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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great story for Steven and Sara, 24 May 2012
By 
Huw Davies (Taunton, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Anachronauts (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
This is another of Big Finish's Companion Chronicles series, this time focussing on the First Doctor's companions Steven and Sara, played by Blue Peter favourite Peter Purves and Upstairs Downstairs creator and star Jean Marsh. Their previous Companion Chronicles were amongst the strongest in the series, so this double-disc encounter was highly anticipated.

Like Steven and Sara's previous adventures this story is scripted by the talented writer that is Simon Guerrier. He once again crafts an imaginative and complex tale which twists and turns, with layers of exposition and an exciting twist (though here there are 3 - so lap it up!).

Purves and Marsh are both accomplished performers and they both play their characters with gusto. Marsh has always been my favourite of the two - her acting contains subtleties which sometimes amaze me - yet Purves too does a great job, especially with his performance 'as' William Hartnell, which along with William Russell's interpretation is exceptional.

My one gripe with 'The Anachronauts' is a small one, though it does unfortunately merit the drop from 5 to 4 stars. The problem is - and it's a pity really - but this play doesn't have the 'wow' factor that previous Steven/Sara encounters like 'Home Truths' and 'The First Wave' had. Nevertheless this is highly recommended - especially for fans of either Purves or Marsh's previous Chronicles.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time wrecked, 28 Feb 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Anachronauts (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a monthly series of talking books that see actors who played a companion to the Doctor on the tv show returning to the role to read an all new adventure for their character.

They will do all the voices save one which will be read by a guest actor.

And they usually run for two parts and are complete on one cd.

But this is a bit of a format breaker because it runs for four episodes, spread over two cd's. And it features two former Doctor Who stars, who both share the narration duties. Peter Purves who played Steven opposite William Hartnell's Doctor back in the 1960's. And Jean Marsh, who played Sara Kingdom, at the same time.

The two share the narration duties, reading the bulk of an episode each. Peter Purves also voices the Doctor. Anyone who has ever listened to his previous stories in this range will know that his take on the first doctor is superb and a delight to listen to, and it's as good as ever here.

The story is set right after episode seven of Doctor Who - The Daleks' Master Plan at a point when the Doctor and his friends are on the run from the Daleks. But here, their flight is derailed when a time machine piloted by a group of humans who are engaged in a war crashes into the TARDIS. The crews of both thus find themselves stranded on a strange desert island.

The Doctor and Steven and Sara must face up to the fact that the TARDIS may be lost for good. They must find out more about the place where they are. And they have to worry as to whether the human time travellers from the other ship can be trusted.

That's just the start of their problems, though, because fate has another twist in store for Steven and Sara, who then find themselves in even deeper trouble, and face a desperate fight to stay alive.

Each episode of this is over thirty minutes long. Initially the style of the story does take a little bit of getting used to, because only the Doctor and Steven and Sara are voiced for the bulk of it. The other characters all speak in recorded dialogue. Nevertheless, there's a nice lot of intrigue to the first part. And showing it all from the point of view of Steven and Sara does allow for some moments that make the Doctor superbly enigmatic. As he should be.

In part two it does suddenly seem that you're waiting for something major to happen. And then right at the end it does, with some explanations that make sense of what has gone before. And send the story off in a different direction.

This different direction does use Steven well, because it remembers the original idea for his character. A man of the future, lost and struggling to survive in the primitive and distant past. There are no science fictional elements in part three at all, but it's a good strong historical drama and very memorable with it.

Part four starts as more of the same, then gets a little weird as some science fiction does creep in. Jean Marsh really gives her all as the episode develops as Sara is forced into some very emotional moments. Steven by contrast is brilliantly restrained and underplayed at these points.

And then there are more explanations for you. Which pull the whole thing together. Will make you think about everything you've heard so far differently. And allow for a memorable resolution.

The story does just about justify it's double length. And whilst it doesn't quite rate five stars it is a clever script with some excellent performances and it's well worth a listen.

A trailer for the next release in this range can be found after part four on disc two.

And there's roughly ten minutes of entertaining chat with cast and crew right after that.
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The Anachronauts (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
The Anachronauts (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) by Simon Guerrier (Audio CD - 31 Jan 2012)
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