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1963: Fanfare for the Common Men (Doctor Who) Audio CD – Audiobook, 30 Sep 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Big Finish Productions Ltd (30 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781780781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781780787
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1 x 12.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 548,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is the 178th story in the Main Range of full cast audio stories produced by Big Finish, and is the first of a trilogy especially centred around the year 1963, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. In this story, the Fifth Doctor has taken Nyssa to London in 1963 to see the Beatles, as they start to sweep the globe with Beatlemania. Only things aren’t quite as the Doctor remembered. Who are The Common Men, and what has happened to Earth’s timeline? The Doctor and Nyssa soon find themselves having to struggle through changed timelines, and avoid those who have their own agendas, as well as try to restore Earth to its correct timeline; all before it’s too late, and the end of the world.

As an anniverary story, this is strongly focused on the year 1963. There are references aplenty to past times of the Doctor, which a fan of classic Who will recognise. There are, of course, plenty of Beatles references, and references to the 1960s culture of the time. And there are, thrown in for good measure, bad guys who threaten the world, and who the Doctor must defeat before everything can come right again. I found this story, while action-packed, to be a little too busy to be really successful for my listening pleasure. I’ve never been a fan of the Beatles, and the music in this (which is played by The Common Men as a vital thread of the story, and which is obviously modelled on music of the time, including the Beatles and the Shadows etc.) is not my favourite thing of the story. The Doctor and Nyssa are well written here, and there is plenty of timey-wimey action, but I felt this story would perhaps have been better if it hadn’t tried to be a bit too clever for its own good. More storytelling, fewer clever cultural references, might have made it hang together better.
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I'm going to start with the obvious - I love this one! Having followed Big Finish's Doctor Who audio range since I first discovered them back in 2008 (ish) there are a vast number of stories that I have thoroughly enjoyed however this one tops them all.

This is the start of a trilogy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show, each story in the series revolving around the year 1963 - if I have to spell out the significance of that then you're clearly not into Who!

This story takes the premise that The Beatles never were and that a three man band 'The Commen Men' are the in-thing whom the world has gone crazy over. An assasination attempt on this trio at an airport at the start of the tale draws The Doctor and his companion Nyssa into things head-on as very soon in they are are separated across time with each encountering The Commen Men at different phases in their history. Nyssa ends up hanging out with the guys in Hamburg during their early years whilst The Doctor bounces backwards and forwards through their history trying to identify what went wrong - and why 1957 is time locked.

The music is superb evoking the feeling of the 60's perfectly with specially wrote songs/music by the maestro's at BF. It's not The Beatles but not far off. The three Commen Men - Mark, James and Corky, are likeable characters and it's clear that all persons involved in this adventure are thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The Commen Men were referenced in the very first Doctor Who adventure 'An Unearthly Child' as a band that Susan was following and this adventure has been launched from that reference. It's a nice way of celebrating the show's fiftieth and the story's conclusion directly refers to that first tale.

Peter Davison is on fine form and clearly enjoying this story and Mitch Benn as guest performer 'Mark' is fantastic.

A solid 5/5 for this one - cannot recommend it enough!!
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If you remember the Sixties, then you can't have been there.

The Doctor takes Nysa back to 1963 to see The Beatles, which no longer exist.

Mark, James and Korky are The Common Men, the biggest band from the era. They made the sixties swing with songs "Just Count To Three" "Oh, Won't You Please Love Me?" and "Who Is That Man".

The Doctor remebers and something is very wrong.

This is the first of a pre 50th anniversary trilogy of stories base in 1963.

Other Trilogy Stories
The Space Race (Doctor Who)
The Assassination Games (Doctor Who)

Main 50th Anniversary Story
Standard issue...
The Light at the End (Doctor Who)
This story is also released as a 5 disc limited edition set of 10000.
A vinyl release will be issued also and as a limited edition.
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By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Oct. 2013
A new Doctor Who audio story. This one features Peter Davison as the Doctor along with Sarah Sutton as his companion Nyssa.

It's the start of a new trilogy. Whereas these trilogies usually feature the same Doctor in each story, this one will feature a different Doctor in each. All, since we're in the show's 50th anniversay year, pay homage to that by being set in 1963. It doesn't appear as if the three stories will have any common thread beyond that, though.

Thus this one stands entirely on it's own and you don't have to heard any other stories in order to get into it.

It runs for four parts of twenty five minutes each, and is spread across two cd's.

The story sees the Doctor take Nyssa back to 1963 to see the dawn of Beatlemania.

Only to find everyone's going mad for a group of three musicians called the common men. And nobody's heard of the Beatles.

History has gone very wrong. As the Doctor and Nyssa are separated and forced to investigate things far apart, can they find what has caused things to change? And can they set them right?

From the off, the story has a great 1960's feel to it. What makes that even better is the way that, also right from the start, the Doctor and Nyssa feel like alien outsiders to the whole thing. It has a great sense of history, not least in the way some of what happens parallels certain real life events.

It has an intriguing plot that keeps you hooked as it gradually reveals what's caused all this.

It uses the notion of time travel to it's fullest, jumping around all over the place. But not in a manner that will leave you confused.

It has some excellent supporting characters, who are all fully realised and feel like three dimensional individuals.
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