2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
more like it but minus a star for cliff-hanger!,
This review is from: The Sands of Life (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) (Audio CD)
I think I am one of many who found themselves disappointed with the quality of the 4th Doctor & Leela stories-not with the actors I hasten to add who were perfect but with the quality of the stories. I felt, with the exception of Energy of the Daleks, that the stories were under-par and far too short (you're just getting into it and it's over!). I just didn't think they were worthy of the talents of Tom Baker & Louise Jameson. I felt the stories in the "Lost stories" set were so much better as they were longer and gave the plots & characters enough time to breathe. Plus the pacing seemed less rushed as there wasn't so much to be crammed into a short running time.
So I approached the 4th Doctor & Romana stories with caution. And, of course, sadness as Mary Tamm is no longer with us. On the one hand great excitement to hear her voice again while on the other real sadness knowing these stories would be the last time.
The 1st story (the Auntie Matter) had a very nice "behind the scenes" which included a tribute to Mary. Tom Baker's comments about her were very touching. Plus the story itself was a promising start for this particular series. This is the 2nd story and I think some lessons have been learned from the aforementioned Doctor/Leela stories. It is longer so there is more time for the story to develop. Plus there is now more room for longer solo scenes for both the Doctor and Romana and gives each more time to shine. I feel in this story that Mary Tamm is now very comfortable with playing Romana again after so long (yes she did reprise the role previously in one of the stories in the "Gallifrey" series, but she was almost totally alone in that story and there was no interaction with the Doctor of course). I really felt that this was the Romana I remember, with nice touches of the comic sarcasm that she had in the classic TV series. Here it was directed effectively at the military. I could just picture her giving one of her withering looks!
The story itself is a very simple one- (basic outline-no spoilers)large numbers of a race of aliens have come to a future earth with a mysterious plan and the military and a mysterious corporation are attempting to stop them.
The only niggle I have with this story is with the cliff-hanger ending. I think that is a bit of a cheat. Fans will buy this series anyway so it seems a bit mean to try to force them to. However, that doesn't detract from the fine performances, apart from that American accent-oh dear! American fans beware!
(The 3* is only because of the cliff-hanger ending! The story and performances are worth 4-5*)