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Lucie Miller meets the Cybermen during work hours - Part 1,
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This review is from: Human Resources: Pt. 1 (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is a really good story and one of my favourite audios with Paul McGann as the Doctor. It's one of my favourite Cybermen stories from Big Finish and it ends the first season with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith as companion Lucie Miller on a high. It's a lot more sophisticated and intelligent than any other Who story I've listened to, but it's full of wit and charm and that's what makes it all the more appealing.
'Human Resources' is a two-part story that was broadcast on BBC7 from the 11-18th of February 2007. It's spread across two discs sold separately on CD. It's a shame they couldn't have put both episodes in a two-disc set as one but that's only a minor complaint.
The first disc is 60 minutes in length approx.
If you haven't been following what's been going on in these Eighth Doctor audio adventures, it's best to start with 'Blood of the Daleks - Part 1' and 'Part 2' before getting an idea of what occurs in this story.
Lucie Miller has been captured by the Head Hunter (played by Katarina Olsson). Waking up she finds herself at the offices of Hulbert Logistics where she was meant to be going for her new job before getting involved in the adventures with the Doctor. The Doctor meanwhile is in the TARDIS trying to set it in motion in order to find Lucie Miller but can't as it won't operate without her. A Time Lord appears named Straxus who gives the Doctor a Time Ring (similar to the one in 'Genesis of the Daleks') in order to find Lucie whilst he and a number of Time Lord technicians repair the TARDIS whilst he's gone. The Doctor goes, not knowing what's in store for him.
The Doctor eventually finds Lucie at Hulbert Logistics and together they investigate the mysterious goings-on as this seemingly ordinary office block. It soon transpires that planning meetings at this company do not deal with mundane daily logistics but in actual fact involved plans for underground war strategies on alien planets, something which makes the workers unaware of. Lucie herself discovers with her workmate Karen (Louise Fullerton) that the office is actually from the outside a walking robot tank with guns patrolling about on a jungle planet. It's a very mysterious organisation and one the Doctor hopes to unravel.
This story written by Eddie Robson is at its classiest and high quality. I really like the familiar setting of the office block and the mundane routine going on between workers and having chats over coffee. The atmosphere feels really business-like and down to Earth. And some of the personalities that go on at this company are very believable and what you expect from a working office block to be like and for me, working in an office myself, makes it all seem real to me. Even the voice announcer (Barnaby Edwards) who provides amusingly-written office announcements made it believable to me. The dialogue is also very witty and engaging to listen to, and it's the sort of setting you would expect Lucie to come from before we even met her.
Paul McGann is great in this story as the Doctor. I enjoyed his scenes when he was concerned about Lucie Miller and goes off to find her. He eventually hires Lucie as his aide and the two of them split up to investigate the goings-on at Hulbert Logistics. I enjoyed it when the Doctor passes himself off as a member of staff and eventually gets to meet Todd Hulbert, head of the company, and passes himself off as an alien client in order to get information about what Hulbert Logistics is all about in its mission statement and objectives. He really has come about very well in his role as the Doctor and is given more meaty stuff and dialogue in these audio plays compared to his first TV appearance.
Lucie Miller is great in this too and Sheridan Smith is wonderful as the new companion. Both the Doctor and Lucie have mellowed since their first meeting and seem to like each other despite some friction. Lucie is rough and has a sense of her own independence. She knows her own mind and is capable of keeping it together when things go bad, especially when she and Karen get thrown out of the office block after being fired. Lucie gets to use her mobile phone to take a picture of the walking robot office block which was an inspired moment. Also when they're on the jungle planet, Lucie keeps Karen safe when they met up with Malcolm (former manager at Hulbert Logistics) and escaping the war zone. This is a true story for Lucie to prove her mettle and Sheridan Smith seems to be enjoying it playing the part of this northern-accent companion.
The Head Hunter (played by Katarina Olsson) comes into her own in this story. She's this mysterious character who's been popping in and out for the whole of this first season of Eighth Doctor adventures. We're not sure what her motivation is, but it's clear she's determined to get Lucie back into Hulbert Logistics since she's been travelling with the Doctor. She's this really mysterious character with a posh voice and business-like strategy and Katarina plays her wonderfully throughout. Just why does she keep following Lucie and hunting her? What does she want her for and why?
Roy Marsden also appears in this story as he plays Todd Hulbert, head of Hulbert Logistics. Marsden appeared in `Doctor Who' not long after this in the David Tennant story 'Smith and Jones' with Martha Jones and the Judoon. Here he plays a professional business man who seems to know how to deal with alien clients and sorting out wars on alien planets. Marsden pulls of the part remarkably well with his business like attitude and doesn't sound too dissimilar to his TV role in `Doctor Who'. I enjoyed listening to Roy Marsden and could picture him easily after watching him in his TV episode, and he certainly enjoyed playing this part after being engrossed in the script.
Nickolas Grace plays Straxus in this story. Straxus is a member of the High Council of Time Lords. We don't get to see much of him in this episode, as he only appears in the prologue sequence before the opening credits. Straxus is your typical Time Lord High Council official who seems proud, rather snooty and a bit of a coward in my opinion. Nickolas Grace plays the part of this Time Lord very well and it's such a joy to listen to him in this story.
Owen Brenman (who I've seen from `One Foot in the Grave') plays Jerry Cooper, who's in the charge of the department Lucie and Karen are in. Jerry is a typical business manager who has delusions of grandeur about him. He thinks he's funny and easy to get on with, whereas in fact the women especially Lucie and Karen find him annoying and as Lucie puts it `a chump'. Pretty soon Jerry accuses Karen and Lucie for getting data records wrong and has them fired, throwing them out of the office. He doesn't impress Todd Hulbert very much. The Doctor doesn't think much of Jerry either as he tolerates him up to a point. Jerry is what you would expect a typical office manager to be like who's into the business side of things and doesn't think much of staff morale or well-being.
The rest of the guest cast are good in this. There's Louise Fullerton playing Karen, Lucie's workmate and the two of them gets on well with each other and Karen wants to know all the office gossip. And there's Andrew Wisher (who's related to Michael Wisher (first actor to play Davros)) as Malcolm who was former manager of Lucie's department before Jerry Cooper took over.
I enjoyed listening to the cliffhanger of this story. Once Hulbert has a business meeting in session on an alien planet with alien clients, the planet's defences are down. The Doctor's switched them off. He doesn't like what Hulbert's doing with his business and is determined to stop it. Then stomping footsteps are heard. The Doctor sees them. He's shocked. He didn't realise it was them. Why would it be them? Who are they, you ask? It's the Cybermen! They stomp closer and closer before facing the Doctor and Hulbert. They speak in their cyber voices much like the new series ones (which really got me excited listening to them). They threaten Todd Hulbert who they claim has invaded their `home world'. The Doctor can't believe what a mistake he's made, as he's a fatal `error of judgement'.
TO BE CONTINUED...
At the end of Disc 1, there are number of interviews with the cast of this story including Roy Marsden, Nickolas Grace, Owen Brenman, Louise Fullerton, Andrew Wisher, Katarina Olsson and Sheridan Smith herself. All of them provide their insight on this story and in `Doctor Who' in general.
This is a great opening episode to an exciting story with the Cybermen. I was really keen to find out what would happen next and couldn't wait to put the next CD in.
Find out what happens next in 'Part 2' of this story...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2014 19:23:35 GMT
You tease Tim you doing your cliffhangers again.lol
One of my favourite storys this is & I loved this review which is in depth & well written as always.
You seem very easily to capture the tone of the story your reviewing & this is a good reviewing trait to have.
I look forward to reading part 2.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 09:23:16 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Hello timelord 007.
I wish I could put all of this in one big mighty review, but it's all single CDs for this two-parter which is annoying.
It's a great Cybermen story and I loved every minute of it. Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed my review.
I think it depends what mood I'm in that I'm able to capture the tone and setting of this story which I enjoy writing when reviewing.
My review for 'Part 2' is up now.
Thanks for your comments. Tim.
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