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Top Contributor: Doctor WhoTOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 January 2012
This is another in the series of Companion Chronicles, this one being a story told by Liz Shaw of an episode in her time with UNIT and the Third Doctor. I liked this story, as it had a rather dark feel to it; all was most definitely not sweetness and light in this story, and it seemed that Liz Shaw, as a person in the Doctor Who universe, had carried the weight of this episode with her since the 1970s. Liz is telling a UNIT soldier with her the background to the Vault 75-73/Whitehall. The crash-landing of a spaceship in the 1970s has UNIT scramble to get to the craft and find out who or what is behind it, and what it implies. But there's much more to it than that. The Doctor has been stranded on Earth by the Timelords - will he see this as an opportunity to effect his own release? The Doctor has not forgiven the Brigadier for what happened to the Silurians; how driven is he to flee Earth and the human race?

Caroline John, as always, does a marvellous job narrating these Companion Chronicles with Liz Shaw; and she does a fine job at the other character voices as well - not easy to portray the Doctor or the Brigadier, but she does well at it. The story builds to a crescendo which seems fairly typical of the 1970s UNIT era; but there's more to it than you might at first expect.

The atmosphere is well crafted, the story is engaging, the characters are true to the `classic' Doctor Who series, and Caroline John tells a story that draws the listener in from beginning to end. Totally recommended.
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on 18 December 2011
A story very in much in keeping with one of the best years of the programme, season 7. The story has a real 1970s science fiction to it, with a monster that would not benefit as a televisual product; it suffices on audio. Caroline John reflects her past character perfectly, and there are a number of small and large twists throughout.

I find the tale credible and the concepts believable, it is well performed and overall a worthwhile addition to the range. There are a few rewarding surprises for the listener. Not quite a first rate Companion Chronicles, but it kept me captivated more than many in the range and lives up to the dual nature of the title of the range; a good companion story and a very good Doctor Who chronicle.
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Top Contributor: Doctor WhoTOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 10 May 2010
Latest Doctor who companion chronicle. These are talking books that see an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new story featuring their character. They are complete on one cd and run for roughly an hour, with two episodes of approximately thirty minutes each.

The returning former companion reads all the parts save for one which is voiced by another actor.

This one sees Caroline John return once again to the role of Liz Shaw, who she played opposite Jon Pertwee's Doctor on tv back in 1970.

The story sees Liz in the present day visit UNIT HQ for the first time in many years, where she and a sergeant examine something that's been kept in a vault for decades. Liz tells the sergeant the tale of how the thing came to be there in the first place. Back in the 1970's, UNIT and the Doctor are called in when an alien spaceship crashes in Britain. The story is set during the third doctor's first season when UNIT were more of a secretive and occasionally ruthless organisation than the cosy family they became, and this depicts that very well, with the alien ending up in a secret base and the military keeping wraps on things.

At the same time, more aliens are on the way, and the doctor, who was exiled to Earth, might have a chance to do something about that.

That's just part one.

Part two begins with a cliffhanger resolution that I really didn't see coming, and moves along nicely after that with a good few twists and turns. A very interesting race of aliens. A few moments that will please those who know the continuity of third doctor era. And an interesting scene of alien infiltration that Jon Pertwee would have relished playing.

All the time we have some nicely well rounded characters all in keeping with their portrayals of the time, but in a script that allows them a bit more depth than they ever got on tv.

And it's not often in this series that the framing narration has a purpose, but here it does. Leading to one final surprise and a memorable resolution.

The second episode is stronger than part one but this is a clever script well in keeping with the era in which it's set and full of memorable moments. A well above average entry in this range.

There's a trailer for the next companion chronicle at the start of the disc, and seven minutes or so of interviews with cast and crew at the end.
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on 20 May 2010
There is definitely a colder more formal feel to this story with Liz Shaw relating previous events to UNIT Sergeant Marshall in the darkened silent surroundings of a Whitehall military vault. It is the spaceship remains (held therein) and how it arrived on Earth that form the basis of a story that effectively brings memories of television stories to mind. These include initial radar detection (SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE) the opening of the rescued craft (AMBASSADORS OF DEATH) and the octopus like pilot (again SPEARHEAD) which are obviously points in the audio titles favour. However for the most part I felt that the Doctor was portrayed as an antihero whom largely has his own interests at heart by wishing to use the spaceship pilot to possibly help him to escape his Earth exile. In comparison to THE BLUE TOOTH (the previous Caroline John narrated story) this title lacked any degree of humour or pleasing period specific soundscape with the incidental music here being rather haunting restrained ethereal and with a degree of classical inference. Although not totally without merit or appeal I personally am relatively disappointed with what I feel is generally a fairly lacklustre 65min Third Doctor outing. There is however worthy contribution from director Lisa Bowerman in the 8 min CD Extras chat but I doubt this 73 min disc is one that I will be playing too often.
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