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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 17 November 2015
This story is the 137th release in the Big Finish Main Range, and is the second story in a trilogy featuring the Fifth Doctor. This is the first story that fully features the now reunited Tardis crew of Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa who has now returned to travel with the Doctor (after the reunion in the earlier story Cobwebs). The Doctor has programmed the Tardis to search for places where Richter’s Syndrome may be present, wanting to help Nyssa with her crusade to find a cure for the disease. On landing, they all find themselves in a heavily wooded area; soon separated from the others, the Doctor and Tegan are taken by a group of humans whose lives are lived in the search for purity through cleanliness; where life is lived by ‘Rules’ laid down long ago. Turlough and Nyssa find themselves in danger from those who the humans fear and shun; the Takers. But who are they, and why are they taking people from the settlement?

This is a really clever story; it unfolds very carefully, as the Doctor pieces together things from the perspective of the settlement and its history, and we hear the Takers at their own work far from the settlement. The ‘history’ of this world, and how these peoples’ lives have now become so distorted from their original purpose, is very interesting, and very intriguing to hear. The story itself becomes one of a clash of cultures, and a search for power. The Doctor must keep himself and his companions safe, and try to help the people of Purity Bay find a new balance in their civilisation.

I liked the elements that made up the story; the ‘Rules’, the settlement, the machinery that they have access to, the Takers, the ‘shades’. It’s all very well put together, and makes for a most intriguing story. Sue Wallace as Mertil, Paul Shelley as Jestan and Hayley Atwell as Seska particularly stand out in the great supporting cast; and it’s great to hear the whole Tardis crew back together again.
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on 19 August 2012
The Whispering Forest is the second in a trilogy of adventures featuring the 5th doctor, tegan, turlough and nyssa. It is perhaps not the best of them but it is still jolly good. Tegan is superbly portrayed by Janet Fielding and the cast are great, But no matter how great the rest of the release is, nothing can beat the ending, the return of the MARA!
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on 24 July 2016
Prompt delivery and a perfect gift
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2016
A tiny human colony is stranded on a remote planet. It could be worse; their new world is cloaked in a vast, beautiful forest – by day at least. But the darkness is restless - what is it that whispers in the air, in the forest of the night…? 4* (2 CDs, 4 episodes, 107 minutes + extras)

Stephen Cole’s ‘The Whispering Forest’ is a story of a devolved society, living lives ruled by fragmentary knowledge wrongly interpreted, and overshadowed by forces they do not understand. ‘Doctor Who’ has done that type of story before, but this is a very good example of that style thanks to the ingenious and well resolved storyline and some great performances. It’s all played out in a well realised setting created by the script and Richard Fox and Lauren Yason’s highly atmospheric sound design and music, in a story where sounds matter even more than usual…

This is the first story with the fully reunited TARDIS crew after the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough unexpectedly ran into the older Nyssa during the events of ‘Cobwebs’ and she rejoined them on their travels, hoping they can help her quest to find the cure for deadly Richter’s Syndrome. The TARDIS seems to think this verdant forest world may have some connection to her mission – but what? There are only a handful of humans in one tiny settlement and no trace of Richter’s – although they do seem strangely obsessed with germs and disease – and with the Takers… No-one in Purity Bay dies slowly; the Takers come for them before that…

I enjoyed the mystery in this story and the unusual setting of a forest world, puzzling and full of hints of a buried secret that even the Doctor takes a long time to uncover. When he does, it ties all the plot elements together very neatly; the cleanliness-obsessed people, the Takers who only take the weak and sick, the ghostly Shades whispering through the forest canopy and the unknown lands beyond the forbidding forest river.

Peter Davison is especially good in this story, I think his Fifth Doctor is often at his best in adventures where he has to understand the workings of other societies, however strange, and then try to put them back on the right track when needed. There’s a mix of power politics, mystery and action, some characters with good but confused motives and some with clear and clearly bad motives, but all eventually fall, or fall into line; as Tegan says, change follows the Doctor! Janet Fielding has a good story as Tegan, encouraging young leader Seska (Hayley Atwell) and her father Anulf (Lennox Greaves) to live up to their responsibilities.

All the companions are well written here; Nyssa and Turlough spend much of the story together and that’s really a first, chronologically speaking, as Nyssa left soon after Turlough’s less-than-noble arrival on the scene in ‘Mawdryn Undead’. Mark Strickson plays him very well as a reformed character and there’s one great, funny line when he shows both courage and true self-awareness! Sarah Sutton brings authority to the older Nyssa, with fifty years of medical work behind her; she’s definitely in charge of their joint venture here and still the same compassionate character.

There’s no compassion about Purity Bay’s would-be leader Mertil (Sue Wallace) or her useful admirer Jestan (Paul Shelley). Part of this adventure is a retelling of the story of the wicked stepmother and the rightful ‘princess’ that’s as old and timeless as fairy tales (and listen for the ‘Hamlet’ reference), though I must say that it’s a puzzle to me how (without any real magic being available!) the dictatorial and abrasive Mertil ever ‘charmed’ her way into power as the second wife of Anulf!

Our ‘princess’ Seska here needs to find new depths within herself rather than a ‘prince’, but the Doctor is always a fine stand-in for a wizard when you need one, even if the wizardry he duly supplies is technical rather than magical. Though for the people of Purity Bay, that distinction was blurred a long time ago…

A very good story and the TARDIS crew seemed to really ‘click’ in this one, back together as if no Time had passed – what you can do when you’ve got a TARDIS… (!) 4*

(And the ending is a spine-tingling cliffhanger, thanks to a standout moment from Janet Fielding. You may as well buy ‘The Cradle of the Snake’ right now because you’ll surely want to hear it after that!)

(Disc 1 has a 6 minute suite of the incidental music after the episodes and 15 minutes of interesting documentary tracks follow the episodes on disc 2. The CD booklet has cast photos and Writer’s and Director’s notes.)
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 September 2010
Another Doctor Who audio play, this one featuring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor with companions Tegan, Turlough, and Nyssa. The latter having met up with the others fifty years after she left the TARDIS. Although only a matter of days have passed for the others since they last saw her.

This is the second in a trilogy featuring this line up, following on from Cobwebs (Doctor Who). Although there is a running story that follows on from that one this one almost stands on it's own and those who haven't heard cobwebs should have no trouble getting into it.

It runs for four episodes, spread over two discs, and each episode is twenty five to twenty seven minutes in length.

The story sees the TARDIS land in the middle of a forest on a strange world. The four travellers are quickly separated and soon find that humans live on the planet. In fear of strange beings called the takers. Their settlement has strange legends, and the people are obsessed with body hygiene. Danger also comes from within as an ambitious lady makes a power play. Can the Doctor survive that and find out the secret of this planet?

In many ways this ia a very typical story. The Doctor investigating a strange world and finding a leader who is unsure of themselves and also having to deal with would be leaders who don't trust him at all. The Lady who is chief of these characters - the one making the power play - can be fantastically irritating at points but some very good scenes of character do make her into a very believable villain with plausible motivations.

And the slow uncovering of what's going on here is most intriguing. The obsessive cleanliness of the humans and the fact that Turlough's hair colour spells danger for him being interesting plot points that make you desperate to find out what the truth is.

All of the characters are used well, and after spending most of cobwebs arguing it's nice that Tegan gets to do different things here.

A perfect recreation of it's era and an interesting and entertaining listen. A very strong entry in the range.

Although it does stand mostly on it's own it does end with a very good cliffhanger. The third of the trilogy The Cradle of the Snake (Doctor Who) will reveal what happens next.

A trailer for that can be found at the start of disc one.

Roughly six minutes worth of the music from the story can be found at end of that disc.

And roughly fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew, containing some interesting talk about the writing of this story, are at the end of disc two.
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The second of three 2010 Big Finish dramas to feature the reunited early-Eighties TARDIS team is an absolute belter. The story is styled like something straight out of 1983 and as such is another nostalgic treat for those of us whose first Doctor was Peter Davison.
The Fifth Doctor is firing on all cylinders here; Tegan and Turlough have reached an uneasy truce, and Nyssa is as calmly knowledgeable as ever. The travelling companions arrive in the middle of a fractured community on the curiously named planet Purity; who are the ethereal `Shades' and why are they spiriting away sick and injured people? Why are the inhabitants of Purity so obsessed with hygiene and why does The Doctor's name cause such consternation and interest..?
Stephen Cole's script is terrific and the cast rise to it admirably. With excellent support from Sue Wallace as the deranged Mertil, and Four to Doomsday's Paul Shelley as the naïve Jestan, the four principals provide what must be their best performances to date, and the trilogy is nicely set up at the end of disc two when an old adversary and ancient evil rears its scaly head once more...
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on 19 March 2011
This is sadly a slow, boring story where the is a rubbish society based around being clean. Also, the lines are ocasionally terrible, like"..purity shines in beads of BLOOD..." and "...comes the spin cycle..". Dissapointing.Cole could be better.
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