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The Doomsday Quatrain - I have issues with the phrase `can't be done'

This is the hundred and fifty first 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. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with cliffhangers and original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc and a few minutes of the soundtrack at the end of disc 1.

This is the second in a trilogy of adventures for the lone Seventh Doctor, and though all three are linked by a small common thread (the question of the colour of the TARDIS) there is very little by way of a continuing story arc and each release can be listened to in isolation. The Doctor arrives in Medieval Florence where he finds Nostradamus making predictions of the future that the Doctor knows never happened. But then Nostradamus' predictions come to pass...

There are some good ideas, moments and performances here. Stand out is David Schofield as Nostradamus, who brilliantly shows how the character evolves as he grows in understanding. There are a couple of good moments, although the story changing cliffhanger about half way through is signposted quite strongly and thus robbed a little of its power. And the basic ideas behind it, just what is reality and an examination of just how involved scientists can be with their subjects (for good and ill) are interesting and reasonably well presented. The two main downsides are (1) a highly irritating and difficult to hear alien voice (an increasingly common and annoying occurrence in recent BF releases) and (2) some pacing problems that makes the whole thing feel s bity slack and flabby at times. All in all a 4 star release. Not one of the out and out classics, but pretty good nonetheless.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 3 February 2012
This is a great story, featuring the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, travelling on his own again. The Doctor sets the Tardis coordinates for a planet - and the Tardis takes him to Florence. That can't be right - can it? Master Nostradame is also in Florence - so it must be the sixteenth century, and the Doctor makes the best of the situation with the Tardis putting him in the wrong place and goes for a walk. When he visits Nostradamus, the seer is taken by the Duke's guards - it all looks bad for the Master. But much much worse things are in fact waiting for everybody - including the Doctor. Because what Nostradamus is seeing, doesn't seem to correlate to what the Doctor can recall of his history of Earth. So who's wrong?

Well, it turns out we all were - much bigger pictures are seen in this story as the focus pans back and takes in a whole gamut of people, aliens and scientists all with their own agendas. And it's up to the Doctor to try to stop the loss of life - if he can.

Sylvester McCoy is great in this - I like the stories where he's travelling without a companion - not that I have anything against companions - it just seems to allow a focus on the Doctor, and his `otherworldliness' which is refreshing.

The other characters in the story, from Nostradamus (brilliantly played by David Schofield), to the groups of aliens (some rather more hideous than others, by the sounds of it) are all really well cast and played. Thoroughly enjoyable story - had a real `classic' Doctor Who feel to it.
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Latest Doctor Who audio story from Big Finish. This is the second in a trilogy of stories featuring the Seventh Doctor travelling without a companion.

It follows on from Robophobia (Doctor Who) but apart from one throwaway line which seems to hint at a bigger story arc, it doesn't tie into that one at all. And thus casual listeners could get into this quite easily.

It runs for four episodes that last from twenty five to thirty minutes [approx] and they're spread over two discs.

The story sees the Doctor arrive in medieval Florence. Despite the fact that he was aiming for an alien world. And the TARDIS saying that he's there. Resident of the city is Michel De Nostradame. Better known as the seer Nostradamus. People come to him to hear what he sees in his dreams. Especially one woman who seems to be very interested in him.

But then he has a vision of the world coming to an end. Ships in the sky bringing death and destruction. Monsters walking the streets.

When this vision comes to pass, the Doctor is puzzled. Because history didn't record anything like this happening in Florence of the time.

But the mysterious lady has contacts nearby. And another force awaits in the wings...

The first episode sets up all of the above and is a decent part but not exceptional. Although David Schofield's performance as Nostradamus does stand out from the word go, as he makes a superbly three dimensional character. The characters in one of the mysterious groups introduced in part one are initially a little difficult to tell apart, but you do get used to them as the story goes on, and they also become very decent characters.

There are also some monsters whose voices do take a little getting used to, but who turn out to be quite an interesting creation. Listen out for one fight scene involving them that probably would have been a bit too gory for television.

The big reveal comes in episode two. And it's possibly a concept that's been done before, but it still feels quite original and interesting. For this and part three various characters scheme to gain an advantage, and one learns some valuable moral lessons.

Come part four the Doctor's scheming goes right for once - almost - and in a finale that may remind some slightly of a certain tv episode involving the tenth doctor, it's a battle for survival.

That not everyone may win.

There's some great sound design in this episode and some powerfully emotional moments, so you may not forget it in a hurry.

This isn't quite five star material but it's an above average story, with one particulary excellent guest star performance, and thus it's well worth a listen.

It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, as a possible story arc seems to rear it's head. It leads into part three of the trilogy House of Blue Fire (Doctor Who) a trailer for which can be found after the final part on the second disc.

There's roughly nine minutes of music from the story at the end of disc one.

And fifteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end of disc two.
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This is a cracking audio drama from Big Finish - Sylvester McCoy's canny Seventh Doctor meets legendary seer Nostradamus and the pair become embroiled in a dastardly deal struck by a race of humanoid planet builders and some particularly brutish reptilian warriors. Continuing his travels sans companions, the Seventh Doctor is at his manipulative best, although this time even he appears to be well out of his depth.
The story is pacy, atmospheric, and peopled with ghastly characters and hideous brain-devouring aliens; this alongside a trip to the Middle Ages and a dalliance with Earth's most famous prophet of doom, make this a superb addition to the Doctor Who monthly series, and have put it firmly back on course after the decidedly average 'Rat Trap.
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