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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 26 September 2016
This is part of the series of Lost Stories produced as full cast audio dramas by Big Finish. These are stories which, for various reasons, were written, or had story ideas drawn up for various Doctors in the tv series, but were never made. Big Finish have released nearly 30 of these Lost Stories so far, and they’re a brilliant chance to hear stories that we might have seen on tv, had circumstances been different; and a great opportunity to hear stories of their time, written for the Doctor of the time. This one is the fifth release in the second series, and features Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, and Sophie Aldred as Ace. Like the previous story, this also features Beth Chalmers as Raine Creevy.

Raine and Ace are travelling with the Doctor in the Tardis, which lands at Margrave University in 2001; some years into Raine’s future, and she is fascinated by the changes she sees about her. But the Doctor has his own reasons for coming here, and Ace and Raine are to help him find out what’s going on. Also here is an old friend, Brigadier Bambera and a UNIT force, who are carrying out their own investigations.

This story, written by Andrew Cartmel, who also wrote the previous story Crime of the Century has lots of good points about it. Raine Creevy is a sympathetic well-written character, and the interaction she has with Ace and the Doctor is very well done. The story features UNIT and Brigadier Bambera, well-beloved character points from previous tv stories. And the Seventh Doctor is at his best, watching over events and manipulating them as he goes about his business.

But sadly there is a lot missing here, I felt. The story unfolds largely out of our ‘view’ or away from us. While we are in attendance at meetings or confrontations before and after events, the events themselves seem, more often than not, to take place off stage. So I felt thoughout the story that we got to skirt round the edges, but never really saw the action itself. Very few of the scenes we got in the audio story were the actual narrative-progressing scenes.

That could be forgiven if the supporting characters were in themselves convincing; but that was not the case. While well acted, the characters themselves never really felt fleshed out or real, and their motivations and story threads never really worked. Scobie, Willa, Juno, Percy, even Sgt. Achterberg; none of them really came to life for me at all.

For me, as the audience, I felt I was never really fully invested in the action or the tension of the story itself. A shame, because the story could have been intriguing, interesting and filled with tension and action-packed moments. As it was, it rather passed me by.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 August 2011
Back when Doctor Who was cancelled in 1989 the production team had stories for the next season in the works. Now, thanks to big finish audio, we can finally hear what might have been.

Note to those who don't follow these audios regularly: This is the third in a series of these stories featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace. And in the second story they picked up a new travelling companion. Raine Creevy. Daughter of a London gangster, she went to finishing school and has a upper class voice as a result. But she went against her father's intentions and is as a result an expert safe cracker. Among other things.

This story stands pretty much on it's own with only a couple of plot points that tie into the first two Thin Ice (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories) and Crime of the Century (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories)] and casual listeners should be able to get into it quite easily.

It also sees the return of Brigadier Bamberra, from the tv story Battlefield, played once again by Angela Bruce. In a role she clearly enjoys.

The story runs for four episodes, from twenty five minutes to a little over a thirty in duration, and is spread over two discs.

It sees the Doctor and his companions visit a twenty first century university. Where there are strange things locked away in the labs. And a radical student has a hidden agenda.

The Doctor and UNIT soon find there's more going on than meets the eye, and a threat to the entire planet Earth...

The first episode is perfectly paced at twenty five minutes and sets things up nicely.

The second involves a lot of running around and build up to a big cliffhanger. But when the latter arrives it is a very good cliffhanger and takes the story up to another level.

The monsters of the piece are the focus of the last two parts, and are a very interesting creation, brought to life with some clever voice work.

Parts three and four do go beyond twenty five minutes in length and you do feel you're waiting for something to happen at times. But things eventually do. And they are well worth waiting for.

There's no complicated story arc either, just the Doctor getting involved and trying to sort out a problem. Part four does contain a great scene where his schemes in regards to this don't go quite according to plan.

Raine has some good character moments, coping with her first trip into the future. And all that has to offer. As with the previous story she and Ace do make a very good double act.

And one character does get a very satisfying come uppance.

A certain major moral issue is discussed but the story does allow the listener to draw their own conclusions on the matter.

This isn't quite as strong a story as Thin Ice, but it has more plot than Crime of the Century. It would have worked quite well on tv. And it's not too bad on audio. It's worth a listen.

There are roughly nineteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc one.

Ten more minutes worth at the end of disc two [worth a listen in regards to how the monsters of the piece were brought to life]

And a trailer for Earth Aid (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories), the next in this series, after part four.
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VINE VOICEon 28 June 2017
The Doctor, Raine and Ace arrive at Margrave University in 2001 and meet up with Brigadier Bamberra and UNIT while sinister experiments with animals are happening in the University and a student has his own agenda. The Lost Stories, a series of audios featuring stories that for some reason or other never made it to TV with this being a part of what would have been the 1990 series on TV and series 27 if Doctor Who hadn't been cancelled in 1989. The Lost Stories are a bit of a mixed bag, and this sadly falls into I can see why this was never broadcast category. While the first two series 27 stories were enjoyable, introducing what would have been a new companion who never made it to TV but is now getting a chance on audio in Raine Creevey, a decent enough character and Animal sees the return of Brigadier Bamberra from TV series serial Battlefield who would have probably gone on to be a recurring character throughout the 90's if the TV series hadn't been cancelled. It's a bit dull, very strange and surreal and the TV budget might not have been able to pull off the aliens and their ship on a 1990 TV budget though today might have been a different story. We might have been spared a possible embarrassment and set back at a time when the series was just finding it's feet again if this was broadcast.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 January 2015
Released in 2011, this is the fifth release in the second season of Lost Stories from Big Finish. It is the third of four full cast audio adventures for the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and finally give us the scripts that were planned for the season following ‘Survival’. The adventure is 4 episodes of half an hour each, on two discs. The end of each disc has some interviews with cast and crew.

On the strength of the episodes that I have listened to, it seems a mercy that the classic series finished on the high that it did, if these stories had been made and transmitted I think that the show’s demise would have inevitable and it would have left on a very sour note.

This particular story is a little better than the previous two, but only just. Seven, Ace and Raine set off to have a look at a University campus where there are some odd things going on. It turns out that UNIT is already on hand, and that the Doctor is being manipulated by himself. Pretty soon were are thrust into an adventure that feels a lot like Seeds Of Doom from the Tom Baker era, but in a university campus and with UNIT actually present this time.

There are plusses to the story – the return of Angela Bruce as Brigadier Winnifred Bambera for one, the presence of Beth Chalmers as Raine for another. Raine has more to do here, although the character of Ace is still all too present and I think it would have worked a lot better as a Doctor/Raine story rather than having the three of them. To say she is a new companion Raine is getting precious little time in these stories, and feels a bit tacked on. She would be a great character if Ace wasn’t taking so much of her air time up. Not to say I don’t like Ace, I just don’t think that she fits in with these stories. And Angela Bruce as Bambera is simply a delight, I really hope that she returns to Big Finish, maybe in one the UNIT series?

The downsides are a script that reminds us a lot of past (and much better) stories, an alien race that are terminally dull (named the Numlocks – I wonder which part of his key board the author was staring at when that particular inspiration struck?) a resolution that relies a lot on luck rather than any careful scheme of the Doctor’s (there just happens to be a second alien race kicking around the same university who are the answer to all the problems), it’s frankly quite boring for long stretches and has a general lack of good material for Raine.

The plus points evenly balance the negatives, so in all three stars for this.
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on 18 November 2015
Bit of an embarrassment this one. A fairly dull plot with poor supporting characters and nobody shining on the acting front. This particular take on McCoy being the smug, all-knowing one actually strips all his scenes of any tension or drama. The aliens themselves and their manner of speaking gets boring very quickly.

Pretty glad this was never made for television.
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VINE VOICEon 2 August 2011
This third entry into the "Season 27" Lost Stories builds upon script editor / writer Andrew Cartmel's development of a recurring cast of supporting characters for the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy). "Animal" marks the return of Angela Bruce as Brigadier Bambera, who was introduced in Doctor Who - Battlefield [DVD, seemingly as a successor to Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but never had a chance to reprise the role - until now, that is.

Despite her presence, I found the first couple of episodes uninvolving. This is partly because certain aspects of the story don't lend themselves too well to audio, such as characters describing flesh-eating plants advancing upon them. The deadpan nature of Bambera and some rather two-dimensional guest characters don't help - what was UNIT thinking of hiring such a trigger-happy thug as Sgt. Achterberg (John Banks)?

Evidently it is "animal rights month" at Big Finish Productions. In common with the Fifth Doctor adventure Rat Trap (Doctor Who), this audio drama features a laboratory setting and deals with the welfare of our furry friends - a familiar topic for Cartmel, as is vegetarianism, as he admits during the half-hour of CD extras.

Things get more interesting during the final two episodes, thanks to some intriguing arrivals, who (through a more satisfying deployment of Banks's vocal dexterity) successfully combine amusement and menace. I wonder whether the writer was staring at his keyboard, specifically the Num Lock key, when he came up with their name...

Cartmel and McCoy give us a more light-hearted, bumbling Seventh Doctor than we're used to, more like the Season 24 version than the sinister manipulator of Seasons 25 and 26. His schemes don't always work out, and there's an amusing scene in which he tries to defuse a bomb. Meanwhile, Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Raine (Beth Chalmers) continue to make an interesting team, playfully sniping at each other's class differences, but are also effective when split up on separate assignments.

"Animal" is my least favourite story of this lost season so far, but it's worth hunting down, catching and devouring for the last couple of episodes alone.
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