on 11 April 2006
"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.
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!
on 31 August 2004
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!
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.
on 14 March 2006
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!
on 18 April 2009
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.
on 26 December 2013
Bought as a Christmas present was here in plenty time and was just what I was looking for, price and value
on 19 August 2004
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.
on 26 April 2016