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Don Kepunja "ownstunts" (Retford, Northern England)

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Doctor Who And The War Games (Classic Novels)
Doctor Who And The War Games (Classic Novels)
by Malcolm Hulke
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A family at war...., 16 Feb. 2011
So The War Games materialises in the always-excellent Classic Novels audio strand, despite not perhaps being a true classic of ye olde Target range. It's certainly not vintage Malcolm Hulke, but that's only because of the high standards he set with both his original TV scripst and later novelisations "Doctor Who" and the Cave Monsters (Classic Novels). (And there are perhaps reasons for this; Hulke sadly died shortly after the source book used here was completed in 1979.)

None of this means that The War Games isn't a welcome addition to the audios, of course: it's an important story, marking as it does the end the second Doctor's adventures and with it the introduction of `Them' - the Time Lords.

Fans will know that, for various production reasons, the original 1969 TV series was a bit of an epic - ten episodes, and as the original writers now acknowledge, somewhat reliant on padding. Unlike so many Troughton-era tales Doctor Who - Lost In Time [DVD] [1963], it survived the Great BBC Tape Purges of the sixties and seventies and is out on DVD Doctor Who - The War Games [DVD]. Excellent it is too and, padding or no, across its four-hour run time is rarely less than entertaining. The same can be said for this five-hour, four-CD version, but it's quite a different beast - and fascinating with it.

Hulke compresses and reshapes the material into a more gripping, focused affair. Yes, there's still a lot of running around, but it's less baggy overall, and the urgency heightens both the sense of danger (Hulke really brings home the horror, not the glory, of war) and creates a darkening mood of time running out. It's something rather absent from the TV serial until the last two episodes, but here the second Doctor is in a trap from the minute the TARDIS arrives in no-man's land, and his own awareness of not just the business in hand, but a terrible, personal reckoning ahead, infuse the whole piece.

This mood is enhanced by the excellent sound design, though here the range has perhaps added as much sonic embroidery as long-term listeners will want - any more effects or music and we'd be straying beyond true audiobook lines. It might even risk obscuring the narrator's work - and in this piece in particular, that would be a great shame indeed.

The involvement on David Troughton in this release, and the earlier, equally-satisfying Abominable Snowmen audio "Doctor Who" and the Abominable Snowmen (Classic Novels), is no mere whim or gimmick. Rather it's an inspired piece of casting. It goes without saying that he's a fine actor - the long career and diverse, distinguished roles speak for themselves A Very Peculiar Practice - The Complete Series [1986] [DVD] [1988] - and one who recently has been drawn back into the Doctor Who family (Big Finish audios, on-screen opposite the tenth Doctor Doctor Who - Series 4 Vol.3 [DVD] [2008]; his connection with the `classic' TV series goes back to 1967 Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World, and he did in fact appear in the War Games on TV. But he is also, quite simply, a brilliant reader in this medium, conjuring the epic cast assembled here seemingly effortlessly - Tommies and Jerry, French fighters, Russians, Romans, Greeks, Turks, Mexicans, privates, officers, humans of both genders, alien oppressors, rather eerie Time Lords... oh, and of course, the Doctor himself.

One can't imagine quite what it's like for a famous son to voice anew a character his father effectively created, then made memorable, then imperishable Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (The Seeds of Death / Carnival of Monsters / Resurrection of the Daleks) [DVD] and beloved, but the result here is fascinating and thrilling - spooky, even. Without merely impersonating the late Patrick Troughton, David nonetheless evokes the sheer quicksilver magic of the Doctor's second incarnation: fey and casual, but steely, alien and, dammit, dangerous. "Doctor Who", the Tomb of the Cybermen (Dr Who)

Given that this is this Doctor's last adventure proper "Doctor Who", World game (Doctor Who (BBC Paperback)), his reappearance before us, even as the end looms again, is simply haunting, and the younger Troughton lifts this release into the Essential category. There are moments when the time-lines merge and you'd almost, almost swear the second Doctor was back... David Troughton's work here is both an unforgettable turn and a wonderful, touching tribute to his father's performance, this epochal story and a whole fondly-recalled era of Doctor Who. Warmly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 8:29 AM GMT


Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972]
Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: £6.99

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changing opinion, 2 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's perhaps appropriate, given this adventure's underlying message, that The Mutants seems to have changed in the near-40 years since its first broadcast - and only for the better. Long-vilified by seasoned fans, here it emerges on DVD (and immediately after fellow miserable outcast Meglos) looking slightly mad, very spangly and all rather good fun.

There are no utterly-lost Pertwee adventures (technical issues still affect the future DVD release of classics like Ambassadors of Death, Mind of Evil, The Daemons and The Dinosaur Invasion, for now), but critical cold-shouldering means The Mutants is in some ways the closest we come to such a creature. It's shaping up as a vintage year for Pertwee fans, with Terror of the Autons, a revised Day of the Daleks and Three Doctors, plus swansong Planet of the Spiders, all in the DVD pipeline, but these we know and love. For many, the rummy six-parter presented here is undiscovered country and, coupled with unavoidable low expectations, means pleasant surprised lie ahead.

It's got a loose, relaxed, undercooked (but sometimes overheated) feel, and unfolds in a charmingly offhand manner, developments seeming to surprise the cast as much as the viewer in a way that keeps the adventure effervescent and wards off typical six-parter fatigue.

The lead himself is in fine form (and has the third Doctor even looked quite so swankily third-Doctor-ish?). Pertwee mixes a strange, Troughon-esque feyness and amused distance into his usual impressive performance, as the still-officially-exiled Doctor is suddenly whisked off by his Gallifreyan gaolers to the year 3000, and tasked with sorting out trouble at t'Skybase, an Earth Empire-run space station (the exteriors of which, at least, are spiffily done) that's orbiting high over turbulent planet Solos at a time of flux with apparent cosmic implications.

Relishing his return to off-Earth adventure, but resenting his errand-boy status, Pertwee's urgent, imperious, impatient Doctor switches moods slickly here as he bears down on new problem after new problem while his mission endlessly changes shape. His hilariously-efficient, explosive dispatch of sort-off-baddie-scientist Jaegar (Who fave George Pravda), after the Doctor quickly sizes him up as first necessary help, then a nuisance, then nothing more, is one of the great Pertwee moments no one ever talks about. They should!

Space-and-time travel always brings the best out in companion Jo Grant, we know, and Katy Manning shines in shrewd mode, showing Jo as not just a blinky-eyed little kitten-face but someone evolving into a smart improviser in the image of her Doctor. She pulls, of course, and her scenes with Solnian rebel Ky (proto-Johnny Depp Garrick Hagon; he's on the commentary track) hold much sub-textual fun, especially when Solos' poisonous atmosphere makes Jo feel a bit, er, faint...

For the admission fee you also get a fine, watchable supporting cast: Geoffrey Palmer shimmers in (and out a bit too soon, alack); John Hollis is a striking, stranded scientist and helpmeet dressed in Anita Roddick cast-offs; and Christopher Coll charms as a Scouse space security guard. Fans have often poked fun at Rick James' performance as Skybase servotor Cotton, but I dunno... it has a certain memorable charm.

Tristram Cary's squelchy, squonky, synth-heavy soundtrack (already out on CD, but better heard in context here) adds another layer of distinctiveness, providing as it does the precise sound of ropey-but-head-spinning CSO effects. There's a genuine sense of weirdness crackling throughout all six episodes that never fails to beguile and is undiminished by repeat plays.

By year's end, all of season nine should be out on DVD; from the fug of Accepted Fan Wisdom, The Mutants could well have emerged by then in a new light and deserving place among the best of the Pertwee years.

Oh, and it's a deliberate nod to Monty Python at the start, by the way.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2011 2:02 PM GMT


Doctor Who Demon Quest 5: Sepulchre
Doctor Who Demon Quest 5: Sepulchre
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.20

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like a lot of fun...., 21 Dec. 2010
Like its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, the Demon Quest sequence (Relice of Time, 3/5; Demon of Paris, 3/5; Shard of Ice, 5/5; Starfall, 3/5; Sepulchre, 3/5) is a rummy old thing: beautifully packaged, with stunning cover artwork; gorgeous, immersive sound design; and a trump card in the return of Sir Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor (a feat even the estimable Big Finish hasn't yet wangled). Even the price - some used models were hovering around the three-guinea mark at the time of writing - is right. So what's not to like?

Well, it's like this... the plot, narrative, story-arc, call it what you will, is slender to the point of non-existence, and it makes the six-hour journey (12 if you pop Hornet's Nest on the mp3-player) somewhat unsatisfactory upon arrival at your ultimate destination.

Now, that's not to say it isn't fun getting there, because it is: Baker is in larky mode, the fourth Doctor no longer the implacable, alien odd-bod of old but an avuncular (lustier?) force of nature, a character mapped somewhat on to the actor's current public persona (they have, finally, become each other), and there is fine support from Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey (a figure seemingly plucked from Baker's relentless imagination by author Paul Magrs) and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates (no, we don't know what Yates is doing here, either, but Franklin provides sterling support all the same).

Pleasingly, it's almost impossible to place within standard Who lore, and seems to exist in a little fun bubble of its own, where, perhaps, the fourth Doctor didn't fall to his doom from the Pharos Project radio telescope, but instead discovered the attractions of women (let's put it like that; cf, City of Death) and a spot of sherry, and bought a nice little cottage in Sussex where it's nearly-always Christmas. That world is wonderfully realised, and is a pleasure to visit, Magrs recasting Who as a freewheeling, time-travelling romp somewhere between the comic-strip adventures of the Seventies and Eighties and the Douglas Adams era, though without the insistent nudge-nudge `humour' of the latter. The author here has a reputation for good-natured shakings up of the show's established order (see "Verdigris", and anything featuring Iris Wildthyme), but he never quite goes over the top.

No, there's no problem with the set-up here, and the tone is perfect and consistent; it's just that too little happens... or rather, plenty happens, in many colourful times and places, but it doesn't amount to much. The quest structure supplies a sort of imperative, but crises seem to get resolved perhaps a bit too conveniently, even for a goose-chase of this sort. This might be missing the point, of course: it's in the journey, not the conclusion, that the real adventure lies (the Doctor would surely agree), and the medium is the message, or something. After all, we do get to revel for hours in Magrs' ripe language, and no one enjoys it more than the lead; Baker even makes the end credits sound fun. Audio imbibers won't lack for sheer sensation, distraction and delight on the commute; that has something of the show's original ambition about it, and on its own terms is refreshing.

It's perhaps for these reasons that episode three, Shard of Ice - a story about the telling of stories - is the most satisfactory entry, thrilling to the narrator's last utterance. And these tales do stand alone (sort of), so if you're plumping for one, plump there; you won't, of course: the packaging, if nothing else, makes all five irresistibly collectible, even in these straitened times.

Yarns, then, knitted up into a long, multi-coloured and eccentric trail... remind you of anyone? Grab your scarf and hat then, and come along; just don't say you weren't told ....


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 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds: A lot of fun, 21 Dec. 2010
Like its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, the Demon Quest sequence (Relice of Time, 3/5; Demon of Paris, 3/5; Shard of Ice, 5/5; Starfall, 3/5; Sepulchre, 3/5) is a rummy old thing: beautifully packaged, with stunning cover artwork; gorgeous, immersive sound design; and a trump card in the return of Sir Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor (a feat even the estimable Big Finish hasn't yet wangled). Even the price - some used models were hovering around the three-guinea mark at the time of writing - is right. So what's not to like?

Well, it's like this... the plot, narrative, story-arc, call it what you will, is slender to the point of non-existence, and it makes the six-hour journey (12 if you pop Hornet's Nest on the mp3-player) somewhat unsatisfactory upon arrival at your ultimate destination.

Now, that's not to say it isn't fun getting there, because it is: Baker is in larky mode, the fourth Doctor no longer the implacable, alien odd-bod of old but an avuncular (lustier?) force of nature, a character mapped somewhat on to the actor's current public persona (they have, finally, become each other), and there is fine support from Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey (a figure seemingly plucked from Baker's relentless imagination by author Paul Magrs) and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates (no, we don't know what Yates is doing here, either, but Franklin provides sterling support all the same).

Pleasingly, it's almost impossible to place within standard Who lore, and seems to exist in a little fun bubble of its own, where, perhaps, the fourth Doctor didn't fall to his doom from the Pharos Project radio telescope, but instead discovered the `attractions' of women (let's put it like that; cf, City of Death) and a spot of sherry, and bought a nice little cottage in Sussex where it's nearly-always Christmas. That world is wonderfully realised, and is a pleasure to visit, Magrs recasting Who as a freewheeling, time-travelling romp somewhere between the comic-strip adventures of the Seventies and Eighties and the Douglas Adams era, though without the insistent nudge-nudge `humour' of the latter. The author here has a reputation for good-natured shakings up of the show's established order (see "Verdigris", and anything featuring Iris Wildthyme), but he never quite goes over the top.

No, there's no problem with the set-up here, and the tone is perfect and consistent; it's just that too little happens... or rather, plenty happens, in many colourful times and places, but it doesn't amount to much. The quest structure supplies a sort of imperative, but crises seem to get resolved perhaps a bit too conveniently, even for a goose-chase of this sort. This might be missing the point, of course: it's in the journey, not the conclusion, that the real adventure lies (the Doctor would surely agree), and the medium is the message, or something. After all, we do get to revel for hours in Magrs' ripe language, and no one enjoys it more than the lead; Baker even makes the end credits sound fun. Audio imbibers won't lack for sheer sensation, distraction and delight on the commute; that has something of the show's original ambition about it, and on its own terms is refreshing.

It's perhaps for these reasons that episode three, Shard of Ice - a story about the telling of stories - is the most satisfactory entry, thrilling to the narrator's last utterance. And these tales do stand alone (sort of), so if you're plumping for one, plump there; you won't, of course: the packaging, if nothing else, makes all five irresistibly collectible, even in these straitened times.

Yarns, then, knitted up into a long, multi-coloured and eccentric trail... remind you of anyone? Grab your scarf and hat then, and come along; just don't say you weren't told ....


Doctor Who Demon Quest 2: The Demon Of Paris
Doctor Who Demon Quest 2: The Demon Of Paris
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.20

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds: A lot of fun., 21 Dec. 2010
Like its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, the Demon Quest sequence (Relice of Time, 3/5; Demon of Paris, 3/5; Shard of Ice, 5/5; Starfall, 3/5; Sepulchre, 3/5) is a rummy old thing: beautifully packaged, with stunning cover artwork; gorgeous, immersive sound design; and a trump card in the return of Sir Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor (a feat even the estimable Big Finish hasn't yet wangled). Even the price - some used models were hovering around the three-guinea mark at the time of writing - is right. So what's not to like?

Well, it's like this... the plot, narrative, story-arc, call it what you will, is slender to the point of non-existence, and it makes the six-hour journey (12 if you pop Hornet's Nest on the mp3-player) somewhat unsatisfactory upon arrival at your ultimate destination.

Now, that's not to say it isn't fun getting there, because it is: Baker is in larky mode, the fourth Doctor no longer the implacable, alien odd-bod of old but an avuncular (lustier?) force of nature, a character mapped somewhat on to the actor's current public persona (they have, finally, become each other), and there is fine support from Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey (a figure seemingly plucked from Baker's relentless imagination by author Paul Magrs) and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates (no, we don't know what Yates is doing here, either, but Franklin provides sterling support all the same).

Pleasingly, it's almost impossible to place within standard Who lore, and seems to exist in a little fun bubble of its own, where, perhaps, the fourth Doctor didn't fall to his doom from the Pharos Project radio telescope, but instead discovered the `attractions' of women (let's put it like that; cf, City of Death) and a spot of sherry, and bought a nice little cottage in Sussex where it's nearly-always Christmas. That world is wonderfully realised, and is a pleasure to visit, Magrs recasting Who as a freewheeling, time-travelling romp somewhere between the comic-strip adventures of the Seventies and Eighties and the Douglas Adams era, though without the insistent nudge-nudge `humour' of the latter. The author here has a reputation for good-natured shakings up of the show's established order (see "Verdigris", and anything featuring Iris Wildthyme), but he never quite goes over the top.

No, there's no problem with the set-up here, and the tone is perfect and consistent; it's just that too little happens... or rather, plenty happens, in many colourful times and places, but it doesn't amount to much. The quest structure supplies a sort of imperative, but crises seem to get resolved perhaps a bit too conveniently, even for a goose-chase of this sort. This might be missing the point, of course: it's in the journey, not the conclusion, that the real adventure lies (the Doctor would surely agree), and the medium is the message, or something. After all, we do get to revel for hours in Magrs' ripe language, and no one enjoys it more than the lead; Baker even makes the end credits sound fun. Audio imbibers won't lack for sheer sensation, distraction and delight on the commute; that has something of the show's original ambition about it, and on its own terms is refreshing.

It's perhaps for these reasons that episode three, Shard of Ice - a story about the telling of stories - is the most satisfactory entry, thrilling to the narrator's last utterance. And these tales do stand alone (sort of), so if you're plumping for one, plump there; you won't, of course: the packaging, if nothing else, makes all five irresistibly collectible, even in these straitened times.

Yarns, then, knitted up into a long, multi-coloured and eccentric trail... remind you of anyone? Grab your scarf and hat then, and come along; just don't say you weren't told ....


Doctor Who Demon Quest 4: Starfall
Doctor Who Demon Quest 4: Starfall
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds a lot of fun...., 21 Dec. 2010
Like its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, the Demon Quest sequence (Relice of Time, 3/5; Demon of Paris, 3/5; Shard of Ice, 5/5; Starfall, 3/5; Sepulchre, 3/5) is a rummy old thing: beautifully packaged, with stunning cover artwork; gorgeous, immersive sound design; and a trump card in the return of Sir Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor (a feat even the estimable Big Finish hasn't yet wangled). Even the price - some used models were hovering around the three-guinea mark at the time of writing - is right.

So what's not to like? Well, it's like this... the plot, narrative, story-arc, call it what you will, is slender to the point of non-existence, and it makes the six-hour journey (12 if you pop Hornet's Nest on the mp3-player) somewhat unsatisfactory upon arrival at your ultimate destination.
Now, that's not to say it isn't fun getting there, because it is: Baker is in larky mode, the fourth Doctor no longer the implacable, alien odd-bod of old but an avuncular (lustier?) force of nature, a character mapped somewhat on to the actor's current public persona (they have, finally, become each other), and there is fine support from Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey (a figure seemingly plucked from Baker's relentless imagination by author Paul Magrs) and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates (no, we don't know what Yates is doing here, either, but Franklin provides sterling support all the same).

Pleasingly, it's almost impossible to place within standard Who lore, and seems to exist in a little fun bubble of its own, where, perhaps, the fourth Doctor didn't fall to his doom from the Pharos Project radio telescope, but instead discovered the `attractions' of women (let's put it like that; cf, City of Death) and a spot of sherry, and bought a nice little cottage in Sussex where it's nearly-always Christmas. That world is wonderfully realised, and is a pleasure to visit, Magrs recasting Who as a freewheeling, time-travelling romp somewhere between the comic-strip adventures of the Seventies and Eighties and the Douglas Adams era, though without the insistent nudge-nudge `humour' of the latter. The author here has a reputation for good-natured shakings up of the show's established order (see "Verdigris", and anything featuring Iris Wildthyme), but he never quite goes over the top.

No, there's no problem with the set-up here, and the tone is perfect and consistent; it's just that too little happens... or rather, plenty happens, in many colourful times and places, but it doesn't amount to much. The quest structure supplies a sort of imperative, but crises seem to get resolved perhaps a bit too conveniently, even for a goose-chase of this sort. This might be missing the point, of course: it's in the journey, not the conclusion, that the real adventure lies (the Doctor would surely agree), and the medium is the message, or something. After all, we do get to revel for hours in Magrs' ripe language, and no one enjoys it more than the lead; Baker even makes the end credits sound fun. Audio imbibers won't lack for sheer sensation, distraction and delight on the commute; that has something of the show's original ambition about it, and on its own terms is refreshing.

It's perhaps for these reasons that episode three, Shard of Ice - a story about the telling of stories - is the most satisfactory entry, thrilling to the narrator's last utterance. And these tales do stand alone (sort of), so if you're plumping for one, plump there; you won't, of course: the packaging, if nothing else, makes all five irresistibly collectible, even in these straitened times.
Yarns, then, knitted up into a long, multi-coloured and eccentric trail... remind you of anyone? Grab your scarf and hat then, and come along; just don't say you weren't told ....
Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken [1981] / Logopolis [1981] / Castrovalva [1982]) [DVD] [1963]


Doctor Who Demon Quest 3: A Shard Of Ice
Doctor Who Demon Quest 3: A Shard Of Ice
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Audio CD

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like a lot of fun...., 21 Dec. 2010
Like its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, the Demon Quest sequence (Relice of Time, 3/5; Demon of Paris, 3/5; Shard of Ice, 5/5; Starfall, 3/5; Sepulchre, 3/5) is a rummy old thing: beautifully packaged, with stunning cover artwork; gorgeous, immersive sound design; and a trump card in the return of Sir Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor (a feat even the estimable Big Finish hasn't yet wangled). Even the price - some used models were hovering around the three-guinea mark at the time of writing - is right. So what's not to like?

Well, it's like this... the plot, narrative, story-arc, call it what you will, is slender to the point of non-existence, and it makes the six-hour journey (12 if you pop Hornet's Nest on the mp3-player) somewhat unsatisfactory upon arrival at your ultimate destination.

Now, that's not to say it isn't fun getting there, because it is: Baker is in larky mode, the fourth Doctor no longer the implacable, alien odd-bod of old but an avuncular (lustier?) force of nature, a character mapped somewhat on to the actor's current public persona (they have, finally, become each other), and there is fine support from Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey (a figure seemingly plucked from Baker's relentless imagination by author Paul Magrs) and Richard Franklin as Mike Yates (no, we don't know what Yates is doing here, either, but Franklin provides sterling support all the same).

Pleasingly, it's almost impossible to place within standard Who lore, and seems to exist in a little fun bubble of its own, where, perhaps, the fourth Doctor didn't fall to his doom from the Pharos Project radio telescope, but instead discovered the `attractions' of women (let's put it like that; cf, City of Death) and a spot of sherry, and bought a nice little cottage in Sussex where it's nearly-always Christmas. That world is wonderfully realised, and is a pleasure to visit, Magrs recasting Who as a freewheeling, time-travelling romp somewhere between the comic-strip adventures of the Seventies and Eighties and the Douglas Adams era, though without the insistent nudge-nudge `humour' of the latter. The author here has a reputation for good-natured shakings up of the show's established order (see "Verdigris", and anything featuring Iris Wildthyme), but he never quite goes over the top.

No, there's no problem with the set-up here, and the tone is perfect and consistent; it's just that too little happens... or rather, plenty happens, in many colourful times and places, but it doesn't amount to much. The quest structure supplies a sort of imperative, but crises seem to get resolved perhaps a bit too conveniently, even for a goose-chase of this sort. This might be missing the point, of course: it's in the journey, not the conclusion, that the real adventure lies (the Doctor would surely agree), and the medium is the message, or something. After all, we do get to revel for hours in Magrs' ripe language, and no one enjoys it more than the lead; Baker even makes the end credits sound fun. Audio imbibers won't lack for sheer sensation, distraction and delight on the commute; that has something of the show's original ambition about it, and on its own terms is refreshing.

It's perhaps for these reasons that episode three, Shard of Ice - a story about the telling of stories - is the most satisfactory entry, thrilling to the narrator's last utterance. And these tales do stand alone (sort of), so if you're plumping for one, plump there; you won't, of course: the packaging, if nothing else, makes all five irresistibly collectible, even in these straitened times.
Doctor Who: Demon Quest: Demon of Paris v. 2: The Demon of ParisDoctor Who: Demon Quest: Relics of Time v. 1Doctor Who: Demon Quest: Starfall v. 4Doctor Who: Demon Quest: Sepulchre v. 5"Doctor Who": Hornets' Nest: Stuff of Nightmares v. 1 (BBC Audio)Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest: The Complete SeriesDoctor Who - City of Death [1979] [DVD] [2005]"Doctor Who": Logopolis (Classic Novels)
Yarns, then, knitted up into a long, multi-coloured and eccentric trail... remind you of anyone? Grab your scarf and hat then, and come along; just don't say you weren't told ....
Doctor Who: Verdigris


"Doctor Who" and the Masque of Mandragora (Classic Novels)
"Doctor Who" and the Masque of Mandragora (Classic Novels)
by Philip Hinchcliffe
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tim does Tom, 7 May 2009
For what it's worth, I really recommend this. There have been some peerless releases in this excellent series recently (The Abominable Snowmen and, er ...And The Cybermen are probably the best yet), but this `lesser' effort has bags of charm, too. And much as I love Tom Baker's readings of fourth Doctor adventures (Brain of Morbius and Pyramids of Mars particularly), Tim Piggott-Smith's take on the cosmic Bohemian is a weird delight, too. The actor is a warm, assured reader overall, but `his' Doctor fascinates - as another reviewer noted, he isn't like Tom Baker at all... and yet there is a bit of him in there... Your listener almost ended up picturing another Doctor altogether, albeit one with a tart dash of Hartnell. A lot of the interest here lies in this being a less well-known fourth Doctor adventure, too, and while some of the plotting is yer perfunctory capture/escape/capture business, it's set in a colourful space and time, and nods back and fo(u)rth to all sorts of Who Greatest Hits. With warm spring sun in your face and your packed lunch at your back there are worse ways to spend your walk to work, you know...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 8:29 AM GMT


"Doctor Who" - Black Orchid (Classic Novels)
"Doctor Who" - Black Orchid (Classic Novels)
by Terence Dudley
Edition: Audio CD

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare bloom, indeed..., 27 Oct. 2008
Really loved this. The whole series (a simple but inspired idea keeping so many thirtysomethings almost-happy on the daily commute) has been excellent, but a couple of titles really shine, and this is one - rather amazing, giving the low regard `enjoyed' by the TV serial it's based on.

Not that it's radically different in structure or plot, but that's the thing about the audiobooks: with a good reader at your elbow and the imagination in fifth, half-ideas that don't engage on the screen suddenly absorb. Black Orchid is 50 minutes or so on screen, five-or-so hours here, and yet it's the latter that flies by, instantly demanding another long, lazy soak in its warm tone, and texture, and the simple pleasure of the human voice. Michael Cochrane - Charles Cranleigh in the telly versh - does the honours here, and is a good fit for Terence Dudley almost overripe prose, adding fruitiness rasp, flint, clip and whatnot wherever needed, while well-judged effects provide the tock of willow on leather and the swish of the Rolls along the gravel drive.

And if some parts do take their time, well, then let them; every minute of the Doctor's stint at the wicket in the opening sequence is a pleasure, and where else in the Whoniverse would this stuff unfold like this, at this pace? The underrated fifth Doctor might not do that much in this adventure, but we get inside his young/old head, and it's good stuff, too, revealing him as a whimsical, childlike intelligence burdened with a sense of responsibility to the universe and an inescapable sense of duty.

Recommended, then in a word - so much so that, if it's a toss-up between this and the DVD edition (they're both around the £8.50 mark), invest here. Hours of leisurely pleasure lie ahead.
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Doctor Who And The Daemons (Classic Novels)
Doctor Who And The Daemons (Classic Novels)
by Barry Letts
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What the devil are you waiting for?, 23 Aug. 2008
What a marvellous addition to the thoroughly excellent BBC Doctor Who Classic Novels audiobook series this is.

Of course, it's based on top-drawer source material: the 1971 Jon Pertwee TV serial is fondly remembered as the finest example of that golden era, and producer Barry Letts later developed his own script into the much-loved, Alan Willow-illustrated Target novelisation (1974) this is based on. Now Letts is able to add another dimension, drawing on his past life as a jobbing actor to add colour and dimension to a thrilling retelling of the third Doctor's battle with the Master and forces of black magic - or is it dark science? - in the English village of Devil's End.

Letts' abiding faith in humanity informs a tale that is at turns spooky, electrifying and laugh-out-loud funny, and there're five discs worth, too (though the five-plus hours fly by all too soon). Long-term fans will delight at the way Letts, after a slightly-hesitant start, quickly finds the voices of characters he helped shape: the first, and best, suave incarnation of the Master; the blustering-but-human Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, never a mere blimp or cipher; and of the course, the dashing, dandy, heroic high-and-mighty third Doctor (though no one in this series has quite captured the quicksilver magic of Pertwee's delivery... but then, who could?).

The extended running time allows plenty of time for quiet character moments amid the action, and Letts' compassionate view of human nature (and others) means there's sympathy and understanding for the minor characters - even the bad 'uns. The regulars get fleshed out, too (Sergeant Benton is revealed as a twinkle-toed ballroom dancer, for example), but if you don't know this era don't worry: outside the DVDs (and The Daemons in still on the wish list) this is the perfect place to start. And you should!

The highpoint of a brilliant series so far then, though there are no real clunkers; the Tom Baker readings of his early adventures are delightful (start with Brain of Morbius, perhaps) and the Malcolm Hulke authored Pertwee-era readings are winners, too, ...Space War perhaps the slowest going. In some cases - Dinosaur Invasion, Black Orchid - these sets arguably even supplant the telly stories as definitive versions, though that is a debate for another day.

Recommended, then: shop carefully, bide your time, get 'em for under a tenner all-in and you'll certainly never regret it... in fact the only thing you'll be sorry about is the sudden shortness of the daily commute... but then there are about 150 of these titles to go at. Can't wait.
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