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on 26 March 2017
Very good.
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2007
Marc Platt has written some of the best Big Finish audios for Doctor Who, usually displaying incredible wit and invention, so it's odd that 'Valhalla' is so traditional and uninspired. The story features a human colony under attack from giant termites and for all intents and purposes might as well be a 2nd Doctor 'base under seige' tale. We get a few allusions to capitalism, but these are very much an afterthought, and the genuinely interesting ideas (such as organised ticketed riots) are very few and far between. One of the more interesting aspects is the 7th Doctor travelling without any companions this time, and the first episode where he seems to have retired is by far the strongest, though this turns out to be something of a red herring. The performances are often stilted, and the expositionary dialogue ('look - a giant termite!') doesn't help.

'Valhalla' isn't a terrible story, it's just a by-the-numbers 'Doctor Who vs Monster of the Week' play, which for Marc Platt is a huge dissapointment. Not awful, just very, very average.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 September 2015
This is the 96th cd set in the Big Finish Main Release range. In this story, the Seventh Doctor is travelling without a companion. It seems that he is nearer the end of this regeneration than the beginning, and his mood appears dark and fatalistic. The Doctor is on Callisto, Jupiter’s premier moon, and is at Valhalla, where he is trying to hire himself out. Surely somebody wants to hire a Doctor, especially one in such demand as he has been all over the various galaxies? Meanwhile, in the depths of Valhalla, engineers are trying to keep the infrastructure running; and the Mayor of Valhalla is having trouble organising this month’s riot.

I had high hopes for this story; the first two episodes were, I thought, quite good. The setting was well placed, there were a number of interesting characters, and the Doctor’s presence and motivation seemed rather intriguing. But the third and fourth episodes of the story really let down the overall experience. I felt that there were too many things ‘explained’ rather than ‘shown’ through the audio medium. There were too many bit-part characters who popped up, said a few words, and then disappeared again. By the time you’d stopped working out whether they were somebody you’d come across before, or a new character, they had gone, never to be heard from again. In fact, the main cast listed was 9 characters (including the Doctor), with other parts numbering 10. Nineteen parts in a story like this is difficult to sustain.

Michelle Gomez does a very good job as her character, Jevvan, a tough Valhalla resident, and her working with the Doctor in this story is mainly well done. There were some plot points that I felt stretched even my imagination too far, and I found some of the characters too difficult to ‘believe’ in. This was particularly so for the characters of Gerium and Tin-Marie, who I found difficult to really incorporate as they were written into the story.

There are some good points to this story, but there are quite a few bad points, and overall I think the audio experience through this story was let down. Marc Platt is a very good writer of Doctor Who, and generally offers stories with good depth and tone, but this one turned into a bit of a mess. The music was really not very good, either, and I felt this jarred in the listening. A pity; some good ideas, sadly not well delivered.
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on 5 November 2014
Enjoyed this very much! I like monster alien stories and this sort of reminds me of the Tom Baker gothic years where stories had a horror edge to it.
And this one with its gore and body parts which of course being an audio is left to your imagination, would have made me hide behind my sofa if this was a TV episode I watched as a child!!
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on 1 April 2009
Yes I agree that this Big Finish audio is a big disappointment. After Colin Baker I find Sylvester to be the best served of all the audio Doctors in terms of the quality of the stories and the performances of the actor himself. This is however a bland and generic Doctor Who story; having said that, I have listened to all 117 Big Finish monthly Doctor Who releases and there are only a handful of duds, so perhaps we can forgive Nick Briggs et al and hope that this is only a brief dip.
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This is the ninety sixth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as a companionless Seven, and has welcome guest appearances from Philip Jackson (who really should do more of these!) and Susannah Yorke. Episodes are 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. There are also some excerpts of the music track on the end of disc one, and interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc 2.

This is an excellent production from Big Finish. It's a tale that just keeps you slightly off balance for the whole run time, just as soon as you think you have a handle on it, it changes again. A companionless Seventh Doctor arrives in Valhalla, an earth colony on Jupiter's moon Callisto. The Doctor is feeling his years (I get the feeling it is set well after his association with Ace and Hex, towards the end of this regeneration) and appears to be looking to settle down and retire from his peripatetic life. But Valhalla has problems, and it seems that only the Doctor can help. But was it his plan all along?

I love this characterisation of the older, weary Doctor. So far removed from the pratfalling twerp who emerged in Time and the Rani. McCoy plays it with just the right note of seen it all, done it all melancholia coupled with a menacing and dark undercurrent. When called upon to give the Doctor depth rather than just bellowing `Haaaaace' all the time he can really deliver, and gives one of his top ten performances here. Of especial note is a scene where he observes someone finding the body of a friend, and he has to convince himself to care and help. It's dark, and works very well.

There's a cracking story here, fleshed out by star turns by Philip Jackson and Susannah Yorke among others. The direction is tight, and the audio production really excellent. Right up there with the production of the Gathering. There is always something going on, more often than not just a constant slight scratching that suggests insects scuttling around in the skirting boards. It's really well done.

In all 5 stars for this excellent production. Dark, unsettling, with a great performance from McCoy. It's a joy.

As is Big Finish's now established custom, there are bonus interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc. There are some musical cues at the end of the first disc. To be honest these don't do much for me, but some might enjoy them. The interviews are better than those on earlier releases as both interviewer and interviewees get the hang of it.
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In a run down city on callisto, a moon of jupiter, humans struggle to survive. when they face a threat from below the surface of their world, who can help them? The doctor. If he chooses to.

Another audio adventure for the seventh doctor, this one featuring him sometime after he and his most recent companions have parted, thus he's all alone and a little lost for purpose. This comes over very well in the first episode, when the doctor is shiftless weary and looking for purpose.
There are some decent supporting characters, workers on this world, who are quite well written and well played by the cast. Although one of them does do so much moaning they get a bit annoying.

The pace drops off somewhat in the second episode which doesn't really go anywhere, and the doctor's motivations do get a bit clouded. You have to work at this story to get the most out of it, but things do come together quite well by the end, with matters being resolved in typical fashion. There are some strong scenes at the finish as the doctor confronts a few issues about himself and someone gets a chance to travel with him.

A decent audio for the doctor although it's a bit stretched at four parts, and would have worked better as a three parter.

The now usual audio extras have slightly shorter interviews than usual, which actually works well as it paces them better, and lots of the incidental music as a stand alone score.
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on 5 August 2007
What a crashing disappointment. Platt has authored 2 of my all-time favourite Dr Who stories: the TV 'Ghost Light' and the audio 'Spare Parts'. And now he has written one of the most generic, bland and cliched stories I've ever heard. The central idea gets lost in the first 10 minutes, the plot ambles along so predictably that I'd worked out the ending before the close of episode one and the Doctor is so badly drawn I'm amazed that Platt had worked on a Sylvester McCoy story before. The reason the Dr is even here in this out-of-the-way backwater is skirted around and the one intriguing thought that comes up is covered over as soon as it appears.

The direction is nervous throughout the entire story, as if the Director isn't actually sure what he wants and where the story is going, the vocal beats are too histrionic at some points and too muted at others and the entire thing feels like a story to fill up the quota rather than anything more engaging.

Since it appears to be a barrel-scraping exercise I gave it a barrel-scraping one star.
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on 2 May 2016
Excellent.
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on 4 September 2007
Valhalla has quite a list of good points:

(and actually after listening to this audio again, i liked it more!)

the first is hearing Susannah York. I like her, shes a really good actress and she gives a great performance on this audio.

the second is hearing Sylvester Mccoy, he gives yet another stellar performance as the Doctor. He is always believable and credible as the old time lord. in fact if i was pushed i would have to say he is my fav doctor on audio.

the script is intelligent and well written. A good insect infestation theme well performed.

i like Jevvan, shes a good character.

I like this story. Yes, it might not be The Gathering or No Mans Land, and it may not be quite as big as Marc's earlier Spare Parts, but it is still better than most rubbish on tv these days, thats for sure.

Well thats not hard is it....?
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