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Customer Review

The light at the end is a special Doctor Who audio story from Big Finish Productions, made to give everyone the multi Doctor story they all wanted for the fiftieth anniversary of the show.

It comes in several different editions. One on vinyl. One with a lot of extras. And an ordinary one which just has the story across two cd's. And absolutely nothing else whatsoever in the way of extras or trailers or interviews.

This review is of that ordinary version. Which has to be mentioned first as the Amazon system will probably lump them all together.

The story runs for just under two hours, and each disc is basically one long episode. The only breaks are the usual cd chapter ones, and there is a cliffhanger to the end of disc one.

This story does stand entirely on it's own and you don't need to have heard any other audios to get into it.

The story features Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann all in prominent roles. Each Doctor is with just one companion. Who would be Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley. [Young adventuress from the early twentieth century, just in case you've not heard many other audios. She was mentioned in a recent tv special and appeared in lots of other audio stories].

The story sees the Master [not a spoiler, as he's on the cover of the box and the cast list] launch a scheme to rid the cosmos of his old enemy once and for all. Which draws people to a road in Totton [ which is just to the west of Southampton] on a certain date in November 1963.

The life of an ordinary man is shattered.

And the Doctor[s] have to fight for their very existence.

The Master is played by Geoffrey Beevers, who played the part in the tv story the Keeper of Traken, and who has reprised the role several times on audio.

Can this story give everyone an equal amount to do, and be something that more than justifies it's existence?

Disc one does take a little while to get going. Initially we're with the Eighth and Charley. It's nice to hear them again as they were early on in their run, when they were both full of the joys of exploring and adventure. When things start to get strange as they're caught up in the Master's trap it does take a little getting used to, since you're as in the dark as they are as to what is going on.

What then grabs the attention is the first meeting of Doctors in the story. The two in question do have a great amount of chemistry together.

Others are gradually pulled into things. What really does then next grab the attention is the performance of Big Finish writer John Dorney as the aforementioned ordinary man. It's convincing and subtle and steadily does become rather chilling.

Whilst you're still somewhat waiting for the story to come together though, there are lots of little moments that delight. A certain companions reaction to a sight of all the Doctors. A fun exchange about the costume of one of them. A stunning bit of imagery on a tv screen...it would take a while to list everything. But with things like that, you get great repeat value because it means you can listen to the story again and again and discover things that have slipped your mind.

Things really do click come disc two, though. With more fun meetings and the eventual exposition pulls it all together. Then when the Doctor[s] start to deal with things there are moments that are really quite rousing listening. Frankly by this point I didn't want the story to end.

But end it must. It does though manage to do what the tv special for the anniversary did, in that it looks both forward and back, celebrating both. The way things are resolved is one of those complicated explanation moments that make perfect sense if you just go with it and don't think about it too much.

There are some very nice wrap up scenes to follow.

This is not the greatest Doctor Who audio story ever. But it doesn't need to be. It does exactly what it has to do, in that it gets everyone involved [the first three do figure. Which is not a spoiler also because you'll hear them very early on. The actors who voice one and two are very good indeed. The voice of three isn't quite on a par with them, but that's only a minor complaint], provides lots of memorable moments, and celebrates the programme as a whole. So it's well worth five stars.
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