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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2013
Part of the Lost Story range this second episode in the season is a definite improvement on the first. Colin Baker & Nicola Bryant play The Doctor & Peri in very much the same way they did on TV - which is a bit of a change bearing in mind how they've developed over the past decade. This story both feels and sounds like the era its from which is exactly what you want from this range. Without doubt I can say this is an absolute fun romp of a story from start to finish, featuring a few familiar faces and some new. Also included are cast/production interviews which I found a lot more interesting than usual as with such a familiar lost story there is a lot to discuss.
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on 11 July 2014
The return of Sil would have been much anticipated. Nabil Shaban's performance in Vengeance on Varos was so much fun and deserved a second outing. This would have been it, possibly third in the season after The Ultimate Evil. In addition the Ice Warriors would have returned in this story.

Plot: As with Varos, Philip Martin is using this story to make a point. This time it is primarily about feminism. There are moments when this gets heavy handed, but overall the point is made. The use of Sil is good and the Ice Warriors are an important part of the overall plot, even if they only appear at the end of the first episode. Only Anzor the `school bully' seems out of place as though it was an idea that had a larger role in the plot but which got sidelined by other things. The Ice Warriors seem a little underused, being the token alien invaders rather than having a specific role to play, much like the Sontarans in The Two Doctors.

Script: On the whole, very good as one would expect from Martin. Some of the sexist comments in the second episode seem a little OTT and the Doctor's response to Anzor is played for laughs, whereas it ought to have been dealt with more sensibly (as it was at the end of episode 2). Sil delights again, partly because of the script and partly because of Shaban's performance.

Other: Sil Returns! What more needs to be said : ). Nabil Shaban delights as always. Kudos to the actors who take on multiple roles for making each one sound different. I recognised Nick Briggs different versions mainly because he has appeared in Big Finish so many times, but the others did a superb job.
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on 2 April 2010
In 1985, during Colin Baker's first full season portraying the Doctor, the "powers that be" at the BBC decided that the series needed a "much needed" rest, which led to the cancellation of the proposed next series of DOCTOR WHO and its eventual replacement with THE TRIAL OF A TIMELORD which is, of course, available on DVD as are all of Colin Baker's televised adventures.

However, that proposed next season was already being planned and scripts were already written which were then cast aside and never used. Fast forward 25 years and BIG FINISH Productions, who have done some sterling work creating new stories for previous Doctors on Audio, dust off these scripts, adapt them to work better as sound only tales, and release them in a new series called "The Lost Stories" so that these stories are finally available to be experienced by everybody, whilst finally existing in some kind of parallel DOCTOR WHO universe. THE NIGHTMARE FAIR was the first release, and MISSION TO MAGNUS is the second.

In MISSION TO MAGNUS Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are back recreating their roles as the Doctor and Peri, alongside the return of Nabil Shaban as the very popular villain from that time, the slug-like evil entrepreneur Sil. The setting - a planet dominated by women - is a bit of a "ho-hum" science fiction cliché to be honest and this does tend to date it a little, but classic series monsters the Ice Warriors return in a very effective way, and the whole story barrels along with a lot of fun and energy and is generally a very enjoyable couple of hours entertainment.

2 CDs contain the two 45 minute episodes in much the same format as the TV series was using back in 1985 and the style is very much of that period in the show's history. How much you enjoy this story does rather depend then on how much you like that era of the series, but it's an entertaining story with two likeable main characters recreating very well the essence of the characters as they were played back then and, in many ways, improving on them to make them more accessible. Also, the scenes with Sil are an absolute joy.

Both discs have a lengthy "behind the scenes" piece at the end which gives a nice roundness to the project in these days of various "extras" but the first section does rather break the momentum of the story if that's what you're trying to listen to.

All-in-all, then, it's a fairly enjoyable piece of typical mid-eighties style DOCTOR WHO, and certainly worth trying. It does also fill in one of the gaps in the unfolding story of the series for any kind of television WHO completist.

As to whether the rest of the range as announced does, however, feel quite so essential, remains to be seen. After this, some of the source material seems to get a little more obscure.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 August 2010
I am currently thoroughly enjoying this series of release from Big Finish, in which they are producing for audio the lost series 23 of Doctor Who, for which scripts were produced but due to politics within the BBC were never produced.

As an avid fan of the series at the time (I was 9 when these stories were supposed to air, and thought at the time the BBC chief who took it off the air was a villain even fouler than the average Dalek), it is with great interest I am listening to these and finding out where the series was going.

Following from the events of Nightmare Fair, The Doctor and Peri are dragged off course by the emergency signal of another TARDIS. Whilst the other Time Lord makes a cowardly escape, the Doctor is left to face the danger himself. Managing to make an emergency landing on Magnus, he finds a society ruled by women, where the only makes are young boys kept in captivity underground. Soon he is caught up in a plot by the matriarchy, aided by his old foe Sil, to gain the secrets of time. But this soon becomes a bit of a sub plot as it transpires that Magnus faces a deadly peril from and even older enemy, the ice warriors.

Can the Doctor save the planet, end the slavery of the boys and finally stand up to his old school bully?

This is an entertaining yarn with a couple of plot threads that come together well in the final few scenes. There are some entertaining scenes where the Doctor is playing mind games with some of the ruling women. The return of Sil is a welcome one, he was one of 6's most memorable adversaries, and hearing Nabil Shaban recreate his unique vocalisations once again is a joy. And as for the final showdown, where he changes coats so quickly and often it will make you dizzy, it's a classic performance. Here's hoping Sil turns up again in Big Finishes main range. The ice warriors are always pretty good value for money, though the essential nobility of the race is a trifle overlooked in this story. The female rulers of Magnus make quite an impression.

The best thing about the release is Colin Baker's performance. He and Nicola Bryant have made quite an effort to forget the character development of recent years, and deliver a performance that fits in perfectly with the characters as they were at the end of series 22. It must have taken quite a bit of effort, but it really pays off, and the whole tone of the piece fits in very nicely with the old TV series.

There are a few weaknesses - the final resolution of the matriarchy problem is very cringeworthy, and could have been handled a lot better. A set of characters from a neighbouring planet are introduced at the last minute, and have potential but it is never realised. Then there is the humour. There is quite a bit of it, but it only works about half the time, so there are a few moments that really fall flat. For these flaws I can only award 3 stars.
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on 11 October 2010
This is my second favourite of the three lost story novelisations (after 'The Ultimate Foe' which unfortunately is not included in the Big Finish range). As an audio I enjoyed this far more than either 'The Nightmare Fair' or 'Leviathan'. Here are five reasons why:

1. Excellent incidental music (perhaps because it is so unusual and retro)

2. I always love humour in Doctor Who and this play has its fair share

3. Colin Baker and Peri are on excellent form and I prefer Colin's performance in these 'Lost Stories' to the usual range.

4. Returning Characters: The return of Sil is welcome and this beats the pants of his televised return and anything else in 'Trial of a Timelord' (why oh why couldn't this season have been made instead!) The return of the Ice Warriors in the same play makes it even better.

5. The Timelord character and his interplay with the Doctor was very entertaining.

In conclusion this is a very enjoyable play which wonderfully evokes the original series with good plot, characters, dialogue and humour. A good way to spend two hours (the play is divided between two hour long episodes).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 January 2010
Second in the new series of doctor who audio plays that dramatise stories which were considered for production for tv in the mid 1980's but didnt get made for various reasons.

Featuring colin baker as the doctor, nicola bryant as his companion peri.

The doctor's old enemies the ice warriors.

And actor nabil shaban reprising his role from two 80's stories of sil, an avaricious slug like alien.

The story runs for two long episodes, one to each of the two discs. The first part is roughly fifty five minutes long, and the second fifty.

It has quite a lot of elements in it. And it shows it's roots as a story written for tv of the time. as there's a long opening scene in the tardis and two planets of warring males and females leading to references about equality that may seem dated. Or not.

In addition there's also another time lord, an arrogant bully called anzor who made the doctors life hell at school and enslaved males who can never see the surface of their planet.

Despite all this, and a slightly umpromising beginning with the doctor being scared of the other time lord, all story elements do get equal space and the first part zips along quite nicely. There are some child actors who are very young so their performances are best described as inexperienced, but one does do very well with a rather moving little scene late in part one.

The Ice Warriors only turn up at the end of that. a great cliffhanger but it would work better visually. The second episode sees one clever use of time travel and all characters having to deal with the ice warrior schemes. They are written quite well although dont get quite as much background as they did in their tv appearances.

What follows is all rather standard stuff with the doctor having to save the day.

Ice warrior voices work very well on audio. Nabil shaban slips effortlessly back into the sil role. And this is all really quite a pleasant little romp. But what prevents it from being a four star review is the length of the episodes. They're even longer than they would have been on tv and it does feel slightly overlong. If this was a four parter I'd probably rate it four out of four.

But all in all it has it's moments and it's worth a listen.

There's a trailer for the next story in the range at the beginning of disc one. nineteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end of that disc and twenty eight of the same at the end of disc two. all of these are very good, especially the talk about the writing process with writer philip martin on disc one, but these sections can feel a bit long so are best taken in moderation.
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VINE VOICEon 24 January 2010
In common with The Nightmare Fair (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories), this story was written for the unmade 23rd season of Doctor Who, and has only previously seen the light of day as a novelisation (Doctor Who - Mission to Magnus (Target Books)) in Target's Missing Episodes range.

Like The Nightmare Fair, the work is very much of its time (the mid-1980s), as the interviewees in the CD extras at the end of each disc are at pains to point out. The depiction of Magnus's female-dominated society feels even more dated than the similarly themed Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Angel One. Any claims that this script is embracing feminism or sexual equality are undermined by pig-headed remarks made by male off-worlders such as the Time Lord Anzor ("Isn't there a man I can talk to?") and Ishka, from the neighbouring planet Salvak ("Stop acting like a silly woman!"). Perhaps the only palatable way to view such characterisation is to regard the planets as symbolising a couple in archetypical romantic fiction: he (represented by the men of Salvak) dislikes and distrusts her (the women of Magnus), just as she dislikes and distrusts him, but when they meet...

As with The Nightmare Fair, there is some impressive doubling up in order to accommodate the larger-than-usual cast of characters. Nicholas Briggs plays Ishka and the Ice Warriors Brorg, Vedikael and the Grand Marshall, while James George plays fellow Salvakian Hussa as well as additional Ice Warriors Skaarg and Jarga. Thanks to the actors' versatile vocal ranges, the Ice Warriors are brought to life far more effectively than the bland monsters of the novelisation.

Unlike The Nightmare Fair, this story's original author, Philip Martin, is still around to adapt it for audio - something he achieves remarkably well given the amount of visual action he has to convey.

And whereas Michael Gough was unable to reprise his role as the Celestial Toymaker in The Nightmare Fair, great Morgo be praised that Sil is played once again by the inimitable Nabil Shaban. Sil's presence is slightly problematic, because in Mindwarp (see Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord [1986] [DVD] [1963]) the Doctor, Peri and Sil refer directly back to the events of Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos [DVD] [1963] rather than to this story. In other respects, though, Mission to Magnus paves the way for Mindwarp, containing references to Sil's leader Kiv and his deity Morgo, and establishing Sil as a cowardly turncoat, a role the Doctor temporarily adopts in Mindwarp.

Sil dominates the proceedings during Part One, which barely features the Ice Warriors at all. However, he, Anzor (Malcolm Rennie) and Zandusia (Maggie Steed) are sidelined for much of Part Two, to make way for more Ice Warrior action.

The other lost story to be novelised was Doctor Who - The Ultimate Evil (The Missing Episodes). However, Big Finish will not be adapting that adventure, as the company was unable to reach an agreement with its author, Wally K Daly. Perhaps that's just as well, because The Ultimate Evil contains some unfortunate similarities to Mission to Magnus: a repulsive, diminutive alien motivated by profit (in this case the dwarf Mordant) and the threat of global war (in this case between the continents of Tranquela and Ameliora).

Despite its flaws, Mission to Magnus makes a more successful transition to audio than The Nightmare Fair. Mission accomplished.
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