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on 2 September 2013
Back in the final, fading days of the last century, our good Doctor's brilliant flame was flickering down to its last embers. Briefly fanned by the TV movie in '96, it had been kept alive by books and an increasingly eclectic magazine. It looked like the TARDIS doors were soon going to close forever. And then came The Sirens of Time...

When I first heard this, back in 2000-2001, I found it to be a little confusing, with far more going on than I remembered in the series. Besides, Doctor Who was a visual thing, wasn't it? But time, and the Doctor, has moved on. Now, we hear the Doctor on radio and CD regularly, enjoying a modern series for a modern audience. So, it seems like a good time for a reassessment.
Clearly designed both to showcase and advertise these new productions, we are treated to three single episode adventures for the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, all of which are entirely different, yet somehow similar. Each ends with a dramatic cliffhanger that seems to spell certain doom for our hero. They are all working alone, without the TARDIS or companion, at least almost: each gets a brief companion to apparently aid them. But are they all they seem? And just why are the Time Lords so keen to first contact, and then try to kill, the Doctor?
The fourth and final installment gives us all the answers, as all three find themselves having to work together to battle a foe as old as time, and just as fickle. But, will they all make it out I one piece?

The cast are clearly enjoying themselves with this story, in particular the Doctors, all of whom seem to settle into their roles with an ease that believe the passage of time. One can see each of them in the mind's eye exactly as they were all those years ago, tastless coat, tacky shirts and dreadful pullover all present and correct. The humour is there, as is the expected bickering, darkness and inspired lunacy.
The production itself is also very solid, sound design generally workng well, the script holding everything together, despite the occasional in-joke and aside throwing things off at a tangent. Presentation is slick and professional, again belying the apparent experience (or lack of) behind the microphone; in short, everything simply WORKS.

The Sirens of Time is not perfect, but it is a good indication of what was to come and was clearly a labour of love, a love that has been rewarded many times over, ever since.
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on 20 October 2013
In my mission to listen to all of the Doctor Who audios, I started my journey with The Sirens Of Time.

It was nice to hear Peter, Colin and Sylvestor back as the Doctor, but the story was a little hard to follow. Each Doctor gets their own episode before joining together in the fourth.

It's a good start, but I think there are better ones to comes.
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The very first big finish story has the fifth sixth and seventh doctors all facing similar threats on their own, and then brought together at the end to deal with as it gets bigger.

Each gets an episode to themselves. Some are better than others. The seventh's doesn't engage, the fifth's is quite good although his companions are written out of it in a contrived manner, and the sixth's is involving due to the quality of colin baker's acting.

On their own those episodes would rate three stars, but this story as a whole gets up to a four as it's a great listen when the doctors come together. Sylvester Mccoy and Colin Baker are a great double act, and Peter Davison is superb in the elder statesman of the trio role.

The rest of the plot is nothing special, but this is still a pretty good listen
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 January 2016
This is the very first story in the Main Range series by Big Finish, first released in 1999. Written and produced by Nick Briggs, this story features three Doctors – the Fifth (played by Peter Davison), the Sixth (played by Colin Baker), and the Seventh (played by Sylvester McCoy).

For the very first story in the Main Range, this really is an ambitious undertaking for several reasons. Firstly, the fact that it involves three Doctors – it would appeal, potentially to a broader audience, who have their own favourite Doctor, or who really like the idea of multiple Doctors in a single story; but it would also bring potential issues in sharing the story evenly across the three very different incarnations, and being able to bring together a storyline that incorporates elements of all three Doctors’ characters. Secondly, the story involves Gallifrey in the storyline – the Doctors’ home planet; a big thing to write of Gallifrey, which every listener has their own impressions of, and their own views on what could/should/would work in that environment. Thirdly, the mere fact that it is the first story means that every potential audience member is going to be viewing it with a keen eye for detail, for consistency, for coherence, both as a story, and as part of the Doctor Who universe.

Taking into account all these factors, this story is remarkably polished, and remarkably well put together. The first three episodes feature single Doctors, seemingly in unrelated situations where their lives are in grave danger (the Seventh on a planet where hostiles are trying to attack; the Fifth on a ship about to be torpedoed during the First World Wr; the Sixth on a starcruiser which is about to hit some unexpected turbulence). While the Doctor doesn’t know what’s going on, we get to hear a bit more, as we hear some of the conversations, and action taking place on Gallifrey, and can start to piece together very small parts of what may be happening to the Doctor in these disparate times and places, and incarnations. In the fourth episode it all comes together, as the three Doctors find themselves on Gallifrey; but this is a Gallifrey which is suffering. Can the Doctor(s) save themselves, and hope to save Gallifrey as well?

This is great stuff; the fourth episode, bringing together all the threads of the story, did seem to get a bit tied up in its own timeline logic, and it moved a little slowly, but that quibble aside, the three Doctors were played tremendously well, the story was well written, and the support cast (including Maggie Stables playing a ghastly Ruthley, Mark Gatiss, Nicholas Pegg, Sarah Mowat, Anthony Keetch, Michael Wade, and John Wadmore) were all in top form. Wonderful.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 January 2011
This is the first in the Big Finish range of Classic Doctor Who audio stories, and great things were to follow.

Dr. Who works superbly well as an audio production, mainly because the production team are no longer hamstrung by cheap visual effects. The monsters are so much better when you cannot see them! Also, as no sets are needed it allows for a much wider and imaginative selection of location, and is able to produce stories with epic, sweeping qualities that just cannot be made for TV.

Following the format of the classic show, adventures are usually 4 part with 25 minutes per episode. In this adventure we are presented with one episode each starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, in their individual dealings with the main villain of the piece. Then finally in the fourth episode the three come together to battle it out with their foe. This is where it gets really interesting, and the interaction between the three leads is excellent.

Cast and production crew were still finding their feet, but nonetheless this is good start. The three leads slip back into their roles easily, and after a few minutes it is as if they had never been away. Great stuff.
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on 4 October 2015
Big Finish’s debut title ‘The Sirens of Time’ was recorded on 6 and 7 March 1999 at Crosstown Studios before being released in July of that year. Written and directed by Nick Briggs who had originally planned for the son of ‘The Warlord’ to feature in this audio drama to exact revenge for his father, but had to be taken out as Briggs hadn’t realised the idea had already been done in an earlier Doctor Who novel. In his synopsis for The Sirens of Time, Nicholas Briggs gave each episode a title: The Knight of Velyshaa, Ship of Destiny, Death of Wonder and Nexus Point/Curse of the Temperon. The overall title was inspired by the book Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. A documentary, Talkin 'Bout My Regeneration, was released on CD with DWM 279 to promote the series, discussing the genesis of Big Finish, future aims and with clips and interviews from the recording sessions. In July 2014, it was released as a free download on the Big Finish website. Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy would all later appear together in Zagreus, The Four Doctors and The Light at the End. Paul McGann appeared as the Eighth Doctor in all three while Tom Baker appeared as the Fourth Doctor in The Light at the End. Furthermore, Baker and McCoy appear in Project: Lazarus, The Wormery and Thicker than Water together.

The first episode sees a companionless seventh Doctor arrive on an unnamed planet and rescues a woman named Elenya from some quick sand before coming across a house in the wilderness that is under siege from assassins. The second finds the fifth Doctor on a U-boat under suspicion of being a spy with a woman called Helen. The Doctor is unable to open his Tardis to escape. The Third episode has the sixth Doctor posing as a delegate on a starship trying to rescue a time beast called the Temperon. The fourth episode brings us to the conclusion. The Temperon under the orders of a Time Siren has snatched each of the Doctors from their time lines, and brought them to a subjugated Gallifrey where Lyena has plans for them.

Being Big Finish’s earliest effort the sound obviously isn’t as sophisticated as most of their efforts. The arrangement is timid and dull with a weak atmosphere. I also think the directing lacks clarity at times, and relies too much on clunky dialogue, over describing and exposition. The highlight of the production is the acting. Sarah Mowatt as the four female characters is brilliant managing to make each distinctly different. You can see why Sarah was given the lead role in the Dalek Empire series. Davison and Baker are both fantastic; Sylvester isn’t quite on the same level but still good.

This feels like a collection of short stories that are unresolved till the final episode this gives it all a disjointed feel, and feel rushed. The first two episodes aren’t much more than running around before concluding with a life or death situation. Excluding the final instalment Colin probably has the strongest introduction. There are some awful and abstract ideas throughout this such as responding to the sirens twice means that you become under their unbreakable control, or that each Time Lord has a unique artron energy signature. Then there is the constant time labelling of everything. We have mentions of time beasts, cores, charter, chamber, sirens and more. Nick Briggs apparently joked he would write a sequel called Time of the Sirens – I’m not so sure he was joking myself. The comedy moments in the final episode are few but feel reminiscent of the Three Stooges.

When you think of a multi-Doctor story episode you expect lots of drama and a high quality story. This doesn’t live up to that. The first two episodes feel very much like padding, and the final episode is clunky and full of exposition. The directing is lifeless and lacks clarity, the story is boring, it’s padded, the music is unexciting and the lack of better characterisation means the characters come off as glib. The acting is ok. Despite all this it’s not bad; it’s just not very good either. It’s bland at best, and was perhaps too ambitious an idea to attempt so early on.
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on 17 November 2015
A good first outing for Big Finish's Doctor Who range.

Quite naturally BF wanted to start with something that would catch the fans attention and what better way than with a multi-Doctor story. Multi Doctor stories have inherent problems with the difficulty of giving each Doctor his own space in the spotlight, this becomes even more difficult when none of the three Doctors can be seen as ‘the incumbent’ Doctor with the others as guests. Writer Nick Briggs cleverly solves this problem by giving each Doctor their own episode and only bringing them together for the fourth and final episode.

Sound design and music are spot on for this story. The music is very much in keeping with 1980s Doctor Who and although it is used extensively it never felt intrusive or out of place, which was not always the case in the TV series

My full review (including some spoilers) can be found here: http://risat.imb.biz/dwmr001-the-sirens-of-time/
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2005
This is Big Finnishes first Dr Who story and in all honesty is a bit of an oddity. As you will know its a multi doctor story featuring the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors. The story is basicly each Doctor getting an episode to themselves and meeting up in the 4th episode to fight an enemy. (as you can see BF kept the 4 part format) Out of the solo episodes Colin Baker (6th Doc) does the best, while the other two are finding their feet on audio (this echoes how they performed in their own solo stories released later) but are quite good. The best bits are when they meet up and the interplay in the 4th episode.
I havent gone into detail much because honestly I can't remember it - but thats not the point. Big Finnish are finding their feet (as are a few of the actors) and in terms of quality its a bit dodgy to be honest but it gets 4 stars for being the start of a very good audio series and for getting the actors together and for being a multi story. If these factors don't float your boat I can't recomend it but if it does buy it.
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on 8 May 2013
I don't want to spoil the storyline but it was extremely clever. I'm very pleased with Big Finish productions. If only my resources let me purchase disc.
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on 11 April 2006
"The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, together for the first time! Gallifrey is in a state of crisis, facing destruction at the hands of an overwhelming enemy. And the doctor is involved, in three different incarnations - each caught up in a deadly adventure, scattered across time and space. The web of time is threatened - and someone wants the Doctor dead.
"The three incarnations of the Doctor must join together to set time back on the right track - but in doing so, will they unleash a still greater threat?"
How fitting that the first of Big Finish's Doctor Who audio plays should feature the fifth, sixth and seventh doctors all working together! And how fitting also that the events of the story should ultimately lead to Gallifrey, the Doctor's home planet. Although it wasn't the first Big Finish story I heard (that was Whispers of Terror), this one made an immediate impression. Maybe it was the writing, or maybe it was the truly excellent, atmospheric audio design (from the crashing of waves to the bubbling swamps)... I really couldn't say. Keen to avoid starting the story in too chaotic a way, writer Nicholas Briggs gives each Doctor an episode and a mini-adventure to himself before plunging them together for the finale. And, indeed, these solo episodes are the best ones, with each Doctor acting bang on character and embroiled in contrasting and inventive scenarios. It's just a shame that none of the regular companions could feature in the story (I suppose to do that would have been attempting to cram too many elements into the plot). It's only the final episode that's a disappointment. With a lot of story to resolve, three Doctors to handle and not much time to do it in, it all ends up a little confusing... but it's very atmospheric. A good start to what looks to be a promising series!
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