This is the forty fifth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six, Maggie Stables as Evelyn and Sylvester McCoy as Seven. 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.
This is a great story. Or indeed, a great couple of stories. In the first two episodes Six and Evelyn set out to locate Cassie, last encountered in Project: Twilight, as the Doctor now has a cure for her vampirism. Upon locating her they find themselves once again having to deal with Nimrod, one of the Doctor's better foes, and the Forge (sort of an evil version of UNIT). Baker is excellent as Six, full of imperiousness and compassion, with a towering personality. He really carries the story along, helped by having a strong villain to work against and a sympathetic companion in Evelyn Smyth, one that he cannot just railroad and who can stand up for herself. This continues a bit of a story arc for Six and Evelyn, in which their attitudes to the deaths that they see, and the effect that they have on the very human Evelyn, are explored.
The actors, script and sound production are excellent with an exciting, and at the climax, moving tale.
In the second two part adventure, Seven finds himself having to visit the Forge to try and get them to stop doing something naughty. It's not a separate adventure, as it ties up several plot points laid down in the first two parts. I can't say too much without giving the big surprise away. Suffice to say that McCoy rises to the challenge of the Forge and Nimrod admirably, and he turns in another exciting adventure.
In all this is a five star production. Excellent work from Big Finish.
This is a very inventive story, where the first cd (2 parts of the 4 part story) are told with the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn. The second cd (the 3rd and 4th parts of the story) are set with the Seventh Doctor. This review may come out sounding rather cryptic, but it's all so as to hopefully not offer any spoilers for those yet to enjoy the story.
The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn return to Norway to get Cassie, now that the Doctor believes he has the antidote to the Twilight virus (see the earlier story Project Twilight for the background to this). But, as we know, they are not the only ones looking for Cassie. In the meantime, are there strange mythical creatures also in the area? And what's the connection, if any? The Doctor and Evelyn battle evil and old foes, and attempt to rescue old friends.
In the part of the story with the Seventh Doctor, he arrives when the Tardis picks up strange energy readings. The links between his arrival, where he arrives, and what happened under the earlier story quickly become apparent, but there are plenty of twists and turns in store, both for the Doctor and for the listener.
This is great stuff - the characters are suitably nasty, the story suitably horrifying, and the Doctor(s) are in top form. Any more would be spoilers, so suffice to say that if you've heard Project Twilight (or are thinking of doing so) you really want to get this one too! The stories, while they stand on their own, are part of a larger story arc, which continues in Project Destiny.
Both Colin and Sylvester appear as the Doctor, though not together in this game of two halves. This is the sequel to ‘Project Twilight’, which you should probably listen to before this. Written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright in 2003 with direction by Gary Russell.
South Norway July 2004. The Doctor and Evelyn go looking for Cassie with a cure for her, unaware that she has been recruited by the forge. They find her and a Professor Harket still in Norway, along with a blue succubus/siren type alien. Both the Tardis crew and the alien are captured by Nimrod who plans to torture the Doctor so he can force him to regenerate so they can study, and hopefully replicate the process in a military environment.
The Andy Hardwick’s music provides a dark and eerie atmosphere and the sound effects are generally very good. The direction early on the Moore in Norway is confusing as there are only subtle vocal pointers that allude to location of characters.
Evelyn’s dialogue and adds nothing, it’s only her reaction to Cassie’s death and helping Cassie remember her son which gives her anything worthwhile to do in the whole first hour. Colin and Evelyn’s characters are sometimes a bit over the top but here the guest cast is even more hammier. A perfect example is when Nimrod shoots and kills Cassie he comes out with the “You’re fired!” line.
If Cassie was recruited by the Forge why does the story start in Norway, they have moved forward through time why not cross borders? Just me being nit-picky but it seems more elegant to me.
The characterisation was a bit poor as Cassie relates to Evelyn a couple of attempts to take her own life and then you are immediately distracted from that by Evelyn talking about Cassie’s son Tommy. It felt rushed and Cassie’s recollections didn’t have as much impact as intended and I think part of that was that suicide attempts are self-harm and therefore her own choice. If she had been attacked by Vampire hunters or tortured in the Forge then the dynamic would be completely different.
The Forge, Dartmoor, 2008. Time experiments in the Forge have damaged the vortex and a companionless seventh Doctor lands his Tardis in Dartmoor. The Doctor heads for the Forge and finds himself already there. Nimrod persuades the seventh Doctor to help with their experiments, and help fend off an alien invasion.
Strangely I found this half more engaging and the writing more fluid but there were some good ideas in both. Ingrid Evans as Dr. Crumpton offered something a little different to the bad guy lackey. There are some fantastically creepy Frankenstein like ideas here but I am not sure why they don’t come off. I think it may be partly the musical arrangement but also Steven Chances portrayal of Nimrod is too smooth, lackadaisical and lacks sinister menace. There is a rather odd moment when the two Doctors meet and the faux sixth Doctor wants to talk privately to the Seventh and when Crumpton objects Nimrod replies, “I don’t see what harm it can do”. Maybe the following conversation was all part of Nimrods plan but I don’t think it’s ever made clear.
Not enough is made of the alien invasion and the creepy atmosphere just isn’t fully realised. This feels like a couple of short stories and I suppose that’s what it is. You really need to listen to Project: Twilight first but even so it’s an enjoyable enough listen and great ending which really makes the story.