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Big Finish (non-Blake's 7)
Spaceship Dispatcher
Lol TD007. You picked out some of the things I liked the most about TGM in your review! The small cast, the PotD style of doing a 'a Dalek story', the fact that it didn't push any boundaries, and the concept of making a longer story out of as few new ideas as possible but getting the most out of one or two. I'm expecting you to hate another story that completely loved when we reach your review of Scherzo...

Thanks for sharing your reviews TD007, I enjoy reading them. Keep them coming! As myself and trevor travis often say, you only have to read reviews on Horizon to see why producers can't please all fans all of the time... Grin
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:

Lol TD007. You picked out some of the things I liked the most about TGM in your review! The small cast, the PotD style of doing a 'a Dalek story', the fact that it didn't push any boundaries, and the concept of making a longer story out of as few new ideas as possible but getting the most out of one or two. I'm expecting you to hate another story that completely loved when we reach your review of Scherzo...

Thanks for sharing your reviews TD007, I enjoy reading them. Keep them coming! As myself and trevor travis often say, you only have to read reviews on Horizon to see why producers can't please all fans all of the time... Grin


I actually quite liked Scherzo and it's a story I've been meaning to go back to for sometime now. I enjoy traditional Doctor Who but there's times when I want something else or it seems like the story could have been better and Genocide Machine, being the first Big Finish Dalek story, highlights that point for me.

I'll certainly endeavor to keep my reviews coming! I might have to post the opinion piece I did recently on the possible future of third Doctor audios if you're interested...

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Oh yes! Opinion pieces most welcome. Must write one myself at some point*. Grin

*most people here will confirm that opinions are something I'm never short of... Grin
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:

Oh yes! Opinion pieces most welcome. Must write one myself at some point*. Grin

*most people here will confirm that opinions are something I'm never short of... Grin


As you wish sir! Originally published at http://doctorwhow...or-audios/

From the view at these particular space/time coordinates, the third Doctor audios seem to be caught in limbo. This past December saw The Mega being the first, last and only third Doctor Lost Story while the soon to be ending range of Companion Chronicles will see its final third Doctor story be released in May. While Big Finish have announced a new range, The Early Adventures, that will continue the adventures of the first two Doctors and the other Doctors continuing on in full cast adventures, nothing has been announced in regards to the third Doctor outside of unspecific “We do have future plans,” comments made by Big Finish. So fans are left asking the question of whether or not the third Doctor has a future on audio?

Part of the problem is the sad fact that the last couple of years has increasingly limited the number of surviving actors and actresses from the era. Nicholas Courtney’s death in February 2011, followed in April by Elisabeth Sladen robbed the series of two of its best loved performers who had both acted in the 1990s BBC Radio third Doctor stories and with Courtney having recorded only a single Companion Chronicle before his passing. The passing of Caroline John the following year took away one of the era’s most versatile performers whose efforts were highlights of the Companion Chronicles range.

As a consequence, the number of lead characters from the era has become increasingly limited. Options are even more limited by the fact that John Levene, based on his reported comments at numerous convention appearances, appears unwilling to work with Big Finish again following his experience recording the Companion Chronicle Council Of War. This leaves only Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates) are the only performers from the era who are still with us working with Big Finish.

The problem is obvious. Unlike the first or second Doctor eras where multiple companions are still with us and can allow stories set across different parts of their era, the third Doctor is limited to one set of characters. Sort of reinventing a new companion or two who could be brought in to replace either Manning or Franklin from time to time, there’s not much else that can be done it seems outside of the “enhanced audiobook” format used previously.

Which brings us to Big Finish’s fiftieth anniversary story The Light At The End. For that story, and as a way of bringing all eight of the Doctor’s Big Finish can use, the first three Doctors were recast. The first two were played by actors who had proven themselves in the Companion Chronicles range: William Russell and Frazer Hines. To play the third Doctor, writer/director Nicholas Briggs cast actor Tim Treloar whose other Big Finish appearances include Lord Jack Corrigan in their first Tom Baker story Destination: Nerva. It seems likely that Big Finish recast as a way of testing the waters in regards to the possibility of further stories. So, could this be a way of possibly doing future third Doctor audios?

Personally, I’m not convinced it is. Of the three recast Doctors, Treloar was for me the weakest. While Russell may not have Hartnell’s voice, he captures his nuisances and Hines’ take on Patrick Troughton can be downright uncanny at times. Treloar captures neither Pertwee’s voice or his nuances and at times is hardly recognizable as the third Doctor. While I certainly grant that it’s possible that Treloar could improve with future performances, I’m not certain how much room for improvement there actually is.

For that matter, the idea of recasting Doctors and companions that are no longer with us continues to be a decisive issue with fans. Go to the Big Finish section of any of the major Doctor Who forums and you can passionate debate both for and against the idea. Even Big Finish’s recent recasting of actors in their reconstructions of missing episodes of The Avengers has been met with controversy in some circles, with some being satisfied with it for missing episodes but being unsure about the same idea being carried over into possible new Avengers audios. The parallel with Doctor Who, and especially the third Doctor era, is striking.

Looking over these facts, it’s not hard to see why Big Finish have been hesitant about future third Doctor stories. The options before them are limited while any attempts at recasting will likely spark controversy and/or leave fans unsatisfied. The future appears quite dreary at the moment though, to quote another of the Doctor’s incarnations, “time will tell, it always does.”

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Hi TD007,

Thanks for the extra info on what The Early Adventures will be, as I wondering what the difference between those and the Companion Chronicles was going to be! Regarding the third Doctor era: that does seem to be the period of the show worst hit by loss in recent years, and for me there just isn't any way around it. I'm absolutely against any kind of recasting of Doctors or companions in full cast audio and personally would not support such a range, although I don't mind actors doing a range of voices if reading a book. Its interesting that you mention The Avengers, and I will be giving volume one a try on the basis that its a reboot rather than claiming to be part of the original canon; if the latter were the case then I likely would not be buying. Recasting is something that I hold against the original production teams of Blake's 7 and Survivors; I'll watch these shows, but feel very negatively about the issue of recasting major characters rather than writing them out with the option maybe of the original actor coming back later. As with The Five Doctors, the death of a leading performer does make it impossible to keep the character without recasting. But, even though Richard Hurndall did a great job and as much as I enjoy that story, I'm still opposed to recasting the part on stories intended to fit within the same (wider) canon as I think that role belonged to that actor. Just because they're not here any more, that doesn't imo justify taking it away and giving it to somebody else. The situation is slightly more complex than that, as I don't mind Alistair Lock giving the voices of the AIs in the Blake's 7 audios as Peter Tuddenham wasn't at the BBC 'to play Zen' but was a voice artist who provided many of the off-screen voices in Dr Who and Blake's 7 and wasn't identified with one role by the wider viewing public. But the recasting issue was one of the reaons why I avoided The Light at the End and, based on your comments above about the 3rd Doctor, will continue to do so!
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
If you've been avoiding Light At The End simply because of the recasting issue, then you're doing it and yourself a great disservice! It's actual a nice celebration of the show's anniversary and Big Finish's own contribution as well. The recast Doctors are in it very little (probably for exactly that reason).

I've got mixed feelings about recasting myself if I'm honest. I'm not certain that it's "taking the role away" from someone, especially if they're no longer with us or have decided they don't want to play the role anymore. If that was the case than we wouldn't James Bond or Sherlock Holmes running on screen or audio still. That said, if you're going to do it you better have either 1. A good reason or 2. Someone who is bloody good taking the part on. Even then, there's time when it just doesn't work. As I said, I've got mixed feelings on the issue.

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
...the recasting issue was one of the reaons why I avoided The Light at the End...


timdalton007 wrote:

If you've been avoiding Light At The End simply because of the recasting issue...

Ah, but I did say it was only one of the reasons:

# Very few of BFPs multi-Doctor or 'era mixing' stories have worked for me (polite under-statement) with the sole exception of Zagreus, so finding a story that is both of the above and its not even the original cast (Zagreus used archive sound recordings of Jon Pertwee) made it twice as unlilely to tempt me.
# My personal preference in SF/fantasy is for tight, claustrophobic stories with a small cast; definately not events that threaten the Universe, all of history, or existence itself. There are exceptions, like the Stolen Earth/Journey's End finale to the 2008 series of Dr Who, but not many.
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
timdalton007 wrote:

I've got mixed feelings about recasting myself if I'm honest. I'm not certain that it's "taking the role away" from someone, especially if they're no longer with us or have decided they don't want to play the role anymore.

That mixes together what imo is two seperate points. My feelings about a new actor taking the role of someone no longer with us to fulfill it themselves is a seperate issue to someone actually asking to leave a series, in which I just think its poor from a creative point of view to replace them. A possible exception being where the series is adaptations of existing works, such as the Granada version of Sherlock Holmes (they recast Watson) and Marple on ITV where you must recast for the show to go on because the stories are already written.

If that was the case than we wouldn't James Bond or Sherlock Holmes running on screen or audio still. That said, if you're going to do it you better have either 1. A good reason or 2. Someone who is bloody good taking the part on. Even then, there's time when it just doesn't work. As I said, I've got mixed feelings on the issue.

timdalton007

The two cases you mention are not recasting within a series own canon though. Big Finish are not claiming that Nick Briggs is playing Jeremy Brett as Holmes, or that his episodes fit between or replace episodes of the Granada series; it is a completely new series which is a reboot and independant of all the has gone before it, qv my comment on The Avengers being a reboot of the original and not part of the original show. However, the Big Finish audio series of Dr Who and Blake's 7 are supposed to be set within the canon of the original show and the original characters. The existence of a continuous Bond canon has always been rather vague, and personally I don't buy into it.
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
Episode eight of Stories From The Vortex, where we review the first four Destiny Of The Doctor audios, is out now. Topics discussed include the quality of each of story's respective reader, the continuity implications of Vengeance Of The Stones and how each story represents each Doctor's era (perhaps too much so).

You can find the episode via our website http://storiesfro...stiny.html or on iTunes https://itunes.ap...d776733067 Happy listening!

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Dr Who: The Sands of Life starring Tom Baker and Mary Tamm; and
Dr Who: The Silver Turk starring Paul McGann and Julie Cox

To get these out of the way first then, as neither worked for me on first listen. The Sands of Life starts out very well, with plenty of great dialogue and entertaining guest roles for David Warner and Toby Hadoke. But it really does come across as a recording session where the last page of the script was mislaid and the everything had to be improvised, with the last half hour or so being a lot of people shouting abuse and accusations at each other behind a wall of special effects noise. This is the first of a two part story however, so I will not comment on the plot of the humans vs Laan conflict until having listened to the full story; but the dialogue towards the end of this episode and the overall production values here let the side down somewhat. The Silver Turk is the first full length audio to feature Mary Shelley as the Doctor's companion, but it meanders through various gruesome horror cliches before ending in a lot of shouting and sound effects; deeply unfulfilling imo. Both 6/10

Dr Who: The Witch in the Well starring Paul McGann and Julie Cox

In complete contrast with the previous story, this was a suberb audio drama! The clever timey-wimey plot had enough mystery and intrigue to keep the tension high without becoming convoluted, and likewise had some time travel as part of the plot without ever resorting to endless travelling back and forth to fill the episodes out; and the characters matched the complexity and depth of the plot, as they were all three dimensional and driven by different motives rather than being 'good' or 'bad' depending on whether they supported the Doctor or not. Even when the story seems over, there are still one or two twists and turns that make for quite a nice, emotional ending. 7/10

Treasure Island starring Tom Baker

The second release under the Big Finish Classics banner is another gem. Tom Baker stars as John Silver in this adaptation of the novel, and leads a very good cast who all take their roles seriously and never fall into the trap of playing pirates as panto or comic characters. The story is held together by narration, and progresses at a steady pace that remains constant all the way through and never gets abandoned for fast paced action scenes. The sound effects are kept to a minimum, and this comes across as a dialogue driven play similar to a radio broadcast. Highly recommend this one! 8/10

The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes starring Nick Briggs

The latest release in BFP's outstanding Sherlock Holmes series is actually a collection of four, linked short stories that take place at key moments in the life of the detective and his companion Dr Watson. As explained by the author in his notes, this collection takes Holmes stories in a direction that Conan-Doyle could or would never have taken them: the story arc is one such innovation, the stories being non-consecutive and spread through Holmes' life is another, and the themes of drug trafficking and homosexuality being the other. Where the studio excels here, as in all of its Holmes range, is in making modern story-telling fit the context and sound for all the world like Conan-Doyle had actually written the stories himself. The cast are all on good form with Briggs brilliant as always as Holmes and Richard Earl the perfect audio Watson, joined by guest stars Michael Cochrane and Blake Ritson who are both superb. The plot is satisfying at its conclusion and doesn't feel contrived, but rather is a progressive and well thought out web of intrigue. An additional area in which this release diverges from the original Holmes canon is in the addition of a science fiction element, but is also very well handled. Another excellent release! 9/10
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
Doctor Who: Red Dawn:

With the audios successfully up and running, it was only a matter of time before the back catalog of monsters from the show began to make appearances on audio. Following on the audio debut of the Daleks in the previous release The Genocide Machine, the eighth story in the range would see the audio debut of the Ice Warriors. Red Dawn might have been that but what else is there to say about it?

The performances are good, if not spectacular. Peter Davison is on fine form as the Doctor and the script suits him and his Doctor rather well as he ultimately finds himself uncovering first a mystery and they trying to sort out an increasingly difficult situation. Nicola Bryant as Peri doesn't quite fare as well though, largely due to a script that gives her very little to do (more on that latter). The story's two American characters, the astronauts Forbes and Roberts who are played, respectively, by Robert Jezek and Maureen Oakeley, do alright in terms of both performances and accents (and certainly better than they would nearly a year later in Minuet In Hell). The story's other two characters Paul and Tanya, played by Stephen Fewell (better known to Big Finish listeners as Jason Kane, the ex-husband of Bernice Summerfield) and Davison's real life daughter Georgia Moffatt, do okay given what the script presents them with, though Moffatt comes across at times of exposition, as simply reading off the page rather than acting. They aren't the only members of the cast though.

The story of course sees the audio debut of the Ice Warriors and brings in a number of new voices. Matthew Brenher's Lord Zzarl in particular echoes some of the voices heard from various Ice Lords in the TV series while Alistair Lock does a similair job in capturing the voice of the Ice Warriors in his performances as Sstast. Where the Ice Warriors are let down a bit is when Big Finish's behind the scenes personnel such as director Gary Russell step in to play some of the others and are instantly noticeable and frankly not that good. Overall though, the performances of the Ice Warriors and the human characters alike work, even if there's nothing spectacular in them.

Where Red Dawn is blessed is in its sound design. As well as reusing sound effects from the original series, such as for the Ice Warriors' weapons for example, Alistair Lock also does a fantastic job of putting together a soundscape capable of taking the listener to the Red Planet. Ever present in the background of scenes set on the surface for example is subtle howling wind while episodes one and three in particular do a strong job of believably presenting a NASA mission to Mars. Also worth mentioning is the music of Russell Stone which, while it certainly does capture the feel of some early 80s TV Who scores, also can be downright distracting at times. The results over all though are strong and quite effective.

Where perhaps the story is a bit thin is in its script. Being early on in Big Finish's run, this hails from a time when Big Finish was still mainly aiming to emulate the TV series and in that regards it works. Writer Justin Richards captures the feeling of TV stories such as Tomb of The Cybermen (which came just a couple of stories before the Ice Warriors themselves were introduced) while also coming across as a story from the fifth Doctor's era. That is perhaps the story's problem though. It's predictable for the most part, the characters are more or less two dimensional and Peri does very little except be what she was on TV: stand around and complain a lot. Also, the handling of the Mars mission in part one echoes a bit too much Stephen Baxter's Voyage right down to a moment in the middle of the landing (not that I wish to accuse anyone of plagiarism, though it might be worth noting that BBC Radio 4 broadcast a serialized dramatization of the novel just a matter of months before this went into studio). In short: It's too traditional for it's own good.

There are some interesting ideas here though. They range from the Webster Corporation teaming up with NASA for the Mars mission (shades of which we're starting to see in the real world) to the further exploration of the Ice Warriors and their background. Intriguingly enough, the story isn't quite as implausible as you might think about the ongoing conspiracy theories about Martian “ruins” and the fact that the Brookings Report is in fact real (though it's rather clumsily explained in a moment where it does nothing except drag the story out).

At the end of the day, Red Dawn can be best described as being okay. It's decently acted, solidly produced and has traditional Doctor Who written all over it. Yet perhaps for those very reasons, it's often overlooked because there's not much to make it stand out from the crowd. In short: it's okay but nothing special.

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Have only ever listened to Red Dawn once, on first release, and recall not being impressed with it at the time. Some of your observations match my own memories of the story, such as the music and the fact that it didn't seem to about anything apart from two races running into each other and getting into a fight. I wasn't as charitable to the awful, over the top American accents! Some of the Ice Warrior voices were a bit off as I recall, probably the same ones that you picked out; they were just reading the lines and adding 'sssssssss' to the end of every sssentensssssss.
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
There's news of an exciting new release on the Big Finish site here

One story consisting of episodes of Jago & Litefoot, Counter Measures, a UNIT story and finally Dr Who

Sounds like a great idea! Its being produced to mark the 15th anniversary of Big Finish's Dr Who licence
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
Episode nine where we review Red Dawn and Frozen Time is out now. Topics discussed include how well utilized the Martian reptiles are in each story, the derivative nature of Red Dawn and that old favorite: accents and the quality of them. You can find the episode via our website at http://storiesfro...tales.html or on iTunes at https://itunes.ap...d776733067Happy listening!

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
The 'mystery bundle' sent to me for this month from Galaxy 4 included:

The Avengers - Vol. 1
Graceless s2

Reviews to follow in a couple of weeks Grin
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
Episode ten of Stories From The Vortex in which we review the Doctor Who Unbound stories Sympathy For The Devil and Masters Of War, starring David Warner as an alternative third Doctor, is out now. Also included, with the kind permission of Big Finish, we present the podcast originally released on their website in 2008 with sound designer and composer Martin Johnson discussing his work on Masters Of War.

You can find the episode via http://storiesfro...three.htmlor on iTunes at https://itunes.ap...d776733067 Happy listening!

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Avengers: The Lost Stories - Collection 1

Recreating the lost first season of The Avengers...

Listened to the first collection over the last week, one at a time so as not to lose concentration and miss anything, and loved them completely. That's not to say they are an easy listen or faultless, but I really enjoyed the experience. Its difficult to read a television script as a radio drama without adding a 'soundscape' or any extra exposition, and the goal of Big Finish to make these as authentic as possible and definitive in their own way as to be applauded. For me, they were successful in this; they were just like the original style of the show in atmosphere, pace and sound. The downside to this is that its sometimes hard to follow who is who or what exactly is happening visually. But its either one or the other; accuracy or making it work fully as an audio, and I think Big Finish have got the balance about right. The different voices are hard to get used to, but I'm sure I will in time as the performances were good. Looking forward to collection 2 now!
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
Comments on Graceless II to follow another day, but April's bundle included:

The Liberator Chronicles vol. 7
Dr Who: War Against the Laan (Tom Baker)
Sherlock Holmes: The Reification of Hans Gerber
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
Graceless - series 2

Really enjoyed Graceless II last week! The standards of the first series are maintained, with an adult tone that knows its place within a wider picture of quite emotional stories. Life changes once again for Abby and Zara when a rescue goes wrong in the first episode, with the sort of consequences that Dr Who on television usually gets around with a quick wave of the sonic. These are lead characters who carry their emotional baggage from previous episodes around with them in a deep and believable way, desperately trying to take hold of new opportunities but finding only false dawns at each turn. The last episode of this series inparticular was memorable, taking place in the sort of non-place that Dr Who has excelled at over the years from Celestial Toymaker onwards. Susan Brown and Michael Cochrane guest star in the final and second episodes respectively and add extra quality to an already exceptional series.

Dr Who: War Against the Laan

The concluding episode of this two part story was better than the opener, but that's about it really. Still no depth, no cohesion, no atmosphere; just threats, shouting and lots of special effects. I'm almost decided to cancel collecting the 4th Doctor adventures when s2 is complete on my shelf, but I won't cancel until then out of respect for the late Mary Tamm.
Edited by Spaceship Dispatcher on 09 April 2014 18:31:16
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
 
rojkerr1
Looking forward to hearing the Survivors, Greg Preston jenny and Abby!
 
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