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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

on 27 April 2007
Doctor Who happens to be my favourite thing on TV at the moment, and I love the orignal series too. But I must say that in my opinion, the Big Finish range of audio stories are some of the best stories ever. And if i were to choose a story to show how brilliant and diverse the range is, then !Circular Time" would have to be it.

This disc of four one episode stories is brilliantly written. And each episode is distinctly different.

"SDpring" is a good start to the disc, with a good take on the actions of a rogue time lord called Zero. Quite a few other "other" time lord influenced stories are rather starined, but this is not one of them.

"Summer" is really good. I think David Warner makes this episode with his brilliant performance. The whole story being really based on a two pound coin is brilliant, and not at all stupid. I first expected this episode to be silly when i read the synopsis, but it isnt in the slightest.

"Autumn" is my very favourite part of this story. I think Sarah Sutton really shines in this episode. A wonderful romantic without being over the top sweet story. A rare treat.

"Winter" ends the stories with a believable plot by the Master to trap the doctor, but of course it doesnt succeed. The doctor being married even if its only a dream, is a neat twist too.

So overall, a thoruoghly enjoyable play that is worthy of listening to again and again. Masterful storytelling.
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on 22 July 2007
As has already been noted, Circular Time is not a single four-part story, but four half-hour plays, featuring the 5th Doctor and Nyssa, loosely linked by a common theme.

The common theme is that there is a kind of time that is circular, that things do not necessarily move lineally from birth to death, but that events can be cyclical, returning to the beginning and repeating themselves rather like the seasons. This is not entirely clear in the first two stories, but is more explicit in the final two.

The writers have tried to give us 4 different types of Doctor Who story: 'alien planet, pure historical, social realism and shameless fan service'.

"Spring" features a renegade Time Lord trying to create an avian empire. It has a clever plot, but doesn't really resolve anything by the end.

"Summer" is a pure historical, set in the 17th century, in which Isaac Newton extrapolates the future history of the Earth from a handful of coins that Nyssa has handed over. A new spin on an historical character that we thought we knew.

"Autumn" returns us to Stockbridge, where the fifth Doctor's comic strip adventures were set (as featured in "Doctor Who Monthly" and now collected as "Doctor Who Graphic Novel #3 - The Tides of Time"). The Doctor's fifth incarnation returns here every few years, just to play cricket with the village team. A charming tale with no monsters and no sci-fi elements at all, but a romantic encounter for Nyssa.

By contrast "Winter" is for the nerds amongst us. Where the earlier stories featured Nyssa and the Doctor whilst they were travelling together somewhere between series 19 & 20 ("Time Flight" and "Arc Of Infinity") this one features an older Nyssa whose dreams are being invaded by the Doctor as he subconsciously seeks the support of his former companions before regenerating. Full of zero rooms, technobabble and symbolism. Definitely one for the fans.

An eclectic mix, stylishly presented and entertaining.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 February 2007
An interesting depature for the big finish range in that instead of this being one long doctor who story in four parts, the four parts here are all self contained stories. Although they do form a whole in the end that justifies the title.

All are roughly thirty minutes long, and benefit from decent pacing as a result. Something that has been a problem with a few big finishes that have been too long for their own good.

The first part involves the fifth doctor and nyssa visiting an alien race on a very alien world where a renegade time lord has gone native. They are there to try and find out what he's up to. The world is stunningly well realised via sound and the actors performances. There are some harsh laws among the aliens, and whilst nyssa wants to change things the doctor can't interfere as much as she'd like. Yes, it's rather like star trek, and the prime directive.

The end of this one is quite clever as things become apparent in regards to what the renegade is up to, but it does feel a little rushed and lacking in ultimate effect.

In the second part, the doctor and nyssa are in medieval london, and get on the wrong side of sir isaac newton. Will science or magic or faith be what's required to make him let them go?

This one contains an amazingly good performance from david warner as sir isaac. he just grabs you from the start and never lets go. It's a shame that the rest of the supporting cast come over as if they think they're in a carry on film, but it does allow for a couple of funny moments. And it resolves itself well.

In the third story the doctor and nyssa are staying in a small village, whilst the doctor plays for their cricket team, who are in danger of being relegated. Nyssa is trying to write a novel. And then she gets involved with a handsome stranger.

Theres no big threats in this one, just character drama. It's not till about halfway through the episode that nyssa's relationship becomes believable, and whilst there's very little consequence to the story, it's a nice character drama for the tardis crew.

In the final part, set a long time after nyssa left the doctor, both are living idyllic domestic lives. But would the doctor do that? Strange dreams prompt nyssa to investigate.

The inlay promises shameless fan service in this part, and it delivers exactly that, as the ultimate explanation ties in very cleverly to certain events that happened in a particular tv story. Although it's well done, I'm of mixed feelings about such stories as they don't really need to be told. A surprise appearance that you expect doesn't happen, and it would have been more effective than the rather unnecessary one that does. But there's a beautiful ending which reminds us how great a character the doctor is and why we love the show.

So all in all a very good little collection of tales. I hope they use the single part format sparingly in future as this could become too much of a good thing, but this one is well worth a listen
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 October 2011
This is an intriguing two cds, with four stories - separate yet interlinked in the history of the relationship of Nyssa and the Fifth Doctor. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter tell four separate stories and chart the growth, flourishing, falling away and an ending of the relationship. Yet, while the stories are sometimes sad and sometimes not very `Doctor Who'ish (if I can put it like that), they add, to someone like myself who has read, watched and listened to an awful lot of Doctor Who over the years, a new dimension to the whole Doctor Who experience. And that's got to be a good thing. In particular, I was impressed by how neatly the storyline in Winter fitted into the already known storyline of the Fifth Doctor's regeneration - very well done, indeed.

The characters are many in the four different stories, and the stories, individually, have their own strengths and weaknesses - however, I'd have to say that David Warner as Sir Isaac Newton is absolutely astonishing - what a brilliant voice, and presence within that voice. Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton play their roles very well, and the development in the characterisations over the stories are well portrayed. I'd like to see more of the character of the Timelord Zero - he seemed like someone who would have had a very interesting backstory.

A great addition to the Doctor Who universe; a great audio story (or series of stories). I'm not sure anyone without a fairly good experience of Doctor Who, and in particular the Fifth Doctor, would appreciate it to the full; but a diehard Doctor Who fan will enjoy this immensely, as I did.

As an added bonus, after the closing theme at the end of the Winter story on cd 2, there are a number of trailers for other Doctor Who audio adventures, which are well worth listening to and investigating further.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 February 2013
This is the ninety first release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. There are 4 episodes, roughly 30-35 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.

This is the first of a series of anthology releases in the Big Finish Doctor Who range, and it is a series of stories that will hold something for everyone, and delight as often as not. There are four self contained adventures for Five and Nyssa, based around the four seasons (and not, I think, a single mention of Vivaldi!)

Spring is perhaps the most dispensable of the four stories. The Doctor and Nyssa land on a world populated by beings descended from birds. The Doctor is on a mission from the High Council to persuade Cardinal Zero to return to Gallifrey and stop interfering with the development of the indigenous people. I said dispensable, but it actually manages to pack quite a bit into it's half hour run time and leads to quite breathtaking conclusion, even if The Doctor and Nyssa do not really manage to achieve anything.

Summer is a ten out of ten story. It's a straight historical in which The Doctor and Nyssa get to meet Sir Isaac Newton. It blends drama with comedy, creates tension and delivers an actually pretty accurate but little known picture of the great Newton. David Warner plays Newton in a tour de force performance, it's worth getting the whole set just for this alone. And there is a nice reference to a pop hit for a certain Jon Pertwee which will please Who nerds like me.

Autumn has a totally different tone, and is another 10 out of 10 story. The Doctor and Nyssa are in Stockbridge for a couple of months so Five can indulge in a little cricket. In the background Nyssa develops a touching romance. It's a gentle story, warm and sensitive. Beautifully written and beautifully told. Just right for a half hour episode. Again, worth getting the set just for this.

Winter is an 11 out of 10 story. Set long after Five and Nyssa parted company on Terminus, it does for the fifth Doc's regeneration in a single episode what Unregenerate tried but failed to do for Sixie's in four episodes. It's another thoughtful and touching piece, with Nyssa reaching across time and space to help her friend. Full of references that will keep fans oh so happy, and with a well crafted character study that allows a real farewell to Five it is a real treasure.

It's an absolute joy of an anthology, 5 stars. I would give it 6 if I could. Easily the best of the Big Finish range, and the benchmark against which all their other productions must be measured. Shows that the Doctor truly is a man for all seasons.
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on 30 April 2012
This was the first Doctor Who Big Finish CD I have bought, and becuase of this I will defintley go on to buy more.
It is a beautiful CD, it is 4 short stories named after the seasons.


This would be my least fav of the CD, but it is still very good. It is a short adventure story on an alien planet, with a brillant script.


A light-hearted adventure with the Doctor and Nyssa ecountering Sir Isac Newton. This is very well written and is entertaining, with a nice plot twist at the end.


A amazing story. It explores Nyssa's first love, and her coming to terms with her dark past of her Father and her destroyed home world. It's a Romance, but what's great about it is it's not too over the top and still feels like a Doctor Who story.


My fav of the CD, and by far the best. A beautiful story, although I can't say much about this one without giving away spoilers. This takes place in the Doctor's regeneration, at the end of 'The Caves of Androzani.' If this was the only story on the whole CD, then I would still buy it. It is that good.

So I would defintley recommend this CD, beautiful scripts, and beautiful acting.
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on 15 April 2008
I have quite a few of these audio adventures and I really enjoyed this one. Circular time is a great change of pace compared to the other Doctor adventures as it has four episodes but each episode is a complete story connected to a season. All the stories feature Peter Davidson's doctor and his companion Nyssa, who is fast turning into my favourite audio companion. The first story is spring and is about a Timelord other than the Doctor meddiling in another planets affairs. The second is summer and features Issac Newton and is simply a great story and it is a shame there isn't a full story with him in it. The third is Autumn and is a sadate story set in England with the doctor playing for a local cricket team and Nyssa falling in love but suprisingly it is quite gripping and enjoyable. The fourth and last story is winter and is a story which starts off quite wierd with the doctor being married but it ends very well. All in all the story runs for over a 100 minutes and you should definatley have it in your collection. Bravo to Big Finish for having the confidence to produce this CD.
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on 18 August 2012
This was the first Audio Adventure i ever brought and i don't regret it. Spring and Summer were good but not my favorite. However Autumn and Winter are fantastic. They have something about them that make them sad but a happy-sad. Autumn: Nyssa in love and having to decide whether she wants to stay or go. Winter: Set years in the future after Nyssa left on Terminus the Doctor is regenerating after saving Peri on Androzani. The Speech at the end, given by Nyssa is great. I loved this realease, it is great. Peter Davidson plays my favorite Doctor and Sarah Sutton plays one of my favorite Companions, Nyssa. Highly recomended release.
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2007
Taking a novel approach this 5th Doctor and Nyssa release comprises four thematically linked but ultimately stand-alone short stories. Admiteddly not all of them are entirely sucessful, but unlike the more bloated Big Finish production's they never outstary their welcome.

'Spring' features the 5th Doctor and Nyssa going up against another renegade Time Lord who has set himself up as king of a race of avian aliens - probably the weakest story of the set this is rather too light and fluffy, and lacking in any rewarding payoff or motivation for the enemy of the piece.

'Summer' is an improvement, being a slight but fascinating encounter between the Doctor and Isaac Newton, though the supporting characters play with such ripe over the top comedy turns they threaten to derail the whole thing.

'Autumn' is another slight but poignant character piece as Nyssa has her first romantic encounter.

The real highlight of the set however is the stunning 'Winter', an unashedly huge dollop of fanwank that actually manages to add to the already brilliant television regeneration of the 5th Doctor by casting a new light on events, with Nyssa on hand to see the 5th Doctor through his own death just as she was there to see him emerge from the death of the 4th in 'Logopolis'. Possibly this will be too confusing for those not up on their th Doctor history, but for the fans this story alone is well worth the price of the set.

A variable, but mostly excellent set.
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2007
This, as the title above says, is quite simply the best Big Finish audio ever. It is so different to what has gone before that it's very obvious to notice that the creative control of Big Finish has passed to another editor, one that seems to understand what makes Doctor Who what it is.

The play (or plays too be more accurate) are quite a departure from previous releases in that there are four complete-in-one adventures each starring the same two leads (Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton) rather than the usual single story split over four parts.

This format allows listeners the chance to find at least one story to suit their tastes and is therefore good value for money as there seems to have been a lot of thought given to making the four episodes as diverse as possible. 1. Alien planet, 2. Historical, 3. Present Day and 4. Hallucinatory, in a sense.

The plays are linked only by the concept of each one taking place within one of the four seasons, prior knowledge of the other plays is not necessary and can be listened to in any order.

The "Spring" play is perhaps the weakest of the four dealing as it does with consequences of interfering in the development of an alien race, it's very good but the other three plays are even better. The "Summer" instalment has the absolutely brilliant tale of Sir Issac Newton deducing the future from a £2 coin, the "Autumn" story is a change-of-pace type episode dealing with cricket matches and a gentle love story and is quite nice. The final story however, the "Winter" tale is the best of the bunch but I'm afraid, that as much as I want to, I can't go into detail without revealing a jaw-dropping moment.

If there was such a thing as a perfect Doctor Who release then this would be it, I urge you all to buy this CD set now, it is BRILLIANT.
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