1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not perfect, but still a fantastic finale!,
This review is from: Doctor Who Demon Quest 5: Sepulchre (Audio CD)
Four audiobooks. Four different time periods. Four different artefacts and mysteries to investigate. It's been an entertaining ride with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) in Paul Magrs' Demon Quest. And now, the audio arc finally comes to a climax in Sepulchre.
Events took a major twist in the final moments of Starfall (part 4), where the Doctor's housekeeper Mrs Wibbsey was abducted by the Demon, a mysterious creature who has been assuming various guises throughout history, baiting the Time Lord with missing components to his TARDIS, and historical artefacts featuring his likeness.
But the question throughout has always been..."WHY?"
Why has the Demon gone to all this trouble to lure the Doctor? Why has he tried relentlessly to capture him? Just WHAT are his motives? And who IS he?! Rest assured, these questions are finally answered in Sepulchre. And the answers are most satisfactory indeed. The machinations of Demon Quest run deeper than listeners have been led to believe, which (again) speaks volumes of Magrs' ability to construct a story of this overall length and magnitude.
Sepulchre is certainly a different breed of chapter from other parts of Demon Quest. Obviously, previous instalments were executed in a much-more adventure-based format, so the final part had to be designed to tie up loose ends. But Sepulchre does provide more than just satisfying resolution. The revisiting of certain elements from Hornet's Nest is shocking and creative, and the dark music and tense sound effects will have you on the edge of the seat.
But I do have some issues with this final part. First, The Doctor and Mike Yates' quest to find Mrs Wibbsey is pretty much over right at the start, deflating Starfall's ending in no time at all. Second, it's great to hear Nigel Anthony back again (from The Relics of Time), though his voice doesn't quite seem to fit the Demon here as it did for Emperor Claudius. And for all the great background noises and dark, claustrophobic atmosphere and gripping writing, Sepulchre doesn't quite have the same psychological impact as Dan Abnett's The Forever Trap.
Even though Sepulchre doesn't feel as essential as it's been built up to be, I cannot get enough of Tom Baker's Doctor. It's been a real treat to hear his trademark voice as the Time Lord once again, and like any good Doctor Who audio featuring the Fourth Doctor, it's always worth hearing a story for Baker's voice alone. It's so majestic and awe-inspiring to listen to.
Kudos also to Susan Jameson, who I've really enjoyed as Mrs Wibbsey. The character has become one of my favourite companions due to her personality and how Magrs has established her in his audio series. In this final Demon Quest outing, Paul paints Wibbsey in another new light, as a tragic character who you can't help but feel sympathy for, given everything that's happened to her in both Demon Quest, and (more importantly) in Hornet's Nest. The events here really make you feel for the character like never before, which is most welcome indeed.
Finally, the narration. Richard Franklin is given the honours for the last hurrah. And this is something I've been longing for since part 3. Finally, Mike Yates has a meaningful purpose and is given an insight into his mind. His status as an old soldier, his knowledge of the Doctor's future regenerations, experiences with the Fourth Doctor, his more hands-on role and a touching mention to Sarah Jane Smith (RIP Elizabeth Sladen) make it great to hear Mike Yates right in the thick of it. Like previous narrators (Tom Baker, Susan Jameson, Samuel West & Trevor White), Franklin performs his role with flourish, balancing the narration of his events with expressing his feelings. It's a superb performance from Richard and deserves high marks.
Demon Quest has been tremendous to listen to overall. It's suffered a little from iffy pacing and inconsistent story quality, but like previous parts, I would recommend Sepulchre to all Doctor Who fans. It's a deeply enjoyable production and a fitting resolution to Paul Magrs' wonderful arc, with a comfortable set-up into the next series of audiobooks. Not absolutely essential, but still great stuff.