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Main Range 236 - Serpent in the Silver Mask (Doctor Who Main Range) Audio CD – Audiobook, 30 Apr 2018
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It's a stand alone story, so you can listen to it without needing to have heard any other ones.
It runs for four parts. Spread over two cd's. Episodes running twenty eight to thirty mins. [Approx].
It sees the TARDIS crew visit the planet Argentia. A very exclusive tax haven. The Doctor is there because he needs a certain something. But the planet is seeing the funeral of mining magnate Carlo Mazzini. His heirs have gathered. Primarily for the reading of the will. But when a killer strikes, and the planet is locked down, it's a good job the Doctor is on the case...
Once again this adopts the style of Peter Davison's first tv season. And is very good at making it feel like something that could have been done on tv at the time. And once again it handles Adric superbly, making him a young man brilliant at maths but with no idea about social life. And Matthew Waterhouse doesn't try to make his voice young, but superbly recaptures his old vocal inflections.
This is an odd story in terms of style though. It tries to also be homage to Italian thrillers. It is also reminiscent of Kind Hearts and Coronets, as it has one actor playing all of the Mazzini family. It has moments of light comedy. And tries to be a mystery as well.
All of which makes it a bit hard to get into the first two parts, as you really don't get anything funny enough to be out and out comedy, apart from one scene that comes close in part two, and a lot of set up that never really sparks. It's very difficult to see what the final tone of it will be.
And yet suddenly from part three on, it come together. The light comedy is fun, thanks not least to Peter Davison's skill at this. The moments of character for the TARDIS team, which remind them they are a team, are very good indeed, and the mystery does get very good. The wrap up to all this is part four is very clever and never over complicated, and makes for a great wrap up.
It's not the most detailed or amazing story in the world, but it's not meant to be. It's a nice little diversion for the Doctor and friends. As it does make it clear. In a good way. So ultimately, it's a pleasant four star listen.
There's eight mins of music from the story on the last track of disc one.
A trailer for the next in the range on the track on disc two after the end of part four.
And fourteen mins of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks right after that.
Full Cast Audio Drama.
4 - Episodes.
Running Time 120 Minutes.
Peter Davison - The Doctor
Janet Fielding - Tegan Jovanka
Sarah Sutton - Nyssa
Matthew Waterhouse - Adric
Samuel West - The Mazzini Family
Phil Cornwell - Superintendent Galgo / Zaleb 5
Sophie Winkleman - Sofia
You are cordially invited to Argentia, the galaxy’s most exclusive tax haven, to attend the funeral of mining magnate Carlo Mazzini. The memorial service will be followed by music, light refreshments & murder!
Carlo’s heirs have come to say their final goodbyes ( & find out how much they’ve inherited) but when a masked killer begins picking them off one by one, Argentia goes into lock-down, closed off behind its own temporal displacement field.
Can the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan & Adric apprehend the murderer before Argentia – & everyone on board - is forever cut off from the rest of the Universe?
Serpent In The Silver Mask is a light humoured easily listening murder mystery written by David Llewellyn which sees The Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa & Adric visit the planet Argentia in search of a crystal substance required to make a new sonic screwdriver but become quickly involved in a mystery surrounding the funeral of mining mogul Carlo Mazzini who's family have attended to find out what they have inherited, however, a murderer in a silver mask starts to murder the Mazzini family one by one & the Doctor is soon implicated as the main suspect.
I must admit I'm not usually a fan of lighter hearted adventures but this story somehow lured me in, it's tone is like a Agatha Christie “whodunnit” style mystery as writer Llewellyn crams his story full of quirky characters & throws in some rather gruesome murders which makes the tone more of a dark humoured murder mystery which is right up my street & for the most part the humour doesn't become too overbearing barring one small scene were Maria Mazzini makes advances towards the Doctor & tries to ravish him which becomes a bit of a parody, thankfully thoigh this scene comes to abrupt end & provides a shock twist.
Peter Davison adds the boyish youthful zest of energy that his fifth incarnation is renowned for & takes it upon himself to interfere & help in the investigation & incidently soon gets arrested for his trouble, Davison knack for humour are highlighted in a hilarious scene were the Doctor's in prison & he discusses his life with a robot, Sarah Sutton is alwys superb & gets to flesh out Nyssa's smart detective skills here & takes on a forensic scientist role in trying to piece together the evidence of who's committing these murders, Tegan (Janet Felding) is nearly being bitten to death by a carnivorous plant & there are subtle hints at a possible romance with Joel Mazzini which doesn't really go anywhere while Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) turns Detective & goes exploring were his search for clues & evidence to clear the Doctor's name leads him disappearing up ventilation shafts, finding dead bodies & being attacked by a gang of creepy dolls (Braveheart Adric, Braveheart).
Samuel West is excellent in dual roles playing all members of the Mazzini family & there character’s vocal similarities are cleverly explained by a cloning process that maintains the family bloodline, Phil Cornwell gives a great performance as Superintendent Galgo, a Inspector Lestrade type character who quickly becomes suspicious of the Doctor & arrests him for the Mazzini murders while Sophie Winkleman has a small but important role as Sofia who may know more about events than she's letting on.
Overall, 'Serpent In The Silver Mask' is a fun filled "whodunnit" murder mystery romp that despite the occasional over the top moment of humour is for the most part a suspenseful entertaining audio drama & a good representation of the Fifth Doctor’s era which concludes this latest trilogy on a high note.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
However, the acting is solid, and Samuel West turns in a good performance of every member of the Manzini family. Overall, a decent story, but also the weakest of the trilogy.