The Crooked Man (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) Audio CD – Audiobook, 31 Mar 2014
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A Fourth Doctor Adventure from Big Finish Productions.
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Top customer reviews
It's a two part story. The episodes run thirty two and thirty one minutes each [approx.]. It's complete on a single cd.
Set in an ordinary English seaside town. It's winter. The streets are cold and deserted. The wind and the waves are strong.
And people are dying. Grotesque and unexplained deaths, that the local police aren't managing to deal with.
When the Doctor and Leela investigate, they find a horrible monster has come to town.
Who has a rather surprising origin....
This feels like a story that the TV show could have achieved back in 1977-1978. The time when the show was moving on by necessity from the out and out gothic horror of the previous three years. But when it would still try to get back to it. As is seen from an excellent opening scene set in a bookshop, the end of which will stay in the mind for a while.
The atmosphere of seaside in the winter is quite well done, although some scenes of this early on are a little bit hampered by somewhat intrusive background music.
But the script and the production do well to create an ordinary place with characters who are very much ordinary down to Earth people. One of them though does seem a bit close to characiture at first, but bear with the story on that.
As ever there's excellent banter between the leads as the Doctor is so used to such a place and Leela has to learn new things as a result.
The first episode moves along gently with them investigating things, but manages to justify going over twenty five minutes with a simply stunning cliffhanger, that's genuinely good horror, memorable, and fan pleasing with it.
All of which makes part two hard to review without spoilers.
So suffice it to say that it lives up to the end of part one. Showing excellent imagination, making some good points of social commentary, and providing superb character drama as a result of some final twists.
All is wrapped up with a couple of gentle scenes that will also linger.
Imaginative and scary. An excellent listen.
There's a trailer for the next in this run on the cd track after the end of part two.
Plus twelve minutes [approx] of interviews with cast and crew right after that.
A two part audio with CD extras
Set Between: ‘White Ghosts’ and ‘The Evil One’
Stand alone? : Yes
What starts off as a seemingly innocent story quickly turns very dark and sinister, and that’s just in the first ten minutes. The concept for this story is a particularly interesting one although it is one that has been explored in Doctor Who before. The plot line first appears to be split into two parts and some parts don’t appear to fit into it but it is all straightened out by the end. Overall I thoroughly enjoy John Dorney’s writing style and the imagination and imagery he puts into his scripts. He's managed to combine horror with humour in this one. Neil Stuke’s portrayal of the Crooked Man varied but was overall pretty darn creepy. Some spine tingling acting at the cliff-hanger of part 1. Some of the performances from other actors were a little weak or grating.
It is quite a difficult story to review without giving anything away. It is split into two halves, successfully divided over the two episodes. The first takes place within the ‘real’ world of the seaside town and ends on a strong cliff-hanger that takes the story into a more bizarre direction in the second episode. Both halves contain some great revelations that are sure to grab the listener’s attention.
The Crooked Man is an excellent main antagonist. He’s a great concept, superbly performed and makes a good adversary for Tom Baker to play against. He also proves a capable adversary for Leela. The malicious nature of the Crooked Man oozes out with every speech or action and the contrast with the quaint coastal village emphasises his horrific acts.
There is a plethora of bizarre and interesting characters, all of whom Tom Baker seems to thoroughly enjoy interacting with. There is also a science fiction fan whose sci-fi knowledge helps to save the day; a character which many listeners may emphasise with. This also includes a reference to the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks which has at times itself taken some influence from Doctor Who.
The previous two stories in this series have exhibited a small rift between the Doctor and Leela. There is no such division in this audio and both characters work incredibly well together, utilising each other’s strengths.
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