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Customer Review

on 12 January 2010
This edition of The Companion Chronicles begins rather confusingly. The second Doctor's former companion Jamie wakes up after being hit on the head by something, which has jogged his memory enough for him to remember one of his adventures travelling in the TARDIS - the fact that he starts off a bit hazily is probably why the story is so unclear. The trouble is that the bit that is happening after the main events of the story is just as confusing as the actual adventure - if not more so. A murder mystery set on a spa planet might seem like a good idea, but not when it's so messed up and unexplained. From Jamie's point of view, you don't even get to see the body, and I might have missed something, but it's very unclear as to who this fellow is who's been bumped off. One thing I tend to like about the companion chronicles is that they recreate the flavour of the companion's era and give you a real sense that what's going on could be acheived with the effects from that period. Not so with Helicon Prime. It forces you to imagine that most of it is computer graphics, and gives the feel not even of modern Doctor Who, but more of Star Wars, though Star Wars makes more sense. The start of the plot is OK and even promising, and Jake Andrews does capture the character of Patrick Troughton's Doctor very well, but then he's pushed aside rather and just becomes an idle tourist gawping at famous names. It's true that he does manage to find out a lot more than Jamie, who spends most of this storty creeping up and down corridors and hiding, but he doesn't seem to put it all together the way the Doctor would. Mind you, he's probably just not admitting to Jamie that the plot has flummoxed him. It certainly flummoxed me. There are certainly a lot of impressive ideas, but they're wasted on a story that just doesn't hold together. Some characters come in that don't have anything to do with the plot and you wonder why they're there, and most of them get bumped off in various spectacular ways before you've really had a chance to meet them properly. At the end, you're not even sure who's murdered who, or indeed, who's done what. The story gets shakier and shakier as it goes on, and builds up to a very weak and ineffective ending that left me in a state of utter confusion - the story is on big, over impressive bang that goes out with a whimper. Maybe I just didn't pick up on a vital clue, but I won't be listening again to find out, and it doesn't alter the fact that the story has not real conclusion: you never really find out what happened. You don't even really know what is taking place in the past and what is taking place while Jamie is telling the story. It's a grossly overdone and almost surreal story that wastes such a good actor as Frazer Hines, who does a wonderful impression of Patrick Troughton. Sadly, it doesn't compensate such a lousy plot. In conclusion, I'd say that if you want a good murder mystery set in exotic, luxurious surruondings, don't bother with this mess. Go and read Agatha Christie's 'Death on the Nile'.
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