A new Doctor Who talking book from the bbc. Second in the 'Destiny of the Doctor' series of Doctor Who talking books. These are being released at the rate of one a month, and they tell an all new story for a different one of the Doctors on each occasion. There is though a linking theme which we are promised will all come together in the end.
The format of these is a story that is complete on a single cd. It's basically one long episode with no breaks other than the usual cd chapter ones. Minimal sleeve notes give copyright details, advertise other bbc Doctor Who product, and contain a few bits of info about the particular era of the show from which the story comes.
The cover shows the Doctor and main companion of the story.
It is narrated by an actor who appeared in the show at the time. They read the story in the third person and do all the voices save one, which is done by a guest actor.
'Shadow of Death' is a Second Doctor story. It is read by Frazer Hines, who played his companion Jamie on tv.
The story sees the TARDIS land on a very strange planet. Which is in the shadow of a pulsar. Which emits a very strong gravitational pull. There is an abandoned city. Statues of people in spacesuits. And the survivors of a human expedition sent there to study it.
Something has happened to people they came there with. There is a very strange force indeed on the planet. Which spells danger for the surviving humans. Plus the Doctor and his friends...
As anyone who has heard Frazer Hines other Doctor Who audio readings will know, he does an amazingly good version of the Second Doctor's voice. Which really does sound like Patrick Troughton. He also reprises Jamie's voice effortlessly, so it really does feel as if you are listening to something from their tv era. The story fits it as well. Being a strange world with minimalist settings and a small cast of characters, being stalked by a monster.
The sound design is appropriately eerie and does help to create the feeling of such an alien world.
The explanation for what is taking place here is quite clever, and there's some good real science involved, but you will need to think carefully to get your head around it at times. Whilst in some ways it doesn't feel like anything we haven't seen or heard before, it is creepy and effective. With a pretty decent resolution. Which does nicely serve to highlight how alien the Doctor is.
There is one scene which does develop the ongoing plot that is moving throughout all of these. A very interesting scene it is. Slightly reminiscent of something that happened in the first story. But it adds in a lot more detail which does make the bigger picture slightly clearer. And very intriguing with it.
This is a decent listen and one that also develops the ongoing story very well. If you liked the first story in this series then this is well worth getting. You could probably get into easily enough without having heard that one, though.But it might, in the long run, be better to start at the beginning.
This is the second in the story arc of the Destiny of the Doctor series, which features eleven stories on individual cd releases, with each story telling of an adventure of one of the Doctor’s incarnations. In this story Shadow of Death, the Second Doctor is travelling with Jamie and Zoe, and they find the Tardis under attack from an unseen force. Landing somewhere safe nearby, they step out of the Tardis to see what is happening.
This series is a bit like the Companion Chronicles, in that they have one person narrating the story (usually the Doctor’s companion, in this case Jamie) and one other main voice as one of the characters. In this case Frazer Hines narrates as Jamie and does his voice, as well as voicing the other characters, including Zoe, and quite a lot in character as the Second Doctor. Hines has an uncanny ability to sound remarkably like Patrick Troughton in character as the Second Doctor, and this adds a real ‘true’ feel to his characterisation. Evie Dawnay plays the other main character in this story, a scientist who is part of a group studying a lost civilisation.
This is a great story; it has a real Second Doctor ‘classic’ feel to it, and you can imagine it playing out well on the small screen in the late ‘60s. The link to the overall Destiny of the Doctor arc is small and we are not really any the wiser as to where that overall story arc is going (hints having been given in the first Destiny of the Doctor story, Hunters of Earth, which featured the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan). As such, the stories so far stand up well as individual stories, but the hints of the overall story arc are intriguing. Great stuff.
on 27 August 2013
The Second Doctor addition to this range to celebrate fifty years couldn't be, in many ways, more representative of Patrick Troughton's tenure. The Second Doctor's era is often criticised for having too many `base-under-siege' stories. This play certainly fits that genre. Although I personally enjoy such stories this is, unfortunately, quite a mediocre and pedestrian example. Prerequisite elements such as the Tardis crew being trapped and seperated from each other at different intervals as the threat continually pursues, picking off extraneous characters as it goes. But there is little that is new or innovative. It has all been seen before.
However, the story is sold by the greatest strength of this release; a fantastic performance by Frazier Hines. As might be expected, his Jamie is spot on as usual, but it is his impersonation of the Second Doctor that is truly impressive. It doesn't take much of a leap of the imagination to believe it is actually Patrick Troughton delivering the lines. Accent, syntax and style are all accurately mimicked. Hines is so convincing that it feels that this audio play has a larger cast than it actually does.
The story is essentially carried between Jamie and the Second Doctor. Zoe doesn't really have that large a role to play (although it is clear that Hines is also very familiar with her character as well). The other characters aren't very remarkable being the common mix of vague international, mutli-cultural, astronauts typically featured during the Second Doctor's era. They do help to make this story feel as though it could have been easily televised during these years of the program.
This easily feels like a Second Doctor story. Unfortunately, it has a mediocre storyline and some fairly unmemorable aliens. As compensation for this, is a great performance by Frazier Hines which, alone, makes this worth listening to.
"I know what I'm doing."
"But that's what I always say when I don't know what I'm doing."
Yet another in AudioGo's series of unsatisfying interlocking stories spread over several CDs, this suffers from the same problem that let down earlier efforts like Demon Quest and Hornets' Nest: rather than feeling like self-contained stories with a binding strand like the modern incarnation of the TV series, it tends to play like another unresolved, half-thought out part of a story that might make sense when you hear all the parts but doesn't interest you enough to seek them out. On it's own terms it's moderately ambitious (though the six-Doctor arc won't be fully revealed unless you hear all the stories) but unfortunately rather dull - it's another running through corridors in another space station, with an abandoned city, a shifting timescape and the unseen threat of `The Quiet Ones' adding up to not that much at the end of the day despite the odd good idea. Although focussing on Patrick Troughton's Doctor (here given a splendid impersonation by his former co-star Frazer Hines, who has his stuttering like a motorboat engine delivery down to a tee), it's not entirely true to his era, even throwing in a psychic paper link to current Doctor, though it does share his weaker stories' habit of stopping the story to allow him to explain everything. The problem is that it doesn't manifest many of the strengths of the second Doctor's classic TV outings despite clearly drawing on similar elements and, unfortunately, making the effort show a little too much. Still, Hines' Troughton is worth a listen even if the remainder of the adventure's execution is a bit on the dull side.
It is 50 years since Doctor Who was first shown on television, Shadow of Death is one of many exciting products which has been released in the anniversary year to mark this achievement. The Shadow of Death is the second in the series of 11 audio stories which will feature and link all 11 Doctors. This release is particularly special as current Doctor Matt Smith has often stated the influence of Patrick Troughton's Doctor on his portrayal. The ever popular Fraser Hines who played regular companion Jamie McCrimmon between 1966 and 1969 and later came back for guest appearances in the mid 1980s, steps effortlessly back into the character's shoes. He also does the voices for nearly all the characters in the story, including a spot on impersonation of the second Doctor himself. The only other actor in the story being Sophie Popolovic as Evie Dawnay. Rather than opting for a modern take on the second Doctor era, Simon Guerrier quite rightly tries to capture the tone of this era and write an adventure that could have easily featured on television 45 years ago. We have what many people associate with this period, the adventure of a small group of isolated people in a base under seige from an unknown alien. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive at an abandoned city which is being investigated by human scientists who are being killed off. The story moves at a fast pace at 1 hour 25 minute. I feel that this release is really about nostalgia and recapturing the magic of a great period in the shows history.
Following the somewhat lumbering and unsteady start of 'Hunters of Earth', 'Shadow of Death' - the second installment of the 'Destiny of the Doctor' audio epic - thankfully gets the series on track. Simon Guerrier has proved himself to be one of the most assured writers for Big Finish's Companion Chronicles, and he scores another solid hit here. The storyline features the 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe investigating a structure left by a vanished civilisation on a planet orbiting a pulsar, with the resulting violent gravitational effects causing time distortion. Despite the touches of humour in the interplay between Jamie and the Doctor, on the whole this story is firmly in serious SF mode, and all the better for it. A deadly shadow creature provides elements of 'base under seige' genre, with time moving at different speeds in various parts of the base adding a nice additional variation, but this is more thoughtful stuff than runaround adventure, with an exposition-heavy ending to match. Fraser Hines is his usual capable self as the main narrator, with his Troughton impression occasionally coming very close to replicating the spirit of the much-missed 2nd Doctor. Given the similarities between Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor and Patrick Troughton, it's also charming that the linking section of the audio sees Doctors 2 and 11 coming face to face - if only for a moment. It's still too early to say exactly how the eleven part 'Destiny of the Doctor' series will link together as a whole, but this installment works well as a standalone adventure, with no story strands follwed through from the first story, and only the vaguest of hints at any future ongoing narrative. Recommended.
Shadow of Death, a new Second Doctor adventure from Big Finish, embraces and builds on some of the classic tropes of the Second Doctor's era, as well as referencing some of the new series work of Steven Moffat. The narrative takes the form of a classic Troughton base under siege story, and the compression of the situation and small cast of characters result in a pleasingly claustrophobic tale. Following an emergency landing, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive in a mysterious base on a deserted planet orbiting a pulsar, which exerts a gravitational force strong enough to distort time. In a nod to the multicultural base crews of the 1960s, they encounter the mittel-European-accented base leader played by Evie Dawnay (audibly wearing go-go boots and a space miniskirt) in the tradition of didactic dollybirds Miss Garrett and Miss Kelly. However, the deserted planet on which they find themselves is not as deserted as it might appear...
The play combines the `base under siege' setting with some timey-wimey antics in the manner of Steven Moffat, making it curiously reminiscent of William Hartnell's 1965 serial The Space Museum, as well as drawing on other situations from Moffat's work which echo Silence in the Library. With its spacesuited explorers and their base on a strange empty planet with a lost civilisation, it is also reminiscent of the set-up for The Impossible Planet, but diverts off in a quite different direction. Narrator/performer Fraser Hines recreates Jamie's wide-eyed chippiness well, and does a really sterling job on imitating Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor, with much throat-clearing and a good approximation of Troughton's vague air of extemporising many of his lines. Simon Hunt's largely ambient soundscape has moments of doomy expressionism which nicely complement the more functional sound effects sketching the base background. Without giving too much away, there are tense scenes when Jamie and the Doctor encounter the shadowy enemy, and an intriguing conclusion which hints at giving the Second Doctor an air of vulnerability. The denouement however is dramatically something of an anticlimax, but sets up a plot arc to come.
This is the second CD release of in the 'Destiny of the Doctor' series of Doctor Who talking books from the BBC and Audi Go.
May I say at the start of this review I really feel it would have made this CD much more enjoyable if I had heard that one first rather than listen to this, the second out of order?
Don't get me wrong this is an EXCELLENT CD and very well performed by the brilliant and evergreen Frazer Hines (of Emmerdale Farm fame as well as one of the Doctors better companions Jamie McCrimmon)
Frazer Hines is really excellent not just in his depiction of his original character Jamie but (roll of drums) I am glad to say (clash of cymbals) but he really is brilliant at capturing the second Doctors voice.
Make no mistake Hines must really have enjoyed working with Troughton to produce this wonderful and remarkable performance.
It really is a joy.
Others will have written about the plot- no doubt about the echoes of earlier stories the old `science base/planetary excavation /with an outside threat- and what's wrong with that if they are as fabulous and as satisfying as this tale?
To quote Chris Tarrant `This is What They Want' and so we do. (Well I do at any rate).
This CD is the next best thing to the Lost episodes of The Second Doctor era.
Sad to say it was never appreciated until it was too late- the BBC wiped the tapes- reminds me of the book burning by a certain goose stepping race but there you go.
This is a really enjoyable, well read and brilliant story from the terrific, second Doctor Era and you really cannot say fairer than that.
Good plot- good reading- good story arc over the series- Great Doctor-
Just take my advice about trying to get the first of the series first.
on 10 February 2013
'Shadow of Death' is the second title in AudioGO and Big Finish's 50th Anniversary series 'Destiny of the Doctor', taking the form of a brand new adventure for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, in which the TARDIS lands on an outpost amidst an abandoned city on a world orbiting a Pulsar, which has the extraordinary power to affect time. In much the same way as the previous release, 'Hunters of Earth', evoked the spirit of the show's first episode 'An Unearthly Child', 'Shadow of Death' very much has the feel of a story from the Troughton era, with its 'base under siege' idea and the creeping menace of the titular shadow. Of course, there's more to it than that, but to go into any more detail regarding the plot would serve to spoil things somewhat - suffice to say, it's a story which explores the Doctor's unique relationship with time, and where nothing is quite what it initially seems.
The format for this series is that of an enhanced audiobook, with a main narrator accompanied by an actor in a supporting role. Frazer Hines narrates here, and I couldn't think of a better choice to handle this release - not only does he handle the job of narrator well, he also plays something of a dual role in the acting department, effectively playing not only the part of Jamie McCrimmon (his TV character, and the Second Doctor's longest-serving travelling companion) but that of the Doctor himself. Hines provides an uncanny performance which perfectly captures the spirit of the late Patrick Troughton, and given that this is very much a Doctor-centric story, it very much works to the benefit of the finished product. In fact, at certain points, I managed to forget that I wasn't listening to Troughton himself in those scenes. That, combined with the excellent sound design, really helps to cement the Troughton era feel in one's mind when listening. It's a slightly shorter story than 'Hunters of Earth', running to just under an hour or so, and the story didn't quite grab me as its predecessor had, but it was still an hour well spent, and I'd imagine essential listening for those with a particular fondness for that era of 'Doctor Who'. There's also a scene which ties into the 'series arc', which is rather intriguing, and gives the impression that 'Destiny of the Doctor' could be going somewhere very interesting indeed.
Shadow of Death is an audio book read and performed by Frazer Hines featuring Evie Dawnay. Frazer played the Second Doctor companion Jamie and also does a stunning impression of Troughton himself. The story is a traditional base under siege with a spooky undercurrent. In short an excellent story and I am definitely coming back for more of this series. Keep your ears peeled for a surprising cameo...