have heard people say.

It really feels like it takes place mere seconds after Talons of Weng Chiang, however, a little imagination is required, as Tom does sound older.

Don't get me wrong, he sounds great, but does come across as being an older Doctor. While this may seem like a bad thing, it isn't, you really have to understand that different and worse are two very different things.

As for the story itself, the music is very fitting and compliments the 4th Doctor, the monster/s thoroughly menacing and the cast all very good at their respective roles, but don't be fooled by the bright cover, this is a dark story. I imagine the corridors and the metallic rooms of early Nerva (some gaping vast, some tight like those of a submarine) to be dimly lit in military blue. A must buy.
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on 11 March 2013
Having listened to Tom Baker's Hornet's Nest/Demon's Quest and Serpent's Crest from BBC Audio Go I wasn't sure what I was going to expect from Big Finish? And WOW yes the previous were good and worth getting but this story felt like the whole audio adventure's with Tom Baker just got a more gloss of paint. Infact I would go as far to say one got a bit tense listening part way through, something that not happened since I was a child watching the Alien in the 'City Of Death' ripping off his false human head at the end of an episode.The story is great and there is a feel to 'The Ark In Space' with the destination being on Nerva and an Alien race consuming humans.
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on 21 September 2015
‘Destination Nerva’ follows on from the events of ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ with the Doctor and Leela still clothed in Victorian attire, and was both written and directed by Nick Briggs. This audio drama was recorded on 12 September 2011 and was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 16 May 2015 as an hour long compilation of the two episodes, with opening and closing credits read by presenter Toby Hadoke.
Big Finish Synopsis: “After saying their goodbyes to Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, the Doctor and Leela respond to an alien distress call beamed direct from Victorian England. It is the beginning of a journey that will take them to the newly built Space Dock Nerva... where a long overdue homecoming is expected.”

Jamie Robertson’s nuanced soundtrack is a love letter to the Hinchcliffe era giving it a nostalgic feel. The atmosphere helps generate suspense and intrigue in equal measure. The Drelleran voices are deep and booming but not over modulate like so many other Big Finish audio dramas giving a much more natural sound. Everything about this feels more organic, although there is an over-abundance of squelchy-farty sounds at times.
Here we have a tougher Leela than we are used to in the TV series which is an improvement. Tom isn’t quite the same. I find his Doctor more ponderous. The supporting cast are all very good however transient some of their appearances maybe. It’s a bit hard to feel sympathy for characters like Laura Craske played by Tilly Guant, despite a good performance her character seemed terminally dim, violating safety procedures because she felt like it indeed.

The Doctor and Leela have little discernible impact on this story and while I don’t need the Doctor to be the hero every time the paper thin plot draws attention to it in an unflattering way making it a very odd choice to premier the range with. Also having unanswered questions can work really well but not knowing the true motivations of the Drellerans makes it all especially meaningless. The structure of the story is a bit odd with the first episodes not achieving much but the second episodes picks up nicely. It also has a lot of good ideas, the best by far being the alien parasite that has taken over the bodies of the crew of the starship Aeolus. I am sure this will have its fans, but I am not one of them. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it because I did but you can’t save a story from being mundane when the writing is as sloppy as this.
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