Project: Destiny (Doctor Who) Audio CD – Audiobook, 30 Sep 2010
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The plot is another abandoned London, alien threat to the world (the Contaminants) and the usual friction between time-travellers and military. Largely formulaic though some good scenes for Ace and Hex when isolated from the others.
Curiously (and this may be an artefact of the recording sequence overall) this story happens before the seventh Doctor has been to the Forge in Project Lazarus so the narrative only refers back to the sixth Doctor portion of that story. Tricky but it does work.
I purchased this for closure of the Forge arc - I much prefer Colin Baker's Doctor to McCoy's (no offence intended) as the latter seems to spend too much time being angry. As a piece we have all the usual excellences of recording, music, sound effects and some wonderful extras giving some insight into just how this story finally made it to our ears. It does this and also tells a good story in its own right.
Overall a very good piece
Thus it's a story that regular listeners to the range having been waiting a while for. And whilst it's not an ideal jumping on point for new listeners the back of the box and a fair few bits of exposition throughout mean you may be able to get into this anyway. Basically as the TARDIS takes Hex home to near future London secrets that the Doctor has kept from him are about to come out, as they land in the middle of a city fighting an alien infection. And meet old enemies who are seemingly trying to turn over a new leaf. As a result of things that will happen in the Doctor's future.
But with a deadly alien infestation to cure and people who hold grudges against the Doctor to contend with, secrets can't stay hidden much longer. And when they come out, they have consequences...
This runs for four episodes spread over two discs, ranging in length from twenty two minutes to just over thirty. And it sees the return of Stephen Chance as old foe Sir William Abberton, AKA Nimrod, seemingly immortal head of a top secret organisation.
There are few minor problems with this one. It doesn't really get going till part three. The incidental music in parts one and four is rather distracting, sounding like something going on in the background. And the length of the episodes is a little unabalanced. Compared to the short part one the later ones that go close to or over thirty minutes feel a bit overlong by comparison.
This is also a story to deal with the loose ends of the seventh doctor audios and progress them, so the whole alien plague business does rather play second fiddle to that.
But the aliens are a very interesting creation and downright alien at times. And the whole thing is character driven. Everything that happens comes as a result of things the characters do, leading to some powerful and unforgettable moments that will seemingly change the status quo for this TARDIS crew.
It's also very much part one of something bigger, and there's an interesting development right at the end that promises to take the next story in interesting directions.
So whilst this isn't entirely perfect it's still a memorable listen and the start of what should be an unforgettable three stories.
A trailer for the next one Dr Who: A Death in the Family can be found at the start of disc one.
There's roughly seven minutes of the music from the story at the end of that disc.
And fifteen or so minutes of interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc two.
I have to say that after wading through the preceding three releases (the Fifth Doc/Tegan/Turlough/Nyssa trilogy), this is a very welcome return to form for Big Finish, with some excellent writing, good acting and pacey, punchy direction.
Following the his being shot at the end of `the Angel of Scutari', Hex's life hangs by a thread. He only wants to be in one place, and that is St Garts hospital where the Doctor found him. The Doctor takes him there, but all is not well in the city of London. It has been evacuated and is infested with some alien `contamination', even worse a newly publicly rehabilitated Forge is calling the shots. Literally.
This is an excellent adventure in which the truth of Hex's heritage is revealed, and we get to see the scouse charmer deal with the emotional upheaval. Olivier plays it perfectly, and we really feel for the lad. The relationship between the TARDIS crew is explored and tested almost to breaking point, in a well done piece written by people who really understand the characters. And in amongst all the angst we have a deliciously creepy Nimrod from Stephen chance, the introduction of Captain Aristides, an interesting new character who will reappear in future stories, and an alien invasion and plenty of well done action sequences. McCoy and Aldred bring their top acting game to the table, and almost match the impressive performance from Olivier in their intensity, especially McCoy who is called upon to really stretch himself.
It's not quite as grandiloquently epic as `Legend of the Cybermen', but is still up there in the top echelon of BF releases. 5 stars.
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