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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2013
I've been a great fan of Paul McGann's eighth Doctor on audio going right back to his debut in 2001's `Storm Warning'. However when he was side-lined into his own single disc monthly releases I lost touch with this incarnation. Although financially focused on the monthly two disc and companion chronicles titles it was a definite target to somehow budget for the unique `Dark Eyes' box set and the distinctive vocal style of McGann. Having listened to it all this was absolutely the right decision as not only is Paul on top form but also new `companion' Molly O'Sullivan is instantly a memorable and refreshingly forthright Irish character.

I loved opening story `The Great War' due to its period setting and an initially dazed and confused Doctor. I appreciated the time travelling to 1972 and Second World War in second story `Fugitives' and very much enjoyed the alien world and inhabitants plus, initially, Daleks behaving in a very puzzling manor to the Doctor and Molly during third story `Tangled Web'. Personally I found fourth story `X and the Daleks' rather bewildering and somewhat muddled on a first listen but still great fun.

For me new Paul McGann Doctor Who was long overdue and I was delighted to buy a copy at a great reduced price from an Amazon seller. I understand that there are more `Dark Eyes' box sets planned for 2014 & 2015 and on the evidence of this first set this certainly looks like an exciting, imaginative and enjoyable new future for the eighth Doctor which I hope I'll be able to afford... but please lets have something other than Daleks in future!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Doctor Who audio story. It features Paul McGann as the Doctor.

It take place right after the end of the run of audio stories that featured the Eighth Doctor and his companion Lucie Miller. Last of those was To the Death (Doctor Who: the Eighth Doctor Adventures). Whilst you would get more out of this if you heard all of that run, this would actually work pretty well as a jumping on point.

All you need to know is

[Minor spoilers]

The Doctor was in a great battle with the Daleks. From which he emerged victorious. But emotionally damaged.

When this story starts, he's off looking for hope. Something to inspire him to keep going. What he finds is a Timelord from the Gallifreyan Celestial Intervention Agency. Who offers him the chance to find hope. Via a mission to investigate a threat to all of time and space.

Which seems to be centred on an irish lady called Molly O'Sullivan. A member of the volunteer aid detachment who helped nurses during World War one.

Once Molly meets the Doctor, her life will never be the same again. But why is she so important?

This is a four part story. Spread over four Cd's. All of which come in their own individual cd boxes inside one larger cardboard one. Each disc is basically one long episode. The only breaks in them being the usual cd chapter ones. Each episode runs from fifty to fifty nine minutes [approx.]

The story does involve the Doctor. The Daleks. And the Timelords. Could it be the start of the Time war, you might ask?

At the time this was released, none of the audio stories were canon. But more recent events have seemingly made them such. Nevertheless, Big Finish's licence doesn't allow them to do anything involved with the new series. So make of it all what you will.

Early scenes are involving emotionally as Paul McGann does superbly convey the state the Doctor is in. He does have a new hairstyle and costume - as a result of events in 'To The Death' although this all being on the cover it doesn't really get referenced in the story. Peter Egan as the aforementioned Timelord does also command the attention right away thanks to a very commanding voice and vocal performance.

The World War one scenes are vivid and gripping because they feel so realistic. There's a great lot of decent characters there as well. And some fascinating history. People having their illusions shattered, and those who have experience of it being hard edged because they've become inured to all that's going on.

Molly - played by Ruth Bradley, who you might remember from the last two seasons of Primeval - is an appealing character from the off also. She has a strong and very appealing voice and her accent is spot on. She's a person who won't ever be awe struck by the Doctor and who can take him down a peg or two when required. She has compassion beneath the hard exterior she's had to develop. She also has a great sense of wonder.

Although this is an epic story in terms of scope, since there are a lot of different locations all over time and space, it's not one of action in the biggest sense. There aren't lots of scenes of huge spaceship battles or Dalek armies. It does end up being primarily a two hander focusing on the relationship between the Doctor and Molly. Both of whom grow and change as a result of contact with the other.

Episodes two and three can feel as if they're becoming run arounds at points. But all these moments serve to strengthen the two leads as characters. So they all have a point.

Which is not just to do that. Because everything does come together very well in part four. When you'll find out that everything was relevant. There are some excellent surprises. And although the final lot of explanations are rather involved, you shouldn't have too much trouble following anything.

This is a big story that does end up being very satisfying and justifying it's length. The Eighth Doctor will return soon in Dark Eyes Two. It should be worth the wait.

There is an extra disc in with the fourth cd, which contains an hours worth of interviews with cast and crew.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2015
The Doctor needs to find some hope! Will he find it?

‘Dark Eyes’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ box set of four linked audio dramas. It stars Paul McGann as the Doctor; Ruth Bradley as Molly O’Sullivan; Peter Egan as Straxus; Toby Jones as Kotris and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks. The four episodes in this box set are all written and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

I bought this box set in August 2013 to celebrate the Eighth Doctor for the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’. This is an epic box set from Big Finish and I’m very glad I bought this to commemorate Paul McGann’s Doctor in that special year. ‘Dark Eyes’ won an award for best online drama in 2014.

Since his first appearance in 'The TV Movie', the Eighth Doctor has appeared in plenty of Big Finish audios. Now we have the beginning of a new chapter of the Eighth Doctor as he goes on a new journey in his life. This could be the start of how the Eighth Doctor went on to fight in the Time War.

This is a 5-disc CD set with the four episodes of ‘Dark Eyes’ on the first four discs. The episodes are ‘The Great War’; ‘Fugitives’; ‘Tangled Web’ and ‘X and the Daleks’. The fifth disc is a behind-the-scenes disc that focuses on the making of ‘Dark Eyes’ and features interviews with the cast and crew.

The story of ‘Dark Eyes’ takes place after 'Lucie Miller'/'To the Death' where the Doctor was robbed of three people by the Daleks including his companion Lucie Miller. If you’ve not heard the previous Eighth Doctor Adventures before this, you find this story a struggle to understand at first.

This episode starts with the Doctor broken as he pilots his TARDIS towards the edge of the universe.

But the TARDIS soon gets stopped on the way by the Time Lords and another TARDIS materialises in the console. Out steps Straxus (now played by Peter Egan), a Time Lord the Doctor has met before.

I was pleased to hear Peter Egan as Straxus in this box set. Peter played Paul in the BBC sitcom ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’, Peter delivers an interesting and suave performance as this shifty Time Lord.

The Doctor has had enough of being manipulated by the Time Lords and wants to find some hope. Straxus sees the Doctor in turmoil and offers him a chance to find some hope by going on a mission.

Paul McGann excels as the Doctor in this new chapter of his era in ‘Doctor Who’. Paul’s Doctor is no longer the happy and joyous man that he once was as that was taken away cruelly by the Daleks.

It was interesting hearing how Paul plays his Doctor in this box set as he adds a darker and brooding layer to him. There seems little chance of the Doctor being happy again since he lost Lucie Miller.

But the Doctor is not ready to give up on his search for hope and when Straxus gives him a chance to go looking for it, he takes it readily. It’ll mean going on a mission into dangerous territory on Earth.

The Doctor also acquires a new look in this new chapter of his. He ditches his old Byron clothes and wears a leather jacket looking more like Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. He also gets a new haircut.

For this mission given to him, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to horrors of the First World War in No-Man’s Land. He has to search for someone who turns out to be important in the universe’s future.

I really like the First World War setting featured in this episode. It’s not a pleasant setting and one I’d like not to go to, but it provides an anchor in a familiar Earth setting as the Doctor begins his mission.

The Doctor meets someone called Molly O’Sullivan. Molly is an Irish Voluntary Aid Detachment nursing assistant who helps out in the Great War. She has a lot to put up with helping in this war.

I found Ruth Bradley as Molly interesting as a character, as she has this tough and uncompromising exterior when she’s tending to the injured. But she turns out to be someone with a gentle heart.

Molly at first is suspicious of the Doctor, as he just happens to be there when out on No-Man’s land. She doesn’t know anything about the grief and pain the Doctor’s had with losing Lucie Miller.

I like the maternal relationship Molly forms with one of his VAD colleagues Isabel Stanford and the special friendship she has with Kitty Donaldson. He’s perplexed when a strange glowing gas comes.

Toby Jones guest stars as the mysterious Kotris. Toby was the Dream Lord in the Matt Smith story ‘Amy’s Choice’. Kotris seems to be working for someone and watches the Doctor in this episode.

It turns out that Molly is the person the Doctor has been looking forward when he uses his sonic screwdriver on her. The Doctor begs Molly to help him when he’s to be killed by a blood transfusion.

Molly eventually helps the Doctor and both escape out into the open when the glowing gas comes and attacks. The Daleks then appear and they’re out to exterminate the Doctor and take Molly…

The Doctor and Molly escape the Daleks in an explosive opening sequence in this episode.

A lot happens when the Doctor and Molly make their escape and there’s quite a lot of tension between on the way. Very soon, they find the TARDIS back in No-Man’s Land and escape into it.

The fugitives are clearly the Doctor and Molly, as they’re on the run from the Daleks who are chasing them. The Doctor is angry that it’s the Daleks behind this and that the Time Lords didn’t tell him.

Molly soon becomes the Doctor’s new companion as she goes into the TARDIS with him after escaping the Daleks. It turns out that Molly has been in the TARDIS before but doesn’t remember.

The Doctor is surprised and disturbed as Molly can’t explain how she knows she’s been in the TARDIS before (or ‘Tardy box’ as she calls it). He doesn’t like it when she fiddles with the TARDIS controls.

It was exciting to hear the Daleks in this box set as they chase the Doctor and Molly. One wonders why they want Molly as their plans for conquest become mysterious and disturbing for the Doctor.

The Doctor notices some about Molly’s eyes. They’re dark, so he ends up calling her ‘Dark Eyes’. Molly doesn’t like being called them and threatens to give the Doctor a punch if he says that again.

The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Molly from the First World War to the Second World War on Earth. This shocks Molly especially as she thinks the war she’s been fighting has gone on for a long time.

They soon end up in 1970 in a house on Baker’s Street. This is the same house the Doctor lived in as the Fifth Doctor in 'The Haunting of Thomas Brewster'. It turns out the Daleks are waiting for him.

The Doctor and Molly also meet Natalie Burt as Dr Sally Armstrong in 1970. Sally seems to know a lot about them as the Doctor sent a message to her about creating a machine. It’s timey-wimey again!

Sally sadly gets ‘killed’ when the Daleks hunt down the Doctor and Molly. The Doctor is upset about the Daleks killing people and gives himself up when they come for them. But he gets knocked out…

…by Molly, who gets him into the TARDIS and escape the Daleks! The Doctor recovers and he sets the TARDIS to escape from the Daleks. The Doctor is amazed that Molly saved him from the Daleks.

I really like those sequences where Molly is being cheeky towards the Doctor, as they both go off exploring the universe and have fun. It puts the Doctor in his happiest mood when he’s with Molly.

Peter Egan appears as Straxus in this episode in a number of strange sequences on an alien planet. Straxus throws himself off a cliff so that he can get killed. But he’s alive. What’s all this about then?

The Doctor and Molly, whilst having a fun on planet Halalka, get involved in another crisis as it turns out that dolphins have metal. They soon get away and escape in the TARDIS before the Daleks come.

The Dalek Time Controller returns to ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘Dark Eyes’. I like the deranged sound Nick Briggs makes when playing the Dalek Time Controller. Who knows what he’s up to later on.

Very soon, Toby Jones as Kotris comes to Halalka and is joined by the Daleks. It turns out that he’s been working for them. It looks like the Doctor will be falling into another trap again by the Daleks…

In this episode, we find out more about the truth of Molly O’Sullivan and why she’s important.

There’s a prologue scene where Kotris ‘rescues’ Molly as a 2-year old girl and brings her to her worried-stricken parents in Ireland, 1893. But it seems Kotris has had little Molly inside ‘his’ TARDIS.

The Doctor and Molly also visit Ireland in 1893 as they try to discover the truth about why she remembers being in the TARDIS before. They see little Molly being taken by Kotris into his TARDIS.

This surprises the Doctor as Kotris doesn’t seem to be a Time Lord (or at least the Doctor doesn’t sense him as one). Who is this Kotris? Why is he mysterious and why is he working with the Daleks?

There are some very interesting scenes that Kotris has when interacting with the Dalek Time Controller. They’ve been monitoring the Doctor and Molly and want to use Molly as their weapon.

There are some interesting scenes between the Doctor and Molly as they get to know and trust each other. Molly seems to wish for the Doctor to take her back to the First World War which shocks him.

Molly reveals how much she loved her friend Kitty like a sister and the Doctor is equally missing her time with Lucie. The Doctor seems to be strangely getting headaches inside him during this episode.

I like it when the Doctor describes what hope is to Molly. He describes it as a being something that hurts and you cling onto it no matter what. This is what hope is like for me sometimes when I feel it.

The Doctor and Molly soon arrive on an alien planet which turns out to be Skaro. They find the Daleks there and they all seem to be friendly. This seems to be too good to be true for the Doctor.

This reminds me of a similar Dalek story called 'The Ripple Effect' in '12 Doctors, 12 Stories'. Here, it’ a similar situation as the Daleks seem to be laughing and playing with children which is disturbing.

The Doctor and Molly meet someone called Thelus who welcomes them to Skaro and tells them how the Daleks ended up being good and tries to prove it. But the Doctor isn’t convinced and he’s right.

It turns out that the Doctor has been dreaming all of this as he’s had electric nodes plugged inside his head. He’s held in a container by some aliens and he angrily demands them what’s going on.

Pretty soon, the Doctor and Molly are rescued by Time Lords led by Straxus himself. The aliens turn out to be Mezcoranis and the Doctor and Molly escape with Straxus in his TARDIS away from ‘Skaro’.

Soon the Daleks arrive where the Mezocranis are as they’ve come looking for the Doctor and Molly. They end up killing the Mezocranis who are astonished to see them when in the Doctor’s dreams.

As they escape, the Doctor angrily rebukes Straxus for not telling him that it was the Daleks. The Doctor knows that he’s been manipulated by Straxus to carry out the Time Lords and CIA’s missions.

Straxus reveals to the Doctor and Molly about who Kotris is. Kotris is claimed to be a once former Time Lord and is only known on Gallifrey as ‘X’. Kotris also seems to appear inside Molly’s head.

The Doctor has to go on a mission to discover more about Kotris/X. Straxus’ TARDIS gets time-rammed in the vortex. The Doctor is forced to leave in his TARDIS, but he won’t without Molly…

The Doctor manages to take Molly with him in the TARDIS whilst Straxus’ TARDIS gets ‘destroyed’.

Molly really doesn’t like being called ‘Dark Eyes’ whenever she’s with the Doctor or somebody else. She can really give a good punch on the nose to anyone who calls her that as it gets on her nerves.

But the fact that the Doctor calls Molly is pivotal to the story. The Doctor is astonished that Molly’s eyes are so dark and he wants to know why that is and what Kotris and the Daleks have done to her.

The TARDIS soon arrives on the planet Srangor, the place Straxus came and attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. The Doctor learns about this from a herder and is surprised.

The Doctor and Molly soon meet the people of Srangor who are enslaved by the Daleks. They meet Nadeyan who becomes a willing alley to the Doctor and Molly as he’s been tormented by the Daleks.

There’s a moment in the story where the Doctor and Molly are climbing up a rock-face, and Molly falls to her seemingly death. The Doctor is gut-wrenched and horrified as he’s lost someone again.

The Doctor is rescued by Nadeyan who realises that he’s lost Molly. Nadeyan says Molly falling to her death is better than being killed by Daleks. But the Doctor rebukes that saying it’s not better.

The search for hope has gone out of hand for the Doctor. Molly’s ‘death’ reminds the Doctor of losing Lucie and he contemplates how to keep going. He is persuaded by Nadeyan to not give up.

It turns out though that Molly didn’t die after all and that she’s still alive. But Molly is soon captured by the Daleks and X/Kotris as they interrogate her. They get the information they need from her.

The Doctor eventually finds Molly when she’s being used by Kotris and the Daleks as a weapon. X/Kotris wants to use Molly to destroy the Time Lords and the Daleks are helping him to do it.

It transpires that Molly has been filled with deadly temporal particles in her eyes, making them so dark. This was implanted in her when Molly was taken by Kotris as a 2-year old girl for their plans.

The Doctor is puzzled as to why X/Kotris wants to destroy the Time Lords and Kotris that they are the worse killers compared to the Daleks. The Doctor denies this as no-one is worse than the Daleks.

Straxus meanwhile in is in the background inside the Doctor’s TARDIS and he reveals his plans to Nadeyan which including killing Molly. Nadeyan is upset and goes out to prevent this happening.

It’s revealed that X/Kotris actually Straxus in a future incarnation. But Kotris is a Straxus who has had all his Time Lord DNA removed and is filled with the Daleks so that he can destroy the Time Lords.

I like it when Straxus becomes self-pitying and blames his faults on everyone else and not himself. The Doctor defies Straxus telling him he’s a coward and he has himself to blame but won’t accept it.

At the end, the Doctor and Molly return to the TARDIS and escape. It turns out that Molly doesn’t have her ‘dark eyes’ anymore. Whilst the Doctor’s out of the scene, Molly pilots the TARDIS herself.

The TARDIS returns back to her own time during the First World War. She leaves a note to say goodbye to the Doctor as she goes to look after Kitty. Will the Doctor ever see Molly again I wonder.

The fifth disc of this box set contains an in-depth behind-the-scenes documentary looking at the making of 'Dark Eyes’. It contains behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew of this box set.

The documentary starts with writer/director Nick Briggs giving a brief history of the Eighth Doctor at Big Finish and discussing the creation of ‘Dark Eyes’. It was interesting hearing from Nick how he wanted a time of reflection in order to prepare for what was to come next with the Eighth Doctor.

There are also interviews with Paul McGann and Ruth Bradley. I like Paul’s comments about approaching this new era and discussing the new look of the Eighth Doctor in his clothes. Ruth sounds lovely when she’s being interviewed and seemed to enjoy playing Molly in this box set.

There are also interviews with the supporting cast including John Banks; Alex Mallinson; Beth Chalmers and Jonathan Forbes. It was nice to hear Peter Egan being interviewed and his work for ‘Doctor Who’ for Big Finish and hearing Toby Jones talking about his role as Kotris in this box set.

I liked some of the behind-the-scenes outtakes when Nick Briggs is voicing the Daleks. His Dalek voices terrify the actors in the recording booths and it was funny when he was singing as a Dalek at one point. Ruth Bradley and Paul McGann make some good rueful remarks about the Dalek voices.

The documentary ends with Nick Briggs talking about the future of the Eighth Doctor and unanswered questions that need resolving in ‘Dark Eyes’ e.g. Sally Armstrong. Also Paul McGann talks about his involvement in ‘Doctor Who’ due to the upcoming 50th anniversary year in 2013.

Once again, I really like how this box set is put together with the individual CD covers for the four episodes. I also like the pictures inside the individual CD covers showing snapshots of the story.

‘Dark Eyes’ is a great new beginning for Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. The theme of hope shines throughout in this story and it sets the Eighth Doctor back on a new track in his life. Who knows what will happen to the Doctor next and where he will. I’m looking forward to finding out.

The next story for the Doctor is 'Dark Eyes 2'.
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2015
The Doctor is in despair and mourning the death of companion Lucie when he is contacted by the Time Lords and sent on a mission to save an Irish nurse from World War 1 named Molly who has mysterious dark eyes and seems to be involved in a plot to destroy the universe and it involves the Daleks who chase them through time and space and seem to be allies with a mysterious figure called Katris otherwise known as X. While it might help to have heard earlier 8th Doctor audios, this 4 part mini series could also be seen as an ideal jumping on point for new listeners and seen as a fresh start for the 8th Doctor. 4 hour long audios in this set, the first, The Great War sees The Doctor meet Molly in the middle of World War 1 and sets up the plot though the cliffhanger ending here is obvious considering who is on the cover. The 2nd audio, Fugitives picks up where the 1st leaves off and sees The Doctor and Molly on the run from The Daleks first in Dunkirk in World War 2 then in 1972. The 3rd audio, The Tangled Web, sees The Doctor realise that something isn't quite right so goes back to an incident when Molly was 2 to try and find out the truth while the 4th and final audio in the series, X and The Daleks sees the truth come out and the final battle between The Doctor and The Daleks. Molly is an interesting new never before seen on TV companion and X is an excellent new villain. This is one of the best Doctor Who audios.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2014
Having heard the Eighth Doctor Adventures before with Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller (don't worry if you haven't heard them it is not really necessary but it can help), I thought Big Finish couldn't do better. They have out done themselves and I wish Nicholas Briggs would write for the TV series.
I won't go too into detail with the story, but I received it really quickly considering it was over the Christmas/New Year period and it is of fantastic quality. I just can't wait for Dark Eyes 2. This is worth every penny.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2013
I really hope that Nicholas Briggs gets a chance to write for the actual TV series - he's on top form with this story. What I like about the audio dramas is that they don't try to be super cool like the TV series, they just focus on telling the best, most dramatic, character focused story they can. If I could afford to subscribe to Big Finish I would, but I mostly have to pick and choose what I think will be the best of the bunch. What I can tell you is that Dark Eyes is outstanding - better than anything I've seen of the TV series in a long time. Just buy it, find some you time, put your headphones on, and let it whisk you away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
Even if you don't usually like audio books and could never get into the Doctor Who Big Finish or Audio Go ranges you will still enjoy this. It's that good.
This audio story will make Eight one of your favourite Doctors and Molly one of your favourite companions. Outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2013
Great story, daleks on top form, good motivation to the Doc's actions too. The usual timey-wimey twists and turns. recommend it, very entertaining and engaging.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2013
Brilliant! Why Paul McGann didn't get to play the Doctor on TV more is criminal! Talk about a wasted opportunity!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
This was the first Doctor who audio adventure I ever purchased and as a result I will hold as the best. The story does what "Doctor Who" does best. It crosses centuries, planets and emotions as the four story arc unfolds. There are referances to (recentley) past stories but it is not necessary to listen to them to enjoy "Dark eyes".
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