This is the fifth release from Big Finish in their range of audio only adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven and Sophie Aldred as Ace. There are four episodes, roughly 25 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 notes from the author.
Previous releases in the range had been pretty good and captured the feel of the original TV series, but this release really made me sit up and say WOW! The Doctor and Ace are trying to track down a monster known as the Fearmonger, which hides inside people. As well as a straight monster tale it is also a well done study of the politics of the far right, and the mobs that both oppose and support the extremists. The Doctor must not only find his prey, but counter the various political machinations and tabloid hate stirring. The play boasts a supreme performance from McCoy as Seven as he faces down some of his greatest fears, changing from lighthearted to dark and brooding in a flash, from jester to foreboding in the space of a breath. McCoy gives a totally magnetic performance, backed by a really strong script and excellent direction and production. Also of note is Sophie Aldred as Ace. Her character really developed in the TV series, and she continues that development here as though her 10 year absence had never happened. She just steps right back into the part, and continues to portray an Ace who is still growing and becoming a stronger person every day.
A superb release, 5 stars.
This is the fifth story in the Main Range series by Big Finish, first released in 2000. Written by Jonathan Blum, this story features the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), travelling with Ace (Sophie Aldred). This is a story set in the period of the relationship between the Doctor and Ace where the Doctor plays up to his rather mysterious agenda, and Ace feels she is being taught lessons by him in their travels together.
In a London which seems to be about the year 2005 (as Ace confirms to a friend that she’s been ‘away’ for some 15 years). England appears to be under the iron rule of the New Britannia Party under Sherilyn Harper (Jacqueline Pearce), and there are those believe that ‘something must be done’. An assassination attempt goes wrong, but fear and unrest are growing on the streets. Those in the United Front party have their own agenda, and the radio shock- jock Mick Thompson (Vince Henderson) is stirring up further trouble. Can Harper hold the country together, and can the Doctor and Ace find the creature they believe is behind it all?
This is a very good story. There is an extremely strong cast, with Jacqueline Pearce, Mark Wright, Mark McDonnell, Vince Henderson and Hugh Walters being real standouts. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred are fantastic in their roles as the Doctor and Ace. The story itself is a rather right-wing vs. left-wing political one, but it is lifted above that by the reason that the Doctor and Ace are there at all – there’s more to this than mere politics, and the Doctor is determined to sort it out. But who can be trusted amongst all those with their own agendas? That’s the nub of the story, and it unfolds at a great pace, and with many twists and turns on the way. I really liked the story, and considering it was only the fifth story in the Big Finish Main Releases, I think it’s a triumph.
on 11 April 2006
"One would-be assassin is in a mental ward. Another's on the run. Their intended victim is stirring up the mobs. Terrorists are planning a strike of their own. A talk-radio host is loving every minute of it. A Whitehall insider whispers about a mysterious UN operative, with a hidden agenda.
"Everyone's got someone they want you to be afraid of. It'll only take a little push for the situation to erupt - and something is doing the pushing. But you can trust the Doctor to put things right. Can't you?"
The Fearmonger is a well-crafted story set some time after Survival, and pairs a moody Seventh Doctor with a more mature Ace. I've always enjoyed the pairing, and Jonathan Blum's script quickly reminds one of the darker atmosphere of the later TV stories.
Without going into too much detail on the plot, The Fearmonger features several well-acted supporting characters, including a smooth turn by Jacqueline Pearce (who played Chessene in the TV series' The Two Doctors) as the leader of a hard-line political party, backed up well by Hugh Walters as her aide and with a successful turn by Vince Henderson as an obnoxious talk radio presenter, among others. All have their part to play in a scenario in which fear is the ultimate political weapon. And amidst all this, there's the Fearmonger, which is lapping it up.
I like the way the story is styled. The Fearmonger remains mysterious throughout, and often one is left wondering where it is really hiding, if it even exists at all, or if it's just a figment of the characters' imaginations. If I had any complaints around the mid-point of the story (some shocking cliff-hangers by the way!) they would have been that the Fearmonger is a little too intangible, but it is well paid off in episode four in a final twist that you probably won't have been expecting.
The usual high standard of sound design is present, although as the story is set in near-contemporary London it requires less outlandish sound effects and the atmosphere is achieved through subtler effects such as the sound of passing cars or the echoing accoustics of an empty warehouse.
The Fearmonger is definitely one of Big Finish's most stylish stories to date, but then this is only number five...
on 21 October 2013
I really enjoyed this one. I've been listening to all of the Big Finish audios in audio and this was the first one that really grabbed my attention and held it the entire way through. The story is based around a political party (similar to the EDL or BNP) who are trying to gain power in the UK, but there is a strange creature known as 'The Fearmonger' lurking in the shadows.
For me, the highlight of this story was hearing 7/Ace again. It sounds like no time had passed from 1989 to 2000, and they sound as if they'd never left the TARDIS. Sophie Aldred is one of the few companions who sounds exactly like she did in the original series.
I would give this one another listen!
on 22 April 2009
Set in a dystopian future where a right-wing political party spreads malice and a sinister creature feeds off the ensuing fear. An interesting twist, strong performances from Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, and a moody score; this is one of those stories that makes you wistful about how much better the TV series could have been if they'd given it another chance back in 1989.
on 4 May 2013
This early Big Finish offering places the Seventh Doctor and his tv companion Ace up against then political machinations of a Thatcher type leader of future Britain. But within her rein lies a creature that feeds on fear which is capable of jumping from host to host. A very suburban story that rattles along quite nicely, and whilst fits nicely in the last tv era of Mccoy's tenure, its very generic monster possessing tale 7/10
on 28 April 2007
When you listen to Sylvester McCoy on audio, its like he never stopped the doctor! Hes such a great actor and he is definitely complimented by Sophie Aldred as Ace, who is my fav tv companion. Shes got guits and doesnt just scream all the time. And i think the Fearmonger is a great story for their reintroduction. Jon Blum has written a classic story here. A good piece on terrorists and an unnamed alien just known as the fearmonger.
Very good twist when all along ive thought the creature was in a different person when it was actually just inside the person hearing it in other peoples voices! Great twist, i really thought uh oh when i heard the ending to the third episode. Ace getting shot is quite nasty too. Some great cliffhangers.
And i like the fact that this story gets going straight away, and doesnt waste time. Quite a few stories take til the end of episode one to get going, but not this one. Maintained twists and action all the way through. Great stuff!
on 5 January 2013
I highly recommend this product and the company that sent it too me very reusable and fast, worth buy for any Dr Who fan.
on 29 September 2014
Thank you much. Very pleased