I was tremendously excited when I heard this 2014 trilogy would feature the Doctor and Nyssa!
I love the Doctor and Nyssa, played by Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton! They're my favourite TARDIS team, and it was such a nice change to have a trilogy of stories with the two of them together. The last time we had a trilogy with them was `The Stockbridge Trilogy'. This is the first trilogy in a long while to have the Doctor and Nyssa back together and I couldn't wait to listen to these stories.
I've just finished listening to all three stories - `Moonflesh'; 'Tomb Ship' and 'Masquerade' - and have met Sarah Sutton at a convention in Weston-super-Mare, 2014. I've enjoyed this trilogy very much as it's one of the best trilogies I've heard in a long time. I've told Sarah this and she's very pleased. I've had all three CD covers of this trilogy including 'Moonflesh' signed by lovely Sarah who is a great lady and my favourite `Doctor Who' companion.
The first story of this trilogy is `Moonflesh', written by Mark Morris who previously wrote for the Doctor and Nyssa in 'Plague of the Daleks'
, the third of `The Stockbridge Trilogy'. This is a great story and has fast become one of my favourites out of the trilogy. I told Sarah that I liked this one since it has an historical setting, animals and such amazing characters.
The story is about the Doctor and Nyssa arriving in Suffolk in 1911. They find themselves in a country estate and are soon brought to the country house of Nathanial Whitlock. The guests have arrived, as everyone's gathered for a sport of hunting on Nathanial Whitlock's hunting grounds teeming with wild animals. But something mysterious is going on here, as a red shining rock is kept in Whitlock's mansion. When the rock is suddenly woken, something alive runs free from it...
This story feels so good to listen to and after listening to the first episode. I could familiarise myself with the characters and the historical setting iof1911. I enjoyed it when we followed the Doctor and Nyssa on their journey through the hunting grounds. Mark writes for the Doctor and Nyssa very well, and they're such a lovely and fun TARDIS team to listen to. There's a romantic flair to this story, especially when all the characters get together and are having dinner in the first episode.
I'm a lucky person to have met Sarah Sutton who shines as Nyssa in this adventure. I really like how Nyssa's anti-hunting views are developed and Sarah puts a lot in terms of developing Nyssa's character. I like it when Nyssa shares scenes with Phoebe and question Edwin Tremayne over his son's future. Nyssa does get taken over by a Moonflesh creature but it doesn't last for very long. I do like it when Nyssa holds everybody together in `Part Four' and she gets to have her own adventure.
Peter Davison is superb as the Doctor. I really like the banter and friendship he shares with Nyssa, especially at the beginning of the story. I like his curiosity when they arrive in Suffolk and the friendship he forms with Silver Crow as they both respect each another. I like how Peter's Doctor interacts with the `Moonflesh' creatures and how he interacts with Whitlock. It's a great story for Peter's Doctor, even though he doesn't get to do much cricket.
This story features a fantastic bunch of fruity characters including Tim Bentinck playing Nathanial Whitlock. Whitlock is this big game hunter and explorer and Tim's very good. Tim gives a rich and rounded performance making Whitlock so toughened and proud. Yet there is a side to Whitlock that's very appealing as he loves his daughter Phoebe and is one of the good guys. He's sometimes difficult to take seriously, but it's compensated by Tim's strong performance.
There's Phoebe Whitlock, Nathanial's daughter, who's played by lovely Rosanna Miles. Phoebe's a sweet character who welcomes the guests when they arrive at Whitlock Manor. Phoebe has a loving relationship with her father and is genuinely a nice person. She has a little crush on Hector Tremayne when he and his father come to the house, and the two share a sweet relationship which I liked. Phoebe does get to share some nice scenes with Nyssa when they're together in the house.
John Banks plays Silver Crow who serves Mr Whitlock on his hunting estate. Silver Crow is one of the early Americans natives and John Banks does a really spell-bounding performance. John has done plenty of Big Finish audios for `Doctor Who' and comes across as a very versatile voice artist. Sarah's certainly impressed with John's range of voices. He's certainly a favourite of director Ken Bentley. I like Silver Crow's nobleness and the respect he gains with the Doctor.
There's a really interesting character called Hannah Bartholemew, played by Francesca Hunt. Hannah's a great character as she's come to join the game hunting on Whitlock's estate. It turns out she has a hidden agenda as she's come for the Moonflesh. Hannah is a member of a spiritual group who believe in the 'crescent moon'. Francesca gives an incredibly good performance as Hannah, sounding really posh and proud of being a huntress and an adventurer.
Hugh Frazer plays Edwin Tremayne, one of the well-known industrialists in the country. Hugh has worked with Peter and Sarah before in the `Spring' episode of `Circular Time' (my favourite audio). Here Hugh plays a rather insensitive and icy character. I like how Hugh underplays Edwin in being rather arrogant and dismissive, especially with regards to his son and other people. He's into hunting, and doesn't care about animals being slaughtered and Nyssa's anti-hunting views.
Geoffrey Breton plays Hector Tremayne, Edwin's son. I like Hector in this story and Geoffrey plays him so well. Hector's a complete contrast to his father, as he's more caring and understanding. He's rather boyish but has this sense of charm as he likes Phoebe and is eagerly enthusiastic. He doesn't get a much of a say about what he wants to with his life with his father speaking for him. He finds all these strange things going on with the Moonflesh creatures rather baffling; bizarre and terrifying.
I like how Mark Morris uses the historical setting of Suffolk and how he uses the animals when they're possessed or not. The themes of anti-hunting come out strongly. The Moonflesh creatures were quite a challenge to grasp with, especially when possessing someone like Nyssa; Phoebe or Whitlock. But it's very effective, and at least we get a description of them being red and glowing.
At the time of this CD release, Big Finish promoted the new Doctor and Nyssa trilogy with 'Circular Time'
, one of my favourite stories. I'd listened to `Circular Time' again and immediately wrote an e-mail/letter to Big Finish about how I love the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventures. I had a nice reply from Paul Spragg (Big Finish's administrator) and I cherish that always, especially since dear Paul died recently. I like to dedicate this review to Paul who was such a valued member of Big Finish.
The CD extras include two tracks of incidental music at the end of `Disc 1'. There are also some behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Tim Bentinck, Hugh Frazer, director Ken Bentley, etc. I was quite shocked when Janet Fielding (who plays Tegan) sent Peter and Sarah a rude text message for not being there with them during the recording.
`Moonflesh' has been a great listening experience and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's a wonderful story to start the trilogy with the Doctor and Nyssa and features a terrific guest cast. I enjoyed the historical setting, the wild animals, the romantic flair to the story and most importantly Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison who are my favourite TARDIS team and I love them so much.
There's a trailer for the next story with the Doctor and Nyssa called 'Tomb Ship'