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on 30 April 2017
It was good
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This is the hundred and sixty second release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex. 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 an atmospheric and chilling story that unnerves from the very first and just gets darker. The Doctor is mysteriously missing from the TARDIS, then Ace and Hex are deposited in a disturbing situation – it’s England in the 1980’s, and there is a nuclear war going on. This is not the history that either of them remember. The tale evolves into an intense and claustrophobic little story as Ace and Hex take up shelter with an elderly couple in their homebuilt shelter. But, as ever, everything is not as it seems and there is a dark scheme of the Doctor’s behind everything. But where is the Doctor?

Cleverly constructed around the old protect and survive public information videos, and owing a little to Raymond Briggs’ ‘Blowing in the Wind’, this is perhaps the darkest, and most disturbing Doctor Who story I have seen or heard. The pitch perfect performances of Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier really builds the tension, and the whole thing manages to cover the absence of McCoy (then off in New Zealand filming the Hobbit) really nicely, his appearance kept to a minimum with a few lines here and there that suggest some dark scheme going on.

It’s a dark and disturbing piece, which will make you laugh and cry. Absolutely brilliant, 5 stars.
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“If an attack with nuclear weapons is expected, you will hear the air attack warning.”

This is the 162nd release by Big Finish in the main range of Doctor Who audio stories. The story is the first of an interlinked trilogy (continued in ‘Black and White’ and completed in ‘Gods and Monsters’). This story is rather unusual in that it features heavily the actions of the Doctor’s two companions, and is fairly light on the presence of the Doctor himself. In fact, he largely appears in retrospect as the events of the story unfold. The reason for this was that Sylvester McCoy was, at the time of recording, busy filming The Hobbit in New Zealand.

Ace and Hex are in the Tardis, which is behaving erratically, when the cloister bell starts to sound. Danger is clearly imminent, and they manage to land the Tardis. But where is the Doctor? When the Tardis leaves them, they must struggle to survive where they are, at the home of Peggy and Albert Marsden in the late 1980s. But World War III is about to arrive, and nobody seems to be quite prepared for it, except for the announcer on the radio.

Jonathan Morris has written a brilliant story here. It’s difficult to say a lot about the action without spoilers, so suffice it to say that it’s well worth hearing, and is a story with a depth that will repay repeated listening. The characterisation of Ace and Hex is great; their relationship is solid and clearly built on a solid grounding, which shows through in the whole storyline here. They are supportive of, and caring for each other throughout, but there is a ‘reality’ in the relationship which shows through in every aspect of their motivations and emotional responses to what is a very emotive and darkly nuanced story.

At the end of the first cd, there is some of the incidental music from the story, which I found very suitable to the story and well worth listening to as music in itself. At the end of the second cd there are a few interviews with Sophie Aldred, Sylvester McCoy, Philip Olivier, Ken Bentley (Director) and Ian Hogg. Ian Hogg is particularly interesting, as he shares some fond memories of working previously with Sylvester and Sophie on the 1989 tv story Ghost Light. It’s a pity there wasn’t an interview with Peter Egan or Elizabeth Bennett, who both play pivotal roles in the story. Looking forward to the next part of the trilogy, where we find out more of what’s going on with the Doctor and his companions.
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Latest Doctor Who audio story, and the start of a new trilogy of them featuring Sylvester Mccoy as the Seventh Doctor, along with Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier as his companions Ace and Hex.

This run of three stories promises to pull together long running plot strands that have been going in the Seventh Doctor audios for quite some time. And should also make you see last year's Seventh Doctor on his own trilogy in a different light. Casual listeners may not have too much trouble getting into it, though, but it is probably much better for those who are regular listeners to this range.

It runs for four episodes of twenty five to thirty minutes each [approx] and is spread over two discs.

When this was recorded Sylvester Mccoy's availability was restricted by his work on the feature film version of the Hobbit, so the writing had to work around that. And they've done it rather well in a clever fashion.

The story sees Ace and Hex finding themselves alone in the TARDIS which is in danger. And when it lands they are in the north of England back in the 1980's. They meet a pleasant old married couple who are making preparations to survive impending nuclear war. As the world moves to the brink of it when the hardline Russian leadership sends in the troops as the soviet union and it's satellite states threaten to break up.

None of which is recorded history for Ace and Hex.

Can they survive? Find out what's really going on here? And most importantly: where is the Doctor?

This is very much a showcase for the Ace and Hex relationship, and the two come over like a brother and sister. The fact that the two actors have played alongside each other for quite some time now, and the quality of the writing, means that these scenes are very good indeed.

The story will also strike a chord with anyone who remembers the time period and all the talked about actions you should take in the event of a nuclear strike. This leads to the first cliffhanger, which is absolutely one of the most terrifying ever.

As to what's really going on here....things do then take some interesting twists and turns.

The story does resolve some of the immediate situation but be aware that it does end on a cliffhanger. And you will get more out of that by being a regular follower of this range. There are tantalising hints of a much bigger story, andf there's clearly more of that to come. In Black and White (Doctor Who) part two of this trilogy. And there's a trailer for it after the end of part four on disc two.

There are sixteen minutes worth of music from the story on the final track on disc one.

And fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the final track of disc two.

This story is a very strong one in it's own right, and a tantalising part of something bigger, with an ending that will make you desperate to find what happens next. It's well worth five stars.
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on 2 December 2012
Protect and Survive is quite a chilling listen that forces one's attention from early on. It is simple and educative yet compelling and really makes the most of audio whilst being quite economic. The companions dominate in this story and are showcased very well.

I would go as far as to say that this Big Finish audio is brilliant, as it could not be faulted. Whilst it might not be a favourite for everyone because of the theme, it would be hard to deny that this is one of the best productions from Big Finish; an accolade to all those involved.

Big Finish continue to amaze me with the quality and originality of their work. It was 120 minutes of my life very well spent and out of the many hundreds of audio productions I have listened to, I would be hard pressed to think of many or even any that are technically better audio productions than this.
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on 25 August 2012
Seven isn't one of my favourite Doctors and I've said before that I sometimes find Sylvester McCoy's vocal mannerisms rather irritating - but that said, I can't deny that some of my favourite Big Finish DW stories are in fact Seventh Doctor ones, such as "Live 34", "The Harvest", "The Magic Mousetrap" etc., which, as well as being terrific stories, feature my favourite companion combo - Ace and Hex.

The manipulative nature of the Seventh Doctor lends itself to intriguing and intricate stories and "Doctor Who: Protect and Survive" is a superb example of that. It's the first in a trilogy, so there are no real answers to be had by the end of this story, which runs straight into the next one, Doctor Who: Black and White, in which the mystery of the Doctor's absence deepens.

"Protect and Survive" is carried by Ace and Hex who find themselves alone in the TARDIS with the Cloister Bell tolling and the Doctor nowhere to be found. They manage to land in the middle of nowhere and meet a pleasant elderly couple who are busily preparing their house for the advent of a nuclear war.

It's absolutely gripping stuff as we discover that all is not as it seems (of course). The atmosphere is claustrophobic and tense and the performances are fantastic.

Hex is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Doctor's manner of expecting him (and Ace) to take part in his schemes without question and without knowing much - if anything - about his plans. He's perfectly justified in that, but I do hope this isn't leading towards his departure because he's one of my favourite BF companions.

I can't say much more about the plot without ruining it for anyone who hasn't listened to it yet, but there are evil aliens, time-loops and the Doctor dealing out his own brand of justice. (Anyone who thought Ten was a bit high-handed when it came to handing out punishments will be able to see/hear where that came from!)

But it's brilliant. Now go and listen to it for yourself and agree with me!
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on 6 August 2012
the first episode of this story is truly terrifying - especially for those of us who remember those days in the 80's when nuclear attacks were still a very real fear - as it goes into the second episode we start to realise that things aren't as they seem, but the whole story is completely intriguing - i listened to it in one sitting, not wanting to wait any time between episodes - as it's the first of a trilogy there isn't really an "end" to this story, but it certainly sets you up for wanting to listen to the next of the three stories - i can't wait!!
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on 27 October 2016
Best Big Finish story I've heard. Really atmospheric, well acted, clear sound and great story.
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on 12 June 2015
Fabulously scary story. Plays with your mind in so many ways.
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on 11 December 2014
Very enjoyable CD at a keen price.
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