"Appointment with Tom",
This review is from: Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest: The Complete Series (Audio CD)
No need for an introduction Sir Tom Baker in new adventures as The Doctor. These are in a different style to say the more tradtionally dramatised stories of Big Finish's Doctor Who because they feature a lot of narration. No doubt this is to take advantage of the great asset of the Tom voice, which seems to have changed very little. If you don't like a lot of narration in a radio play, then these may well not be for you.
The Hornets of the umbrella title are a new enemy that the 4th Doctor has fought the influence of across various times and now bottled up in Nest Cottage with a crabby housekeeper Miss Wibbsey (well played by Susan Jamieson particularly as wel learn more about her) as he tries to keep them from getting out to spread their malign influence. He enlists the help of Mike Yates late of UNIT and the style of the 1st 4 tales is like old radio shows, The Man in Black, Appointment With Fear & The Price of Fear as the 4th Doctor tells Mike tales of his previous encounters with the Hornets. These include elements like; museum exhibits coming to life, a deadly circus & deadly shoes.
Mike Yates was a replacement for the Brigadier when it became clear that Nicholas Courtney was not well enough to take part and scripts were carefully if hastily, re-written for Yates. A very good early scene has Mike revealing he has met the 4th Doctor before (Brig's Birthday Bash) and is an older Mike who is aware of teh appearances on Earth of a much later incarnation ( David T?). The scene's an excellent springboard for the relationship and history for the 2 characters which is marvellously conveyed by Tom Baker & Richard Franklyn.
Both are generally good and Tom in particular puts nuances in his peformance such as sounding sympathetic to unwanted stuffed animals coming to life.
The supporting casts are pretty good too.
Paul Magrs' scripts are good quality radio, although they may not be to everyone's taste having a not entirely traditional Who feel. I would say if you've listened to Big Finish Who tales and enjoyed the heavily narrated style of the Companion Chronicles, you should enjoy these.
A fitting return for Tom Baker & given that there's been second series ( Demon Quest I've listened to the 1st 2 and they're both good), a 3rd series set to record this summer and some more tradtional Who tales for Tom, now he's finally agreed to do some for Big Finish, the 4th Doc's return is more than a temporary one.