This is the fourteenth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and Robert Jezek as Frobisher. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some notes from the author.
After Frobisher plays around with the TARDIS controls it forces him and the Doctor to land in a strange castle somewhat reminiscent of Gormenghast. There appears to be no outside world, and the people's lives are ruled utterly by tradition, with the same patterns repeating over and over again through history. As the Doctor tries to understand the world a terror lurking in the deepest depths starts to arise.
It's an almost perfect production from Big Finish. The script is cracking. In Frobisher we have a character who manages to provide just the right amount of humour, which nicely contrasts with the dark and mysterious adventure. Jezek is great as the big talking bird, it is a pity he has only made one more appearance in the Big Finish range. Colin Baker as Six for the forst time really shows us what his character could have been. Full of energy, but with the arrogance dialled right down and the compassionate nature shining through. He is at his charming best, and bounces well off Jezek and the rest of the cast. The rest of the script seems like a cross between Richard the Third and Gormenghast, and the actors attack their parts with relish. I especially loved Roberta Flack as the deliciously cruel Berengaria, an Peter Guinness as Childric, a real pantomime villain played with some relish and gusto by Guinness, who has a magnetic voice full of colour and charm. Sam Kelly is probably the biggest name star to guest in a serial up to this release, and his performance is superb. He really brings the many facets of his character to life, and also provides some f the best timed humour in the piece.
It's just the right mix of horror and humour, with a dark and interesting idea at the heart of the tale. Some excellent sound effects from BF put the icing on the cake. An excellent release, 5 stars.
This tale examines every cliche about Doctor Who possible in a completely fresh way. I did not get the joke that it is a four parter the length of a six parter until I read the above review. Indeed looking at the length on the back nearly put me off listening to it. But surprisingly there was no padding whatsoever. The joke about the corridors was fantastic. The Doctor when he thinks he has met the villains is equally funny. This story also has elements of horror in it too. In fact its attempt to delve into the motive of the typical Who villain is inspired. The story is populated with characters, not merely bodies to say lines enhance the plot or die. Indeed the acting is at the highest level I have heard from Big Finish. The Doctor - This could very well be Colin Baker's best ever performance. Funny and I believe this may be the first time since Troughton we see a Doctor showing such fear as when he realises what is happening. There is a scene in part four where he has an exchange with Clovis which is one of the best scenes any Doctor has featured in. Frobisher - He is very funny. His storyline gives him a lot of development and he has grown on me a lot. Pepin - Very good. The actor who had to play him shows a wide variation of acting skills. He has a lot to do which is so subtle you may miss most of it. Berengaria - Being an Eastenders hater I was expecting her to be c**p. But she had some of the best scenes and lines of the story. She has gone up a lot in my estimations. Livilla - What a b***h. Still did her job and was an excellent love to hate her character. Tacticus - I have great memories from watching Sam Kelly in Allo Allo and On The Up and he gave me even more great memories. He showed a side to his acting skills I would never have guessed he had. Clovis - Very good, started off as one thing and changed into another. Faded a bit as the story went on but has some great scenes. Childeric - He didn't really grab me as a listner. But he was a very good psychopath. In the end I like this story a lot and believe that Big Finish have released their best two stories in the form of this and Scourge. But ultimately people's opinions of this story will rest on what people think of the end. Whether it went to far, or was it not justified? I like this ending but believe it to be adult in tone. One way to see how amazing this story is, is to play the opening and end scene, listen to how different they are and you will see how the story changed and evolved.
Religion in Doctor Who is a concept that tended to get glossed over in the classic series. Also by the Sixth Doctor's tenure, it was at the stage where the humour and whimsy was being slowly drained away. The Holy Terror is an example of how the tv series should have been. Not only does it manage to touch on a subject in a way that doesn't end up being controversial, it also brings back the humour and witty dialogue that is a staple of the new series. First of all, the inclusion of Frobisher was a stroke of genius. The fact that he got a sort of "wiseguy" attitude and is not constantly going "Yes Doctor, No Doctor, What's happening Doctor?" makes him an equal character in his own right. Admittedly, I wasn't expecting him to have a Brooklyn accent (especially when I saw Robert Jezek in Battlefield) but despite that, it just seems natural. It's a pity that Frobisher has only appeared in one other audio. Secondly, The Holy Terror can make a easy transition from light humour to disturbing horror. There are great contrasts on both ends of the spectrum ranging from the absurdity of Eugene Tacitus' bibles to one of the lead villains getting telekinetically ripped in half. The overall story is a lot darker then you are initially led to believe. Finally, the cast are brilliant. Sam Kelly gives an excellent performance as a bumbling scribe and Roberta Taylor gives the right blend of sadism and apathy. As for the good Doctor himself, Colin Baker's performance doesn't dissapoint. Sarcastic, sympathetic, articulate but without all the arrogant shouting that was seen in his earlier episodes. Overall, The Holy Terror is one of the best Sixth Doctor's audio dramas. Anyone who felt that the tv show started to lose it's impact in the eighties, it is stuff like this that proves that people can learn from past mistakes.
To conclude, "All Hail Frobisher! All Hail the big talking bird!"
My Sis is helping me out with this review because she just loves Frobisher, and she thinks Rob Jezek does the bestest voice ever of any companion and she thinks its sad that he is only on two audios! I mean, that is rubbish for such a great and cool character that he is. She thinks hes adorable! Well, the picture on the front anyway.
We both think that Roberta Taylor and Peter Guinness are brilliant playing a mother and son, considering theyre actually husband and wife. They are such great and funny characters. Eugene Tacitus is a great creation. A great voice. And Colin Baker is excellent, but that goes without saying. The story is original and fresh and boasts some great one liners.
I usually morph myself a black and white pair of pants, last time i try and gain power by marrying a moron, lines such as that make us both laugh out loud. Yet the storyline has enough of a serious side so as not to be ruined by the comedic moments.
We both want frobe in more, cuz he is such a cool character, and so laid back. Please big finish, get Rob back! We want him!
I am one of the biggest Doctor Who fan in Spain, but only recently I have begun to buy the Big Finish Audio Books, mainly to get some 8th Doctor adventures, and I decided to review this one for one precise reason: I must say that this Sixth Doctor is the one we wanted to see on the TV series. 6th and 7th are the ones I like less from the series, but here Colin Baker makes a wonderful job, helped by the sensational story penned by Robert Shearman. The Doctor appears compassionate, funny, sad, or joking going along with the story, instead of treating his companions like mentally retarded fellows, as it happened in occasions with Peri. The story begins like a theatrical piece, clearly matched with Richard the Third, and ends like the old 2nd Doctor story The Mind Robber, with an eerie feeling throughout the set very similar to some of the 4th Doctor stories. And it is also the first really interesting view of religion in any Who story. The other actors do a great job. Frobisher is a great achievement from Robert Jezek, but the one that matches Colin Baker is without doubt Sam Kelly. Captain Hans was by far my favourite character in Allo Allo, and it has been wonderful to hear him. His double voice, and the crescendo of the character until the climax is astonishing. The sound effects are really ghastly in some parts of the show, and they really help to get you inside the story. And, in addition, I must say that the perfect pronuntiation of all the actors is essential for us foreigners to understand the plot. I had no trouble at all with it, and that is something I really must thank. I really enjoyed hearing this, and I recommend it to every Doctor Who fan, especially those that don't like the 6th DOctor. I wouldn't be surprised if they change their minds after listening to The Holy Terror.
I approached this story with a lot of scepticism as I found the idea of a talking penguin absolutely absurd. How wrong was I??? This is one of the best audio's I've listened to so far, with fleshed out characters and an ending that was truly emotional and caused me to well-up (which was pretty embarrassing as I was on a packed train.) Anyway - I can't go into detail without spoiling the story, so just buy it, OK.
This is one of the first Big Finish audio dramas I listened to and it is still the best. I'm a huge Colin Baker fan. I think he is the most underrated doctor of all time. Next to Tom Baker, he is the most talented actor to ever play the doctor. It's too bad he only lasted lasted than two years on the show. But with Big Finish, there are loads of Colin Baker episodes. Holy Terror isn't necessarily Colin at his best, but for a change Colin is starring in one of the best written episodes of all time. Holy Terror is intense, gripping, and just plain creepy at times. Jubilee, also by the writer of this audio, is also an excellent Colin Baker romp.
Robert Shearman's "The Holy Terror" isn't perfect, but it's a very entertaining ride. As part of Big Finish's second year, the producers of the series chose to take a couple of "Side Steps" out of established continuity (The Shadow of the Scourge being the first of these), and as such The Holy Terror ventures into the territory of the 1980s comic strips, and gives voice for the first time to 2D companion Frobisher, the giant penguin-shaped shape-shifting companion. Robert Jezek's performance as Frobisher is smart and snappy, and adds a great deal to the light-hearted feel of the first part of this story. However, Doctor Who is very seldom entirely predictable, and by the end of episode four the story is pretty dark in feel. The four lengthy episodes are well scripted and supporting performances, particularly Sam Kelly as the scribe Eugene Tacitus, are all excellent. The story only lets itself down a bit in some of the sound effects and in the voice of the Boy. The reason for the Boy sounding as he does becomes apparent very quickly, but there's just no escaping the fact that this supposedly five-year-old character sounds like an old man talking in a high voice. Minor criticisms notwithstanding, The Holy Terror is Big Finish at their best and loses nothing by existing in the audio format. Recommended.