This is the hundred and twelfth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as a companionless Seventh Doctor, and has a welcome part for Terry Molloy in a rare opportunity for him to play someone other than Davros for a change. There are two stories here, the first three episodes are an adventure called `Kingdom of Silver', the fourth episode a one part story called `Keepsake' that acts as a coda to the three parter. Episodes are roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings within the three parter. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
The first adventure, the three part `Kingdom of Silver', is an average Cybermen story. The Doctor is on a planet that has not advanced out of the steam age, but seems to have a few examples of very advanced technology. Whilst investigating he meets Temeter, another offworlder, who is also tracking the use of non-indigenous technology. Soon the planet's secret is revealed and The Doctor and his friends are running not only from Cybermen but from those misguided individuals who think cyber-conversion is a good idea. McCoy plays Seven as the darker, brooding figure that we see towards the end of his regeneration, like that seen in `Valhalla' and `The Death Collectors'. It's a great characterisation and he really pulls it off to give us an interesting, thoughtful and thought provoking Doctor.
With a few shout outs for the excellent `Spare Parts' and similarities to Tomb of the Cybermen, this is a so-so adventure that ticks the boxes but does nothing really special. It is the coda that really lifts this release. Many years in the future, Seven finds some remnants of his friends from Kingdom of Silver in a rubbish tip and there are some suprising relvelations as to their fate after the parted company. It's a thoughtful episode, and a remarkably good idea.
However, the release does have the drawback of acting too much as an advert for Cybermen series 2, and trying too hard to link in with it does detract a little. 4 stars in all for this release.
an audio adventure for the seventh doctor who, as played by slyvester mccoy. in this story he is travelling on his own without any companions.
kingdom of silver is a three part story, spread over two discs, and there is also a one part story on disc two called keepsake.
as usual with these the first disc begins with a trailer for the next release in the big finish range of doctor who audios, and both discs end with roughly fifteen to twenty minutes worth of interviews with the cast and the crew involved in the story. the ones on this release do have their moments and are quite a good listen.
as regards kingdom of silver, you can see from the cover that it involves the cybermen. the doctor visits a planet that is relatively low tech, and the people there are using things they've discovered buried under the surface to enhance their technology. can he convince them how deadly the stuff is? and there are other beings on the planet with their own agenda...
this is an excellent little story. there's a great amount of detail to the setting, which makes it highly convincing and genuine science fiction. the first episode does take a while to get going and the first cliffhanger does come on us rather suddenly as a result, but after that it's gripping stuff, and there are some very gripping moments to come, in an audio that uses sound amazingly well. the noise of cybermen coming to life will create strong images in your mind.
all of the cast are excellent, there's a moral dilemma or two to think about at the heart of the tale, and it's really very exciting at times. an excellent story that might even have worked as a four parter.
the one part story keepsake acts as a coda to kingdom of silver, as the doctor happens to find out what happened to some of the characters involved in it. there's some good settings and good science fiction in this also, and a few more moral dilemmas, most notably how far should an army go to defeat an enemy? the central romance doesnt grab perhaps as much as it should and thus the end doesnt quite have the emotional impact it could have, but this is a decent little audio in so many ways.
it also serves to act as set up for the forthcoming audio series cyberman two, so one loose end it leaves will be dealt with in that.
an excellent doctor who audio, and really worth a listen
A three part story, "Kingdom of Silver" is followed by the single part story "Keepsake". I was looking forward to this, but have to say I was very disappointed...
The Doctor, travelling with no companions, lands on a planet on the brink of a technological revolution. Having made peace with those planets with surround it, the situation is very delicate. And it looks set to break entirely: the opportunistic leaders have based their new found technological prowess on ancient Cyber technology, littered all over their planet. For you see, this is a Cyber Tomb planet! Cue lots of running around as the Cybermen awaken.
So far, so familiar. This story is a virtual remake of the 1967 story "Tomb of the Cybermen", as was the Big Finish series "Cyberman". I'm getting totally fed up of listening to cold re-heatings of old stories. As such, the plot is cliched and anything but original. Unfortunately, the characters and dialogue fall into the same category. Even for three episodes, the plot seems thinly spread.
"Keepsake", on the other hand, I found a pleasant surprise. Set two thousand years after "Kingdom..", the Doctor stumbles across a reminder of his previous visit. This is a nice, simple meditation on life, death and memory- and as such is quite powerful.
The interviews on the disc are pretty samey, with everybody saying how fab they feel the script is and how much fun they have had making it. I only wish I'd had as much fun listening. In fact, the only thing I took from this is that it sets up the series "Cyberman 2". If it's anything like this, I won't be listening.
In short, if you are new to Dr Who and have never come across a classic series Cyberman story then you will probably like "Kingdom of Silver". Otherwise, you'll have heard it all before. I would give this CD 1 star if it wasn't for Keepsake, which boosts it to 3. If you want to buy a Big Finish, go and get something decent from earlier in the range like "Jubilee" or "Spare Parts".