Love and War (Doctor Who) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Oct 2012
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Top customer reviews
Because the story was originally one of the New Adventures from now over twenty years ago, the Doctor and Ace portrayed in the story are not those that are now more familiar to us from the Big Finish audio stories. Rather, the Doctor is in his manipulator, game-player persona familiar to us from the late Seventh Doctor tv stories, where he is darker and more mysterious. And Ace is young; young enough to still know her original name was Dorothy McShane, and to have issues with her mother; young enough to fall in love immediately and with her whole heart; and young enough to have just buried her best friend on Earth, in Perivale.
Leaving Perivale, the Doctor and Ace find themselves on Heaven, a planet where the Doctor wants to find a book. Heaven is a planet made to suit those who want to rest in/on Heaven, where bodies from across the galaxy are shipped to their final resting place. And a planet where Bernice Summerfield, a professor of archaeology, is studying the ancient civilisation which once lived on Heaven.
This is a great story; I remember reading it all those years ago, and wondering about a universe where the Doctor and Ace were so far removed from those tv stories that, up until then, were all we had to go by for the Doctor’s worldview. And it is great to hear that story now adapated to a full cast audio drama. The cast are wonderfully placed; Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred don’t sound a day older or different; Lisa Bowerman brings Bennie to life absolutely perfectly. And the other characters are perfect. Maggie Ollerenshaw as Audrey McShane, Ace’s mother, brings a tear to your eye. This is a real winner. If you’re worried that it doesn’t fit in with the other Big Finish audio adventures that have so far been produced with the Seventh Doctor and Ace, don’t let that stop you from getting this, and thoroughly enjoying it. Because I promise you will.
The audio CD adaptation is a real treat - Big Finish have a real knack for taking existing stories and imbuing them with new life whilst retaining the essence of the source novelization, and with McCoy and Aldred recapturing the spirits (and voices) of their younger selves perfectly, and Lisa Bowerman returning to voice Benny Summerfield, this is a superb audio drama from start to finish.
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Overall, the tale works thanks to the beautifully crafted guest characters who have a web of intricate relationships. The story explores a variety of ideas, including some mature themes, though not in an exploitative way. The plot is nearly as strong as the characters, setting up an epic struggle based on a monster that was little more than a throw away line in the classic series becomes a fully fleshed out terror in a plot that is really given an epic feel by Big Finish.
The story is, at times, uncomfortable. It takes Ace to a point of very raw emotional vulnerability and then we get to see her emotionally breakdown in a very painful uncontrolled way. It's a difficult moment to listen to for such a beloved companion and is quite jarring. Love and War is very good for what it is, particularly in giving us a solid origin for Bernice Summerfield and all its great character work, but it's not the type of Doctor Who story I'd like to hear all the time.
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