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4.0 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: Caerdroia
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 January 2013
This is the sixty third release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight, India Fisher as Charley and Conrad Westmaas as C'Rizz. This is the seventh of a series of adventures in the Divergent universe following the events of Zagreus, in which there is a story arc. Knowledge of some of these previous adventures will help with the enjoyment of this as it starts to bring the divergent saga to a close and explain a few things. 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 a series of adventures being passed from zone to zone by the Kro'ka, the Doctor is finally starting to get a handle on what is going on, and begins his fight back. This results in him, Charie and C'rizz being transported to the Caerdrioa zone, where things start to get very weird. An interesting series of adventures follows, as the Doctor works his way through the oddness to find what lies at the heart of the zone. It's one of the better adventures in the divergent saga, with some interesting ideas, a good sense of humour and a good use of the audio medium to present us with monsters that simply could not be realised on the screen. There is also some great acting, especially from McGann who is called upon to do some very tricky work showing three aspects of the Doctor at the same time and doing it superbly - it's just his voice, but you can hear three separate characters.

An excellent production all round, 5 stars.
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on 21 October 2010
2004 was a pretty bad year for Big Finish Productions. The looming presence of new Who on TV cast a shadow over whatever they seemed to come up with and one could quite easily have thought that their Doctor Who range (once such a beacon in dark times) had run out of steam. Happlily, the last four stories were a real return to form; of those four, the quirkiest is Lloyd Rose's 'Caerdroia'. For anyone familiar with her excellent trio of BBC Doctor Who novels, the quality of writing should come as no surprise at all but even those who steadfastly only watch the TV stories should be charmed and fascinated.

The basic premise of the story is highly ingenious (and the spur for a lot of superb dialogue) though what really stands out is the performance of Paul McGann in the lead, set a real acting challenge to which he rises magnificently. As a whole, it's not quite perfect: disc two includes a few minutes rather obvious padding and the first half of disc one is merely an extended build up to the first cliffhanger. But what a cliffhanger! (Trust me: if you haven't already been told what happens, you will be agog to see how things develop.)

In spite of minor flaws, 'Caerdroia' is essential listening for any Doctor Who fan for the simple reason that it takes exploration of The Doctor's character into completely new and unexpected territory. It's also great fun. What more reasons do you need?
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2005
Since his exile to another universe at the end of Zagreus, the 8th Doctor's audio adventures have fallen into a boring formula during his extended quest to be reunited with the TARDIS, with every story bookended by taunts from the mysterious Kro'ka as the Doctor passes through the Interzone dividing the wildly differing regions of the planet he is stranded on. Thankfully the Doctor finally fights back in Caerdroia, and by the stories end has defeated the Kro'ka and won back his TARDIS, yet despite being so dependent on continuity that this story would be pointless for casual listeners to try, it frustratingly ends up telling us very little about the Kro'ka and the Divergents either.
The bulk of Caerdroia consists of a battle of wills between the Doctor and the Kro'ka in the sort of fantasy dreamscape that has been used dozens of times before in Doctor Who (most recently The Axis of Insanity), with the characters running around in circles as they encounter various threats. Curiously these threats are all very visual in nature, so rather than playing to audios strengths Lloyd Rose ends up highlighting it's weaknesses, and gags about being chased by monsters that no-one can be bothered to describe for the listener just do not work.
The one real highlight of this otherwise pedestrian release is Paul McGann, as thanks to his Doctor being split into three he gives three entirely separate performances, as joining the 'normal' 8th Doctor we also have a hopelessly optimistic 'Tigger' version and a more moody alien version. As with the Three Doctors they bicker constantly, which is great fun.
Caerdroia is a very lightweight romp, and quite fun in a mindless way - but as part of the ongoing adventures of the 8th Doctor in the Divergent Universe this is a major disappointment.
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on 5 September 2007
After the experimenting in Scherzo with just Paul and India having to carry the whole story together, which was bold and brave and for me actually worked extremely well, its good to get another similar play so soon.

This play only has the three main characters of The doc charley and c'rizz along with the great Stephen Perring as the Kroka and many would probably think this would turn out to be a dreary and dull piece of no interest at all. But theyd be wrong.

Some of my favourite audios ever ive realised have been written by gals, and heres a new great story from a gal, this time Lloyd Rose. Seems to me that shes a smart writer, making a four person play sound so cool and entertaining. Minotaur and maze bits are obviously taken from myths, but done in a new and fresh way. And Paul gets a chance to do more than usual on this audio too, which is nice. Hes brill.

So, yet another great play. What more can i say?
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on 17 July 2007
"Self-exiled to a new universe, separated from his TARDIS, opposed and manipulated by the Divergence and their agent the Kro'ka, the Doctor has been struggling to work out the nature of the cosmic game in which he's an unwilling pawn. Now, at last, he has a chance to find the answer - and regain his TARDIS!
"Threatened and desperate, the Kro'ka abandons his behind-the-scenes machinations to confront the Doctor directly. But will both of them lose their way in the maze of the strange world in which they find themselves? A world in which a clock may have a cuckoo but no hands, a labyrinth imprisons a paradox, and a Garden of Curiosities reveals something the Doctor has never seen before.
"As the Doctor faces these challenges, Charley and C'rizz provide valuable help. But with the TARDIS itself at stake, the Doctor reaches deep inside himself to find some surprising new allies."

"Caerdroia", by Lloyd Rose, is one of those occasional stories set in a fantasy world where anything goes. Generally speaking, I don't much care for such stories, as the events within them tend to be rather inconsequential and unreal. "Caerdroia" isn't really an exception to this rule and, for me, probably represents the weakest link in Big Finish's second Divergent Universe season.
However, it's not all bad. The cast is restricted to regulars Paul McGann, India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas as the Doctor and his companions, plus recurring guest Stephen Perring as the Kro'ka, and as a result all four characters get something interesting to do and the cast make the most of it. McGann comes off particularly well, as the Doctor is split into three versions of himself: the sensible one, the adventurous and abstract one, and the nasty one. The scenes between Fisher's character Charley and the Nasty Doctor as they descend through the workings of a giant cuckoo clock make particularly good listening.
Indeed, it's character moments such as these that make "Caerdroia" worth listening to, as the "fantasy world" plot is somewhat weak, serving primarily as a means to delay the Doctor's retrieval of his TARDIS for three episodes. The best moments of the story, rather, are probably those between the Doctor and the Kro'ka in episode one, before the travellers first arrive in the world of Caerdroia.
A perhaps unmemorable but perfectly listenable slice of Divergent Universe "Who", and a necessary link in the chain between "The Last" and "The Next Life".
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