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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who, The Hornet's Nest Part 1, The Stuff of Nightmares - Tom Baker's finally back!
It was with some trepadition that I bought this. Tom Baker's return to the role with which he will be forever associated, the fourth Doctor, was always going to carry a lot of expectation with it, would it be the amazingly special event we were all hoping for?

Expectations have been raised even further by the superb range of audio adventures from Big Finish...
Published on 21 Sep 2009 by Victor

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing
As someone in their mid/late 30s Tom Baker is my Doctor Who, so given an opportunity to get hold of his return was something that I couldn't turn down. An advert is placed in the local rag that Mike Yates, a retired UNIT Captian, gets which seems to be either a joke or aimed directly at him. He follows the advert and discovers The Doctor living in a country house...
Published on 2 Dec 2009 by Richard Kelly


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, 2 Dec 2009
By 
Richard Kelly (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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As someone in their mid/late 30s Tom Baker is my Doctor Who, so given an opportunity to get hold of his return was something that I couldn't turn down. An advert is placed in the local rag that Mike Yates, a retired UNIT Captian, gets which seems to be either a joke or aimed directly at him. He follows the advert and discovers The Doctor living in a country house surrounded by stuffed animals. From here on we get a story about mind controlling hornets and stuffed animals coming back to life and causing chaos.

The cast is minimal to say the least Tom Baker is the Doctor and he is in fine form, it's a very easy listening piece of radio drama Richard Franklin is Mike Yates, an old aquaintance of the Doctor's and Daniel Hill is the nefarious Percy Noggins who has something to do with why the stuffed animals are being reanimated.

Whilst the story is okay, it's biggest problem is that it isn't really classic Doctor Who. We get a mention of the Sonic Screwdriver, but it fails to open a rusty padlock (what happened to the recent "it can open anything apart from a deadlocked seal?"), we hear a brief mention of the scarf that Tom Baker so famouly wore as the Doctor and there is no mention of the TARDIS at all. My kids listened to it and quiet enjoyed it, but it didn't ring of their modern Doctor Who bells (David Tennent is certainly their Doctor) and they didn't really see why it was called a Doctor Who story at all...my daughter suggested that it didn't really have anything to do with the Doctor, other than the main characters name!

It was a diverting 70 minutes of drama, but unfortunately it didn't draw me in enough to make me want to buy the second in the series. 5/10 rounded up to 3 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baker is Back!, 19 Nov 2009
By 
Paul B "-pb-" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This new BBC Audio release has a lot to live up to, thanks mainly to Big Finish and their often excellent Doctor Who audio adventures.

But then the BBC have brought in Tom Baker, which will at least ensure sales are high no matter what the quality of the story. Thankfully, Stuff of Nightmares turns out to be a good story anyway and well worth listening to.

Stuff Of Nightmares is the first in a series of inter-linked adventures called 'Hornet's Nest'. Though each adventure can be easily listened to separately without hearing the last it will make more sense to listen to them all in order. In this respect it's a bit like the 8th Doctor stories which have been broadcast on BBC7 and released by BBC on CD.

Tom does a good job of bringing the 4th Doctor back but does seem to take time to get back into the role with a little awkward acting at the start and it's good to see Mike Yates as another returning character, voiced by Richard Franklin and certainly a better rounded character than he ever was in the 80's. Daniel Hill is also very good and really brings out the best of his shady character.

So with all the good voice acting and a great script by Paul Magrs it should get 5 stars, right? Well, it almost does but I think because this is a first effort everyone's still testing the water and it never seems to go all out in entertaining the listener. Perhaps the second story will hit the mark, but even so Stuff of Nightmares is still well worth a listen for any old (or new) Doctor Who fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely to hear Tom again, but not a full-cast drama, 30 Sep 2009
By 
Sussex by the Sea (England) - See all my reviews
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The return of Tom, for many the embodiment of everything that was best about the programme during it's 1970s heyday, is clearly the selling point for this release. Even the design of this CD cover consciously evokes memories of the merchandise of that time, and in many ways the CD follows suit, with no references to anything beyond Tom's time on the programme.

On the CD the Doctor is a mixture of the character as we remember him, and Tom Baker's well-cultivated persona. We therefore have a Doctor who likes a drink, and is no stranger to telling fairly long outrageous anecdotes of his adventures. But sometimes, especially when the character gets angry, the unmistakable voice of the fourth Doctor can be heard, and in those moments it is a joy to hear. The choice of Captain Yates as supporting companion is rather odd, as he never spent any on screen time with Tom's Doctor, but works well with the reminiscing themes of the story.

The audio is not a full cast drama, but rather a series of monologues with supporting voices and incidental music, halfway between an audio-book and a radio play. There are two-way conversations, but no scenes featuring more than two characters, with the audio regularly returning to narration rather than conversation. Action scenes are described, not acted out. I found it quite a refreshing change from full-cast dramatisations, but I think some may find it rather stilted. It feels like a vehicle for Tom Baker to do the type of acting that he prefers and excels at, which is possibly the reason he has returned to the role now.

The script is by Paul Magrs, the author of the excellent Whitby horror-pastiche novels such as "Never the Bride". If you like those novels, this audio will certainly appeal to you, and the lexical dexterity of the script should raise far more than the occasional smile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tom Baker's not quite triumphant return to the TARDIS, 24 Sep 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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- although the TARDIS is only mentioned in passing in this audio adventure that finally tempted the most popular Doctor back to the role. Much has been made of the fact that Baker turned down many offers to work on the Big Finish series of Who audio adventures before finally accepting this first of five linked but more-or-less self-contained stories, with the general feeling being he probably chose the wrong team. Certainly the production values don't seem any more lavish - aside from the odd dialogue scene with a couple of other actors, much of the story is narrated in the past tense by the Doctor to former disgraced UNIT officer Mike Yates (who lost his job after being involved in an attempted coup d'etat involving dinosaurs: obviously the Doctor isn't one to hold a grudge, though the stories were originally intended to feature Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart until he fell ill). As a result, the story is everything, and it's here that things don't exactly stumble but are less sure-footed than you'd like...

The premise itself isn't bad, with the Doctor becoming aware of the activities of Mr Noggins after a serious of mysterious deaths at the hands of exotic animals - dead and stuffed animals, as it happens ("They mostly come out at night. That's when stuffed animals go hunting. Their victims rarely hear them until it's too late."). But far from wanting revenge on the human race, it turns out that something much more alien may be controlling them. Unfortunately, once what that is has been unveiled, the story really doesn't have anywhere left to go and more or less winds down without ever reaching a climax, simply ending with a tease and setup for future stories, which makes this particularly unsatisfying as a standalone story. There are some enjoyable moments along the way - the Doctor's UNIT pass isn't accepted because he hasn't updated the photo since his last regeneration, while after fighting with a vicious badger and a weasel he realises he's under attack by the cast of Wind in the Willows - but it's over-reliant on Baker's florid narration. There's little help from the supporting cast. Richard Franklin's Mike Yates doesn't have much to do but play the audience while Daniel Hill's Percy Noggins tends to drift into pseudo-comic nasal paranoia to increasingly little effect. As a result, this is more for the fans than a general audience, but hopefully the future stories will improve on this rather cosy but undemanding and rather unexciting start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who, The Hornet's Nest Part 1, The Stuff of Nightmares - Tom Baker's finally back!, 21 Sep 2009
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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It was with some trepadition that I bought this. Tom Baker's return to the role with which he will be forever associated, the fourth Doctor, was always going to carry a lot of expectation with it, would it be the amazingly special event we were all hoping for?

Expectations have been raised even further by the superb range of audio adventures from Big Finish featuring the fifth through to eighth Doctors. This presentation is not like those, it is more like a talking book, with Tom Baker relating a story to his old friend Mike Yates, reprised by Richard Franklin. Personally I rather like the style, it is reminiscent of the style of Tom's last audio adventure, 1976's `Dr. Who and the Pescatons'. The story telling style gives us an interesting insight into the way the Doctor sees the world.

Tom Baker's voice instantly conjures up the image of long scarves, goofy teeth and long curly hair that loomed so large in my childhood. Despite the passing of the years, he still sounds just the same. The script is well done, and the author, Paul Magrs, has nicely managed to recapture the feel of the Pertwee/Baker glory years. The recent audios by Big Finish have had a much more `grown up' feel to them, reflecting the fact that most of their audience are now adults. This story reminds us that the series really was a children's show, but is still a nice intelligent story.

The story is not self contained, and is the first in a series of five releases. After listening to this I was left quite anxious for the next release. All in all I think it lived up to the expectation, though I see from other reviews posted here that not everyone shares my opinion. This, I think, will be a bit of a marmite issue. For me, a 5 star release.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and sometimes creepy adventure..., 5 Sep 2009
By 
Simon McMahon "Film Buff" (Chelmsford, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've just finished listening to The Stuff of Nightmares and was surprised to find myself having enjoyed it! I say I was surprised because of the amount of negativity this story has been receiving both here and elsewhere on the internet. I'd actually like to address this first.

There seems to be a huge backlash against this at the moment. Firstly, the BBC seem to have made a bit of a mistake in the publicity by indicating that this was going to be a full cast audio drama which people assumed would be in the same vein as Big Finish (who produce licensed Doctor Who audioplays with Doctors 5 through 8). It's not. It's closer to an Audiobook with several actors and some dramatised sections. Judging from other reviews you might think this format doesn't work. The thing is, it does. In fact I think it works very well, particularly for this story. Looking at the other reviews I believe a lot of the negative feeling is coming from people who wanted a full cast audio play and are lashing out because the BBC publicity machine made a mistake.

Secondly, this is a release that has had a ridiculous level of anticipation. Tom Baker is usually cited as the most popular Doctor. Big Finish were never able to persuade him to do something with them and most people assumed that Tom Baker would never reassume the role on audio. When news of this project came along people were understandably excited. And high expectations often lead to disappointment. Yes, he doesn't sound the same as he did in the 70's and 80's, and yes some of his dialogue is a little on the stiff side (particularly during his scenes with Mike), but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the story and surely he can be forgiven for taking a little while to warm up to a character he hasn't played in such a long time?

The basic framework of the story is that the Doctor has invited Mike Yates to his cottage. Here he tells Mike of his most recent adventure. As mentioned above, Baker does sometimes seem a little stiff, but when he really gets his teeth into the part he shines. Richard Franklin and the other cast members also do excellent jobs.

The story itself is intriguing. Some fantastic ideas are included and some very visual elements are handled extremely well in the audio medium (the Doctors description of a "paper brain" for example). There were some genuinely creepy moments in this too and I recommend listening to it with the lights out. The sound effects when used are also very good (the hornets in particular). However, I felt the sound design occasionally could have been better. A discussion between the Doctor and Mr Noggins in a natural history museum cafeteria didn't work for me as there was a distinct lack of background effects, a murmur of voices and the chinking of crockery would have been very effective.

I can't say I was one of the people desperate to see Tom Baker return to the role. He was my favourite Doctor for a very long time when I was younger and I still love him in the role today. But I was happy with Doctors 5 to 8 via Big Finish. Now he has returned to Doctor Who I'm relieved to find that the negative comments about this play are, in my opinion, largely unfounded. I had cancelled my pre-orders of the rest of the series due to comments being made, but today I'm going to pre-order them again.

As long as you're aware of the format of this adventure and realise that Tom Baker is older and is just getting back into his stride I suggest you give this a whirl. At this price how can you not?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You just cant beat a good Dr Who, 20 Feb 2010
By 
Hawk (UK) - See all my reviews
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Dr who's are like Bond actors. Everyone has their Dr Who and their Bond. And Tom Baker was mine. I grew up with him on a Saturday night. Wishing it was a Daleks episode every week and then glad it wasn't as was a touch scary.

You get right into the story for the first words. Tom Bakers voice is rich and comforting from start to finish. So if you are of that age and want to feel like a child again this is the CD for you. Stick it on the in the car and enjoy the drive home from work and get lost in the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom Baker is bang on form as he returns in this new chilling tale, 15 Nov 2009
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Before saying anything else, it just needs to be said - Tom Baker. Back playing The Doctor, how amazing is that! And i'm pleased to say, he's just at home with the role as ever. In a story told largely between him and Mike Yates, it has an intimate feel to it. The descriptions and production quality adds a wonderful ambience to it, in many ways recreating the feel of 70s Doctor Who to a T.

Listening to this story a wonderful sense of nostalgia will sweep over you. The story itself concerns itself with stuffed animals bizarrely becoming re-animated, coming back to life and attacking. As the Doctor investigates further the plot thickens and the reason behind this is revealed. It's a hauntingly morbid subject matter, again harking back in a way to the gothicness of 70s Doctor Who.

Sometimes the pacing can slack at times and the storyline is not the strongest, perhaps partly due to the format of the story being told largely as an extended flashback narrated by The Doctor to Mike. As the action builds up however, Tom is in his element and the finale leaves the listener on edge, eager for the next instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Opener, 3 Oct 2009
By 
J. Skade "joeskade" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I suppose one of the skills in writing an episode of an interlinked cycle is to provide enough resolution for the episode to stand alone whilst leaving the listener in a state of eager anticipation of the next episode. The weakness of this story is shown by the fact that that I was left unsatisfied by the tale's conclusion and at the same time in two minds about listening to part two.
The story opens promisingly with Mike Yates being lured to Nest cottage by a strange advertisement, but Mike's role in the story thereafter is disappointingly minimal. The tale of stuffed animals coming to life is narrated by Tom Baker in grand style with occasional dramatised moments, but even Baker can't evoke the sort of atmosphere needed to carry this stuff off.
The writer seems occasionally to forget that the Doctor is talking to Mike Yates, rather than narrating a novelisation. Also both characters appear at moments considerably slower than I remember.
Having said that the cd frittered away an hour or so in a mildly pleasurable fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stuff of Dreams..., 16 Oct 2009
It's a marriage made in heaven - Tom Baker as Doctor Who in a five part story written by Paul Magrs. The most wildly inventive and genuinely eccentric Doctor in collaboration with the most wildly inventive and eccentric Doctor Who writer.

And it works beautifully on every level. Like a creepy Victorian children's story or a macabre Goprey cartoon, "The Stuff of Nightmares" builds layer on layer of meaning and menace, with Baker slipping gently back into a role he hadn't revisited in over twenty years and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates proving surprisingly good. Throw in the always wonderful Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbesy, a collection of other excellent actors as the sundry other characters and Magrs constantly witty, clever and often touching writing, and you have a multi-voice audio to treasure, with the full cast putting their all into this rather wonderful chronicle of the Doctor and his ertswhile companion in their battle against the inhabitants of the Hornet's Nest!

Really can't be recommended enough!
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