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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 February 2013
This is the eighty ninth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Schofield as Hex. 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.

The Doctor, Ace and Hex find themselves in the middle of the First World War, investigating a murder that hasn't happened yet in a hospital with some very odd goings on going on.

It's a mixed bag of a story. There are lots of good ideas and the story keeps going off in interesting new directions, but too many of these fizzle out or are never referred to again. There is some excellent acting, especially from an in form McCoy and Michael Cochrane as the deranged yet civilised hospital commander. Philip Olivier and Sophie Aldred show the developing big sis younger brother relationship between Ace and Hex, and get to explore the effects of travelling with the Doctor on the characters. The production is superb, and at times delivers some genuine scares and a real sense of atmosphere. But too many really good ideas are just squandered. The origin of the Doctor's mysterious orders are not convincing, the effects of Hex's treatment could have been more effectively explored, more could have been made of a fascinating tale told by the Captain, etc, etc.

In all 4 stars. There are some brilliant bits here, and it is well worth getting, but the petering out of so many good ideas just drags it down a bit for me.
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Top Contributor: Doctor WhoTOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 August 2015
This is the 89th cd set in the Big Finish Main Release range. The story features the Seventh Doctor, travelling with Ace and Hex. The story seems to start without a real beginning, as the first we know of anything, the Doctor, Ace and Hex have been caught up in a situation where they find themselves in a military hospital in northern France. It’s 1917, and the front is not far away from where they now are. In the hospital are men who have been broken by what they have seen and experienced, and in charge of the hospital is Lieutenant-Colonel Brook, a man who seems driven to get his charges ‘repaired’ and back into action in the War. But that’s not the thing that really worries the Doctor; what he finds most disturbing is that he seems to be expected, and that he has been charged with a mission. In the meantime, some of the methods used in the hospital worry Hex, and Ace is determined to ensure her friends remain safe.

I thought this was a brilliant story. Purely historical, this is a story which uses sound, ‘sight’ (as is evoked in an audio story), emotion and character to tell the narrative. The men in the hospital, including Captain Dudgeon (brilliantly played by Rupert Wickham), Private Taylor (also wonderfully portrayed by Oliver Mellor), Lance-Corporal Burridge, Seargeant Wood, and Lieutenant-Colonel Brook (played with great relish by Michael Cochrane) are all perfectly cast and written tremendously well. They all have their own baggage, and their own crosses to bear, and it is these characterisations that really drive the story, as they interact with the Doctor, Ace and Hex in various ways. In the hospital scenes, there is the sound of illness, and of boots clomping on the floors; outside, the squelching of the mud evokes the atmosphere of the front.

This is a wonderful story; it grips at the emotions, it shows us as much of the experience and horror of war as we can probably expect to understand at this distance in time, and it showcases the Doctor, Ace and Hex as wonderfully realised characters in a time of great despair and desperation. Totally recommended.
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Top Contributor: Doctor WhoTOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 October 2007
Another audio adventure for the seventh doctor who, with his companions ace and hex. In this story, the tardis arrives in the middle of europe during world war one. At a british military hospital, behind the lines, the doctor has to investigate a murder. That has yet to be committed. And what sinister experiments are taking place there?

Split into four episodes over two discs, this is a very long story, but it's compelling enough that it means the episodes never outstay their welcome. the almost total absence of incidental music for a lot of the tale adequately creates the atmosphere of a hospital. And the story benefits from having no aliens involved whatsoever. The only characters here are human. Some of whom are monsters in a certain way. And all are very well written and played, particularly by michael cochrane who plays the leader of the place.

Ace and hex don't fare that well in this story because the script does at times struggle to find things for them to do. A plotline involving hex rather fizzles out, and some of the big finish writers are better than others at writing this newer, older, ace. But she comes across quite well here.

Be prepared to suspend your disbelief in part four when there's a chase sequence. not something it's easy to convey on audio. As a whole, this is a good and compelling story that well describes the horrors of war and the effect they have on people. But be aware that the end will not make a lot of sense if you haven't been keeping up with the other seventh doctor audio stories
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on 29 November 2007
If only the original series could have had stories like these amidst them, then maybe the series wouldnt have been taken off our screens for so long. Stories that are so gritty and raw that it actually really makes you think about the subjects raised in the stories.

No Mans Land is an excellent audio story. A graphic and detailed take on what war is really like. Hell. Turns men into stone. Death and chaos for no reason whatsoever. The characters in this story are so realistic and believable as to be mistaken for the real thing. The emotion and sharpness of the dialogue really makes you think, yeah this is war and its horrible.

Sylvester Mccoy is brilliant as ever as the Doctor, with Ace and Hex getting some decent stuff to do for a change. And Ace and Hex are good companions. Ace has always been my favourite companion, wonderfully portrayed by Sophie who doesnt sound a day older from when we first saw her on screen in Dragonfire. And Philip Olivier is great as Hex too. Big finish know how to make brilliant new companions for the good Doctor to travel around with. I have been very surprised at how little of the audio adventures i dont like actually, out of the hundred or so done so far ive only not liked about 5 altogether, and that isnt bad going.

What I also like about this play is the dedication that Martin Day gives to the real men and women who died in the first world war. Yeah, we should remember what these people did for us and we should be grateful for their sacrifice, not just content to forget them as if they had never existed.

Doctor Who doesnt always have to have monsters to be scary and exciting, in fact, most historical stories are better than the wholly sci fi stories. And that goes for the big finish audio stories too. This is another in a line of excellent historicals that really gets to the point and wakes you up to the point it is trying to make.

For these reasons this is my list of my absolute favourite audio stories:

1 No Mans Land
2 Fires Of Vulcan
3 The Settling
4 The Council Of Nicaea
5 The Kingmaker
6 Night Thoughts
7 Son Of The Dragon
8 The Mind's Eye
9 The Chimes Of Midnight
10 The Holy Terror

None of these audios really have "monsters" in them. They rely more of great story telling with great casts. Cant wait for more and more historicals!
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on 25 December 2011
I bouth this having heard good things about it. I was impressed from the word go. It's set in a frontline hospital in 1917 during the Great War (WWI), the Doctor, Ace and Hex are rescued from no man's land are are given instructions to tell them that there will be a murder committed. There are lots of twists and turns and some great character pieces. I was worn footed in episode one and was waiting for aliens to turn up. I was pleasantly surprised to find this was a purely historical tale, though it does have a connection to 2 past Big Finish audios. I highly recommend this as one the best Big Finish audios I've heard in sometime.
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on 7 April 2009
This was a very good historical story which I enjoyed very much. In parts it was a bit slow and felt like it was buying time to fill the episode. It would have been better if it was edited into less episodes.
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