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This is the fifty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and Maggie Stables as the redoubtable Evelyn Smythe. There are 4 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.

After the devastating events of Project:Lazarus, Evelyn needs some time to think. Things are getting too much for her, mainly the things she hasn't told him, and his attitude to the deaths of friends. Six, in his compassionate and understanding mode, takes her to the planet of Villag, in a period of time where ostensibly there are no monsters to fight, only a royal marriage to enjoy. Evelyn goes off on her own, and needless to say things do not go to plan as the pair are thrust into a series of adventures and recently won universal peace on the planet starts to disintegrate as a result of their interventions.

This is one of the very best dramas in the range. And that's up against some very stiff competition. Evelyn comes into her own here as a companion able to stand up to Six and his bombast. Stables brings a real depth to the character, and really takes all the opportunities handed to her by an excellent script. Baker gets to show off how good his Doctor could have been, his performance full of energy, compassion, infinite sorrow and subtlety where required. The chemistry between the two comes out perfectly, and the study of their relationship is nicely done.

By contrast with the narrow focus on their relationship, the story has an epic feel, spanning several weeks, three countries, complicated political machinations and the lives and relationships of others, especially the illicit relationship between the Princess and a soldier. The contrast between the personal stories and the big picture makes this a superior drama.

Added into the mix is the excellent Gabriel Woolfe as Rossiter, a well developed character who forms a strong attachment with Evelyn. Woolfe if perfect for the part, and delivers a nuanced and sympathetic performance and makes Rossiter a very believable character.

All in all, one of the best in the range. Epic drama, touching love story, this release has it all. 5 stars.
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on 29 April 2007
"Onboard the TARDIS, nerves are strained.

"After escaping the Forge and the murderous clutches of Nimrod, the Doctor and Evelyn have things to talk about. The Doctor's attitude towards death is a subject that these days is too close to Evelyn's heart, and eventually she demands to be set down somewhere where she can be free of him for a while.

"And so they come to Világ, where the Doctor's meddling lands him in the middle of a truly dangerous liaison and Evelyn meets a man who wants to change the course of her life forever.

"Love is everywhere. But then war is too.

"Is it time for Evelyn to leave the Doctor? Or is the choice about to be taken out of her hands?

"And who is to say what is the beginning and what is the end of love?"

"Arrangements for War", by Paul Sutton, is another Big Finish audio play that takes the brave step of mixing Doctor Who with romance - and gets away with it.

The action picks up immediately after the first half of "Project: Lazarus", and begins with Evelyn (the excellent Maggie Stables) asking the Doctor (Colin Baker on top form) to find her a place where she can be left in peace for a while to contemplate recent events and her relationship with the Doctor. Compliant, the Doctor takes Evelyn to the picturesque palace gardens of Galen on Világ, a world where two warring nations have finally made peace with the help of a ceremonial arranged marriage and, history dictates, will soon band together to fight off a planetary invasion by the vicious Killorans.

A mistake on the part of the Doctor places the two countries on the brink of war once again, and threatens to spell their doom at the hands of the Killoran invasion. The story therefore follows the Doctor's attempts to right the wrong he has committed in time for the inevitable invasion, whilst trying to make amends with his companion. Evelyn, meanwhile, spends her downtime with the romantic Governor of an impartial third state (Gabriel Woolf), who falls in love with Evelyn and wishes her to remain with him.

Love infuses "Arrangements for War" from beginning to end, with both Evelyn's b-story and the romance between Princess Krisztina of Galen (an engaging Katarina Olsson) and the soldier she really longs to be with (Lewis Rae) taking prominent roles. In fact, the events of the story take place over a period of several weeks, which is a rare approach that gives the story a unique pace and a sense of expansiveness not seen since Marco Polo, and the play benefits greatly from this alternative storytelling style. The story is also enhanced by the complete, comprehensively imagined and convincingly conveyed world that it takes place in, with its competing nations, realistic characters and political machinations. Everything is handled very skillfully by the cast and crew and nothing feels tacked on or overblown. The performances and sound design are fantastic.

The story starts out with the apparent intention of focusing on Evelyn's struggle to cope with the Doctor's attitude to death. However, at the end of the play we come to realise that it is the Doctor's own struggle that the story really seeks to address, and in this objective it is a great success.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 18 January 2013
Evelyn feels her time with the Doctor has seen her all too often have to see death and destruction, and be involved in violent conflicts (see Project: Lazarus and Project: Twilight in particular for the background here) and feels she needs some time away from the Doctor to recover. Taking her to a quiet planet where she dashes off on her own, the Doctor looks for a way to spend the break himself. Unfortunately, both of them end up being involved in ways neither of them bargained for.

This is a story which, in the first episode, spends quite a bit of time getting the listener's emotional investment. The relationship between Evelyn and the Doctor is investigated, as are other relationships. I found the second episode (of four) a bit annoying in parts, with the romantic entanglements of Princess Krisztina rather over the top, and to which I found the Doctor's apparent solution rather implausible. However, the second episode winds itself up very well into the third episode where the story picks up from then on.

The villains are suitably villainous, the characters of Evelyn and the Doctor are empathetic and quite delightful as they work to resolve their relationship. All in all, a very good story wrapped in another very good story (layers within layers, if you like). I really enjoyed this story, and I have enjoyed all the Evelyn and Sixth Doctor stories - they seem to be able to travel very well together. Highly recommended.
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on 28 April 2007
[...] This is my favourite audio adventure so far. Colin Baker and Maggie Stables are brilliant, you really believe them, theyre so real in their interprtations of the Doctor and Evelyn.

Its nice to have the Doctor Who twist on a love story. Its nice to hear Gabriel Woolf playing a good guy too, which he voices very well.

The story is one of the most easily understandable of the audio series so far, and doesnt go over the top with science and monsters. It rests more on just being a totally cracking good story.

The fact that the Doctor sees all the things that happen after his speech toi Marcus as his fault is understandable. I like it when the Doctor is quite human, but with an alien feel. Making him totally detached just wouldnt work. And his grief at the death of Kriztina and Marcus is very well acted by Colin. He's a brilliant Doctor. Im glad he's had a chance to do these audio stories, he's such a good overall actor. One minute mad the next sad and the next just stupid.

And I love Maggie as Evelyn, shes now one of my favourite companions ever.
i WAS sad when the story ended sadly, but I love the final scene where the doctor and evelyn make up, its so nice. The best audio so far!!!!!!!!!!!
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2005
Arrangements For War is basically a Mills and Boon-style love story in space. The story centres around an arranged marriage between the royalty of two warring nations but, thanks to the Doctors unknowing interference, the Princess Krisztina decides to continue her affair with her commoner lover, putting the peace at risk. It's fairly cheesy stuff, but the drama is heightened by the Doctors knowledge that if the warring nations cannot unite they will be overrun by an alien invasion in the very near future. The play struggles to convey it's epic scope at times, with the drama frequently shifting into the realms of melodrama, and when the aliens do arrive they are a big disappointment. The one real highlight of this play is the continuing exploration of the relationship of the 6th Doctor and his companion Evelyn, who has now thankfully matured beyond the original 'cocoa and cakes' jolly grandma into a much more rounded character. The main storyline isn't the most compelling, but the deft treatment of the two regulars keeps this listenable.
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Relations between the doctor and his companion evelyn are rather strained, thus the latter takes a break on an alien world. Only trouble is, this world is full of warring kingdoms. A wedding between royals from two might bring an end to that. But the bride to be is having second thoughts.

And out in space, an alien armada is getting ready to strike...

The cast of this story are superb. The characters are well drawn. And the character interaction and drama is first rate. Trouble is, there's not enough science fiction in this. There's no real feel of this being another world. It could have been set in the balkans in the 1930's in two small countries on the verge of invasion by a bigger neighbour, and it wouldn't have been much different.

As a result, this audio is pretty good, it's just not great
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on 12 March 2009
Paul Sutton's first Big Finish audio is a somewhat sentimental romance, as Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor and his menopausal companion Dr Evelyn Smythe reach a crossroads in their relationship, both metaphorically and actually. Is this where The Doctor's latest travelling companion bids adieu? Physically unwell and mentally confused, Evelyn is fed up with The Timelord's seemingly cavalier attitude to life and love and lets him know this in her forthright way.
Dr Smythe is probably my least favourite companion, as I find her motherly attitude and to be honest, her voice extremely irritating. That aside, this is a contemplative and mature addition to the Big Finish range of original plays and as such is well worth getting hold of.
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