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Hothouse (Doctor Who: The New Eighth Doctor Adventures) (Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures) Audio CD – Audiobook, 30 Apr 2009

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Big Finish Productions Ltd (30 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184435394X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844353941
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 14.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Audio CD
First released in 2009, this is the second episode of the third season of standalone releases for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor outside of the monthly range of Big Finish releases. This is a one disc release, with (in a change from the previous releases) two 25 minute episodes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the disc. This is a follow up to the classic serial Seeds Of Doom. I haven’t seen that series and had no trouble following this so I can say that it does stand alone quite well.

The Doctor and Lucie are on earth investigating an environmental organisation led by an ageing rock (A bit like Sting, but even barmier). It turns out that he is trying to fuse humans with some alien plant life form called Krynoid in order to save the planet. But his idea of ‘saving’ sounds a lot like genocide to the Doctor.

Following the spectacularly good season opener, Orbis, this tale keeps a mention of the Doctor’s recent amnesia and his not really knowing who Lucie Miller is. This gives the play an interesting edge. McGann and Smith are excellent as usual, exploring this slightly new dynamic and showing how their relationship has changed. The rest of the story is a bit of a flat run around, and never really took off in my imagination in the same way as, say, Max Warp or Orbis. This isn’t helped by Nigel Planer’s somewhat mannered and stilted lead villain, who just doesn’t come to life for me. It’s not a bad story, just a bit meh. 3 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
There's something about 'Hothouse' that I love - in some ways, it's perfect 'Doctor Who', with a megalomaniac rock star turned environmental campaigner (think Sting crossed with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, wonderfully played by Nigel Planer) cultivating alien plant creatures - Krynoids - in the hope of saving the Earth from the devastation that humanity has caused. Naturally, things escalate out of control, and it's up to the Doctor to stop him and save the world.

Which is all well and good - except for the fact that, give or take a few small differences, the plot is worryingly similar to that of 'The Seeds of Doom', the 1970s TV story which saw Tom Baker's Doctor battle the Krynoids. Nigel Planer's character, Alex Marlowe, is just as unhinged as Tony Beckley's Harrison Chase from that story, and both have their bases in the grounds of an English country house. These similarities aren't necessarily a problem in themselves, but if you've seen 'The Seeds of Doom', you'll have a pretty good idea about where things are heading. Unfortunately, 'Hothouse' also suffers a little from the fact that the Krynoids aren't all that well-suited to audio - their appeal is very much in their visual appearance. Although there are a few fairly chilling scenes where we hear the pleas of poor unfortunates who have been infected and are slowly being transformed into the creatures, it's not quite enough to shake the nagging feeling that whoever thought it would be a good idea to revive the Krynoids didn't really think things through.

I'm left rather conflicted about 'Hothouse' in the end. Nigel Planer is good fun, cast against type in the role of a villain.
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Format: Audio CD
First of all, I like the 8th Doctor, and I love Doctor Who stories that go for a horror theme.

The reviewer who calls this 'The Seeds Of Doom, Mk II', is right - writer Jonathan Morris has produced a decent story, but he's re-used several plot themes from the Doctor's first encounter with the deadly Krynoid. The halfway cliffhanger on this CD has the Doctor's companion threatened with being stung by a Krynoid pod, you have the human villain teaming up with the Krynoid to save his own skin, and it ends with an explosion, etc. It is like a condensed version of The Seeds Of Doom - and Mr Morris would have done better to have come up with some more innovative plot devices, to keep us listeners guessing. Perhaps he could have, if Big Finish had given the story more air time?

However, the earth of the near-future in this story provides some food for thought, the performances are good all round, there's a good (speeded-up) transformation of a character who tries to hold onto their humanity, and Sheridan Smith as the gutsy, quirky Lucy Miller continues to prove that she's one of the best companions of the Doctor - ever! (example: when getting a security door to open for her, after creating her own pass card, instead of saying "Open sesame" she says "Open sesame seed bun!" :)

All in all, not bad! And I liked Nicholas Briggs' re-mixing of the Doctor Who theme. Is there no end to this guy's talents? :)
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