Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's good to have friends, 27 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Company of Friends (Doctor Who)
latest doctor who audio play from big finish, and a rather special release which requires a bit of explanation for casual listeners and those who havent read every doctor who novel published since 1991 or who don't read the official magazine.

in books and in the comic strip in the magazine, the eighth doctor had quite a few different companions. some of them appear here in one part adventures. but don't worry if you're not familiar with them as they all introduce themselves in short scenes at the start of each story.

the first one involves professor bernice summerfield, wisecracking hard drinking vivacious interstellar archaeologist, who appeared in books with the seventh doctor and then one with the eighth. and who has been in two seventh doctor audios as well. here she meets the eighth when on a dig. her mysterious employer turns out to be seeking a tardis key. and you can guess who it belongs to. the doctor and benny have to run for their lives and figure out why the woman wants a tardis so much. and where all tbose dinosaurs suddenly came from...

this one takes a little while to get going, but after about ten minutes you do get into it as benny and the doctor make a fun team. it's thirty five minutes long though, which feels about five minutes more than required. the villainess gets a bit tiresome. and whilst there's some clever plotting involving time paradoxes a lot of it feels a bit over familiar. nice final scenes between benny and the doctor though.

next it's a story for fitz kreiner, twenty seven year old londoner from 1963. a cockney wide boy out to impress the ladies, he and the doctor investigate an organisation that promises to protect a world from alien invasion. only the real threat comes from a different direction....

I read the books fitz was in and never imagined him speaking the way he does here, but I was wrong! because matt d'angleo's performance brings the character to life amazingly well and he's hugely appealing. the story does contain one good twist, allows paul mcgann to play a rather different take on the doctor, and it perfectly paced at twenty eight minutes. and lets hope there's more fitz in due course, because he's great.

third is izzy sinclair. teenage girl and science fiction fan who travelled with the eighth doctor in the comic strip in the magazine. from 1996, and there's a funny line which emphasises that fact. jemima rooper's reading makes her a rather loud and brash character, but she's quite entertaining with it. the story has her and the doctor trying to find an issue of a comic in the 80's and running into strange men who are out to destroy every copy of it.

there are lots of in jokes in here that will go over your head if you didnt read british comics in 70's and 80's, but you should find it fun anyway. this is the kind of story that could have been told in a comic strip. it's quite well paced at just over thirty minutes, and it's not of great consequence. but it's fun.

and then there's marys story. mary shelley the writer of frankenstein was mentioned in passing in an earlier eighth doctor audio as having been a companion of his. and here is the story of how she and the doctor met. when at the villa diodati in 1986 a mysterious stranger comes knocking on the door. a man who knows more about her than possible, given that they've never met. and who inspires marys friends to try an experiment that has consequences...

this brings in a few frankenstein style cliches but is never scary although it's nicely atmospheric. it does contain one great plot development. but it really wants to be a final story for this doctor. and it cant because that would impinge on new series territory and big finish dont have the license for that. but as a little character it's a decent enough listen. it's also roughly thirty minutes long.

there are eleven minutes of interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc one, which are enjoyable and brief.

and at the end of disc two is part four of the three companions, a story that is being told one part per month over the ongoing big finish releases. this part brings to an end a story that polly has been telling over the past three. whilst it wraps up a third of the story and moves things along slightly, the villain of the piece now being apparant, this is starting to seem a bit of a long haul. but with an impending change of focus in the next part, that should revitalise it.

theres one great episode here, two very good ones, and one okay one. so this is more than worth getting.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Aug 2009 11:58:37 BDT
Book Beaver says:
Are you related to Colin Tapner - the AFC Bournemouth fan?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2009 19:11:42 BDT
Paul Tapner says:
Yes. He was my twin brother. I say was because I regret to report that he died of cancer at the start of may
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Paul Tapner
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