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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 September 2011
This is the fourth cd in the Demon Quest five-part series. In this story, the Doctor, Mike and Mrs Wibbsey are following their pile of clues, which leads them to New York City in 1976, when the landing of a meteor catches them up in all sorts of trouble, with a pretzel seller, his girlfriend, and a faded talkies movie star. But is everything really as simple as it seems? Who are the people who gather for strange moonlit vigils at the top of the Dakota Building?

I found this story a little annoying in parts - the jazzy piano playing whenever Buddy was narrating was incredibly irritating, as was the slightly over the top "Noo Yoik" accent. And the scenario seems stretched - being exposed to a meteor and finding yourself with super powers would freak most people out - but not Alice! Oh no ... well, anyway ...

A bit of a fizzer, I thought - really even a totally unnecessary story in the Demons Quest arc - felt like a filler, and felt like there were holes in the plot big enough to drive trucks through.

The redeeming features were Tom Baker in his usual top form, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey. They remained true to form, and really kept the main storyline going throughout. On to part 5 which hopefully will bring the story to a great conclusion.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 January 2011
Fourth in the Demon Quest series, which are a set of talking books that see Tom Baker reprise the role of Doctor Who.

They all are relatively stand alone but there's also a bigger story running through them and frankly you're better off listening to the whole thing in order rather than just starting here.

This is one long episode that runs for a little over seventy minutes and is complete on one cd. The only breaks being the usual cd chapter ones.

The sleeve notes give cast and writer details and some background to the story, in the form of a mock editorial in the style of those that Stan Lee would write for Marvel comics back in the 1970's.

As with the others in this series the story has narration from one of the characters mixed with full cast drama for the rest of it.

The narrator here is Buddy, who sells Pretzels from a stand in New York in 1976. His girlfriend works as literary secretary for a former film star. And then her life changes when finding a strange meteorite in the park gives her superpowers.

The career of Miss Starfall, New York's newest heroine, is about to begin.

But can the Doctor and friends find why the Time Lord is losing strength, and why there's a strange cult in familiar clothes meeting in the Dakota Building?

The narrative device takes a little getting used to, because a few false starts as to the best place to begin the story do serve to introduce all the supporting characters, but they do mean it takes a bit to get going. But once you get used to it, and it does eventually become clear why Buddy is speaking in the way he does, it becomes quite entertaining.

The three regulars for the series acquit themselves well having some well written moments - the Doctor being quite the charmer with an old flame - and there's also some neat misdirection as to the motivations of one character in particular.

But this is a chapter in something bigger, and it serves primarily to move the main story along a little more and set things up for the final part. The villain of the piece seemingly has a very convoluted scheme and there are no answers forthcoming here, just set up for the finale.

Hopefully that one Doctor Who: Demon Quest: Sepulchre v. 5 will deliver story wise. But all in all this is quite an enjoyable listen and the whole thing does work a bit better than the previous series, Hornet's Nest.
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on 16 July 2013
I think that this was so very suitable to Tom Baker's Doctor! So easy to visualise this on a TV screen.
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on 24 February 2011
Witty dialogue, exotic locations, imaginative artwork and tongue-in-cheek plots - this is what the first four Demon Quest audio plays have in common, and Starfall is no exception. Yes they're daft, and the plots are thinner than a Thinifer on a diet, however Tom Baker's majestic booming tones and bonhomie remain undiminished by the passing of time, and it is these that really make the stories worth listening to.
Starfall sees The Doctor, Mike Yates and the ineffable Mrs Wibbsey land in New York City in the summer of '76, their ongoing quest to uncover the dark forces who are trailing the Time Lord through history nearing its conclusion. Great fun and determinedly light; let's hope that The Fourth Doctor has many more bonkers adventures we can share in.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 March 2014
First released in 2010, this is the fourth part of a five part adventure for the Fourth Doctor released on audio. It is a single hour long episode on a single disc, with some well realised artwork on the inlay. Following the events of the opening episode (Relics of Time) the Doctor, Mrs Wibbsey and Mike Yates are on a quest across time, following clues left by their mysterious adversary as they try to track down some missing parts from the TARDIS.

This adventure finds them in New York in the late seventies. Landing in Central Park they encounter a strange meteor, an ageing actress, cultists and a superhero. The story is largely narrated by a New Yorkian pretzel seller, and the tone jars constantly throughout. Dr. Who is an English institution, and this attempt at Americanisation fails miserably. The tale of a girl discovering superhuman powers, told in the style of a comic strip, just doesn’t fit in with the general Who style. The main attraction of the series, Baker, is largely sidelined, and when he does appear his voice (for reasons of the plot) is cracked, shakey and totally lacking in it’s usual richness. OK, that’s Baker obeying the writer’s instructions and no fault of the actor’s, but I felt it was a mistake to have him sounding so unfamiliar in his brief appearances. There are a few good moments when The Doctor is speaking to an old flame, but that’s about it.

I really disliked this story. It doesn’t really do anything to advance the Demon Quest story arc, and the tone of it is all wrong. It’s a bold experiment in style, but for me a total failure. 1 star.
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2011
After the somewhat average "A Shard of Ice", I remained confident that things would pick up again in Paul Magrs' Demon Quest. And that's what we've got with part 4 of this wonderful Doctor Who audio series, which moves to the Big Apple in 1976 as the Fourth Doctor and his companions (Mrs Wibbsey and Mike Yates) search for the last TARDIS component and uncover the truth about the final artefact; a comic book cover featuring themselves!

"Starfall" feels like such a breath of fresh air. Throughout Demon Quest, the Doctor's search has taken him to Ancient Britain (43 AD), 1894 Paris and 1847 Germany, investigating the Doctor's likenesses on mosaic tiling, a Toulouse-Lautrec painting and inside a fairy tale book respectively. 1976 Central Park, New York is a perfect environment for the Doctor's travels, and investigating a mysterious comic book ties in naturally to the arc's rhythm/theme.

Immediately, I will confess that I am SUCH a comic-book nerd. I grew up on Marvel and DC Comics, so it's no surprise that I was drawn by the premise and Ben Wilsher's spectacular cover illustration for Starfall. The episode's premise of mild-mannered secretary Alice Trefusis coming into contact with a cosmic-powered meteor, transforming her into the awe-inspiring Miss Starfall...is a clichéd comic origin story, but that's why I love it.

There are blatant elements of Spider-Man and Superman inspiration in this chapter, but Magrs clearly relishes in it all, resulting in an entertaining romp of a story. Mentions of "the Incredible Comics company" and "True Believers!" are bound to bring a smile to fans of DC, Marvel and Stan Lee. As will Alice's capabilities/prowess as Miss Starfall, and the fantastic narration/involvement of boyfriend Buddy Hudson (wonderfully portrayed by Trevor White). It's a most colourful setting indeed, and complete with the atmosphere of seventies America, some great piano music and sound effects, Starfall is just bags of fun to listen to.

Of course, none of this overpowers the Doctor's (still) ongoing investigation of the Demon's game, or the malevolence of the mysterious antagonist. The Doctor's mysterious ailment, the ever-so-strong supporting role of Mrs Wibbsey, and the sheer, disdainful aura of washed-up Hollywood star Mimsy Loyne; facets of yet another engaging chapter.

Any criticisms? Well, I admit there ARE a few holes in the storytelling, and some of the American accents may grate on other listeners, but it's all down to preference, really. I personally loved all the American voices, piano music and the whole culture represented here. The only real problem I have with this chapter (and the one before) is Mike Yates. Unlike Mrs Wibbsey, Yates' role in Demon Quest is minimal (boardering on pointless), making his inclusion in the series seem to have been done for nostalgia's sake, which is disappointing.

But there are many other reasons why I love Starfall. Tom Baker (The Doctor) and Susan Jameson (Mrs Wibbsey) remain on form, Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Laurel Lefkow (Alice) and Trevor White are all excellent in their roles, and unlike A Shard of Ice, Starfall DOESN'T feel like filler. There's a MAJOR TURNING POINT in the climax of the story, and startling new revelations come to light about the Demon itself, its machinations and motives. It's a perfect set-up to Sepulchre (the final chapter), and the tense music and sound effects, plus Magrs' engaging writing, re-establish the dark mood from The Demon of Paris.

Honourable mentions must go to Lorelei King also for her versatile performance as Mimsey Loyne. On the outside, the character seems your typical, vain, self-centred and egocentric has-been; a role that King plays to perfection, but as Loyne's character develops and more is revealed about her, so to does Lorelei change with her voice-acting. Reeling you in with delicious arrogance, mystique...and menace.

While The Demon in Paris still remains the best part of Demon Quest so far, Doctor Who: Starfall surpasses both The Relics of Time and A Shard of Ice. Granted, I maybe a tad biased given my love for the subject matter, but I can't help it. Starfall is just so much fun and colourful, and what I needed to restore my interest for Demon Quest. Paul Magrs' saga sounds set to go out with a bang! And I cannot wait!

To be concluded!
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on 21 December 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]
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on 8 January 2011
Having bought the Hornet's Nest series I looked forward to this one with great anticipation. While I have found the first 3 to be fairly good fun, I took great exception to this particular story for several (albeit personal and to some people perhaps, petty) reasons. Paul Magrs, a writer I usually admire, writes dialogue for his characters as if they are living a good twenty years earlier in time than this story is set. In all the other stories, the narration is by a person who is actually at the scene at the time of the action. Here we have Buddy, who narrates the entire story despite the fact that he is not in every scene and could not possibly know what was going on, and there is no time for the Doctor or Mike Yates to relate to him what happens in his absence as they pop off immediately after the climactic events of the story. Buddy's girlfriend, Alice, can't fill in any of the gaps as she wasn't there either. I also found the accent of Buddy particularly irritating as it was just not authentic and was so full of outdated phrases that I cringed every time he spoke. If you're planning on getting the entire series, don't skip this one just because I don't like it, perhaps you will. It does have some excellent scenes with the Doctor, Mike Yates, Mrs Wibbsey and the luscious Lorelei King as Mimsey, the faded Hollywood star and it also moves the overall story arc of the series towards its inevitable conclusion.
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on 15 December 2010

4th of 5 excellent stories.

If you love the Doctor and Tom Baker's Doctor and audios then get these.

They are inexpensive and 100% hard work has gone into them.
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