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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong second outing for McGann with Big Finish
"The human race is locked in deadly combat with the 'Android Hordes' in the Orion System. Light years from the front line, the Doctor and Charley arrive to sample the dubious delights of a galactic backwater, little suspecting that the consequences of the Orion War might reach them there. But High Command's lust for victory knows no bounds.
"Trapped aboard a...
Published on 11 April 2006 by M. Wilberforce

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cybermen in the constellation of Orion!
`Sword of Orion' is the second Doctor Who audio story with Paul McGann produced by Big Finish. It is also the first time Big Finish did a Cybermen story after doing the Daleks previously in three stories before this.

This is a four-part story and continues the new series of audio adventures of the Eighth Doctor and his new companion Charley Pollard (played by...
Published 20 months ago by Tim Bradley


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong second outing for McGann with Big Finish, 11 April 2006
By 
M. Wilberforce "mwilberforce" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
"The human race is locked in deadly combat with the 'Android Hordes' in the Orion System. Light years from the front line, the Doctor and Charley arrive to sample the dubious delights of a galactic backwater, little suspecting that the consequences of the Orion War might reach them there. But High Command's lust for victory knows no bounds.
"Trapped aboard a mysterious, derelict star destroyer, the Doctor and Charley find themselves facing summary execution. But this is only the beginning of their troubles. The real danger has yet to awaken.
"Until, somewhere in the dark recesses of the Garazone System, the Cybermen receive the signal for reactivation..."

There is no doubt in my mind that Nicholas Briggs' Sword of Orion is a much better outing for Paul McGann's Doctor than the disappointing Storm Warning, which suffered from a terribly saggy third episode. Sword of Orion, by contrast, starts slowly but builds up into a satisfyingly animated finale without losing any momentum along the way. There's also just the right level of pathos in the brief closing scene.
Populated by a larger ensemble cast than many Big Finish stories, it's sometimes difficult to work out who is who among the crew of the salvage vessel on which the story is partly set. But that doesn't really matter, as the really important characters (the Doctor, Charley and Michelle Livingstone's cool-edged performance as Captain Deeva Jansen) stand out and out are recogniseable. Also putting in a good showing is Bruce Montague as the gruff and mutinous Grash, but the rest of the supporting characters are more forgettable.
The mysterious star destroyer is a creepy setting even though we can't see it. The atmosphere is conjured up well by the score and the use of subtle echo effect on the characters' voices. The script handles events pretty well too, making it clear what is happening without too often resorting to blatant exposition.
When the Cybermen finally put in an appearance, the voices are immediately recogniseable as the Cybermen we saw in the 1980s. It's a bit odd, perhaps, as the story takes place in a similar time frame to The Tomb of the Cybermen in which the voices were very different, but who's splitting hairs?
Overall a decent adventure, although it doesn't exactly follow up the ongoing storyline hinted at by the events of Storm Warning.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was wondering..., 31 Aug 2004
By 
Andrew Kyle "Fangg" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I was wondering when Paul McGann's newly returned Doctor would meet with a monster from the series' past. Wondering and hoping it wouldn't be the Daleks, as they're the obvious choice. I was surprised to find it was his second story when the Cybermen (good choice) appear! The Sword of Orion plays very much like a standard Dr Who episode (not a bad thing, i assure you). All the ingredients are in place for a rollicking adventure with the emotionless cybermen at the core: opening, pre-credits scene, Doc and Charley accused of a murder they could not possibly have committed (the body has been crushed by something with massive strength), a splash of secondary characters and one with a mysterious past. In fact, when i think of it: Revenge of the Cybermen with a new setting and characters! Not a problem in my book! The Cybermen are visually Invasion-like (only from the dark cover of the CD, however - they sound post-Silver Nemesis.) Deeva, captain of the ship the Doctor finds himself on, is played by Michelle Livingstone, yet throughout the drama i pictured Lynda Bellingham (voices are quite similar). The character is excellent three-dimensional, but the supporting crew are a little predictable.
I noticed two Star Wars references - Charley speaking to an alien in the Garzone Bazaar reminds me of Tatooine and the derelict craft in the junkyard is called a Star Destroyer (makes it easy to imagine what it looks like, though). McGann is as usual excellent and India Fisher is settling in very nicely as the inquisitive sidekick. The sound effects (especially the guns) are just great, and the background music is suitably claustrophic and robotic. Best of all, however, the story doesn't try and straighten out anything mentioned in the series, its a standalone Cybermen episode that links with no other. Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Eighth Doctor's First Cybermen Adventure., 20 Oct 2013
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Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Positive.
Paul McGann whom in only his second audio adventure is shaping up to become a exellent Doctor, Why haven't RTD or Steven Moffat brought him into NuWho is a mystery.
Cybermens first encounter & their Big Finish debut.
Great story by Writer, Director, Voice of the Cybermen Nicholas Briggs.

Negative.
The ending is very rushed & sudden jarring the tension of the storys conclusion dramatically.

Review.
Nicholas Briggs is a genius, Actor, Executive Producer of Big Finish, Director & voice to many Doctor Who monsters on Tv & Audio.

Audio Info.
This is a 4 part adventure on 2 CDS Running Time 120 minutes.

The Doctor & Charley arrive in the Tardis on Garazone Central as he wants to take Charley to see the Bazaar, But events take a strange turn when the Doctor becomes suspicious of a shopkeer named Ike.

Unknown to the Doctor the Tardis has been transported to a starship called Vanguard.

Deeva Jansen the starships captain is taking the Vanguard on a heading into deep space to dock with a seemingly abandoned star destroyer vessel.

The Doctor & Charley are captured & taken for questioning to Captain Jansen, During this time the Vanguard controls start to malfunction resulting in a tense space walk over to the seemingly abandoned destroyer.

But the destroyer vessel isn't empty as was first thought, Awaking from there hibernation one of The Doctor's old enemy's is about to make there apperance known.

The Cybermen have returned from there hibernation & seek the crew of Vanguard for Cyber Conversion.

The Doctor discovers Captain Jansen is a agent for Earth Security sent on a assignment to determine the technological worth of the Cyber Technology.

But there another conundrum for The Doctor, The Orion War that's been fought by humans & artificial Intelligence Androids over what they class as having the same human rights as human beings.

The Doctor notices that a Ion storm approaches the vessel & very soon will infect the Cyber Technology & force his Silver Nemesis to return to there hibernation.

What is the mystery of Captain Jansen & is she all she appears to be & is there a ulterior motive in her actions for boarding the vessel?

The Cybermen aren't the only threat as the the Ion storm is nearer approaching in on them & will collide with the vessel destroying them if they dont escape its trajectory in time.

This is The Cybermens debut at Big Finish & is a cracking tense claustrophobic tale of the cold emptiness of space were something is awaking after many years sleeping.

Nicholas Briggs writes great pulp sci-fi adventures & knows the beats of a good drama.

What slightly lets this story down for me is the seemingly sudden ending to the story, It's like driving 100mph then stopping dead, It feels jarring on such a well paced story & would've benefited from a extra 5 minutes to flow the narrative of the climax.

Apart from that everythings great from Paul McGanns exellent characteristics as the Doctor to India Fishers fresh faced excited new companion Charley Pollard.

Nicholas Briggs brings the menace back to the Cybermen making them really creepy & threatening in this nailbiting audio adventure.

One of the better Cybermen storys available & highly recommended release for Doctor Who & Cybermen fan's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cybermen in the constellation of Orion!, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
`Sword of Orion' is the second Doctor Who audio story with Paul McGann produced by Big Finish. It is also the first time Big Finish did a Cybermen story after doing the Daleks previously in three stories before this.

This is a four-part story and continues the new series of audio adventures of the Eighth Doctor and his new companion Charley Pollard (played by India Fisher) who were just getting started.

Following on directly from the first audio story `Storm Warning', the Doctor and Charley have returned to the TARDIS with Ramsey the vortisaur who they've taken with him for the ride. But Ramsey is sick and the Doctor is worried about sending the vortisaur back into the time vortex where he belongs knowing it would probably kill him. The Doctor and Charley decide to go and find someone who knows about vortisaurs which leads them into a space market in the Garazone System. It isn't before long that they're caught in a web of intrigue and are walking the girders of a derelict star destroyer set in space. Within that star destroyer, Cybermen start to wake.

I must admit I found this story a little hard-going. I had to listen to this one a number of times over and over again before I could follow what's going on. The story isn't bad by no means. It's just it isn't great, and it didn't really excite me. At times it tended to be slow paced with moments occurring that left me drifting from the story a little bit. Some of the space scenes were quite hard-going and I wanted there to be more pace in the action. The cold claustrophobic atmosphere added great effect which I'm sure was the intention, but it's not the setting I find ideal in this story with Cybermen in it.

Nicholas Briggs provides directing duties to this story as well as writing it since he adapted it from an Audio Visuals play he did a while before Big Finish came along. It's meant to be an 80s Cybermen story with a movie feel and whilst it did have spectacular sound effects and chilling music in the background, it didn't help to speed up the story as I wanted it to. No disrespect to Nick Briggs as I've enjoyed many of his audio stories he's written and directed for like `The Mutant Phase', `Creatures of Beauty' and the recent `Dark Eyes' series, but the atmosphere and tone of this tale was rather hard-going for me.

The Cybermen (voiced by Nick Briggs as well) in this story were a little disappointing. Although they look like `Invasion' Cybermen on the cover, in actual fact they are `80s' Cybermen from 'Earthshock' and 'Silver Nemesis'. They sound like 80s Cybermen. They sound like they walk and move like 80s Cybermen. I just imagine them walking on the girders of the star destroyer in corridors or in their control room. At least none of them said `Excellent!' all the time, which was a blessing for me. I like how Nick Briggs does a really good interpretation of David Banks, but it's not the sort of Cyber voices I want to hear on audio. My preference is more new series Cybermen or Cybermen from the 60s like 'The Moonbase' and 'The Invasion'. I know they got better later on with Cybermen stories in Big Finish, but for this first story it wasn't what I hoped for.

I enjoyed listening to Paul McGann's Doctor in this one. This was more or less the second audio adventure I heard him in as the Doctor (the first one being `Storm Warning'). He's really getting into the part of the Doctor and I think he enjoys playing on audio that provides him enough space to go anywhere he wants with his Doctor. He doesn't have the restrictions of some of the Time Lord inaccuracies that were planted on him from the 'TV Movie' such as the half-human, half-Time Lord element. That's all forgotten. He's able to portray a character of his own and Big Finish encourage him to express his enthusiasm and energy throughout, especially in this play. He enjoys his relationship with his new companion Charley and has a good go in facing the Cybermen.

Charley played by India Fisher was nice to hear too. This is her first trip in the TARDIS with the Doctor and she gets to face Cybermen. Charley and the Doctor have struck up a good bond with each other and seem to enjoy each other's company experiencing the adventure when either surf-boarding to locate the TARDIS in the space market. I liked it when she was being over-attended to by some alien creature, not knowing what it is whether it's a `she', `he' or `it'. The Doctor and Charley are soon accused of murder and he gets forced by some of the crew of the spaceship Vanguard to down to engineering where the Cybermat is, which must have been cruel for her. I liked Charley's scenes with the Doctor when they're in the TARDIS especially towards the end when they have moments of reflection and discuss what would have been as a consequence from the Cybermen and some of the Vanguard crew's actions.

The star destroyer gets visited and investigated by a spaceship called the Vanguard which is commanded by a lady captain named Deeva Jansen (played by Michelle Livingstone). She has a bit of mystery to her. Even the crew don't understand her on who she is and why she's with them commanding this spaceship. It turns out she was newly appointed and unexpected for this commission, much to the crew's displeasure such as Grash. She gets to join the Doctor when they discover Cybermen aboard the star liner. She has her own agenda, and you're never quite sure whether she's good or bad. The revelation of her identity is so unexpected and sudden, and it connects to a special secret military project that's called - `Sword of Orion'. What does this mean then? How is this significant?

The play's big guest star is Bruce Montague playing Grash, one of the officers aboard the Vanguard. Bruce has done another one of these audios before - a Sylvester McCoy story playing Elgin, the chief librarian in `The Genocide Machine' with the Daleks. He's well known for being in the TV sitcom called `Butterflies'. The character he plays as Grash is a rather hostile character. He suspects the Doctor and Charley and accuses them immediately when he finds blood on their hands after one of the crewmembers Kelsey has been killed (by Cybermen). The Doctor and Charley try to prove their innocence but Grash doesn't listen. He rages against their new captain Deeva Jansen and is the one responsible for starting a mutiny aboard the Vanguard, forcing the Doctor and Deeva to go on the star destroyer and wanting Charley to get killed by the Cybermat in engineering. He gets it in the end when Cybermen gun him down and they turn him into one of them.

The rest of the Vanguard crew include Hylton Collins playing Vol, Ian Marr playing Ike, Helen Goldwyn playing Chev and Toby Longworth playing Kelsey who gets killed in the first episode of the story. There's also some nice guest appearances from Mark Gatiss and Barnaby Edwards who play small parts in this story and yet have a lot to do with the new series - Mark being a writer/actor for the new series and Barnaby (being a Dalek operator as well as a brilliant Big Finish director). They play Thinnes and Digly, two space pirates who board the star destroyer and immediately get killed in the first episode.

There are some trailers to listen out for at the end of Disc 2 of this story. There's a trailer for the next Doctor and Charley adventure - 'The Stones of Venice' and a trailer for their first outing together 'Storm Warning'.

So `Sword of Orion' is not great but it's not terrible. It's is an average tale for me with Paul McGann's Doctor facing the Cybermen. Some will like this, some won't. I'm not saying I don't like it, but I wouldn't consider it my favourites. The music is chilling to listen to and the atmosphere's quite tense. The Doctor and Charley are nice to listen to as well and I enjoyed their relationship together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sword of Orion - Resistance is useless! You WILL enjoy this ripping yarn, 15 Mar 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is the seventeenth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight and India Fisher as Charlie Pollard. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some notes from the author.

By this time, Big Finish had established a good track record, with interesting adventures for old doctors, great reintroductions to old foes and in the previous story (Storm Warning) a cracking introduction to Paul McGann's eighth Doctor, which made me mourn the televised adventures with him that we never had. And here they continue the trend, not only providing another strong script for Eight, but building up his new companion Charlotte Pollard and reintroducing the Cybermen in an absolutely thrilling and suspenseful fashion.

The Doctor and Charlie are exploring the Garezone system in search of a cure for Ramsey. By a bizarre chain of events they find themselves on the space equivalent of a refuse truck out to salvage a very mysterious large wrecked ship drifting in space. There is, needless to say, a nasty surprise waiting on the ship. An entertaining yarn ensues as the Doctor once again tries to save humanity from not only the Cybermen, but from themselves. There is an interesting subplot revolving essentially around the futuristic version of racism and humanity's treatment of what it perceives as inferior beings. It throws up some interesting moral points.

A rip roaring adventure, with lots of twists, plenty going on and lots of verve. McGann builds on his personification of a Doctor with youthful vigour and enthusiasm, tempered with centuries of learning and experience. India Fisher is on form as the Edwardian lady suddenly experiencing futuristic technology. The supporting cast are pretty good, with some great characterisations, especially the slightly over the top Grash. And the Cybermen sound truly menacing, with a cold ruthless logic (seriously in need of a sense of humour...) and no low budget TV work to limit the imagination's picturing of them.

It's a classic little 4 part adventure, and one that I listen to again round about. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cybermen and Cybermats - what more could you ask for?, 28 Aug 2011
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Okay, I know I'm a bit slow getting to this Doctor Who audio story - and I can't believe I missed a story that had the Cybermen in it for so long! Definitely my favourite Doctor Who villains, and the audio cd is a great forum for them. The somehow familiar music, the voice in the distance in the `deserted' derelict spaceship ... just makes your toes curl when you know what's around the corner and the poor sod who's wandering around the spaceship thinking they're alone doesn't!

How much did I enjoy listening to this story? Well, for the first time ever for me, when it got to the end of the story (2 cds, four parts) I put the first cd back into the cd player and played the whole thing through again! So, yes, I totally enjoyed it!

Paul McGann is in great form in this early story of his Eighth Doctor - it's interesting, having listened to many of his later stories and the evolution of the character of Charley, to go back now to a very early story in their travels and listen to them before all the history that we know they will gather on the way.

The Cybermen's voices are, as always, totally awesome - they just send chills down your spine with those metallic, unemotional tones. The other characters on the scrap ship are all excellent - well scripted with very distinct personalities and character traits - and extremely well played by the actors. The story itself is very well put together - it has a good pace, brilliant sound effects, and is well structured in terms of action, plot, characterisations and twists in the storyline.

This story definitely has a very `space epic' feel to it - reminiscent of the Cybermen series of stories which feature the Cyber wars with Earth - very evocative atmospheric settings, great characters, wonderful scripting and overall one of those stories you are left thinking about for a long time after the final music has faded on the cd player. Totally recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthshock redone?, 14 Mar 2006
This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I am a huge Doctor Who fan and have only over the past few months been into the Big Finish collection. I must say how excellent it is and how good the writers are. Well done guys! The Sword of Orion is an eighth Doctor adventure with a champanion called Charley Pollard (who is a girl!) This adventure starts off a little slow, but by the end of part one you're hooked. This adventure reminds me of the 1983 Doctor Who serial called Earthshock. Earthshock is another excellent Doctor Who adventure staring Peter Davison. Like Earthshock, this adventure envolves the Cybermen and like Earthshock, this serial is set mostly in space on a space ship and like Earthshock, nearly every character dies in this serial. What makes this serial even better than Earthshock is that of the scary atmosphere (which I think is down to the fact that this is an audio serial.) I garantee that anyone who likes Earthshock will like this serial and vise-versa. Though the 'Orion War' would have been a beter title in my opinion. Other Big Finish audios that I would recomend are: Seasons of Fear, The Harvest and my all-time favourite: Master!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 26 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Bought as a Christmas present was here in plenty time and was just what I was looking for, price and value
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sword of Damocles, 18 April 2009
This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
The human race is locked in deadly combat with the 'Android Hordes' in the Orion System. Light years from the front line, the Doctor and Charley arrive to sample the dubious delights of a galactic backwater, little suspecting that the consequences of the Orion War might reach them there. But High Command's lust for victory knows no bounds.

Trapped aboard a mysterious derelict star destroyer, the Doctor and Charley find themselves facing summary execution. But this is only the beginning of their troubles. The real danger has yet to awaken.

Until, somewhere in the dark recesses of the Garazone System, the Cybermen receive the signal for reactivation...

A convoluted Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard story featuring Doctor Who's second best alien threat - The Cybermen.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sword of fun, 19 Aug 2004
This review is from: Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I read a negative review for this play.It wasn't slating it completly but the reviewer had small points which they did not like about it, which is fine. I,however,thought that it was one of the more fun Big Finish plays that has been released.Mcgann is great as the Doctor and just shows what we missed on TV.India Fisher giving one of the most believable companion performences ever in Doctor Who. There is a definate "movie" sense to the piece and it feels as if you could take out the episode breakers and just listen to the thing as one long run. Nick Briggs has a marvellous sense of what makes Who work and if I turn to directing audio plays, I hope that I can bring the level-headed direction to a piece as much as he can.
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Sword of Orion (Doctor Who)
Sword of Orion (Doctor Who) by Nicholas Briggs (Audio CD - 1 Feb 2001)
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