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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly regarded and deservedly so!, 16 Sept. 2006
By 
M. Wilberforce "mwilberforce" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
"On a dark frozen planet where no planet should be, in a doomed city with a sky of stone, the last denizens of Earth's long-lost twin will pay any price to survive, even if the laser scalpels cost them their love and hate and humanity.

"And in the mat-infested streets, round about tea-time, the Doctor and Nyssa unearth a black market in second-hand body parts and run the gauntlet of the augmented police and their augmented horses.

"And just between the tramstop and the picturehouse, their worst suspicions are confirmed: the Cybermen have only just begun, and the Doctor will be, just as he always has been, their saviour..."

"Spare Parts", by Marc Platt, is possibly Big Finish Productions' most highly regarded Doctor Who play, and is also supposed to be the inspiration by the new series' "Rise of the Cybermen". As such I had certain level of anticipation leading up to it (always a risk). As I listened to the first episode, I thought I was going to be disappointed: the sound design seemed lesser than usual, and the events altogether domestic in scale.

However, "Spare Parts" really does turn out to be something special. "Spare Parts" is for the Cybermen what "Genesis of the Daleks" is for the infamous pepper-pots: an origin story, in which the chain of events leading up to the dehumanisation of an entire race is understandable and unavoidable. The twist is that the Doctor, who, once he realises that he and Nyssa have landed on Mondas, simply wants to leave, is eventually instrumental in the survival and development of the Cyber race.

Spare Parts is also a direct prequel / sequel to "The Tenth Planet", and I consider myself very lucky to have listened to "The Tenth Planet" for the first time recently, as I believe it enhanced my enjoyment of "Spare Parts" no end. True to form, Big Finish Productions have recreated the voices of the original "Tenth Planet" Cyberman to perfection, and whatever one's views on those early Cyber voices, it gives "Spare Parts" a tremendous feeling of authenticity and canonicity.

"Spare Parts" boasts a high quality script from "Ghost Light" and "Loups-Garoux" writer Marc Platt, with the Hartley family, with whom Nyssa spends a large part of the story, black market organ trader Thomas Dodd (Derren Nesbitt) and scrientist Doctorman Allan (Sally Knyvette) all being well-formed characters. As stated, the Cyber voices are perfect, while the voices of the Committee that runs the underground city recall the more electronic voices from the Cybermen stories of the Patrick Troughton era. The score is understated and effective and the sound design, which as it turns out offers a quite intentional silence in the first episode, is up to Big Finish's usual high standard.

"Spare Parts" is a fascinating origin story for the Cybermen with an explosive ending, and comes highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spare Parts for Dark Hearts, 1 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I've listened to a couple of these audio plays now, and I have to say, out of the ones I have heard so far (Red Dawn, Return of the Daleks and Sirens of Time)this was my favourite and I will definately be listening to it again.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Lungbarrow', and snapped this up when I saw it was by Marc Platt, not least because he writes excellent literature. I wasn't at all disappointed by the scripting of this story, it is crafted and executed really well by both writer and cast alike.

The story centres around the origin of the Cybermen, in the doctors Fifth Incarnation. Whilst it is true Peter Davison's voice sounds older now, i felt he gave a good performance, I even laughed a couple of times. Really the best thing about this play is the convincing performance of the cast.

The downsides: the cyberman voices really sounded a bit like K-9, and weren't especially chilling, I think. Also there is a really annoying Liverpudlian innit. He's annoying because all he does is Moan, Moan, Moan the whole way thru, although I'm sure that's meant to be like that, and the audience isn't supposed to like him anyway, I feel the role could have been written a bit better.

However, these small factors don't detract from a thoroughly enjoyable play. I think this is worth a 'once over', if nothing else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Origins of the Cybermen, 2 April 2009
This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This Cybermen origin story from Big Finish is one of the best original audio dramas of the 117 or so released in the monthly series. In terms of character and mood it serves The Cybermen far better than TV ever could; the title alone immediately giving off vibes of physical and emotional mutilation, and the remorseless, emotionless purpose for which the silver giants from Mondas have become associated.
Peter Davison is on fine form; the youthful and naive appearance of his incarnation of the nomadic Time Lord masking a steely mindset and fierce intelligence, whilst Marc Platt's script crackles and fizzes with energy and panache.

This is a great entry in the monthly Doctor Who audio series, and I heartily recommend it for first-time Big Finish listeners as well as seasoned fans. The price on here is better than if you bought it direct from Big Finish, but their website offers 6 and 12 monthly subscriptions, so if you plan on listening to others in the range it's worth checking their website out before committing to buying this here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest Dr Who audios, 31 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
I have been listening to the Big Finish Doctor Who dramas on and off since 2000 and I consider most of the stories to be good and entertaining, although some of them are a little disposable and unworthy of replaying or even keeping. A select few of them really stand out though and Spare Parts demands repeated listenings because it is such an excellent, dark and dramatic story; finely written, well acted and meticulously recorded/produced in details that are completely faithful to the early Cyberman stories as well as providing an excellent genesis story for the Cybermen and working as a chilling and atmospheric stand-alone drama for the more casual fan.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the production because I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't heard it yet, but if you aren't a regular subscriber to the Big Finish Dr Who series and can't afford to buy all the CDs then I can highly recommend this story as one of the greatest. Easily in the top 5, slugging it out with "Jubilee" for the top spot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis Of The Cybermen., 20 Oct. 2013
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Positive.
Marc Platts exellent written script that is in part a Greek Tragedy.
Peter Davison brings real emotional gravitas to The Doctor in this adventure.
The Cybermen origins are revealed in this adventure.

Negative.
None whatsoever.

Trivia.
Part of this story was used in Series 2 of NuWho the concluding episode of a 2 part Cybermen story The Age Of Steel, Starring David Tennant as The Tenth Doctor.
Sally Knyvette appeared as Jenna in Series 1 & 2 of Blakes 7 & has recently returned to the role in Audio books for Big Finish.

Audio Info, 2 CD 4 part Running time 100 minutes, Trailers.

Review.
Marc Platt originally wasn't interested in writing this script but was persuaded by Big Finish & agreed.

So thank god he accepted because this is without doubt one of Big Finishes best written adventures ever.

It may not be the most epic or have the huge invasions & battles but what it does have in spades is excellently written character drama about earths twin planet Mondas.

The Doctor & Nyssa are on a barren planet all it's inhabitants seeming to live underground, The Doctor is suspicious of were he & Nyssa have landed in the Tardis.

The Doctor's suspicions are confirmed as they have arrived on Mondas, Earth's twin planet in a time of peril as Mondas inhabitants have started to convert body parts to seek perfection as Mondas is slowly dying as the planet start to freeze over.

The Doctor is reluctant to help & cannot interfere as it's a fixed point in time, But Nyssa is appalled at the Doctors calusness & reminds him of the recent events with the Cybermen & Adric.

Nyssa decides to stay behind to help the Hartley family avoid conversion whom the Doctor & Nyssa have seeked shelter with.

The Doctor is eventually captured by the Cybermen & is integrated by Doctorman Allen.

It's here were we see a steely edgier Fifth Doctor whom is appalled & disgusted at the ethics & morality of converting humans into emotionless beings, Peter Davison plays these scenes superbly in one of his best performances as The Doctor ever!!!

The other stand out drama beats are when the fully converted Cybermen attack the houses of the non converted to take them for conversion, This is terrifying as you now feel that the fully converted Cyberman have lost all humanity & are now emotionless mechanical beings.

The other drama beat is when Yvonne Hartley unknown shes been converted as a Cyberman as the conversion process seems to have failed & Yvonne returns home to be with her family her emotions to her discovery she has become a Cyberman becomes the Greek Tragedy part of the adventure were Yvonne overwhelming emotional state is overloading on her inner circuitry eventually the grieve is to much to process eventually killing her.

This is a Gut punch to the stomach Dramatically engaging the listerner setting the scene as emotional & terrifying at the same time.

Russell T Davis thought as much as he reworked this scene to be included in The Age Of Steel.

Of course you may think that by the end of this audio play that the Doctor may have changed or diverted history but the twist at the end of this story proves otherwise.

A truly outstanding adventure written by the exellent Marc Platt whom wrote the season 26 Ghostlight adventure & many Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish.

What also stands out for me in this adventure is Peter Davison as he brings such range of emotions to his Doctor.

The Doctor gets really emotional in this adventure, Marc Platts script brings out the Doctor's inner rage & his disgust at the awful convertion experiments that are being performed on the inhabitants of the planet Mondas.

Nicholas Briggs brings the distorted tones of the Cybermen from The Tenth Planet yet he makes them sound more disturbing yet tragic in this adventure.

This is a classic emotional character driven adventure, Superbly acted & paced.

This is a Gem of a story & a must have for Doctor Who fans.

Timelord Rating.
9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rise of the Cybermen...on Mondas!!, 15 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
Yes definitely! 'Spare Parts' is certainly a cracking good story! It's a story that's earned its place with the fans and certainly has earned its place as being the origins story of the Cybermen!

I listen to this story, as well as 'Circular Time' and 'The Stockbridge Trilogy' ('Castle of Fear', 'The Eternal Summer' and 'Plague of the Daleks') every Christmas now. I play it when I'm decorating the Christmas tree, as it happens in the story with Nyssa and the Hartley family when the Mondasians celebrate Christmas.

The story is by Marc Platt, who has contributed to the original TV series back in 1989. The story is about the Doctor and Nyssa arriving in an underground city on a familiar planet. The Doctor has an idea where they are and doesn't like the thought of it. It soon transpires they are on the planet Mondas where the Cybermen were created. Will the Doctor and Nyssa save the people of Mondas and prevent the Cybermen being created that could mean changing history?

I like the atmosphere of Mondas in this story as it's set in a city underground of the planet's surface. The planet Mondas is constantly frozen over by snow storms and blizzards as its being pulled out of its orbit heading for Earth. It's pretty grim conditions for the people of Mondas to live in, despite the Christmas time feel and atmosphere. When snow breaks through the surface and the underground city gets frozen over, the trouble starts.

I've had this story's CD cover signed by lovely Sarah Sutton (who plays Nyssa of Traken) at a convention in London 2011. She's absolutely tremendous in this. She hadn't listened to 'Spare Parts' for such a long time since recording it...until now that is. She mentioned on a CD interview for 'The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories' that she had listened to it recently. She said it's became one of her favourites and it's easy to understand why.

Nyssa excels in this story as she gets to do so much with her character. I'm really impressed with how Marc Platt handles her in this story, and Sarah's voice is heart-warming. She spends time with the Hartley family (who are reminiscent of what you might expect a soap opera family to be like from 'Coronation Street'). She gets to know them becoming friends with Yvonne Hartley and gradually gets on well with Frank. She soon discovers that the Hartley family are victims of the cyber-conversion process taking place on Mondas. Horrified by this, Nyssa decides to stay and help them to avoid cyber-conversion. I really like the scenes where Nyssa stands up to the Doctor, arguing her case to help the people of Mondas. He tells her that they can't change the history, and Nyssa is so determined that she reminds the Doctor the consequences of what happened to their lost friend Adric who was killed because of the Cybermen in 'Earthshock'. I really like when Big Finish deal with issues never dealt with on the TV series such as the loss of Adric.

The Doctor certainly is in all form in this story and Peter Davison delivers an excellent performance. He learns the horrible truth about where he and Nyssa are on Mondas and is so determined to leave, despite giving a warning to its people with the church bell. Persuaded by Nyssa's arguments, he decides to stay and do what he can to help the people of Mondas. It isn't before long that he's chosen as the new template for cyber-conversion, which quite surprisingly alters the whole perception of what the Cybermen are like. I'm really pleased with Peter's characterisation of the Doctor as he ranges from an array of emotions defying Doctorman Allan on her ethics and morals with regards to the conversion process and he's appalled by what she and her people are doing to keep Mondas and its people alive.

Doctorman Allan is played by Sally Knyvette, who is well known for her appearances as Jenna in `Blake's 7'. Sally delivers a strikingly brilliant and believable performance as Doctorman Allan, who is partly responsible for the creation of the Cyberman. She's no Cyber Davros in any way. She's a reckless alcoholic drinking bottles of wine that impairs her work. She's determined to perfect the cyber-conversion process in order for her people to survive and gets into arguments with the Cyber-Committee. She meets the Doctor and when discovering his Time Lord biology she uses him as the new template for the cyber-conversion process.

There's a character in this story called Thomas Dodd (played by Derren Nesbitt who's also appeared in the `Doctor Who' story `Marco Polo'). Thomas is a black market spiff on the planet Mondas, selling organic bodily parts compared to the mechanical replacements given to people by the Committee. He's a pretty dodgy and distrustful character when the Doctor meets him. Thomas joins the Doctor when they enter the main centre of operations at Cyber Control and is a perfect foil for the Doctor when they uncover interesting revelations about the cyber-conversion process.

The guest cast include the Hartley family performed by three wonderful actors. Mr Hartley or `Dad' is played by Paul Copley, who has also appeared in `Hornblower' with Ioan Gruffudd and recently was in `Torchwood: Children of Earth'. Yvonne Hartley is played by Kathryn Guck and Frank Hartley is played the appropriately named Jim Hartley.

The Cybermen in this story took me by surprise when I discovered what they were like and I don't know why I should have been really. Of course I'm talking about the look of the Mondasian Cybermen, as Big Finish decided to use the 'original' ones from their first appearance in Doctor Who with William Hartnell in his last story 'The Tenth Planet'. These Cybermen are what I call the 'confused Cybermen' since they have very strange and weird computerised voices which...err...sounded like this...that ahh...made them sound...err...a little confused by...err...what they were going to...err...say next (wish I had this in italics). However with the story, they managed to grow on me all the way through and make sense somehow.

Nick Briggs who did the Cybermen voices has done a remarkable job in capturing the original Tenth Planet Cybemren and making them sound really believable and authentic as they did on TV. They had these Cybermen described to the last detail, mentioning the 'cloth' faces and all that. They even have names as they did in the TV story. Cybermen don't usually have names but I remember the Cyber-Commander having a name called 'Zheng' which is a similar sort of name-style from the Cybermen in 'The Tenth Planet'.

The depiction of the 'Cyber-Committee' in this story with its descriptions and the voices were really chilling and disturbing. It made you wonder why and what made the people of Mondas decide to become cyber-converted with augmented technology to their own flesh with the planet constantly frozen over and the people dying. I'm not sure whether there was a mixture of voices speaking at the same time that made it all sound Borg-like or whether Nick Briggs is doing his best once again with depicting something similar to the Cyber-Planner from the 60s Cybermen stories.

They've got Cybermats in this story! That's wonderful! I was terrified when the Doctor screamed at Nyssa saying, "You've brought a Cybermat into my TARDIS!" I could easily imagine these small worm-like or mouse-like creatures in my head as the story progress as I remembered them from 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' and they're eating their way into the TARDIS console. I was relieved when the Doctor forgave Nyssa, since she wasn't to know it would cause harm to the TARDIS controls.

The horrific yet moving scenes in the story where Yvvone Hartley, the Hartley's daughter, returns home to find her family after she's been completely converted into a Cybermen was truly inspirational in depicting the horrors of Cyber-conversion. It's written beautifully well, as she doesn't abduct her dad, her brother Frank and Nyssa to be taken for conversion, but has just returned home so that she can be with her family again. Her fascination with her pet budgie, the Christmas tree, her reunion with her family and Nyssa, and her turmoil and grief when she cries through that cybernised voice is certainly heart-breaking. She dies suddenly after experiencing such emotion. It's so sad.

You wouldn't get something like that in the TV series. Oh! Wait a minute. They've already done it! It was when the Tenth Doctor and 'Mrs. Moore' disabled a Cyberman in 'The Age of Steel' and it reverted back to 'her' true self as Sally Phelan when she was 'feeling so cold'. That's heart-aching stuff. It was horrific for Pete and Rose Tyler to witness when they discovered Jackie had become a Cyberman. Many have said this story became the inspiration for the new series of `Doctor Who' when the Cybermen returned to the series in the story 'Rise of the Cybermen'/'The Age of Steel'. Indeed this story does feel as if it could be the inspiration for that particular story. Mickey Smith even mentions he's just a 'spare part'.

I like how this story doesn't focus with a similar story as 'Genesis of the Daleks', since that story was about a psychopathic wheel-bound maniac who wanted to rule the universe by turning his people into Daleks. This story focuses on the people who are being converted and the horrors of what happens when you suddenly lose your identity and have no emotion left in you.

The ending for the story was quite unexpected and I don't know why it should have been, even for me. As the Doctor and Nyssa leave Mondas thinking they've changed its future, Commander Zheng resurfaces after presumed dead to Doctorman Allan in her office as he utters the immortal line to her, "Doctorman Allan! We begin again!"

There's not much in terms of special features on this CD, except for trailers of upcoming releases. These include trailers for '...ish' with Colin Baker; 'The Rapture' with Sylvester McCoy; 'Sarah Jane Smith: Series One'; 'Dalek Empire' and 'Judge Dredd'.

All in all, 'Spare Parts' is a Big Finish audio that certainly deserves its praise! I'm very pleased with how they handled the origins story of the Cybermen as well as the characters depicted in the story. Nyssa's character is well developed in this story as well as her relationship to the Doctor in terms of a companion, and Peter and Sarah deliver amazing performances.

The next adventure with the Doctor and Nyssa is 'Creatures of Beauty'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spare Parts - The Doctor and Nyssa see the dangers of plastic surgery, 28 May 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is the thirty fourth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. 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 is a corker of a story. Five and Nyssa land on a planet much like Earth, but everything seems to be underground. The Doctor has some suspicions as to where they are, which are soon borne out. He and Nyssa are soon thrown into an adventure where they are presented with a variety of moral problems regarding the formation of one of the Doctor's oldest enemies - the Cybermen. It's a story right up there with Genesis of the Daleks as a thoughtful tale with some rip-roaring adventure along the way.

The production is excellent. Nicely tying in with established Cyber-mythology, and strongly reminiscent of the Cybermen encountered by the First Doc in Tenth Planet. The gradual transformation of the proto cybermen to the fully formed article as the story progresses is achieved with subtlety and attention to detail. The script is very intelligent and emotionally literate, giving us some quite touching scenes, and a few big shocks. The supporting cast, especially Derren Nesbitt, Paul Copely and Sally Knyvette are top rate, and give us characters that we can understand and connect with. Davison and Sutton are also on great form, showing us the compassion of the characters, the panic as the situation gets out of control, and managing to explore the nature of the relationship between the two in a touching and believable way.

For me this right up there with them as one of the best Who adventures - classic TV, Nu Who, Audio, book or other medium. It stands prodly alongside Daemons, Genesis Of the Daleks or Caves of Androzani. 5 stars, I wish I could give it more.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best, 2 Sept. 2006
By 
Mr. P. Johnson "pjohno" (leicester england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
In my opinion for what it is worth is that this is simply the BEST Big Finish adventure ever. It tells the story of the origin of the Cybermen and has echoes of the rise of Nazi Germany.

Peter Davison is at his breathless frantic best and you can feel the tension rising as the story progresses and the twist at the end is unexpected but just right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of the Cybermen, 2 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
"We will survive!"
A great story showing the birth of the cybermen, with Peter Davison doing great acting and chilling music.With a dictorial "goverment" and 50s style rationing, Mondas is represented excellently.
Buy this CD!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spare Parts - the Origin of the Cybermen, 22 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Spare Parts (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is a well-written and fairly concise story that is well worth discovering, and which offers one of the earliest glimpses in the history/origins of the Cybermen. Plus it's the Doctor's first visit to Mondas. Which has great charaterisation - the 5th Doctor & Nyssa are as you'd expect them to be, as are the supporting characters, and the parallel of rationing era post-war Britain of the early 1950's.
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