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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 August 2010
The Doctor Who talking book range from the BBC resumes with the first title to feature the Eleventh Doctor.

This is an all new story never seen or heard in any other format, and it's complete in approx eighty minutes on one single disc. There's no breaks at all in the middle of the story, the only breaks of any kind on the disc being cd chapters.

There are minimal sleeve notes giving all the production credits, a brief description of the story and a list of other Doctor Who audios from the BBC.

This story is read by Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory on the show. Although his character doesn't feature in this one.

It sees the TARDIS arrive on the Orkney Islands from now, just when locals are protesting about a power company building new electricity pylons there.

All of which is interrupted when a large opening in the ground suddenly appears. Then the pylons start to move of their own accord.

The Doctor and Amy are separated. They and the locals have a fight for survival on their hands. For things are going inside the company that spell danger for the entire planet...

Arthur Darvill does a very good reading, doing a pretty good imitation of the voices of the two main character and providing some decent and varied accents for the others. The sound design and minimal use of music really do create an excellent atmosphere that makes you feel as if you're on a windswept island hearing great big steel objects moving.

The other supporting characters are nothing special but they're ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation and that comes over well.

And the villains of the piece do manage to be slightly different from the norm in a couple of respects.

This is not a bad story at all, and the setting and the detail are very engrossing for the first half. It's just that it gets into more familiar territory in the second half that makes it not too different from a lot of similar material in the book and audio range. Amy also is rather sidelined by the story, but does get one good bit of action at one key point.

The kind of thing you'd rate 7.5/10. Not the best in this range, but it's a decent enough listen and it will help pass the time nicely enough till the show returns to our screens.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fast paced well produced Dr Who story. Amy Pond gets to save the doctor once again, this time from killer pylons which are set to take over a quiet Orkney island as a stepping stone to a full scale invasion of Earth.

The theme and characters are well drawn and this single CD episode could stand alone as a humorous short story.

The production quality is of the excellence that I have generally come to expect from the BBC Audio productions, and the audio worked well in my car, without too much fluctuation in volume.

Definitely a worthwhile and entertaining hour or so of listening.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 22 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While some of the BBC Doctor Who audio stories feel like rejected pitches for TV episodes or ideas that were simply too expensive to film, despite a potentially promising premise The Ring of Steel feels more like a bit of a ripoff to feed the ever hungry Whovian market. The writing isn't anything to write home about but would probably have worked better on the printed page. Unfortunately it's done absolutely no favours by the cheap production values and Arthur Darvill's reading, which overemphasises not just the purple prose but often individual words as if the syllables were the most important element: it feels like you're listening to a display of enunciation technique rather than being drawn into a story. Not that a more empathetic reader could have done much with a lot of Stephen Cole's dialogue: he writes adequately enough if somewhat blandly for the Doctor and Amy Pond, but the local Orkadians protesting at new electricity pylons sound like the kind of writing you used to get in bad 70s children's television. Nor are there many surprises in the formulaic story, even when the pylons come to life and start rampaging through the Orkneys. For Dr Who completists only.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
From the very start this felt like an episode of Doctor Who, the characters were well written and the plot fairly solid.
As I say this story could have been from the TV series.
The story goes at a fair old pace and kept me interested all the way through.

Overall I'd say a good choice for casual or dedicated fans alike.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An eleventh Doctor and Amy story written by Stephen Cole and oddly enough read by Arthur Davrill the actor that plays Rory (Amy's husband) whose character is not in the story.

I go this on spec and was very pleased; generally I prefer audio plays rather than read novels but this works really well as there is music, sound effects and Arthur Darvill makes a good job of various voices for the characters and the story moves along well.

The story is set on Orkney and involves protesters, pylons and tarmac in equal doses. The ending is somewhat ordinary but the story takes some turns that do leave you wondering both what is exactly going on and also how it will all get resolved.

Overall good and I would be prepared to take another look at an audio read by Arthur and/or written by Stephen Cole again. I would say this is better than the Runaway Train for those that have heard that episode (it was given away in a newspaper earlier this year).
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VINE VOICEon 23 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another adventure for Matt Smith's Doctor and his companions, nicely read by Arthur Darvill (Rory). It's quite short, only one disc, and a decent enough romp for the Doctor. Fairly lightweight though.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm one of the minority of people who's not addicted to the Dr Who television show, but I do enjoy a good audiobook so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to listen to this one.

It's very well done, told in the form of a story, rather than a dramatisation, and none the worse for that. The narrator, who I understand plays a character in the TV series, does an exceptionally good job, managing somehow to convey who's speaking without making silly voices. And it may be because of my age, but I found the telling of the story in words, rather than images, made it far more realistic and vital than watching it on the TV! It painted better pictures.

This is a genuinely scary and exciting story. It starts with the Tardis landing in the windswept Orkney Isles 15 years from now, where the Doctor and Amy are immediately involved in a protest against a power company that is building pylons, without planning permission, all over the island. The action rattles along a pace with things going very quickly from very bad, to much much worse, and the listener is kept thinking: "Well how are they going to get out of that?"

What made it particularly frightening, for me, was the moving pylons - I used to be terrified of them as a child and was convinced they could move, so the writer is definitely tapping into a cultural fear in this story. And when the true villain of the piece is introduced, I nearly drove the car of the road it made me jump so much! The only thing that stops this from being over-the-top scary is the humorous asides of the Doctor - you have confidence that he's going to make everything all right!

I'd say this is the perfect CD for a long car journey with adults/children aged about nine upwards. I really enjoyed it.
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on 18 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Doctor Who: The Ring of Steel Stephen Cole is my favourite writer of Doctor Who spin-offs (books and audio novels), and Arthur Darvill is my favourite member of the current TARDIS team on Doctor, so this is a double whammy of enjoyableness. This story is very much in the vein of Doctor Who: electricity pylons 'come to life and go on the rampage' - and could just as easily have been a TV episode. Darvill's attempts to do Amy's and the Doctor's voices just added to the entertainment value.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have enjoyed many CDs in the Doctor Who series over the years, and this one was no exception.
Although not set on a far away planet, but actually here on Earth, it is still an exciting and clever mix of alien technology and a 'taking over the world' storyline that any Doctor Who fan will enjoy.
The characterisation is pretty good, although I found a couple of the characters a little too stereotyped if I'm honest.
But this doesn't detract too much from the story, and the overall result in a very enjoyable hour of audio storytelling.
The sound effects were particularly, er, effective and the creakings and groanings played out in the background just loud enough to enhance the atmosphere, but without impairing the clarity of the voices.
This is important for me, as I have tinnitus, and find that some audio stories are so cluttered with unnecessary sound effects that I just can't enjoy them.
Overall a very enjoyable audio CD and one that I will add to my holiday listen again list.
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VINE VOICEon 1 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, finished 'The Ring of Steel' in a day and it was good if not spectacular. The story makes good use of being an audio exclusive by making an audio element an important one. Arthur Darvill (Rory from the TV show) impressed me and his voices for The Doctor and Amy are very good. He's certainly a better story teller than others I've heard and would recommend him highly. Story wise it involves moving electricity pylons and roads on the Orkney islands and the effects there of. Its a tad different from the usual Who villain. Its a bit gruesome in bits and rather good on the horror front - The Doctor and Amy are split up very early and encounter different aspects of what's going on. Recommended and good if not great.
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