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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Pier Pressure (Doctor Who)
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on 26 March 2017
Very good.
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on 19 May 2015
Returning to scribe duties after 'Medicinal Purposes', comedy historian Robert Ross sends angry old Six on another historic escapade, this time to Brighton, 1936. There's something foul over at the pier, with strange lights and vanishing people, and with the aid of comedy legend Max Miller and an eager young movie fan, the Doctor sets out to unravel an enigma with potentially devastating consequences...

As you'd expect from Big Finish, one of the story's strengths is its cast: the lively Colin Baker as the fiery Sixth and the late Maggie Stables as Professor Evelyn Smythe have not lost a jot of their chemistry that made them a favourite among fans. However, the main draw here is Roy Hudd as Miller, one of England's most beloved comedians, and he manages the role well, helped by experience of doing impersonations of Miller, and makes him a consistently lively and energetic presence in the story as befitting a comic maverick. Also as expected is the prowess of the technical crew, creating the appropriate seaside sounds of waves crashing, seagulls and the drunken chatter of pubs while underscoring with a very atmospheric soundtrack that definitely feels classic horror movie-esque and adds a lot more than the script would have conjured on its own.

Yes sadly, Ross' script is the lame duck here: the pseudo historical is very familiar ground for Who, and despite a strong start that creates a sense of foreboding, the audioplay sags and slogs after the half way mark. It's very much a routine secret aliens as gods wanting to dominate the earth in a period setting tale with plenty of the requisite running around and near death escapes, and despite some chucklesome lines, the script just doesn't balance the chills and laughs all that well and it starts to become very exposition heavy in the second half with just a lot of sitting around and talking. This is not helped by possibly some of the lamest and least intimidating villains Who has ever had: despite the possession gimmick, the threat lacks any real personality and has practically no threat level. Remember how great Azal or Sutekh were? Well, this false god is just another conquest happy nut without any spark or flair of his own.

In closing, 'Pier Pressure' starts strong and looks set to be a nice little Hinchcliffian tale, but then the dialogue starts to fatten, the villain appears, and a lot of it just feels like the characters going in circles. A real shame as there are positives here and Pier Pressure is certainly no 'Warriors of The Deep' but it's so familiar and tepid that it lacks any identity of its own to leave a lasting impact.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 11 February 2014
This is another in the wonderful Big Finish range of original audio adventures. This story features the Sixth Doctor (as played by Colin Baker) and Evelyn Smythe (as played by Maggie Stables). Deciding the Doctor needs a holiday, Evelyn persuades him to go to the seaside. Brighton seems appealing, and 1936 seems a good year. But there’s something waiting off the pier at the seaside that’s not so appealing. As Albert and his young lady Emily are about to find out. But all is not lost, because the darling of the Brighton seaside, Max Miller is on hand to assist the Doctor and Evelyn.

This is a great story; part historical, part alien, and fully invested with the character of Max Miller. I love the way bits of music play behind his narrative, and Roy Hudd plays him brilliantly. The backchat between him and Evelyn is delightful. And the villain of the piece, as played by Doug Bradley is absolutely brilliant. The way he alternates his voice between the hapless human host and the alien presence is just astonishing.

There’s quite a lot of talking in this story, and not a whole lot of action. If you’re looking for action-packed whizz bang alien adventure, this is not the story for you. But it’s invested with so much humanity, Emily and Albert are such great young characters, Max Miller is a joy to listen to, and the Doctor is in full flow for so much of the story that time just flies by. The character of Professor Talbot is wonderful; in fact, everyone in this story is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I’d happily listen to it again; it’s a reflective piece, a great slice of British seaside life, with a tinge of Hammer horror. Great stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 8 April 2006
This story finds the 6th Doctor and companion Evelyn (who only left a couple of stories ago, but whatever) fighting against `pure evil' on Brighton Pier in 1936. Author Robert Ross has a nice setting, and a reasonable central conceit (the Doctor meets comedian Mix Miller) but sadly the actual story itself is a collection of unoriginal worn out clichés: evil aliens wanting to invade Earth, possessed characters acting like zombies, the Heroic Sacrifice of a supporting character to save the day - it's mind-numbing Doctor-Who-By-Numbers. Some reasonable performances, especially from `Hellraiser's Doug Bradley, but the unoriginal story and the slight plot stretched out over 2 hours makes this a disappointing seaside adventure.
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It's this new doctor who audio play, right? It's four episodes long, and it features the sixth doctor and his latest companion, evelyn smythe. They come to brighton in 1936, meet max miller, and enlist his help in dealing with some evil lurking at the end of the pier. And they manage to tie that nicely into real history.

There's some great recreation of the time period - you might want to look up the films that the character billy mentions he's been in, as you won't believe who he really is - and decent guest star acting, particularly from roy hudd playing the great stand up comic max miller.

But this one isn't as good as it could be, because the episodes are about five to ten minutes too long, and everyone spends a lot of time standing around talking about evil things without actually doing much about them. Particularly the actual villains.

So this is a pretty good story, but if it had been shorter and sharper, it could have been so much better
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2013
This is the seventy eighth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six, Maggie Stablees as Evelyn and in an inspired move, Roy Hudd as Max Miller. There are 4 episodes, roughly 30-35 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.

It starts off well. Set in the period (I think) between the events of Arrangements for War and Evelyn leaving he TARDIS to marry Rossiter (so preceding the last Evelyn/Doctor story to be released, Thicker than Water) we find ourselves in 1930s Brighton, in the company of Max Miller (convincingly played by that old trouper Roy Hudd) and Billy, who is (pleasingly for the fans) a character of great significance to Who history. But after the excellent setting the adventure really falls flat. It is over long, and full of clunky exposition without much action. And the exposition makes little or no sense. I caught some flashes of interesting ideas, such as the ruminations on the nature of evil that reminded me of Brighton Rock. But largely the plot was very dull and very badly put across.

There are highlights that make this worth a listen, notable Roy Hudd as the irrepressible cheeky chappie, and Baker and Stables working well off each other. But the uninspired script makes it a difficult listen. 3 stars.
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on 4 January 2007
Being a fan of Doctor Who I am nearly always left disappointed by the television series once it gets to Colin Baker. By then the BBC seem to have cut the budget and lost interest in the show and it suffered badly. Baker was never a bad choice for the doctor but unfortunately inherited the role at a time when interest appeared to be waining.

Robert Ross has however created a perfect story for the the doctor here set in Brighton where friends include Max Miller. Ross allows the doctor room to breathe and with this new freedom Baker shines as the truly great doctor he deserved to be.

Throughly entertaining and witty this is Doctor Who at it's best!!!!!
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on 4 October 2013
"Pier Pressure" has been written off, or at least given a battering, for being thin on plot and heavy on meandering dialogue. Yes, there are some drawn out conversations between the protagonists, but I think the point of "Pier Pressure" is that it is a character piece - writer Robert Ross concentrates more on the banter between his characters rather than in ladling on a convoluted plot which might otherwise detract from the enjoyment of the dialogue. I find it highly atmospheric and rather elegaic in quality, and Roy Hudd's performance in particular is lovely. The Brighton setting works well, the cast is uniformly great, and there is a real spark to much of the script. Underrated.
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