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Big Finish (non-Blake's 7)
timdalton007
I was just about to post my own Damaged Goods review!

Almost twenty years ago, and nearly a decade before he became the man who regenerated Doctor Who on TV for a new century, Russell T Davies made his first contribution to the series in an entirely different medium. At a time when Doctor Who was off the air and being continued via the Virgin book ranges, a then up-and-coming Davies would write what is still his only novel for the New Adventures. Long out of print, the novel has found a new lease of life from Big Finish Productions with a new audio drama adaptation of it. How well does it stack up, both as an adaptation and as a production in its own right.

The novel has a reputation for being one of the best novels to come out of the Wilderness Years so expectations were pretty high for this release. That said, I read the novel a couple of months or so ago finally and must be one of the few people who wasn't overawed with it. The novel suffered from a number of problems including pacing and the fact that while Davies painted beautiful portraits of his own characters, he largely regulated the TARDIS crew to the sidelines. The novel tone was also far darker than anything Davies did with Doctor Who on television (indeed the novel felt more like Torchwood at times) and Davies himself stopped it being reprinted ahead of the New Series airing in 2005 for just that reason. So it was surprising to see that Big Finish had been allowed to tackle it and tackle it they did.

The entire thing works because of a superb adaptation by Jonathan Morris. Morris not only keeps much of Davies original dialogue and plot while also managing to work some of Davies wonderful prose into the script as well. The novel's haunting opening pages is wonderfully transformed into a monologue that opens the first disc with the character of Bev Tyler relating events instead. It's also wonderful to hear Sylvester McCoy actually saying the dialogue Davies wrote way back in the 1990s and Morris keeps some of the best Doctor moments from the novel in place such as sequence where the Doctor explains why the Quadrant (the housing estate where much of the story takes place) is like a series of little fortresses. Morris also does a wonderful hob of fixing one of the main issues I personally had with the novel which is putting the TARDIS crew at the center of events rather than having them as supporting characters for much of the story's length. The result being that this particular version of Damaged Goods works even better than the original did.

Perhaps more surprising is how faithful to the original novel it is where tone is concerned. Damaged Goods may give us familiar Davies territory with a Tyler family, a housing estate, homosexual characters but the tone of the novel wasn't so much Doctor Who but that of Torchwood (especially the bleak but brilliant Children Of Earth). Everything revolves around drugs and family secrets playing out on a 1980s London housing estate and this version doesn't shy away from that. A particular drug, and what is lurking within it, is still at the heart of the tale though the fictional drug Smile is substituted for the cocaine that was in the original though it isn't hard to read between the lines. Much of the violence and body horror of the novel is here as well, perhaps made even worse because of what can be managed on audio where everything is left to the imagination of the listener. While some of the darkness is toned down to a certain extent, and much of the more explicit language is deleted, the essence and feeling is still there and the main body of the story isn't effected. The result is that one can still get the flavor of the original novel from listening to this.

There's some changes of course. Morris streamlines much of Davies plot, which given how sparse the plot of the novel as isn't a bad thing. The character of Eva Jericho, and especially what causes her actions, is simplified a bit which isn't a bad thing given that the running time restrictions and the fact the audio couldn't easily do the appendices that Davies put into his original novel. Two of the biggest changes though revolve around elements that were part of the arc that was running in the novels at the time which, due to the other novels not being adapted, are replaced with something that those familiar with Davies work on the New Series will undoubtedly recognize (and, like me, will likely punch the air when they hear them). There's also some altering of the ending as well a bit with some changes to exactly who survives at the end (apparently done at Davies own request based on the recent Doctor Who Magazine article about the story) which does make it end of a slightly better note. None of which hurts at all.

Morris adaptation is just one part of what makes this work so well. A large chunk of it is the performances. It's wonderful to hear McCoy bringing this slightly darker version of the Seventh Doctor to life and there's moments, such as the aforementioned conversation about the Quadrant, which he just does beautifully. This release is also the audio debut of novel range companions Chris and Roz, played by Travis Oliver and Yasmin Bannerman respectively, both of whom are brought to life wonderfully. There's a very strong supporting cast with the various members of this particular Tyler family (Michelle Collins as the mum Wendy, Georgie Fuller as Bev and Tayler Marshall as Gabriel) being standouts. Denise Black has the unenviable task of bring Eva Jericho, a character that is brilliantly written but so easy to play wrongly as a simply insane woman, to life and rises to the challenge splendidly. The one sour-note in the supporting cast is Daniel Brocklebank as David who perhaps overplays one important, defining part of that character to the point of being cringe worthy at times. On the whole though, it's a superb cast.

Last, but certainly not least given that this is an audio production, is the sound design and music. Big Finish stories always standout in this category, not matter how good or bad other elements might be but Damaged Goods especially excels. Howard Carter does an excellent job bringing the Quadrant and the less fashionable side of 1980s London to life here which, when combined with the score and a glorious new version of the Doctor Who Theme, gives the entire two hour production a real cinematic feeling. It's one of the best post-production jobs Big Finish has done to date on any production which, given the high standards of the company's output, is saying something.

Damaged Goods is well worth seeking out. As an adaptation of the original Russell T Davies novel from 1996, it's superb as it condenses the novel into a two hour package while also holding onto much of the flavor and characters that make it standout while also improving it in the pacing department. As a Big Finish story it's also superb with a combination of elements that give it the true feeling of being a Doctor Who movie without the pictures. Even if you haven't read the original novel, this is well worth a listen as it might be not just the best Big Finish Doctor Who release so far this year but a rare case of an adaptation improving upon the original source material.

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Interesting to read the comments of a reviewer able to compare the written and dramatised works together. The next two novels to get the treatment just happen to be two of my favourite Doctor Who books, so my personal expectations will be higher than was the case with Damaged Goods...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Very exciting news from Big Finish about their Torchwood range this week as well as the Blake's 7 audios! We already knew about John Barrowman and Gareth David Lloyd starring in the first two stories, and now we have Eve Myles and Kai Owen returning as Gwen and Rhys in episode three! I'm definitely on board for these now that both John and Eve are involved...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
timdalton007
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Very exciting news from Big Finish about their Torchwood range this week as well as the Blake's 7 audios! We already knew about John Barrowman and Gareth David Lloyd starring in the first two stories, and now we have Eve Myles and Kai Owen returning as Gwen and Rhys in episode three! I'm definitely on board for these now that both John and Eve are involved...


I listened to the first one, The Conspiracy, earlier this week myself. While I'm not the world's biggest Torchwood fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Barrowman sounded great, something I was skeptical about as I found that he perhaps tried too hard with the previous BBC Radio 4 productions. Not to mention being surrounded by a solid guest cast including John Sessions. As expected, it had a solid script (though I'm interested in conspiracy theories anyway and appreciated the spoofing of people like David Icke) and that was combined with Big Finish's strong production values. If you like Torchwood and/or Big Finish, I recommend it.

I also listened to The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 1 recently as well. Really impressed by it. More thoughts in my review at Warped Factor.

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
The new Torchwood audios get ever more exciting! Tracy-Ann Oberman will reprise her role as Yvonne Hartman in episode 4...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

The new Torchwood audios get ever more exciting! Tracy-Ann Oberman will reprise her role as Yvonne Hartman in episode 4...


Is that Dirty Den's missus?
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
trevor travis wrote:

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

The new Torchwood audios get ever more exciting! Tracy-Ann Oberman will reprise her role as Yvonne Hartman in episode 4...

Is that Dirty Den's missus?

She was a regular in Eastenders, but I'll have to take your word for the nature of her domestic arrangements!
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Joe Dredd
According to the rumour mill, Big Finish's foray into NuWho will also include David Tennant & Catherine Tate teaming up for some new 10th Doctor/Donna Noble adventures: BlogtorWho link
 
Gauda Cheese
Joe Dredd wrote:

According to the rumour mill, Big Finish's foray into NuWho will also include some David Tennant/Catherine Tate stories:

BlogtorWho link


Um already posted. Oops
http://stwco.word... Stuff and things written by me.

My podcast: http://GATM.buzzs...
 
Joe Dredd
Sorry, didn't see it.

Carry on everyone. Nothing to see here...
 
Gauda Cheese
Joe Dredd wrote:

Sorry, didn't see it.

Carry on everyone. Nothing to see here...


NO! I'll remember this forever!

Plus I had a day off with nothing better to do. Oops
http://stwco.word... Stuff and things written by me.

My podcast: http://GATM.buzzs...
 
Joe Dredd
Does anyone have (or know of) a list of Big Finish releases including B7 actors, e.g. GT as Kalendorf in Dalek Empire, Steven Pacey in the singing Zygon one, etc? I think Paul Darrow was a computer voice in one but I can't remember the title (Nocture? Neptune?? Nectarine???). A full list would be handy.
 
dragonq
Sally Knyvette has a major role in Spare Parts, a fifth doctor story. Michael Keating is in Year of the Pig with Colin Baker. Steven Pacey is in The Zygon who Fell to Earth. I know there are others; these are just ones I own. Spare Parts in particular, is excellent.
 
Travisina
Michael Keating is excellent as a pirate captain in Graceless. He also plays Calvert in the Fourth Doctor Adventure The Evil One.
Gareth Thomas plays Morax in the Fourth Doctor Adventure Last of the Colophon.
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Sorry JD, neither do I have a list nor do I know where to find one! Jacqueline Pearce has done a couple I'm sure, but I can only remember The Fearmonger at the moment!
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Paul Darrow @ Big Finish

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
Doctor Who: The Next Life
Rebecca's World
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Gareth Thomas @ Big Finish

Dalek Empire s1/2
Return of the Daleks
Doctor Who: Storm Warning
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Sally Knyvette @ Big Finish

Doctor Who: Spare Parts

That's Sally's only non-Blake's 7 Big Finish so far.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Michael Keating @ Big Finish

Doctor Who: The Twilight Kingdom
Doctor Who: Year of the Pig
Doctor Who: The Evil One
Graceless s1
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Jan Chappell @ Big Finish

Dark Shadows: The Darkest Shadow
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
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