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on 7 September 2015
‘Invaders from Mars’ was written and directed by Mark Gatiss was recorded on 16 and 17 January 2001. The headline on the Invaders from Mars cover is from a real newspaper reporting the War of the Worlds panic. The imitation poster on the CD booklet was drawn by Mark Gatiss. Actors David Benson (who plays both ‘Orson Welles’ and ‘Professor Stepashin’) and Ian Hallard (who plays ‘Mouse’ and ‘Winkler’) both appeared in the Doctor Who episode Robot of Sherwood, which was also written by Mark Gatiss. The story formed part of an Eighth Doctor series on BBC Radio 7 in 2005, alongside the stories 'Shada', 'Storm Warning', 'The Stones of Venice', ‘Sword of Orion’ and 'The Chimes of Midnight' and has been repeated on multiple occasions since. This led to the commissioning of the original series The Eighth Doctor Adventures, debuting on the digital station in December 2006. Due to a limited timeslot, scenes were edited out of these versions; excluding 'Shada' and 'The Chimes of Midnight', these were collated into 'The Eighth Doctor Collection' in 2008 with an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary and booklet. 'Minuet in Hell' was excluded from broadcast due to its adult themes. The Invaders from Mars was the original title for the 1970 Third Doctor story, The Ambassadors of Death.

Some mistakes:

1. There were 48 States in the United States in 1938, not 49 as Chaney claims.

2. The CIA was not established until 1947, almost nine years after the events portrayed here.

3. Welles fails to recognise a Shakespearean quotation.

4. Don Chaney claims to own a 1929 Lamborghini previously owned by Al Capone, but Lamborghinis did not exist until 1963.

The first two "mistakes" in this list were deliberate, intended to be examples of anti-time contamination. The third was also deliberate, but was explained in The Time of the Daleks. The last was not deliberate but was later retconned to be another example of anti-time contamination.

Whilst trying to take Charley to Singapore the TARDIS lands in Manhattan Halloween 1938 just days before the infamous radio adaptation of H.G. Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’. The Doctor poses as a dead Private Detective and becomes caught up in a search for a missing Russian scientist, and a genuine alien invasion.

There isn’t a lot of background music and what there is imitates the period. It’s quite refreshing not to have constant music of some sort in the background. They use actors affecting caricature period Manhattan accents, and the sound effects are cartooney. The alien voices are strangely modulated.

The acting is all very good and there is a bit of stunt casting with Simon Pegg playing ‘Don Chaney’, and Jessica Stevenson playing every female part except Charley. Don Chaney's name is a reference to horror actor Lon Chaney, his nickname is "Phantom" which is a reference to one of Lon Chaney's most famous film roles, The Phantom of the Opera; Bix Biro's name is a reference to the Bic and Biro. Cosmo Devine may be reference to determining what is in space. Stevenson also played Joan Redfern in two episodes of the 2007 series of Doctor Who (entitled "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood") as well as Verity Newman in "The End of Time", while Pegg appeared in "The Long Game" as well as being the narrator in the first series of Doctor Who Confidential. This is the first audio story to credit India Fisher as Charley on the front cover. It’s a curious juxtaposition that both the main parts, Paul and India, play their characters so straight in such a cartoony world. It reminds me of ‘Roger Rabbit’.

The plot is pretty unexciting and straight forward. Being dialogue heavy I can’t say much about the plot, it’s quite simplistic. It’s a historical pastiche comedy with some genuinely amusing moments but generally the humour was a bit weak.
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VINE VOICEon 19 August 2010
The central idea of a real alien invasion during Welles famous broadcast is a good one but the overall story didn't grip me. The doctor has a brief flirtation with being a private detective, there are spies, CIA, Nazis but the overall piece is confused.

The Orson Welles realisation is good, in particular his disdain for the HG Wells material. Where is fails is exemplified by the ending - the Doctor has the idea of using the Welles broadcast to scare off the real aliens, then gives the game away but it doesn't matter as an independent character destroys the alien ship in the end.

There are much better Eighth Doctor / Charley Pollard adventures such as Stones of Venice
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on 24 June 2016
I'm a huge fan of writer mark gatiss and of Paul mcgann's eighth doctor but this one really wasn't my cup of tea. I'm probably in the minority but when doctor who does recent history with silly celebrities it's an absolute turn off for me. Here orson welles gets a needless starring role in a war of the words homage (term used very loosely). Very disappointing but I know this one has it's fans and I shall continue to support mcgann and gatiss.
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on 16 April 2006
The more I listen to this audio, the better it gets. From the, frankly, hilarious cod-American accents of the UK's finest (Spaced's Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson) to the simple audacity of the plot, this is top notch entertainment.

It does need several hearings, like a good court case, to really appreciate the fun of the whole enterprise and the sheer love of the form that Gatiss possesses.

I think this is his best script for Doctor Who in any format. The TV episode seemed somehow too hidebound (and the Doctor in that one was so GULLIBLE...) and constricted. "Invaders From Mars" would make a great David Tennant story though!

Four stars because it does take a certain amount of commitment to really get the idea.
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on 2 November 2004
When i read the title of this drama, i thought "The chances of anything good in the drama is a million to one, I said." After all, the Ice Warriors are from Mars and there is no mention of them in the blurb...i was worried. Incorrectly, however. I just finished reading the HG Wells classic War of the Worlds and the title made sense. Set in 1938 when Orson Welles released a news broadcast of the War of the Worlds (and panicked half the USA - they thought the aliens were taking over England), the Doc arrives and assumes the identity of gumshoe Halliday after finding his body in an alley. He offers to help miss Glory Bee to find her uncle. Boring, so far. But then add into the mix that Halliday was fried by alien radiation technology. Heh. I LOVE DOCTOR WHO. It just so happens that while Welles made his broadcast we were being invaded...
Mark Gatiss' involvement is immistakable. The script is peppered with comedic moments and the whole approach (turning the story into a cheesy homage to 1940s alien invasion movies) reeks of comedy genius. I am not complaining - McGann is excellent and India Fisher fantastic. Simon Pegg (Spaced, Shawn of the Dead)is brilliant as head henchman of 'the phantom'. The aliens that are invading are ingeniusly new and interesting. The sound effects are absolutely spot on. This is top class entertainment.
This is most definitely a one off. This sort of story wouldn't sit well except as a once in a while exploration of innovation. Not recommended as a starting point for non-fans but for fans with a sense of humour...highly recommended. The end of part two is a great laugh...!
Oh and as for the Ice Warriors. They do not feature in this story but when they are mentioned (very, very subtly - a fan only throwaway remark) its quite scary, actually.
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This is the twenty eighth 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 Charlotte 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 pictures of the cast and production notes.

This release marks the start of the second miniseries of Eighth Doc stories, and there is a loose story arc running through the series revolving around Charlotte Pollard's rescue from the R101 by the Doc back in their first adventure. The arc has a greater presence on some stories than others, and here it is almost unmentioned.

It's a story that finds Big Finish at their best. The writer, Mark Gatiss, has had a brilliant idea, and has worked it up into a gem of a script. The Doctor and Charlie land in 1930s New York, on the day that Orson Welles makes his infamous War Of The Worlds broadcast. But there's a twist - while Welles is panicking America with his broadcast of alien invasion, there is a real invasion taking place... Eight and Charlie start off having a little fun playing at gumshoe detectives, but soon get involved in a plot that includes mobsters, Nazis, Russians, aliens and a real threat to the world.

The script is superb, with a nice resolution and an interesting concept for the aliens. I loved it. McGann gets right into the part, and plays the Doc with his usual sense of fun, vigour and heroism. Charlotte proves to be a companion in the classic mould, able to give as good as she gets and enjoying the ride. It's a classic BF piece, and worth 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2006
This was truly TERRIBLE! At the heart of the story was a really neat idea – aliens invading New York on the same night in 1938 as the historic OrsonWelles “War of the Worlds” broadcast. And of course Doctor Who arrives to save the day. There were some lovely moments of humour, for instance the two aliens with their joint (not competing) aims of Destruction and Conservation – “somewhere between Destruction and Conservation lies Wisdom”.
However, overall, the sound track was confusing and hard to follow, the two competing groups of gangsters were cardboard cut-outs with caricature gangster accents and impossible to tell apart, and the story line was incredibly weak.
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on 18 April 2009
One of modern Doctor Who's finest writers also directs this audio drama for Big Finish featuring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. This one is based on a War of the Worlds idea of aliens crash-landing in Brooklyn and attempting to conquer the Earth. A decent if unspectacular entry in the Big Finish range.
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