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wabrit (Derbyshire)

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Doctor Who Demon Quest 1: The Relics Of Time
Doctor Who Demon Quest 1: The Relics Of Time
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.20

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Tom Baker BBC Audio Series gets off to a slow start, 26 Sept. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Following on from the first BBC audio series "Doctor Who": Hornets' Nest (BBC Audio) this is the first instalment in another 5 part audio adventure featuring Tom Baker as the good Doctor. Again the presentation is mostly single-voice narration, but there appear to be more sound effects and scenes involving multiple voices than in the previous series.

The good news is that Tom is off and running this time with a full-on performance, whereas in the last series the first couple of episodes found him lethargic and frankly disinterested in the material. This is somewhat ironic, since the story in this first episode is pretty weak.

As Hornet's Nest improved over the course of 5 episodes, I'm hoping this one does likewise.


The Secret Pilgrim (BBC Audio)
The Secret Pilgrim (BBC Audio)
by John Le Carre
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £16.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To be a Pilgrim, 10 Sept. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another first-class John le Carre adaptation for Radio 4, with superb performances by Patrick Malahide (as the eponymous pilgrim Ned, looking back over his life in the secret services) and the rest of the cast. Smiley (again played beautifully by Simon Russell-Beale) is very much the framing device for what are in essence a series of short stories, and that episodic nature makes this less satisfying for me than the longer continuous stories featured in the other adaptations (such as The Honourable Schoolboy (BBC Audio)), although the quality of Le Carre's writing (and in particular his mastery at character) is well to the fore. Toby Jones is especially good as the sad and lonely cipher clerk in the best segment of all.


Sony NWZE444B E Series 8GB MP3 Walkman with Voice Recording Function - Black
Sony NWZE444B E Series 8GB MP3 Walkman with Voice Recording Function - Black

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent little player with a few minor drawbacks, 22 April 2010
I've always found Sony products to be very reliable and pleasingly designed, and this MP3 player has not disappointed in either category. It's very light and compact with a simple menu design, and has the bonus of a decent FM tuner which comes with a radio record facility (although I've not found this terribly useful, as there is no capability to preset a recording for a future time). Sound quality is good, although the audio levels through headphones seem rather low. It's very easy to get content onto the player (just plug into a USB port using the supplied cable and drag and drop files from your PC). The only downsides are the lack of a "sleep" facility and a too-easily scratchable screen, but neither are deal-breakers.


Dick Barton Special Agent: The Mystery of the Missing Formula
Dick Barton Special Agent: The Mystery of the Missing Formula
by Mike Dorrell
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let him have it, Snowey!, 7 April 2010
Too young to know anything of Dick Barton other than the instantly recognisable "Devil's Gallop" theme tune, this 2xCD set provided an enjoyable re-reading (by Toby Stephens) of an original radio adventure. Dick Barton is on the trail of some dastardly baddies with the aid of Jock and Snowey, trying to prevent a deadly formula falling into the wrong hands.

What I found most interesting about the story was the way it reflected the hopes and fears of the times in which it was set (the late forties just after the war); there are echoes back to the old certainties of army and class rank in the upper class Barton's relationship with his sidekicks Jock and Snowy, as well as hints that the old order is ready for change (some of the bumbling toffs in this story). It's intriguing that the chief villain is Swiss (some retribution for neutrality in WW2 perhaps?), and there is a still strikingly unpleasant scene in which the heroine is threatened with SS-style surgical experiments.

Of course it's difficult to take these stories entirely at face value today; they are so much of their time and some aspects of the story have dated badly. But if you enter into the spirit of the thing, and with the additional interest of the tale as a piece of social history, it's a couple of hours well spent.


Doctor Who: Castrovalva
Doctor Who: Castrovalva
by Christopher H Bidmead
Edition: Audio CD

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A maze of twisty passages, all alike, 31 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who: Castrovalva (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At one point in this story a denizen of the city of Castrovalva says to the Doctor "I'm afraid we must all seem a little dull to you", and therein lies the problem at the heart of this story; there are some nice ideas (such as the zero room the Doctor recuperates in after his regeneration, or the random jettisoning of 25% of the rooms in the Tardis), but Castrovalva is a pretty characterless place which makes for the final third of the story being somewhat tedious. The other problem is that the Doctor spends much of his time in a post-regeneration befuddled haze, which means the burden of moving the story forward falls upon his companions not all of whom all are that interesting or endearing.

Problems with the source novelisation aside (which is largely faithful to the original TV episodes), this audio production is pretty good. Peter Davison reads extremely well, and deals rather better with Tegan's accent than did Christopher Bidmead on the other recent Target audio CD Logopolis. There are a few minimal sound effects, used sparingly and effectively.

Provided you don't have the same problems with the source story that I had, this is recommended.


Doctor Who: The Last Voyage
Doctor Who: The Last Voyage
by Dan Abnett
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars Spooky Who, 20 Mar. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Last Voyage is an original 10th Doctor audio adventure, read extremely well by David Tennant and with some very effective, if sparing, use of sound effects and musical score. It's a creepy tale (best listened to in the dark, with no distractions) set on a spaceship, which promises more than it eventually delivers but has its moments getting there. Perhaps one for the die-hard Who fans rather than the casual listener.


The Honourable Schoolboy (BBC Audio)
The Honourable Schoolboy (BBC Audio)
by John Le Carre
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £16.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Honourable Production, 8 Mar. 2010
Not having read any of John Le Carré's books or watched any of the BBC TV adaptations, I came to this more or less without expectations. I'm pleased to say that this is an extremely good radio drama production, with a superb cast and a gripping story. Simon Russell Beale is every bit as good as you might expect in the role of Smiley, but special mention should go to Hugh Bonneville who gives a terrific performance as the titular Jerry Westerby. On the strength of this I shall certainly be listening to more of these.


Doctor Who: Logopolis
Doctor Who: Logopolis
by Christopher H Bidmead
Edition: Audio CD

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good reading of a Target classic, 25 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who: Logopolis (Audio CD)
Logopolis was a Tom Baker era Doctor Who adventure, and this 4xCD set (which runs for a total of just over 4 hours) is a complete and unabridged reading of the original Target books novelisation by author Christopher H. Bidmead. It's a fairly complicated tale from the "Hard Sci-fi" end of the Doctor Who spectrum, but the author does a good job of telling the story and I was gripped throughout; Mr Bidmead has a rich speaking voice which comes across extremely well on audio, although he does rather struggle with Tegan's accent. Recommended for Doctor Who fans, and quite a bargain given the price and running time.


Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220vi Earphones
Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220vi Earphones

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last what I've been looking for, 25 Jan. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been very impressed with these earphones; they're not cheap, but on the other hand they are the first pair of earphones I've come across that actually don't feel uncomfortable in my ears (it helps a lot that the product comes with a number of "adapters" that allow you to choose the one that fits your particular ears best) and that don't fall out when I move my head. Sound quality is excellent, and the ability to pause and skip tracks on your iPod using the switch on the earphone lead is a great addition too. Highly recommended.


Alan Bennett's 'On the Margin' (BBC Audio)
Alan Bennett's 'On the Margin' (BBC Audio)
by Alan Bennett
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £9.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curio, not an Essential, 31 Oct. 2009
Long since accorded National Treasure status, it's easy to forget just how long Alan Bennett has been around as performer and writer, starting the Oxbridge satire boom off in the late 1950s with his contributions to "Beyond the Fringe".

This single CD carries what survives of a mid-sixties satirical radio comedy "On the Margin"; the humour is very much of its time, very undergraduate, even a little off-colour in places, and quite dated. There is one sketch however (in which AB plays a Doncaster-born writer attempting to justify to himself why he upped sticks overseas) which is amusing and still sharp after nearly 50 years.


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