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Loups-Garoux (Doctor Who)
Loups-Garoux (Doctor Who)
by Marc Platt
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Werewolves in Rio with the Doctor and Turlough!, 4 Mar. 2015
'Loups-Garoux' is the French for 'werewolves'.

It is also the second Big Finish audio made with Peter Davison and Mark Strickson as the Fifth Doctor and Turlough. I found this is a pretty grizzling and gruesome adventure. Yet it's a gripping audio drama and one of the finest 'Doctor Who' stories made for audio.

'Loups-Garoux' is four-part story by Marc Platt who contributed to the TV series with 'Ghost Light'. This is his first Big Finish audio for Peter's Doctor and is a grizzling dark tale about werewolves. There are lots going on, though I don't think I've fully grasped all the concepts in the story.

The story is set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the year 2080. The Doctor and Turlough visit Rio to enjoy the carnival festivities. But there are werewolves in Rio and soon the Doctor and Turlough are caught up in events as an ancient werewolf is on the hunt.

Marc Platt comes up with a growling, howling tale of werewolves with a sci-fi spin on them. I was quite terrified when hearing werewolves on audio, and although I may not grasp the story fully there are some gruesome horrific scenes that I found effective.

I enjoyed Peter Davison's Doctor and how he deals with the werewolves. I like his friendship with Turlough and how he develops a unique relationship with lady werewolf Ileana de Santos. Peter's Doctor faces dangerous territory regarding the werewolves that can put his life on the line.

Mark Strickson as Turlough is well-written in this adventure and develops an interesting character journey. I like how Turlough's dark side is explored and discovers his inner wolf. He also possibly develops a romantic side as he meets up and befriends Rosa Caiman in the 'Amazon desert'.

The story features a superb cast with howling performances including Eleanor Bron; Burt Kwuok and Nicky Henson.

Eleanor Bron plays Ileana de Santos, a lady werewolf. Bron has appeared twice in 'Doctor Who' as an art critic in 'City of Death' and as Kara in 'Revelation of the Daleks'. Ileana is a mother on the run, as his son Victor is strangely ill and looks to the Doctor to protect her and may even end up as his bride.

Burt Kwuok plays Dr Hayashi who works for Ileana de Santos. Kwuok has appeared with Peter Davison's Doctor before in 'Four To Doomsday'. Dr Hayashi is helping to get Ileana's son Victor better and possibly 'cure' him. He's also a deceptive man who may turn traitor against the werewolves.

Nicky Henson plays Pieter Stubbe, the ancient werewolf hunting Ileana de Santos. Henson has been in 'Eastenders' and apparently played Mr Johnson in the 'Fawlty Towers' episode 'The Psychiatrist'. I found Henson's deep and growling tones as Stubbe very effective, scary and creepy.

Rosa Caiman (Sarah Gale) is an interesting character. I don't fully understand her role in the story, but she lives out in the 'Amazon desert' by herself with her Dictaphone talking to her grandfather. She shares an interesting relationship with Turlough which has elements of romance between them.

There's a scene in this story I like between the Doctor and Turlough in 'Part Four'. It's a scene where the Doctor and Turlough discuss women and relationships. The Doctor makes references to past companions such as Nyssa and Tegan and many others including his granddaughter Susan.

The end of 'Loups-Garoux' was pretty fast-moving and I think rather rushed. I didn't fully get what was going on in the last number of scenes with how Stubbe was defeated and how the Doctor was seeing Ileana. I wish more time was given to depict the ending of 'Loups-Garoux'.

The CD extras include a trailer for 'Dalek Empire' at the end of Disc 2.

'Loups-Garoux' has been a grizzly, gripping tale about the Doctor and Turlough meeting werewolves. I enjoyed this story by Marc Platt and found the character journeys of the Doctor and Turlough interesting. It's certainly one of Big Finish finest audios and one not easy to forget.

The next story for the Doctor and Turlough is 'Singularity'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2015 11:18 AM GMT

Phantasmagoria (Doctor Who)
Phantasmagoria (Doctor Who)
by Mark Gatiss
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Turlough in London, 1702, 2 Mar. 2015
This is an adventure with the Fifth Doctor and Turlough.

It is also the second 'Doctor Who' audio produced by Big Finish in 1999.

I was getting into the foray of Big Finish audios and was enjoying them immensely. I was glad to discover there were adventures with Peter Davison and Mark Strickson as the Fifth Doctor and Turlough in the gap between 'Resurrection of the Daleks' and 'Planet of Fire'.

I always wondered what happened to these two after Tegan had left the TARDIS and before they parted on the planet Sarn. It's a shame they only did three adventures together, but the adventures they did are unique and 'Phantasmagoria' is no exception.

'Phantasmagoria' is a four-part adventure by Mark Gattis. Mark is a Doctor Who fan and has written and acted in episodes of the new series and written/produced 'An Adventure In Space and Time'. This is his first audio for Big Finish and thankfully his blessing of 'long may it continue' became true.

This story is set in London 1702 and is a Restoration comedy-style adventure about men's gambling clubs and mysterious hauntings. The Doctor and Turlough arrive in the TARDIS to discover these mysterious goings-on that involve a certain Sir Nikolas Valentine who may or may not be the Devil.

This adventure is okay for me. But I must admit I don't regard it highly. For one thing there's a lot going-on that I didn't necessarily pick upon. Also, the episode lengths were pretty short and tight, which is unusual compared to Big Finish audios in later years.

The cast are pretty good however with some extraordinary amusing performances by supporting characters and Peter Davison and Mark Strickson lead the cast pretty well. Although I was dismayed the Doctor and Turlough were separated for most of the adventure.

Peter Davison delivers an energetic and enthusiastic performance as the Doctor. This is one of Peter's earliest Big Finish audios in the main range. I was surprised little reference was made to the Doctor's loss of Tegan. I like how Peter's Doctor works things out with the mystery in this adventure.

Mark Stirckson is very good as Turlough in this adventure. I like how Turlough's cynical nature is explored and how he copes when separated from the Doctor. He meets up with two gamblers Jasper Jeake and Quincy Flowers who share in his adventure together.

A number of guest stars include people Mark Gattis is friends with. One of these is David Walliams, well-known for 'Little Britain'; has appeared with Mark in some 'Doctor Who' comedy plays (found on 'The Beginning' DVD) and has recently appeared in the new series episode 'The God Complex'.

Both Mark and David play Jasper Jeake and Quincy Flowers who are both gamblers at the Diablo Club in the story. Sometimes I found it difficult to their characters seriously. But when these two were swept into the adventure with Turlough and when Flowers got kidnapped, it became serious.

The Doctor spends a lot of scenes with Dr Samuel Hollywell and his maid Hannah Fry. Dr Hollywell (Steven Wickham) is an extraordinary character who conducts a séance to make contact with spirits. The Doctor and Hollywell seem to get on well with each other in this adventure.

Hannah Fry (Julia Dalkin) is a lovely, sweet girl who works for Hollywell as his maid. There's a surprise twist to her character at the end of 'Part Three', which I did not expect.

Jez Fielder plays a number of characters in this adventure including Poltrot, a servant of the Diablo club and Major Billy Lovemore who is a famous London highway man. Lovemore has a secret identity. Can you guess who that is?

The villain of this tale is Sir Nikolas Valentine (David Ryall). Valentine is a mysterious character who gambles at the Diablo club and plays his own long game. Could Valentine be the Devil himself or an alien who abducts many gamblers from the Diablo club?

The CD extras include two tracks of trailers at the end of Disc 2. The first track contains 'coming soon' trailers of 'Whispers of Terror' and 'The Land of the Dead'. The second track contains trailers for the first five Bernice Summerfield audio adventures from Big Finish.

'Phantasmagoria' is a pretty average story and very tight-paced. I enjoyed listening to this adventure with the Doctor and Turlough. I don't regard it highly, but it's a decent story with this TARDIS team. If you like Mark Gattis' stories, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.

The next story for the Doctor and Turlough is 'Imperial Moon'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 8:23 AM GMT

Red Dawn (Doctor Who)
Red Dawn (Doctor Who)
by Justin Richards
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Peri vs. the Ice Warriors, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Red Dawn (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is the first Ice Warriors story by Big Finish.

It is also the first of a series of adventures in `Doctor Who' with the Fifth Doctor and Peri, set in between 'Planet of Fire' and 'The Caves of Androzani'. I was pleased that Big Finish did adventures with this TARDIS duo as they only had two adventures together.

`Red Dawn' is by Justin Richards, and is about the Doctor and Peri having an adventure on the planet Mars. They meet a NASA team on their first manned mission to Mars called Ares One. They also discover a strange alien building that contains the frozen bodies of Ice Warriors that soon re-awake.

I did enjoy `Red Dawn', but I don't regard it highly as a `Doctor Who' adventure. This is because I felt the story was slow-paced at times and didn't have the dramatic and energetic impact I felt it should have. For the first Ice Warriors story by Big Finish, it's not the most exciting I've heard.

But there are some interesting moments , as Justin Richards delves into the first Mars manned mission that raises questions in terms of continuity to the TV story 'The Waters of Mars'. It also introduces us some historical references regarding the Ice Warriors' connection to Mars.

Hearing both Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant as the Doctor and Peri again was a true delight. Although they do get separated for most of the story which is a shame, as I would have liked there to be more of them together. At least they have a good first episode together.

Peter Davison as ever excels as the Doctor, as he shares new adventures with Peri and discovers the Ice Warrior waking up from their blocks of ice on Mars. Peter's Doctor also works out what's going on with the Ice Warriors' revival plans and who the real enemy is and trying to stop him.

Nicola Bryant as Peri is a delight to listen to. This is Peri's first encounter with Ice Warriors in her adventures with the Doctor. I like how Peri becomes resourceful when being separated from the Doctor and how she handles her group of Tanya and Paul Webster.

The supporting characters are the NASA team of Ares One on Mars. They include Robert Jezek as Cmmdr Lee Forbes; Maureen Oakley as Pilot Susan Roberts, Georgia Moffat as Tanya Webster and Stephen Fewell as Paul Webster.

Robert Jezek would later voice Frobisher the penguin from the `Doctor Who' comics for audio with Colin Baker. Here he plays a reluctant commander who distrusts the Doctor at first before being thrust into a tricky situation with Ice Warriors on Mars and need to gain their trust.

Maureen Oakley plays a sweet character in Susan Roberts who seems to be Forbes' confidante and is the voice of reason in this story. Susan has a sticky end as she dies in Episode 2 when getting shot by an Ice Warrior. This upsets Forbes who desperately tries to revive her.

Georgia Moffat appears in her first `Doctor Who' story with her dad Peter Davison. This is way before Georgia plays `The Doctor's Daughter' with David Tennant. Georgia plays Tracy Webster, who is a lovely character that befriends Peri and may hold the key to what goes on in this adventure.

Stephen Fewell plays Paul Webster, who is Tanya's cousin in this story. Stephen would later go on to do villains in some of the Paul McGann audios. Paul Webster is no exception as he becomes threatening to the Ice Warriors and those around him who try to get in the way of his plans.

The Ice Warriors are interesting in this story, as they're all played by a number of actors. This is different compared to later Ice Warrior stories as they're all voiced by the multi-talented Nicholas Briggs for Big Finish audios. Nick Briggs certainly isn't playing an Ice Warrior in this story.

The Ice Warriors include Matthew Brenher as Lord Zzaal; Hylton Collins as Sub-Commander Sstast; Alistair Lock as Zizmar; Jason Haigh-Ellery as Sskann and Gary Russell as Razzburr. Each of these Ice Warriors has their own unique voice, which Nick Briggs would adapt to play in his Ice Warriors.

The CD extras include two tracks of trailers at the end of Disc 2. The first track contains `coming soon' trailers for `Winter For The Adept', `The Fires of Vulcan' and `The Spectre of Lanyon Moor'. The second track contains trailers for the first seven Big Finish audios including `The Sirens of Time', `Phantasmagoria', `Whispers of Terror', `The Land of the Dead', `The Fearmonger', `The Marian Conspiracy' and `The Genocide Machine'.

So `Red Dawn' is not the best Big Finish audio I've heard. It's an average tale that starts off the adventures with the Fifth Doctor and Peri reasonably well with the Ice Warriors I don't disregard it, but it's not a story to get excited about should you want to add it to your collection.

The next story with the Doctor and Peri is 'The Ultimate Treasure'
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 8:26 AM GMT

The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby [2001] [DVD]
The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Dallimore
Offered by A1-Media
Price: £21.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dance and James D'Arcy in Dickens Classic, 1 Mar. 2015
This is a Charles Dickens TV adaptation at its best!

I enjoy watching the occasional BBC/British TV classic now and again, and certainly the Charles Dickens classics are gripping and engaging to watch. This drama is certainly based on the original book by Charles Dickens.

`The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby' has been engaging to watch and the producers and director have done an amazing depiction of this story from beginning to end. The original DVD has the story divided into two 1½ hour episodic parts, running up to 194 minutes in total length.

The story is about a young man Nicholas Nickleby and his mother and sister who've lost their father. They seek help from their uncle Ralph Nickleby in London who turns out to be a cold, vengeful man. Nicholas faces man trials and horrors throughout in order for him and his family to seek happiness.

I really like how this drama depicts the horrors of Dickensian London as well as the Yorkshire countryside school that Nicholas goes to for his first job as teacher. Nicholas witnesses the cruel horrors of schoolmaster Mr Squeers and learns of the cold-heartedness of his uncle.

This drama features a stunning cast including Charles Dance, Gregor Fisher, Pam Ferris and James D'Arcy as the young Nicholas Nickleby. I've enjoyed watching each of the characters and their journeys in seeing how the story progresses with its unique complexities by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dance plays Ralph Nickleby, the cold vengeful uncle that is like Scrooge. This was the first time I saw Charles and before he became famous in `Game of Thrones'. I enjoy Charles' approach to playing villains as he has a quiet menace about him. I'd like to see him as a `Doctor Who' villain someday.

James D'Arcy plays Nicholas Nickleby in this drama. James' performance is brilliant as he portrays Nicholas witnessing the horrors of life as he sees the cruelty inflicted at the boys' school in Yorkshire and is a caring, kind-hearted man who thinks of his father and is upset by his uncle's cold manner.

Gregor Fisher plays Mr Squeers, the horrible schoolmaster of the boys' school in Yorkshire. I first saw Gregor playing a nice character in a production of `The Railway Children'. Here he's being really mean and spiteful to the boys at his school, especially Smike who he bullies constantly.

Pam Ferris plays Mrs Squeers, the wife of said schoolmaster. Pam will always be the villainous Miss Trunchbull in the children's film `Matilda' for me. In this, she's an equally nasty character as Squeers' wife who both passionately love each other and she gets to bully the boys at their school.

The supporting cast are brilliant to name some recognisable faces featured in this drama.

There's lovely Sophia Myles as Kate Nickleby, Nicholas' sister. Sophia would go on to play Lady Penelope in the 2004 Thunderbirds movie and has appeared in an episode of `Doctor Who'. Kate is Nicholas' beautiful sister who becomes the victim of drunken men lusting after her.

There's Diana Kent playing Mrs. Nickleby, Nicholas and Kate's widowed mother; George Innes as Noggs, Ralph Nickleby's clerk and Lee Ingleby as Smike, the young boy at Squeers school that Nicholas befriends.

There's Debbie Chazen (who's been in `Doctor Who' - `Voyage of the Damned') as Fanny, Squeers' daughter; Tom Hollander (who I've seen in `Wives and Daughters) as Alfred Mantalini and Domnic West as Sir Mulberry Hawk, who lusts after Kate Nickleby.

There's also Malcolm Tierney (who's been in `Doctor Who' - `The Trial of a Time Lord') as Sir Mulberry Hawk who employs both Nicholas and Smike in the theatre and Liz Smith (who's been in `The Vicar of Dibley') as Peg Sliderskew.

The special features on this original DVD include cast filmographies; Charles Dickens materials; a photo gallery; interactive menus and a scene index for the two episodic parts.

`The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby' has been great to watch. I enjoy watching it with my family and features superb performances by Charles Dance as the villain and James D'Arcy as the hero. If you're into Charles Dickens-type drama, then I highly recommend this one!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 1:05 PM GMT

Doctor Who: Divided Loyalties
Doctor Who: Divided Loyalties
by Gary Russell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric vs. The Celestial Toymaker, 22 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've finally read this book at last!

I've enjoyed reading' Divided Loyalties', a Fifth Doctor adventure with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric set during Season 19. It's quite an unusual story, but very gripping and features a character-driven battle of wits between the Doctor and his friends against The Celestial Toymaker.

This book is by Gary Russell, who's directed many of the Big Finish audios. It is obviously a sequel to the TV story 'The Celestial Toymaker' and is also a link to the unmade TV story (now a Big Finish audio) called 'The Nightmare Fair' with Colin Baker's Doctor.

I bought this book as part of a sale on Amazon over Christmas 2011. Like many other books in that sale, it took a while for me to get round to reading it. Now that I've read it, I can safely say it's one of the most intriguing `Doctor Who' stories ever written by Gary Russell.

The story is about the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric arriving on the planet Dymok and meeting a spaceship led by Commander Oakwood. The Doctor responds to a telepathic message which turns out to be a trap as the Celestial Toymaker is waiting for him and turning his friends against him.

The book is divided into four `rounds' (I presumed four episodes, but the fourth is actually an appendix). The rounds' titles are `Messages'; `Dreaming', `Universal' and `Annex'. The book is strangely structured as Round 2 centres on a flashback sequence to the Doctor's past (more later).

I enjoyed how Gary harks back to the classic style of Brian Hayles' writing of the Celestial Toymaker and delving on the playing of mind-tracks on the characters. The characters of Nyssa, Tegan and Adric are developed upon in terms of their pasts and current issues they're having in the story.

`Divided Loyalties' is a book that has `divided' opinion amongst fans. I've taken these criticisms into account, although I found that Gary's book kept me interested all the way through. It does have a weak conclusion, but I was immersed into the stories of the main characters that I love so much.

Peter Davison's Doctor is well-written. I like how the Doctor's past is touched upon and how it affects him when confronting the Toymaker and the mistakes he made haunting back to him. His greatest fear of letting his companions down is explored in this novel.

Tegan's journey is explored in this novel. She starts from moaning and wanting to get back home to Heathrow Airport to wanting to stay with the Doctor and crew for a while at the end. I like the dream sequences Tegan has seeing the family she left behind and being back in Brisbane.

Nyssa was a joy to read. I enjoyed reading the scenes where Nyssa has dreams of being back on Traken. Her story struck a chord in my heart, as I was anxious when Nyssa's trust in the Doctor is challenged. She becomes angry with him as he lets him down for saving her father from being killed.

Adric was an interesting character to read in this novel. It turns out that Adric stinks of BO which makes sense somehow. Adric's arrogance is portrayed in the book and we get a flashback of him on his home planet of Alazarius. Also Adric mourning the loss of the Fourth Doctor is explored.

The Celestial Toymaker depicted is the Michael Gough version. I remember seeing Michael in the surviving fourth episode of the TV story, and could hear his voice perfectly when reading the book. The Toymaker is pretty a challenging opponent for the Doctor to face in the book.

Like I said, we get a flashback sequence in Round 2 where the Doctor is on Gallifrey and how he first met the Toymaker. This is the younger First Doctor which was exciting to read and had appearances of familiar Time Lord characters including the Master under different names.

Although this flashback section of the story was interesting, it took away from the main part of the story. Whilst it was enjoyable to read the First Doctor on Gallifrey, I wanted to know what had become of the Fifth Doctor team. But it does provide backstory as to how the Doctor first met the Toymaker.

The book sadly has a weak conclusion as it all seems rushed when the Doctor and friends defeated the Toymaker. I was disappointed the Doctor and Nyssa's reconciliation was briefly mentioned at the end. I'm sure with the flashback sequence edited in length; the conclusion could have been stronger.

At the end of the book, there is an afterword by Gary Russell that provides a little behind-the-scenes info on how the book `Divided Loyalties' came to be written.

I'm not sure whether this book will get turned into an audio drama. Big Finish is currently doing audio adaptions of the Virgin novels published in the 1990s. This is a BBC book, and so far none of the `Doctor Who' novels of that range are considered for audio adaption.

I wouldn't mind if the BBC did an audiobook narration of `Divided Loyalties', since that's what they seem to be currently doing. I'm wondering who would narrate `Divided Loyalties' as an audiobook. I would like Peter Davison or Sarah Sutton to be the narrators, should they say yes.

`Divided Loyalties' is an enjoyable and obviously indulgent Fifth Doctor novel. I enjoyed the character journeys of the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. I found the conclusion week and the flashback sequence diverting. But the book is a good read and despite criticism makes an exciting adventure.

The next story for the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric is 'Black Orchid'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 23, 2015 10:06 AM GMT

The Five Companions (Big Finish) Doctor Who
The Five Companions (Big Finish) Doctor Who
by Eddie Robson
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor, Nyssa, Ian, Steven, Sara and Polly vs. Daleks and Sontarans, 21 Feb. 2015
This is a lovely Christmas treat from Big Finish!

I love `The Five Companions' very much. This is the 2011 subscriber's special of the `Doctor Who' range from Big Finish, and is an exciting action-packed adventure by Eddie Robson.

It features Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor with five companions including Sarah Sutotn as Nyssa, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Peter Purves as Steven Taylor, Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom and Anneke Wills as Polly Wright. It also features two monsters - the Daleks and the Sontarans.

I wanted to have this subscriber's special very much. But you can only purchase it from the Big Finish website in a 12-month subscription of main range audios either with the Paul McGann story `Army of Death' or as a special free gift. So you can't get it from Amazon sadly.

However I managed to purchase `The Five Companions' when I subscribed to Big Finish in 2011 and I'm very glad I did. `The Five Companions' is worth having as it's full of nostalgia and features an exciting adventure with the Fifth Doctor and his companions against two well-known monsters.

I've recently had the CD cover signed by lovely Sarah Sutton at Big Finish Day 6 in January, 2015.

`The Five Companions' is set during the events of 'The Five Doctors' - the 20th anniversary special of `Doctor Who'. Ian, Steven, Sara, Polly and Nyssa are trapped in an alternative Death Zone with Daleks, Sontarans and dinosaurs. The Fifth Doctor turns up and hopes to keep his companions alive...

Listening to the five companions was a joy to listen to. I was surprised that Nyssa was the only young companion and that Ian, Steven, Sara and Polly were older. But then this adventure is presumably set after their initial travels with the Doctor.

I was delighted to be hearing Sarah Sutton as Nyssa in this. It's nice that Sarah as Nyssa gets to be in a story with her Doctor and four classic companions and facing Daleks and Sontarans. It's good that Nyssa is in a story set during `The Five Doctors' which she wasn't in herself.

This story takes place after Nyssa left the Doctor in 'Terminus' and presumably before she meets up with him again in 'Cobwebs'. I love it when Nyssa reunites with her Doctor. I also like it when Nyssa gets to share an adventure with Ian, and the two have some nice scenes together.

William Russell as Ian was a joy to listen to. I was pleased to hear Ian married Barbara and I enjoyed Ian's interaction with the Fifth Doctor; being reunited with Steven and sharing an adventure with Nyssa. I like that moment when Ian hid inside a Dalek from the first Dalek story.

I enjoyed Peter Purves as Steven Taylor in this adventure. Steven is the first companion who encounters a Dalek at the start and is rescued by Ian. I like how reference is made to Steven's last adventure with the Doctor in 'The Savages' and how he interacts and reunites with Ian and Sara.

Jean Marsh reprises her role as Sara Kingdom. I was surprised to hear Sara in this adventure as I thought she was aged to death in 'The Daleks' Master Plan'. But apparently there's been some story going on in the companion chronicles of how Sara managed to survive that end.

Anneke Will was equally joyful as Polly. I like how she meets up with Sara dodging dinosaurs and Daleks. I like her scenes with the Fifth Doctor and it turned out she was inspiration for him. It was nice to hear Polly and Ben are still together since their travels with the Doctor ended.

I was pleased to hear Peter Davison as the Doctor for this adventure. This adventure occurs when the Doctor used the transmat to escape Cybermen in `The Five Doctors'. I like the Doctor's interaction with his companions and showing concern for them to keep them alive and escape.

It was great to hear the Daleks, voiced again by Nicholas Briggs. All five companions have met Daleks as Ian met them in the first Dalek story, Steven and Sara in `The Daleks' Master Plan', Polly in `The Power of the Daleks' and Nyssa in the Big Finish audios including `The Mutant Phase'.

I equally enjoyed the Sontarans who are all voiced amazingly by Dan Starkey. Dan plays the Sontarans in the new series of `Doctor Who'. I was fascinated that Steven knew the Sontarans already. Nyssa certainly knows them as this for her must take place before 'Heroes of Sontar'.

The CD extras on this disc including a `coming soon' trailer for the companion chronicle 'The Anachronauts' with Steven and Sara. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with Sarah Sutton, Nick Briggs, William Russell, Peter Purves, Jean Marsh, Anneke Wills and Dan Starkey.

`The Five Companions' has been a tremendously enjoyable adventure for me. This was my Christmas present for 2011 and I was so pleased to hear the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Ian, Steven, Sara and Polly fighting Daleks and Sontarans. It truly is a pleasurable experience.

Remember now - you can only get this adventure by subscribing to Big Finish on their website if you really want it.

The next story for the Doctor is 'Ringpullworld'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 23, 2015 10:04 AM GMT

The Light at the End (Doctor Who)
The Light at the End (Doctor Who)
by Nicholas Briggs
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £45.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctors, the Companions and the Master - Celebrating 50 Years of 'Doctor Who', 17 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
23rd November 2013.

The 50th anniversary of 'Doctor Who' in 2013! What a year to remember!

I was forward to seeing a TV episode of 'Doctor Who' that celebrated the 50th anniversary featuring all the Doctors and the companions. I wanted a party atmosphere in the same vein as the 'The Five Doctors'. Obviously that wasn't going to happen in the current TV series with Steven Moffat.

So therefore, Big Finish came up with 'The Light At The End', a superb multi-Doctor adventure to celebrate 50 years of the show's history, featuring the surviving classic doctors; the companions and the Master. I couldn't wait to hear this adventure. Shame Doctors 9, 10 and 11 couldn't appear in it.

This is a 5-disc set limited edition, with the story on the first two discs, Disc 3 containing a 'making-of' documentary; Disc 4, a 'Big Finish' documentary' and Disc 5, a companion chronicle called 'The Revenants'.

I listened to this story in the car with my parents when we went on a family weekend to Chichester. It was a day before the 23rd November 2013, in the lead up to the 50th anniversary.

'The Light At The End' is a story about the first eight Doctors experiencing a crisis as the life of Bob Dovie gets ripped apart on the 23rd November 1963. The Doctors and their companions must stop this crisis before their existence is at risk as the Master is somehow involved.

I was very pleased that Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann appeared as the main Doctors. I was extremely pleased that Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher appeared as the main companions.

I enjoyed listening to this story and being thrilled by the 50th anniversary theme music. This is a better anniversary story to celebrate the show's history compared to 'The Day of the Doctor'.

This is a two-part adventure running 100 minutes approx. It was written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, who I'm very pleased Nick Briggs said 'yes' to doing this multi-Doctor anniversary special.

This story was released in 3 versions - a standard edition; a limited edition and a vinyl edition. I bought the limited Edition since it had more features and I didn't have a vinyl record player.

So far, I've had my limited edition signed by Nick Briggs; Colin Baker; Sylvester McCoy; Louise Jameson; Sarah Sutton; Sophie Aldred; John Dorney and Tim Treloar.

The limited edition is presented as a lavish booklet containing CIA Time Lords report about the story and amazing group photos of the Doctors and companions inside. Colin, Sylvester, Louise, Sarah and Sophie have signed the group photos inside the booklet for me which I'm happy about.

The story starts with the Eighth Doctor and Charley (Paul McGann and India Fisher). Hearing Paul and India as the Doctor and Charley was superb and it feels right they should be together since the Eighth Doctor adventures in Big Finish featured Charley from the start.

The Eighth Doctor and Charley discover the mystery first in connection with Earth, 1963. But they end up on a war-like landscape with strange flower-like creatures and funny robots. They soon bump into the Fourth Doctor and Leela who share the adventure with them.

I was pleased that Tom Baker wanted to do a multi-Doctor adventure as the Fourth Doctor, making up for his absence in previous anniversary specials. It was great to hear him joined by his companion Leela (Louise Jameson) who's equally fiery in this adventure.

The Fourth Doctor and Leela make their appearance when Charley appears in their TARDIS. I like Charley's first meeting with them and Leela saying 'Charlotte' is a strong name'. I also like the Fourth and Eighth Doctors working together as it sounds so unreal and amazing.

The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa (Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton) are my favourite part of the story, for obvious reasons. It's really good that Sarah is part of the 50th anniversary through Big Finish since she (and other classic companions) wasn't going to get a look in in the actual anniversary special.

The adventure with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa is pivotal, as they solve a mystery with Bob Dovie at his house in 1963. I like it when Nyssa gets to be a 'police sergeant' by the Doctor. They discover the dolls' house and see Bob Dovie's wife and kids inside, realising it's the Master's work.

I was a joy to hear the Sixth Doctor and Peri (Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant) together. Colin is unfortunate as he didn't get his 10-year in the TV series, but has done plenty of audios with the Doctor. So it's great to hear him take part in Big Finish's anniversary special with Peri beside him.

I like it when Colin's Doctor gets to save the day when discovering the Time Lords and bringing all the Doctors together. I also like it when the Sixth Doctor and Peri meet up with the Seventh Doctor and Ace and the two Doctors and companions work together as a team.

The Seventh Doctor and Ace (Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred) are great together in this adventure. Sylvester and Sophie have had more adventures as the Doctor and Ace through Big Finish and it's great they get to celebrate that in this anniversary special.

I like it when they're searching around a walled area and Ace uses her Nitro-9 again which was exciting to listen to. Things get tense when Ace (and the other companions) gets erased and the Seventh Doctor gets into the TARDIS receiving contact from the first three Doctors.

Surprisingly, the first three Doctors make an appearance in this anniversary special. The First Doctor is voiced by William Russell and the Second Doctor by Frazer Hines, who have both done interpretations of their Doctors in 'The Lost Stories'. The Third Doctor is voiced by Tim Treloar.

Geoffrey Beavers delivers a superb performance as Master, the villain of this adventure. This is the decayed Master between 'The Deadly Assassin' and 'The Keeper of Traken'. I got a chill went down my spine when Nyssa discovering it's Master before he came to Traken.

John Dorney plays Bob Dovie in this adventure, and I'm sure he's very pleased to be part of the 50th anniversary of 'Doctor Who' through Big Finish. Bob is the catalyst of this crisis with the Doctors and says something significant about something which to him 'is just impossible'.

There are lots of cameos from companions including Carole Ann Ford, William Russell; Maureen O'Brien; Peter Purves; Jean Marsh; Anneke Wills; Frazer Hines; Wendy Padbury; Katy Manning; Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. These cameos appear as a sequence in the TARDIS with Charley.

I really enjoyed it when all the Doctors met up and worked together. Hearing Tom, Peter, Colin, Sylvester and Paul in the same scene was extraordinary. Also when Tom and Paul's Doctors distract the Master as Peter, Colin and Sylvester's Doctors sort out Bob Dovie was exciting.

I wish though that the companions had a bigger part to play in the story as they were erased by the Master. I would have liked Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley interacting with each other and calming the Doctors down, but this is a minor complaint.

I enjoyed how the story ends with the eight Doctors, having solved the crisis, going to see Bob Dovie at his house to check he's alright. Bob Dovie is really rattled by the point the Eighth Doctor and Charley as he and his family are trying to get some sleep.

'The Light At The End' is a fantastic audio adventure to celebrate 50 years of 'Doctor Who' and I'm very pleased I listened to it in the car with my parents to Chichester. It features everything I love about the classic series of 'Doctor Who' including my favourite Doctors and companions.

The next story for the Eighth Doctor and Charley is 'Invaders from Mars'.

I enjoyed listening to the making-of documentary on Disc 3 of this limited edition of 'The Light At The End' as it features plenty of interviews of classic 'Doctor Who' stars.

This documentary looks into how writer/director Nick Briggs and producer David Richardson came up with this multi-Doctor story for the 50th anniversary and assembling a galaxy cast of stars.

As well as Nick Briggs and David Richardson, there are interviews with the Doctors and companions. It's a shame not everyone worked together in the same room as some worked separately.

The Doctors interviewed include Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. I enjoyed hearing the comments made by the actors especially when they talk about anniversary postage stamps and Sylvester mentioning playing Radagast the Brown in 'The Hobbit'.

I delighted to hear the companions interviewed including Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher. I like how they mention reflecting on their time in the TV series and being grateful to Big Finish to still be carrying on in 'Doctor Who'.

I met Sarah, Louise, Sophie and Colin in Fareham before Christmas 2014 when they signed the CD booklet for me. I chatted to them about the 50th anniversary in general and 'The Day of the Doctor'.

The documentary also interviews William Russell; Frazer Hines; Carole Ann Ford; Anneke Wills and Tim Treloar who played the earlier Doctors and companions. There's also Geoffrey Beevers; John Dorney; Oliver Hume (who played Straxus) and composer/sound designer Jamie Robertson.

This is another good documentary with Big Finish on Disc 4 that celebrates 'Doctor Who's 50th anniversary by looking into the achievements Big Finish in 2013 and beyond.

Nick Briggs and David Richardson get interviewed as well as interviews with the classic Doctors; companions and many more who have shared in the success of Big Finish.

The Doctors include Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann interviewed in this documentary. I like how they reflect on their time in the TV series and how Big Finish has made an impact on their lives by carrying on 'Doctor Who' for them.

Many companions get interviewed including William Russell; Carole Ann Ford; Anneke Wills; Frazer Hines; Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding; Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher. Equally they reflect on their involvement in 'Doctor Who' and their delight with Big Finish.

I enjoyed listening Sarah's comments about Nyssa having an extended history in Big Finish compared to the TV series. I also enjoyed Sophie mentioning using 'a baseball bat' to beat up a Dalek; and the complications of Sylvester working on 'The Hobbit' and 'Doctor Who' at the same time.

The documentary also looks into the successes of many Big Finish audios including the Klein stories; the spin-offs such as 'Jago and Litefoot', 'Counter-Measures' and 'Vienna'; and mentioning the upcoming box sets such as 'Philip Hinchcliffe Presents' and 'The Fifth Doctor Box Set'.

There are interviews with Tracey Childs (Elizabeth Klien); Geoffrey Beevers (the Master); Terry Molloy (Davros); producer Phillip Hinchcliffe of the Tom Baker era and script editor Alan Barnes.

This is a bonus companion chronicle adventure featured on Disc 5.

I listened to this story on the way back home from my family weekend in Chichester. It was really nice listening to it after enjoyed the previous 50th anniversary celebrations of 'Doctor Who'.

This story was originally released with an issue of 'Doctor Who Magazine' in 2012. Now fans can enjoy it with this limited edition of 'The Light At The End.'

This is a First Doctor companion chronicle by Ian Potter starring William Russell as Ian. It features the First Doctor with Ian and Barbara and is set right after 'The Dalek Invasion Of Earth'. It feels right that this bonus adventure should be included in a 50th anniversary collector's edition as this.

'The Revenants' is a story about an older Ian returning to the Orkney Islands in Scotland in 2012. He meets a girl called Jeannie and tells her about an adventure he had with the Doctor and Barbara. He recalls and tells his adventure set in 1956 all those years ago.

This was a somewhat relaxing and entertaining experience. I wouldn't rate it highly as a 'Doctor Who' story but it's not bad. The action and pace seems slow in places, but I enjoyed the murky atmosphere of the Orkney Islands described by Ian and felt the marshy lands under my feet.

William Russell performs really well as Ian as well as the Doctor and Barbara. I like Ian's sense of nostalgia when he reflects back on his adventure in 1956. I also like Ian's relationship with Barbara, especially that moment when they consider staying and living seven years before getting to 1963.

I enjoyed William's interpretation of the First Doctor. It's not as good as Peter Purves' version, but the crotchety nature of the character is still there. I like that moment when it turns out the Wissfornjarl happens to be the Doctor at the end of Episode One.

Lots of references are made to previous adventure with the Doctor, Ian and Barbara. Most particularly is reference made to Susan's departure in 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' and the Doctor is still recovering missing his granddaughter after locking her out of the TARDIS.

William Russell is joined by Sharon Small who plays both Janet and Jeannie in this story. I like the Scottish tones of Sharon's voice and she plays both characters from two different time periods extremely well balancing her voice and performances in each one.

Jeannie is someone who meets an older Ian and becomes intrigued by this adventure he had in 1956. Janet is a character the Doctor, Ian and Barbara meet in 1956 who is a witch and she believes the Doctor to be the Wissfornjarl and knows something about the strange Marsh-Wraiths.

I did find the Marsh-Wraiths slightly disappointing. It's not the sound design was terrible, but for me they weren't realised enough and didn't seem to have a huge impact of the story. I did like the Doctor's confrontation towards them in the second episode of the story.

'The Revenants' has been an enjoyable story to listen to. It's a nice bonus adventure to add to the 50th anniversary celebrations. I wouldn't consider it the greatest story I've listened to, but I enjoyed hearing William Russell as Ian narrating an adventure he had with the Doctor all those years ago.

The next story for the First Doctor, Ian and Barbara is 'The Rescue'.

This is a superb collector's edition from Big Finish that is worthy to celebrate 50 years of 'Doctor Who'. This and 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot' are, for me, the best anniversary specials for 'Doctor Who's 50th. I highly recommend 'The Light At The End' to anyone that loves this show as I do.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2015 1:10 PM GMT

Dad's Army - The Complete Collection [DVD] [1968]
Dad's Army - The Complete Collection [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Arthur Lowe
Price: £18.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Panic - The Dad's Army DVD Experience!, 9 Feb. 2015
(sing-song) "Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?"

This is one of my favourite BBC sitcoms from the 60s and 70s. I love Dad's Army starring Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn. I love the characters and I love watching every episode from the series. This is a series I highly recommend watching should you find relaxation and a need to feel good about yourself.

The series is about the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon led by Captain Mainwaring. It is set during war-time in World War II and Mainwaring leads his men to become an 'efficient fighting unit' against the Nazi hordes. Except the members of the Home Guard are the most bumbling lot Mainwaring's ever led and they get into the most hilarious of scrapes.

This is a 14 DVD box-set. I have many favourite episodes from this series as my favourite characters. But I'm sure there are characters and episodes you'll find your favourites when watching this series.

You are watching...

ARTHUR LOWE as Captain Mainwaring - George Mainwaring's the bank manager at Walmington-on-Sea and he takes it upon himself to become leader of the Home Guard. Mainwaring's a pompous fat little man who thinks highly of himself and always puts Wilson in his place.

JOHN LE MESURIER as Sergeant Wilson - Arthur Wilson is the chief clerk of the bank where he works for Mainwaring. Wilson becomes sergeant of the Home Guard by Mainwaring. Wilson is rather laid back and treats everyone equally and advises Mainwaring, "Do you think this is wise, sir?"

CLIVE DUNN as Lance Corporal Jones - Jack Jones the butcher is the most enthusiastic member of the Home Guard. He's an old soldier who becomes lance corporal. Jones has catchphrases of 'Don't Panic', 'Permission to speak, sir' and 'they don't like it up them' with the 'cold steel'.

JOHN LAURIE as Private Frazer - James Frazer is the undertaker at Walmington-on-Sea and is the voice of doom. Frazer is a Scotsman who doubts Mainwaring's leadership until he admits 'I never doubted you for a moment, sir'. Frazer tends to say, 'We're doomed, doomed' at times.

JAMES BECK as Private Walker - Joe Walker is the platoon's spiff who can get anyone anything from knicker-elastic to cigars to bottles of black market whisky. Walker is the joker amongst the platoon and gets on Mainwaring's nerves whenever he makes a wry remark.

ARNOLD RIDLEY as Private Godfrey - Charles Godfrey is the elderly member of the platoon and is the sweetest, nicest man you'd want to me. He's an old gentleman who does tend to nod off in his sleep and often asks, 'do you mind if I might be excused for a minute?' to pay a toilet visit.

IAN LAVENDAR as Private Pike - Frank Pike is the youngest member of the platoon and is always regarded as a 'stupid boy' by Mainwaring. Pike's rather juvenile and Sergeant Wilson happens to be his uncle who he calls 'Uncle Arthur'. Pike is a fan of going to the cinemas and seeing films.

Here are the lists of episodes features on each disc in this DVD box set.

N.B. Series 1 & 2 are in black and white whilst Series 3-9 are in colour.

This is the very first episode of the 'Dad's Army' series as Mainwaring forms the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) at Walmington on Sea. He makes himself Captain and chooses Wilson to become his sergeant.

In this episode, Mainwaring and his men try to acquire some weapons from the local Peabody Museum of Historic Army Weapons. There is one problem. The curator happens to be Corporal Jones' dad and he won't let them in.

Still short of weapons, Mainwaring has an offer from Colonel Square (Geoffrey Lumsden) who makes his first appearance in 'Dad's Army'. But in order to get weapons from Square, Mainwaring will have to give up commanding the platoon.

Jones, Walker and Pike are out on patrol to capture any Nazi parachutists invading at night. After shooting a swan, the three men manage to capture two Luftwaffe pilots. Will the men get their reward of £20 for capturing the two Nazis?

Mainwaring and his men are visited by a certain Major Regan who inspects the platoon and their military methods. When seeing Corporal Jones, he considers him too old to be in the Home Guard. Jones has to prove himself by completing an assault course in 15 minutes. Can he do it?

The platoon gets chosen to be the guard of honour for the Prime Minister visiting Walmington. But Major Regan challenges the Walmington-on-Sea platoon in a shooting competion between them and the Eastgate platoon. Can Walker provide the answer for winning the competition?

SERIES TWO (DISC 2) - NB. This series is incomplete as three out of the six episodes are still missing.
This is one of the recently recovered episodes from 2001. In this episode, the Walmington-on-Sea platoon is challenged by a Highland regiment in an invasion exercise. Will they be able to outwit the Highlanders in the exercise?

This is another of the 'lost episodes' found in 2001. In this episode, Mainwaring and his men prepare for an invasion. When the church bell sounds, Mainwaring, Jones and Frazer make for Godfrey's cottage as a defensive point. Will they be able to stop the invaders?

In this episode, Pike's mum is expecting to take in a child evacuee. Wilson becomes worried overhearing Mrs Pike's conversation with her son, thinking she's pregnant. When he mentions this to Mainwaring, he is advised to ask Mrs Pike to marry him.

The special features include a documentary called 'Missing Presumed Wiped', looking into the two recovered episodes of Dad's Army. There are also radio versions of the remaining lost episodes including 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker'; 'A Stripe For Frazer' and ''Under Fire'.

Mainwaring's platoon tries to work with the ARP wardens led by Hodges (Bill Pertwee). Also Jones donates his butcher's van as platoon transport.

Mainwaring and his men go on a war-training weekend in the countryside.

Mainwaring shows his men how to make telephone calls during an emergency.

The platoon report they have run out of ammunition and Mainwaring arranges a 'court of inquiry'.

An unexploded bomb hit the band and Mainwaring and Wilson are caught holding it in the vault.

This is the only black-and-white episode featured in Series 3. After discovering Mainwaring doesn't hold a commission as Captain, he is eventually demoted.

The Dad's Army team get a new big firing gun to defend the town. I found it funny when the Verger (Edward Sinclair) interferes finding the gun's safety catch on.

Mainwaring and his platoon have to stop a barrage balloon going out of control.

This episode has Pike falling in love with a girl that Mainwaring disapproves of. A dance is held for the Home Guard platoon and Pike intends to announce his engagement.

Mainwaring and his platoon have to patrol at night on an abandoned sea pier.

It turns out Godfrey's a conscientious objector and Mainwaring is shocked.

Whilst getting a tracker dog, Walker admits that he's sold ladies' knickers out of a parachute.

Frazer misplaces the butterfly spring from his machine gun. Believing it to be inside an occupied coffin, Mainwaring and his men help Frazer get the spring back.

Mainwaring decides for the platoon to take river patrols. They soon get lost in fog and out on sea.

On Disc 3, there's 'We Are The Boys...Arnold Ridley' and on Disc 4, there's a photo gallery.

This episode has the Walminghton-on-Sea Home Guard platoon taking part in the big parade. They hope to catch a ram as their mascot and Pike falls into a bog.

This episode guest stars Geoffrey Lumsden as Captain Square. Mainwaring and his men take part in a training exercise involving Jones in a dummy log and Frazer in a diving suit.

Mainwaring gets his men to have functional, fast and fit feet by doing lots of marching. This is too much for the platoon who attempt to swap Mainwaring's shoes. This episode guest stars Erik Chitty.

Pike gets caught and trapped in a net of barbed wire in the midst of a mine field on the beach. Can Mainwaring and the platoon save Pike's life before the tide comes in and avoid mines?

Mainwaring and his platoon are ordered to take over guard duty at an Italian prisoner-of-war camp. Walker is seen by Godfrey making a deal with an Italian captain. Will he turn out traitor?

The platoon refuses to come on parade and play a darts match with the ARP Wardens in the pub. Mainwaring, Wilson, Jones and Pike meanwhile attempt to catch a hardened criminal.

Jones, Pike, Frazer and Godfrey are sent on guard duty at a light-house. But when they mess up with the lighting system, Walmington-on-Sea is in trouble with the air raid going on.

This is one of my favourite episodes from the 'Dad's Army' series. Jones meets up with an old soldier friend Private Clarke who it turns out Jones left in the desert to die.

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10. 'THE TEST;
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On Disc 6, there's 'We Are The Boys...James Beck' and a photo gallery.

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Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2015 4:10 PM GMT

Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken (The Dr Who Library, No 37)
Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken (The Dr Who Library, No 37)
by Terrance Dicks
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Traken!, 4 Feb. 2015
`Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken' was a pleasure and a treat to read and absorb for me.

I bought this Target novel at a convention in Swansea, 2010. `The Keeper of Traken' is one of my favourite stories from the TV found in the 'New Beginnings' DVD trilogy box set. It features my favourite companion Nyssa's debut and I was keen to read this book which I read on holiday in 2011.

The Doctor and Adric are visited by the Keeper of Traken and are summoned for aid as an evil force re-awakens on Traken. The calcified Melkur uses Consul Kassia to get into the Keeper's chair, and the Doctor and Adric have to stop him with the help of Tremas and his daughter Nyssa.

The book was originally published in 1982 - a year after the story was transmitted in 1981. I love the front cover, as it has a beautiful profile picture of Sarah Sutton as Nyssa adorning the cover with the Melkur statue in the background. Its great Nyssa's on the front of a 'Doctor Who' book.

Terrance Dicks wrote the novelisation of `The Keeper of Traken', based on the original TV scripts by Johnny Byrne. Terrance is a `Doctor Who' legend, script-editing the Jon Pertwee years. I'm very impressed with how Terrance manages to novelise and staying true to the original TV script.

It is a rather slim book, since Terrance doesn't add much to the original story. Apart from adding in deleted scenes, Terrance simply according to what Johnny Byrne wrote. This is a shame as I wanted to explore more of Traken and the characters. But it's a good book and a nice read anyway.

The book is divided into 12 chapters with 3 chapters making up one episode out of the four from the TV story - 3 chapters x 4 = 12 chapters. The chapters also have exciting titles to them as `The Voice of Melkur', `The Net', 'The Rule of Melkur' and `The Last Resort'.

The dialogue between characters is sharper than it was in the TV story. Terrance reworded some of the original lines to make them sound believable. One moment I liked is when Nyssa encourages her father at the end of the Doctor persuading Tremas to give them the plans of the Source Manipulator.

Terrance has done well in describing the world of Traken and manages to clarify some of the points in the story that might not be clear to viewers. This includes describing the workings of the Source Manipulator, the keepership of Traken works and what rapport with the Keeper actually is.

As I mentioned before, Terrance re-inserts deleted scenes that weren't featured in the TV story. This includes a scene between Nyssa and Adric at the grove gates; and additional dialogue between Doctor, Tremas, Luvic and Katura when escorted by Neman after the Melkur becomes Keeper.

I like how Terrance writes the Fourth Doctor and Adric, as he previously wrote for them in `State of Decay'. A nice connection is made to the Doctor and Adric escaping from E-Space. Terrance keeps to the Doctor and Adric's strengths as Johnny Byrne wrote for them in the original TV story.

Terrance has done well in writing for Nyssa in her first appearance of 'Doctor Who'. I've noticed Terrance describes Nyssa as a 'slender brown-haired girl' a couple of times. I like how Terrance describes the interaction between Nyssa and Adric and the relationship between her and her father.

Tremas is well-served in the novel making him a worthy ally to the Doctor. Tremas is committed to his oath of office as a Consul; showing a compassionate side and being fond of his family. Tremas is a character that you easily identify and sympathise with when his eventual fate occurs at the end.

I really like how Terrance depicts Kassia in doing the things Melkur asks her to do out of love for her husband. Kassia doesn't want Tremas to be Keeper-Nominate as her marriage to him will be short-lived, so I was able to sympathise and understand why she did these things.

The Melkur statue is well depicted in the story as Terrance describes the silky tones in its voice. He describes the Melkur's evil nature pretty well especially when walking about the grove. Terrance gives clues and hints about who the Melkur is such as mentioning the creature in his control room.

Of course, the Melkur is a TARDIS and it is the Master all along. Terrance has fun writing for the Master as he co-created the character with Barry Letts in the early 70s with Jon Pertwee's Doctor. He describes the Master once as Roger Delgado before his decayed form from 'The Deadly Assassin'.

The way the novel ends is very touching and moving and Terrance does extremely well in describing the horror of Tremas' demise when he gets takes over by the Master. You feel sorry for Nyssa when she calls out to him at the end. Terrance adds a faint evil laugh which is effective and disturbing.

I've really enjoyed 'Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken' by Terrance Dicks who's done an amazing job novelising Johnny Byrne's TV story. I really would like there to be an audiobook version of the story. I hope Sarah Sutton will be the narrator since I love her beautiful voice.

Read on or listen to the novelisation/audiobook of 'Doctor Who - Logopolis' next.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2015 1:12 PM GMT

Doctor Who - Meglos [DVD]
Doctor Who - Meglos [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: £6.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meglos Man, 27 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Doctor Who - Meglos [DVD] (DVD)
Is the Doctor a cactus or the cactus a Doctor?

`Meglos' is the second story of the John Nathan-Turner era of `Doctor Who' and a fascinating four-part adventure written by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch and directed by Terrence Dudley. This story has a different style of pace and atmosphere compared to 'The Leisure Hive'. I enjoyed this story very much although I wouldn't say it excites me as many other stories. This is a doppelganger story about a Dodecahedron, some space pirates and an evil cactus.

The Doctor has been summoned to the jungle world of Tigella, whilst he and Romana are repairing K-9 in the TARDIS. But the Doctor, Romana and K-9 get caught in a time loop, one that they can't seem to escape from. This is the work of the megalomaniac Meglos, an evil cactus who hires a group of space pirates and takes on the form of the Doctor to steal the powerful crystal-like Dodecahedron from the Tigellans. Can the Doctor, Romana and K-9 stop Meglos in time?

This story has the feel of belonging to the Douglas Adams era of the series from Season 17, even though script editor Christopher H. Bidmead commissioned the story from the writers. I enjoyed the ideas John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch came up with in their story and certainly from watching what they discussed in the DVD special feature `Meglos Men' was very fascinating. You can tell they were comedy writers working on the show, as it clearly shows in the story they tell here.

The concept of an evil cactus wanting to take over the universe is something never done before in `Doctor Who', but I'm not sure if it's original. I like the time loop aspect of the story where the Doctor and Romana keep repeating things they say, the Doctor trips over and K-9 wags his ears to say, "Thank you mistress! Repairs are complete." If that was done today and if TV Burp was still on ITV 1, Harry Hill would jump in and sort the Doctor and Romana out, ha, ha.

This was the first time Terence Dudley contributes to the series as director of this story. I know Terence Dudley for writing my favourite `Doctor Who' story `Black Orchid' as well as writing `Four To Doomsday' and `The King's Demons'. I enjoyed how he directed this story of `Meglos'. Some criticise Dudley on his directing, but I think he does a fairly good job as he's an experienced TV producer, writer and director working for the BBC.

I enjoyed Tom Baker's performance in this story. Not only does he get to play the Doctor, but also as Meglos in the Doctor's form. I was shocked when Meglos turned into the Doctor at the end of Part One. Also when the Doctor looks like a cactus in certain moments of the story is quite frightening, and Tom looks amazing that make-up. I'm sure Tom enjoyed playing the doppelganger element in the story, even though he was on his way to being the Doctor by this point.

Lalla Ward as Romana is equally good in this. I enjoyed how Romana shares scenes with the Doctor in the TARDIS especially when they repair K-9; get trapped in a time loop and try to get out of it. Romana has an adventure of her own when getting lost in the jungles of Tigella and bumping into the space pirates who force her to escort them to where the TARDIS is. I don't think this is the best story for Lalla's Romana, but it's a fairly good outing for her all the same.

It was great to hear John Leeson's voice as K-9 in this adventure as he was missed in `The Leisure Hive'. I laughed when K-9 answered to one of the Doctor's post-repair questions, "Affirmative Mistress." I thought it was mean when Bill Frazer's General Grugger wanted to kick K-9 at some point in this story. K-9 wasn't treated well in this season by the producers, but he has good moments throughout this story even when his power levels and batteries are low.

This story features the return of Jacqueline Hill (who played Barbara, a companion of William Hartnell's Doctor in the early 60s) playing Lexa. I was delighted to see Jacqueline in this story and to see her playing a different character compared to when she was playing Barbara. Here she plays a spiritual ruler on Tigella, who believes the Dodecahedron to be sacred and is determined to have the Doctor killed for sacrifice since she believed he stole it whereas it was Meglos who did it.

The story also features the guest appearances of Bill Fraser as General Grugger and Frederick Treves as Lieutenant Brotadac of the space pirates called the Gaztaks. These are two comic characters in the same style of double acts from the Robert Holmes stories. You can tell they're meant to provide comic relief to the story when working with Meglos. Brotadac incidentally is an anagram of `bad actor' by the writers which I'm not sure is complementary to the actor who plays Brotadac.

The rest of the cast includes Edward Underdown as Zastor, Crawford Logan as Deedrix and Colette Gleeson as Caris. The cast also includes Christopher Owen as the George Morris who gets kidnapped by the pirates and gets taken over by Meglos to walk around in human form. I don't like simply referring to this character as the Earthling as he was in the story, so I'm calling him George Morris as that was what he called in the Target novelisation of `Meglos' by Terrance Dicks.

The music for this story interestingly is composed by two composers Paddy Kinglsand and Peter Howell. As I understand it, the music work was shared between two composers because one of the composers wasn't able to complete the score and the other had to step into the breach to complete the music. To me, the styles of music between both composers doesn't sound any different as they both sound very electronic and eighties style to me anyway.

The special features on this DVD of `Meglos' are as follows. There's Meglos Men' which I've enjoyed watching featuring writers John Flanagan and Andrew McCullock reuniting and looking back over their writing experience of Meglos in London and meeting up with script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. There's also `The Scene Synch Story' which is a behind-the-scenes look into the technique used to create some of the story's shots.

There's also `Jacqueline Hill - A Life In Pictures' looking into the fondly remembered actress who played Barbara Wright in the series. This features interviews with her husband Alvin Rakoff, producer Verity Lambert, actor William Russell (who played Ian) and Ann Davies (who played Jenny in `The Dalek Invasion of Earth'. There's also `Entropy Explained', a short featurette looking into the theme of entropy featured in Season 18 particularly in the story 'Logopolis'.

There are also some audio options including a commentary with Lalla Ward, Christopher Owen, co-writer John Flanagan and composers Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell. There's an isolated score option and an info-text commentary option to watching during the story. There are also a Radio Times Billings PDF documents to access on a PC/laptop. There's also a photo gallery and a `coming soon' trailer for the next `Doctor Who' DVD which is `The Mutants' with Jon Pertwee.

So `Meglos' is an interesting and fascinating story to watch in `Doctor Who'. It's not the most exciting story I've seen, but I enjoyed how John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch wrote their first and sadly only contribution for the series. Tom Baker is brilliant playing both the Doctor and Meglos in this and it was good to see Lalla Ward as Romana and K-9 voiced by John Leeson. I wouldn't get overly excited about this one, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it and worth adding to your collection of `Doctor Who' stories from the series.

The next story with the Doctor and Romana is 'Full Circle'.
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