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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2014
This is an audio adventure from Big Finish featuring the Seventh Doctor played by Sylvester McCoy and Mel played by Bonnie Langford. Where as the TV stories this team featured in were fairly fluffy this one is quite dark and makes for a good little thriller/mystery of a story. This is a very well structured story - it feels in places like the kind of thing the current production team are producing on TV and I have to confess to checking I didn't accidentally put the second disk in to start things off. The performances are very good with McCoy stealing the show, there is an engaging plot/mystery and also some cracking cliffhangers. Recommended however I have to give it three stars as its a tad frustrating, seeming to stall in places and could easily have been something special.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 14 August 2015
This is the 70th release in the Main Range by Big Finish, and was released in June 2005.

The story is set not long after Time and the Rani, so the relationship between Mel and the Seventh Doctor is still quite a new one. We first hear a ‘soundscape’ which allows us to place the time and context as somewhere on Earth, probably Germany, in post-WWII. A man called Johannes Rausch is approached by a man with an offer that seems too good to be true; and there is no collection on the debt until the day before Johannes dies.

Meanwhile, some fifty years later Mel is at home waiting for the Doctor to pick her up, but when the Tardis arrives, he is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he has left her a holographic message, asking her to follow a man called Louis, but not to let Louis see her tailing him. Luckily she finds herself a friendly cabbie, who seems only too happy to lend her his brawn and know-how to break into a run-down asylum.

I thought this story started very strongly. In the first episode we are given much with very little narration. There are scenes, sounds, contexts and motivations are laid down very cleverly. The impetus built in the first episode carries through to the second episode, where a little more is now available to the listener so as to understand what might be happening, but there is still so much more that we don’t know, and nor does Mel. Mel is very much acting as an independent character in this story, as the Doctor is absent from much of the first and second episodes, and when he is there, he really isn’t himself.

I did think the third and fourth episodes were not so strong as the first two. The third episode has a lot of running up and down corridoors and similar dashing about to seemingly little avail. While the fourth episode resolves the story neatly, it was, I thought, a little too easily and readily tidied away.

I enjoyed reading the writer, David A McIntee’s notes in this story. He says there that he and his wife love the cliffhangers of classic Doctor Who stories (which his wife calls ‘diddly-dums’, and that he had always wanted to write a story with ‘diddly-dums’. He has certainly done that here, as the first, second and third episodes had wonderful ‘diddly-dums’.

The cast in the story is strong; with Bonnie Langford really presenting well as Mel, and Sylvester McCoy hamming it up all over the place as the Doctor (sometimes a little too much). Jennie Linden (who played Barbara in the 1965 Dr Who and the Daleks movie) was really impressive as Klyst. Toby Longworth plays a really pivotal and very incisive role as the cabbie, and Hugh Hemmings is really good as Johannes Rausch. The other parts, not so integral to the story, were also very well cast and played.

There is a lot to like in this story, but a few quibbles which I felt left the overall impression not as strong in my enjoyment as it perhaps could have been. The original storyline involved Daleks, and I suspect it may have been better if they had been retained somewhere in there. The story didn’t quite hold together as well as it could have, and so I thought it deserved 3.5 stars, rounded to 4.
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This is the seventieth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven and Bonnie Langford as Mel. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs.

Set just after the Doctor's troubles sixth regeneration into his seventh incarnation at the hands of the Rani, this was a good opportunity to do something a bit special and go a little bit into Seven's character and the reasons that he is like he is. Unfortunately this is a standard run around, with a lazy script that makes little sense at times. People who have made a Faustian pact with a mysterious stranger are being whisked away and experimented upon, and while I could understand what was being done to them I could not for the life of me work out why. It made no sense. The Doctor s saved from certain madness by a rather improbable (even by Whoniverse standards) series of events and a major dues ex machina. It's lazy scripting that starts off with some good ideas (the doctor's madness, the Faustian pacts) but squanders them in an uninteresting tale.

McCoy and Langford do what they can, and both manage to shine. McCoy's depiction of madness is good, and Mel is once again a much better companion in audio than she was allowed to be on screen. Toby Longworth provides good support as the stolid Cabbie. Other than that there is not much to recommend this release. It promised mountains, but delivered molehills. 2 stars.
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A very disappointing release. Characters run around for twenty five minutes, then there's a big revelation. And the pattern is repeated for the rest of the episodes. Sylvester Mccoy is barely in it, and even bonnie langford can't do much with the poor quality of the material she is given. A very weak story and not worth getting. Despite the three decent cliffhangers
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on 14 September 2007
"In a run-down asylum screams echo in the halls as mysterious creatures roam, terrorising the staff. Patients complain of betrayal rather than illness, and no one is quite what they seem.
"Mel knows that the Doctor is the best person to find the answers - but she is stranded on Earth, and the TARDIS has returned without him...
"Why does a medical facility need to be under armed guard? What procedures are the staff carrying out, and to what purpose? What is the price that must be paid for making an agreement with those who run the asylum?
"As the answers begin to be uncovered, the Doctor fi9nds that the past may yet come back to haunt him..."

"Unregenerate!", by David A. McIntee, promises one thing and delivers another entirely. Set immediately after the Seventh Doctor's troubled debut in "Time and the Rani", the title would seem to suggest a story dealing with the Doctor suffering a spontaneous mental breakdown and a regression into his former incarnations, a bit like the affliction suffered by the Fifth Doctor at the beginning of "Castrovalva", ultimately helping to define the character that the Seventh Doctor would turn out to be. Unfortunately, in reality the story is nothing like that, and therein lies the first major disappointment of "Unregenerate!".
The story is, in fact, really a rather generic runaround, with the only difference from the norm being that the companion is seeking to rescue the Doctor for much of the story, rather than the other way around. Bonnie Langford, whose character Mel has been served incredibly well by her Big Finish audio plays compared to her role in the original television series, is, in fact, pretty much the best thing in this play, along with her likeable companion-of-the-week, The Cabbie (Toby Longworth). Sylvester McCoy doesn't do too bad a job of sounding insane, but makes less of an effort to redeem the rather ordinary script than his companion.
What "Unregenerate!" does do is to keep the proceedings mysterious for a while, not divulging the true identity of the "asylum", its staff and the true nature of their experiments until around things are made clear over the course of the third and fourth episodes. However, many of the key revelations don't occur until the very last episode, leaving the overall resolution of the story sounding rushed and a little too easy.
If given a different title and any other position in the show's chronology, "Unregenerate!" might have managed three stars; but its title and placement immediately after a regeneration story give this very average and ordinary outing an undeserved degree of prominence, with the result that it promises far more than it delivers, and ends up being particularly disappointing.
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on 23 November 2009
I have dropped a star because the plot may is slightly weak, but everything else about this highly underrated story is excellent. It is very accessible (easy to listen to and get into). It is well executed with a brilliant atmosphere (nice and dark!) Mel is superb again (check also 'Fires of Vulcan' and 'Red'). It also fits in well with its stated chronology just after 'Time and the Rani' (soon out on DVD). There are a few references also to 'The Trial of a Time Lord'.

Something about the 7th Doctor just goes very well with mental asylums! (See also the book 'Relative Dementias'.) His portrayal of madness was just what I imagined. I think all this stuff goes back to Virgin's New Adventures ('Falls the Shadow' stands out in my mind). Funny then that this story was originally scripted for Colin Baker and the Daleks. (Well sorry Colin, but Sylvester McCoy is far and away my favourite audio Doctor. He has had his share of clunkers, but this is not one of them!)
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2005
This four-part audio adventure finds the 7th Doctor and Mel investigating Faustian pacts that end up with people- and aliens - transferred to a mysterious asylum, where strange experiments are being performed on them. The ultimately revealed backstory behind the experiments here is quite interesting, but the play struggles at times to wring any real drama out of the situations. The play isn't helped either by a cringe-worthy performance by Sylvester McCoy as he overacts gibbering insanity for the entirety of the first two episodes, and a terribly clichéd cab driver hero. Unregenerate! has its moments, but it never quite lives up to its premise...
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