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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

TOP 100 REVIEWERon 26 December 2012
This is a story which starts off with an extremely dark and menacing tone, and which, when things are eventually explained, still feels suitably compelling and "real" (if you can say that about a Doctor Who story). The story features the Sixth Doctor (played by Colin Baker) and his companion Evelyn. The Doctor takes Evelyn to The Clutch, a fleet of migrating ships, a world on the move throughout space. But why are the Galyari travelling like this, and where did they come from? And how is it that they seem to know of a past that the Doctor has not ever spoken of to Evelyn?

This is a great story, well written, well paced, and extremely well played by all the actors in their various parts. Anneke Wills (who played Polly in the time of the First Doctor) is great as Director Nrosha, an embittered Galyari. The actors playing Shol and Brel are also excellent, and Ian Hogg (Josiah Smith in Ghost Light from 1989 with Sylvester McCoy) plays General Voshkar with a delightfully freaky manner. The story is layered, with each layer of revelation peeling off very carefully as the listener is taken through the tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will be listening to it again very shortly; it's one of those stories that rewards the listener with repetition; a complex story, brilliantly put together. Highly recommended.
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This is the thirty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and the reliable Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe. 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 pictures of the cast and production notes.

There is a fascinating idea behind this series, seemingly taken from the ideas in Tom Baker's `Face Of Evil' story. The Doctor has been wandering around the universe for a good few centuries, righting wrongs and generally sticking his oar in. This leaves him with some responsibility towards both those he has helped and those he has defeated. The Doctor takes Evelyn to see the Clutch, where he feels he is overdue a check up on the Galyari, a race of fearsome lizards who live in fear of the ultimate bogeyman - a curly fair haired humanoid with appalling dress sense, known to them as the Sandman. Great horrors are attributed to him, and to Evelyn's surprise the Doctor does nothing to deny it. Can he really be the monster he suddenly appears?

It's a great story, just bursting at the seams with great ideas. From the Clutch itself through to the premise and resolution, there is a lot of very well realised original ideas on offer. Colin Baker really gets into the role of Six, and gives a towering performance. This adventure calls for all the arrogance, compassion and frenetic energy that he can muster, and Baker really rises to the challenge. He interacts superbly with Maggie Stables' Evelyn in a tale that at times is morally complex, he nicely builds up expectations and then pulls the rug from under her. Maggie Stables does sterling work as the companion who's faith in the Doctor is being sorely tested. There is a guest appearance from Anneke Wills as one of the Galyari, who for reasons I won't go into has more reason than most to hate the Sandman. And Robert Bowerman does a nicely charming turn as the underhanded Mordecai.

Script, acting and production are all top notch. It's a thrilling ride, and worth 5 stars easily.
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VINE VOICEon 9 May 2005
The Sandman is an interesting audio adventure, in that it takes all the elements that Big Finish have so successfully downplayed about the 6th Doctor - the loud character and coat - and used them to build a story around. The main hook is that the 6th Doctor may have some skeletons in his closet, as he appears to be the resident cultural bogeyman for the alien avian/reptile Galyari race. As with The Invasion of Time then, this is a story that derives a lot of it's drive from the possibility that maybe the Doctor's turned 'bad', though inevitably there is a good reason given by the stories end. On the positive side we have a nice new race of aliens, and a good setting with the Clutch of spaceships, while veteran companion Anneke Wills provides a nice turn as one of the heavily voice modulated Galyari. Less satisfying is the complete lack of explanation for the Doctor's refusal to explain the truth of the 'Sandman' myth to companion Evelyn till the final episode, the resulting sagging middle two episodes and rushed finale as the author keeps his cards too close to his chest for too long, and Evelyn being given not one single practical thing to do in the entire story. The Sandman is an entertaining enough adventure, but with its emphasis on withholding it's mystery for as long as possible it doesn't stand up well to repeated listens.
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on 28 October 2004
I wasn't sure what to think of this story when i first approached it. The cover depicts strange lizard-like creatures and the blurb makes it out as if the aliens of the story see the Doctor as an evil being from their past, the Sandman. I was intrigued, and listened to it. And i was pleasantly surprised. The story is quite unique in terms of Dr Who, (sometimes but not always a good thing), and the action takes place on the Clutch; a giant amalgamation of starships clinging to one another as they travel like nomads around the galaxy, always fearing the return of the Sandman, to steal the hides of thier young. It has been some hundred years since his last appearance but there have been murders recently: the Orchestrator is dead and a creche of young have been slaughtered. The mother is taking it personally...if the Sandman was to appear now he would have hell to pay...
I had to listen to this one twice, before everything made sense, and when it does the story really stands out as original and full of surprises. Colin Baker is excellent as the Doctor, Maggie Stables is okay (though her role is slight), and the guest stars are all excellent. Anneke Wills (Polly,late Hartnell and early Troughton companion) plays a lizard woman and she is interesting to hear.
There are a few niggling points - such as the Doctor using a gun to violent outcome, the role of the birds - but overall this is a good listen and an excellent addition to the growing range. The alien voices are a welcome difference to standard human-human conversations and the whole idea behind the face of things is spectacular, believable and involving.
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on 9 August 2014
The cover almost sums up this story-dark, difficult to make out, but interestingly original. Not an easy story to follow (the voice effects of all the aliens don't help, and one sounds like Alpha Centuri from the Pertwee period) and the mix is a little unhelpful in places. Avoid if this is to be your first purchase from the Sixth Doctor range, and expect to listen to it 2 or 3 times to follow the story-not because it is overly complicated, but because the sound is overly complicated.
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