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on 29 April 2017
Everything good! Thanks
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on 10 December 2006
"A planetary ecological disaster... An incurable, disfiguring, genetic disease... Aliens, in breach of galactic law...

"Nyssa, under arrest... the TARDIS, inoperable... The Doctor, facing interrogation...

"Another situation of dire peril is unfolding for the Doctor and his companion. However, what if it is not clear who is right and who is wrong? Who is ugly and who is beautiful?

"Where does the story begin, and where does it end?

"Sometimes, it's all a matter of perspective."

"Creatures of Beauty", by Big Finish veteran Nicholas Briggs, is another in a long line of "experimental" Doctor Who audio releases. The key conceit of "Creatures of Beauty" is its storytelling method: instead of setting out the chain of events in a linear fashion as is usual, in "Creaures of Beauty" the narrative is fractured. The story moves seamlessly from the middle, to the beginning, to the end, back to the middle and so on, and the mystery of the events on the planet of Veln unravels gradually in the process. It really is quite masterfully done, for the first three episodes at least.

Unfortunately, the story overreaches itself, having the story's "final scenes" at the end of the third episode, in the process removing the incentive to come back for the fourth and rendering the end of the story itself an anticlimax. The role of episode four is, as it turns out, to reveal a key twist underpinning the whole chain of events. However, the twist is too heavily signposted at too early a stage in the episode, so that when the revelation does come, it is largely predictable.

The majority of the story is structured so cleverly and performed and produced so well that, to begin with, I wanted to give it five stars. However, I consider the disappointing ending to episode three and the subsequent revelation to be a sufficient misfire that I didn't quite feel able to award full marks. None the less, my score for "Creatures of Beauty" is very much at the high end of a four, for daring to do something different and largely succeeding.
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on 8 December 2011
An audio adventure of the 5th Doctor and Nyssa

The story in basic terms is of the doctor landing on a planet that is dying from atmospheric poisoning but the point is more the way it is told than the plot itself.

The story is told in a non-linear format, so can be confusing on a first listen, however after the tale has unfolded all of the points are clear. What I do like is how the story has more than just its non-linear plot as a hook, and also investigates the Doctor's meddling and inability to leave things alone doesnt always make things better, and thoughts on identity.

If listening make sure you are free to concentrate on the tale rather than drift in and out, and it makes this a rewarding listen as the pieces fall into place.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 June 2016
This is the 44th story in the Main Range series by Big Finish, first released in 2003. Written by Nicholas Briggs, this story features the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and his companion Nyssa of Traken (Sarah Sutton).

This is a rather unusual story in that the narrative is very fractured, as it is presented to us, the audience. It feels as though we have started the story somewhere in the middle, and missed hearing something, but as the story progresses, the narrative moves aside in geography, and behind in chronology, to start to fill in the gaps for us. By the end, we actually know more about what has happened, how and why than any of the other groups of protagonists in the story, which I thought was most intriguing.

The story features a world where a planetary ecological disaster has resulted in a genetic failure of the population, and where those who can improve their appearances are referred to, either admiringly or disgustedly, depending on the perspective of the person making the judgment, as ‘Beauties’. The rest must live with their disfigurements, and the knowledge of all that there is not likely to be anything better for anybody following on.

In this environment we find the Doctor, facing interrogation by Lady Dorleon and her colleague Quain; Nyssa, arrested by the Security Forces and facing brutal questioning by Gilbrook and the psychological investigator Brodlik. And all the while, the population fear the Koteem. Who or what are the Koteem? Can the Doctor find out, and can he save Nyssa? It’s all a question of perspective, and perception, and who can say which is right, and which is wrong?

I thought this story was brilliant. Very clever, very intriguing, and very thought-provoking. At the end, you think for a moment, ‘what just happened?’ but the truth is that, like a snippet of life itself, this story doesn’t necessarily have a beginning and an end; it flows, and continues to flow, and we only see the bits of it that we are able to see. That’s very true, for reasons that become clear as you listen, for all the characters in this story.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 November 2012
This is the forty fourth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.

The last adventure to feature Five and Nyssa was the impressive `Spare Parts', a real rollercoaster of a tale that packed a lot of punch. Something special was required to match it, and that is exactly what the Big Finish team have produced.

It's a clever bit of story telling, where the story unfolds in fractured time rather than a linear fashion. It's also a deeply philosophical tale, musing on the nature of right and wrong, and the difference that people can make in the overall scheme of things. The narrative structure works beautifully. It doesn't feel laboured, and showing the reasons for character' actions after seeing the actual event totally changes the perspective of the event. The tale itself is rather standard for Who, but the telling of the tale really makes it special. And the layers that it adds to the characters of Nyssa and Five, and the relationship between the two are welcome.

Davison and Sutton are on fine form, Davison especially with his philosophical and wise sounding performance. David Daker makes a welcome guest appearance as a security chief, in a performance full of charm, menace and vitriol in just the right quantities.

A thought provoking, interesting, and yet still entertaining tale from the Big Finish team, with some great performances. 5 stars all round from me.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 August 2006
A story where the doctor and companion do nothing other than react to the situation. A fractured narrative with scenes all over the place. You wouldn't think this one would be very compelling, interesting, or easy listening.

But it is. Because it's powerful drama, and it really makes you think about the moral issues that it confronts - the doctor's right to interfere, and the situation on the planet itself - and thus it's one of the best fifth doctor stories that big finish have ever produced.

It also has an ending you won't forget in a hurry. Highly recommended
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on 30 January 2015
By the third episode I had it! It is neither clever or constructive to have such a crazy narrative order! Everything suffers because of this ridiculous technique. I would have sworn someone made a terrible mistake and messed up the whole story order of the recordings. I'm still contemplating re-arranging this mess so that it would be more enjoyable.

You'd think the creators of this would know that the REAL Doctor Who show, from which the people at the time it was created, were in a narrative style that flowed well. The only exception, maybe, was Trial of a Time Lord.

There are good things about this audio story. The acting and characterizations are good for the most part. The loud bellowing alien voice was a bit much, but the other actors including Davison and the main cast are quite enjoyable. Some of the later Doctor Who audios by Big Finish are much more annoying with there sound effects and such, this one has good, more realistic sound effects.

If not hampered by the moronic way this story was edited together, it would have been enjoyable.
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on 21 October 2014
If you think you have the attention span to handle a fractured narrative then I recommend this most highly. Highly suspenseful, incredibly well structured with a stupendous performance by David Daker (from Tom Baker's Nightmare of Eden story).
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on 6 March 2006
It seems the major selling point of this adventure is its bizarrely structured narrative, chopping and changing from the present, past pre-Nissa's torture and post Nissa's torture. This works for a bit, keeping the listener guessing as to what actually occurred and why...but the story shoots itself in the foot with the end of Part 3, which, ok, leaves a few plot points untied but still features the traditional 'parting of the TARDIS' closing. I actually thought the whole thing had finished at this point and i would have been happy (well, satisfied) if it had been the end. To this end, part 4 became a mere explanation of things you didn't know and was almost surplus to requirement.
The story itself, once you break it out of the narrative mess, is quite original and topical (all to do with environmental pollution) and both Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton deliver reliable performances: but on first listen, you'll be confused. On second listen, you'll understand. And on third...well i haven't been tempted back for a third yet. And this says much for the rating, as some of my favourites i've listened to several times. I'm not telling you not to give it a go, but there are several excellent adventures out there. This isn't one of them.
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