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Full Fathom Five (Doctor Who: Unbound) Audio CD – Audiobook, 4 Aug 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Big Finish Productions Ltd (4 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844350142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844350148
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1 x 12.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,048,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 July 2006
Format: Audio CD
And you can't say too much about this story without giving things away. Which would be a shame, because this is an excellent piece of work.

It would have been easy for david collings to play the doctor just like silver in sapphire and steel, but instead he gives us a very different interpretation of the character, and it's one that commands attention. Dangerous genetic experiments are going on, and the doctor is out to stop them...

And you will not forget the end in a hurry! Great stuff
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Format: Audio CD
What if... the Doctor believed that the ends justified the means? That is the question posed in "Full Fathom Five", the third Doctor Who Unbound story. David Collings (perhaps best known as Silver in Sapphire And Steel) is the actor tasked with bringing to live this ruthless version of the Doctor and he does a superb job. Collings Doctor is a very cold character who for one reason or another no longer cares about the consequences of his actions. I should point out that the Doctor is still the hero of the story but a hero who will do anything to achieve his goals, even going so far as killing two characters.

"Full Fathom Five" is written by David Bishop who provides a fast paced script that never gets dull and isnt without its twists and turns. The ending is with out doubt the most shocking thing about this story and I really cant say much about it without spoiling it. Needless to say though, the TV series could never have an ending like "Full Fathom Five" which I guess is the whole point of the Doctor Who Unbound series.

There really isnt anything negative I can say about "Full Fathom Five". An excellent script coupled with superb acting and a brilliant ending make it one of the best Doctor Who audios available.
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Format: Audio CD
I guess one of the problems you face when commissioning a series of "what if?" stories is ensuring that they deviate from the canon in the right way. The Unbound series is largely hit and miss in this regard - while some of the stories genuinely do have the feel of an alternate take on Who, others only have a loose connection with it.

Full Fathom Five falls into the latter camp. It has so little to do with Doctor Who in any shape or form that its inclusion within the Unbound range sticks out like a sore thumb. This Doctor has absolutely none of the character traits, personality or moral compass of the character in any of his other incarnations. In fact, the only part of the story that makes him be the Doctor is the inclusion of his (inactive, pointless) Tardis.

The inevitable conclusion is that Bishop had this story banging around his head already and simply decided to call his main character the Doctor when Big Finish came knocking.

As a drama in itself, it's entertaining enough - an underwater Frankenstein story that includes an element of the old "if you could go back in time and kill Hitler before he had the chance to do any damage, would you?" chestnut. It has horrific moments, it has tender moments and it has an element of tension in the telling (thanks, largely, to the gimmick of having the narrative jump backwards and forwards in time every other chapter).

It has little point, though. As it reaches the end, the actions of the main character - our supposed Doctor - become ever more extreme and ever more absurd, utterly destroying any kind of meaning that the tale might have had by slapping you around the face with it.

It's a passable way to waste an hour, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with Doctor Who, "what if?" tale or otherwise.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the third of the ‘Unbound series of audio adventures from Big Finish. Released between 2003 and 2008, this was a series that asked a lot of ‘what if’ questions about the show and produced a range of fascinating stories. It ran for 8 releases, and is some of the best work to have come out of Big Finish productions.

This third release asks ‘What if a future incarnation of the Doctor is a totally ruthless bastard willing to do almost anything for what he sees as the greater good?’ The answer seems to be that without his basic sense of right and wrong he will get ever more entangled in meshes of his own making and ultimately ‘right’ will prevail, just not quite in the way he intends.

Many people have knocked this story for the characterisation of the Doctor and the loss of his basic ‘Doctorness’. I feel that this is a little unfair, as the story is essentially asking ‘what if the practicality of the 6th Doctor and the scheming of the 7th Doctor are brought to their apotheosis in a future incarnation?’ The basic elements of the character seen here have all appeared in the TV series, this release just pushes the ides to their limits. That is what this range is all about, and the ultimate failure of this Doctor only serves to highlight the heroicness of the Doctors who chose a different moral path. It’s a great story, and the dark, nihilistic ending is particularly breathtaking. A powerful drama that shows just why Dr. Who has been such a success and the importance of the essential elements of his character.

David Collings plays the future Doctor.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 2.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 23 Aug. 2015
By Erin Parsons - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The best
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written with continuity errors and an awful ending 16 Nov. 2015
By Josh M. - Published on
Format: Audio CD

I consider myself a Doctor Who fanatic, having listened to all 200+ main BF titles and nearly all of the spin-off series (Jago & Lightfoot, Bernice Summerfield, Dark Eyes, etc.), and I have never been disappointed in any audio drama until this one. Full Fathom Five is easily the worst Big Finish Doctor Who title to date.

The following is a chronological summary, as the drama itself skips between past and present storytelling:

The story starts off with the contrived, ethical conundrum of creating genetic super soldiers for the American military to win wars. It takes place in an underwater base in 2033 AD where General Flint has recruited Vollner and Lee to create the serum. The Doctor arrives, and in a series of events Flint takes his TARDIS key as well as it being revealed that Lee has used a dangerous acceleration agent to meet the deadline Flint set for them. The Doctor KILLS Lee to prevent the serum from getting out. Vollner is betrayed and injected with the serum, which turns him into a mutant, and he proceeds to amputate Flint, which then turns HIM into a mutant (meaning that it is infectious) and Flint activates a base-wide self destruct sequence. The Doctor attempts to leave, but Vollner wants to go with him. He tells him no, he can't risk the infection spreading, and promises to take care of his daughter, Ruth. Then The Doctor kills Vollner.

27 years later, the military discovers the base. The Doctor recruits someone to get him there before the military can get his TARDIS. Ruth smuggles herself on board the vessel and ends up on the base with him. The Doctor burns all of the research himself, before the military can get it and resume testing. Hoskins, their navigator, turns up dead, and they find out that Flint is still alive. In a heated discussion, it's revealed to Ruth that The Doctor killed her father to prevent the research from escaping. She begins blaming The Doctor for everything, to which he points out the VERY OBVIOUS AND LOGICAL fact that if anyone should be blamed, it's Flint. Flint created the project, rushed the serum, injected her father with it and turned him into an abomination, and tried to blow up the base. Being completely illogical, Ruth STILL blames The Doctor for trying to save the world, and SHOOTS HIM. Yes, she shoots The Doctor, who helped raise her as a promise to her father, instead of the EVIL MUTANT whom she should have blamed. She KILLS The Doctor.

This is where I became enraged at the illogical stupidity of the small-scoped perspective of such idiotic characters. The Doctor did what he did for humanity. She can't reason through the logic behind this, nor can she forgive him after 27 years of being father-less, but she remembers that The Doctor regenerates. SO RUTH WAITS FOR HIM TO REGENERATE TO KILL HIM AGAIN. He wakes up, says "hello" and she shoots him in the head again. Then she says, "There's one more down."

Not only is this non-canon (The Doctor doesn't die so stupidly) but it is an atrocity to the series, and to critical thinking in general. If a cold, heartless military leader infected your father with a highly-contagious mutagen 27 years ago, and you found out the good man who raised you had killed him to contain the infection, and you had the opportunity to kill either the good man or the heartless military leader responsible for infecting your father, would you kill the good man and let the person responsible for the entire series of events go free? Would you kill him over and over again? Nobody would. It's utterly foolish. I personally think the author had to flesh out the dialogue and decided to throw on an ending that doesn't fit the series, which equates to poor writing.
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother 1 Jun. 2017
By Dancer89 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
If you're a fan of new Who don't bother listening to this one. It's awful. If it hadn't been so short it would have been a dnf but since it was just over an hour I went ahead and listened too it. I wish I hadn't. :( so disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warning: Plot spoilers ahead 4 Feb. 2010
By Abbacuss - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the "Unbound" stories by Big Finish Productions. The "Doctor Who: Unbound" BBC radio series featured The Doctor in alternate realities, i.e., "what if...?" story lines. In this story, what if The Doctor believed the end justified the means? This really isn't some far our idea as the producers must have thought, considering past story lines on the TV series. The Doctor has even used genocide in the past on the TV series (both old and new) when he felt there was no alternative. He even destroyed Galifrey and the Time Lords when he saw no other alternative. So he does believe the ends justifies the means depending on the situation.

This story has a bit of a "plot twist" at the end which I didn't like at all. The Doctor, in order to stop genetic mutations from finding their way into he human population, kills who ever he feels he must...and this time it's 2 or 3 people, not entire planets. The Doctor comes off as being a bad guy, which is a bit too much of an alternate reality for me, and probably most other Whovians. At the end of the story, the companion Ruth, kills the Doctor, the Doctor regenerates, and she kills him again, wondering if she has enough bullets to finish him off for good ("I wonder how many lives this b-----d has?"). Not a very happy ending! The production values and writing were good, for which it gets two stars instead of one, but the story itself was bad.

However, the other stories I've heard in the Unbound series are far better than this one. I would recommend "The Masters Of War", (which I'd give 5 stars) which features the Daleks...and I won't spoil the rest of that one for you.
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