Big Finish Reviews by Kathryn Sullivan

Big Finish Reviews
Reviews on this page:
“Oh No It Isn’t”, “Beyond the Sun”, “Walking to Babylon”, “Birthright”, “Just War”, “Buried Treasures”, “Land of the Dead”, “The Fearmonger”, “Winter for the Adept”, “The Apocalypse Element”, “The Holy Terror”, “Dragons’ Wrath”, “Doctor Who: Music from the New Audio Adventures. Volume 1”, “The John Nathan Turner Memoirs”

FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 10, Number 3 Winter 1999
Big Finish Off to Splendid Start

Oh No It Isn’t! by Paul Cornell,
adapted for audio by Jac Rayner
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

The Virgin New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield, a former companion of the Doctor (in the novels), are now available in an audio form. The first release, “Oh No It Isn’t!”, is a streamlined version of the novel by Paul Cornell on two cassettes (about 110 minutes running time). There aren’t as many point of view changes as in the novel; the main focus remains with Benny. And Benny is an interesting person to stay with. Lisa Bowerman (from the televised episode “Survival”) is a fascinating Benny–sarcastic, quick-thinking, and a survivor.

The story opens with Professor Summerfield’s archeological dig on the planet Perfecton. Just as they are leaving the planet, alien raiders decide to attack the ship at the same moment a missile launched from the dead planet hits the ship. Benny fully expects to be dead, but instead she suddenly finds herself in a strange world where her pet cat is now human-sized, wearing a hat, and talking to her.

If you’re familiar with panto, this is a wonderfully comedic adventure. Nicholas Courtney is marvellous as Wolsey, staunch defender of his master Dick and rather confused that his master is insisting that he is a female named Benny. The transformations of Benny’s students and the ship’s crew are…interesting.

Those not familiar with pantomime may be confused at first. Why does a hissing sound follow the Vizier around? Why do people keep breaking into song while Benny keeps cleaning things? Fortunately the story provides an explanation of panto as Benny figures out what has happened while being acclaimed as lost son, lost princess, seeker of lamps and escaping from the alien raiders who are also trapped in the pantomime.

Jac Rayner has done an excellent job of adapting Paul Cornell’s book for audio, keeping in the right amounts of seriousness and humor, enhancing and adding some perfect Benny bits and yet keeping the plot on track. Excellent direction by Nicholas Briggs, clever usage of audio effects by Alistair Lock, and a marvellous cast make this a fun adventure.

The theme music for the series is of course different from the pieces Lock has done for the more ‘Doctorish’ adventures for BBV. The theme is only faintly futuristic with a more ‘action music’ feel, slightly reminiscent of a certain 1930’s archeologist’s theme.

The cast also includes Jo Castleton as Jayne Waspo/Bitchy, Jonathan Bruun as Michael Doran/Cute, Colin McIntyre as Captain Balsam/King Rupert, Nicholas Briggs as Lt. Prince/Prince Charming, James Campbell as Professor Candy/Dame Candy, Mark Gatiss as The Grand Vizier, and Alistair Lock as The Grel Master.

Beyond the Sun by Matthew Jones, adapted for audio by Jac Rayner

The second Benny book to go to audio, “Beyond the Sun”, is a more straightforward adventure than the first. Benny is supervising two students on their first dig when her ex-husband, Jason Kane, arrives, claiming to have part of a powerful weapon. When he promptly disappears, she is the only one who believes he is in danger. And when the only clue she has leads her to the closed planet of Ursu, her first thought is to get her students back to Dellah and then return for Jason. Unfortunately, someone else had other plans.

Again, this is a streamlined version of the Matthew Jones book, with a few characters’ names changed and others merged. This audio doesn’t stay with Bernice’s point of view, a technique which aids in presenting the different sides to the story. And there are indeed many sides to this story, with more than a few culture clashes. Sound effects added to nonhuman voices also helps to heighten the ‘alienness’. Jac Rayner also left in Benny’s diary entries, an integral part of the Benny books and used very effectively here (with a nice writing sound effect). Benny is at her best when the writers make use of her archeological background and experience, and Professor Summerfield is showcased here, both as solver of puzzles and teacher to the spoiled Tameka Vito (Jane Burke) and naïve Emile Mars-Smith (Lewis Davis).

Along with the excellent Lisa Bowerman, Sophie Aldred seems to be enjoying her role as Miranda, and Anneke Wills (Polly from the second Doctor’s stories) makes the Ursulan Dr. Kitzinger believably alien. Add in the skillful direction of Gary Russell (whose experience from the 80’s AudioVisual Adventures shows) and good use of sound effects and beautiful music from Harvey Summers and the result is an exciting and thought-provoking story.

The cast includes Lisa Bowerman as Bernice, Sophie Aldred as Miranda, Anneke Wills as Dr. Kitzinger, Stephen Fewell as Jason Kane, Jane Burke as Tameka Vito, Lewis Davis as Emile Mars-Smith, Nicholas Pegg as Scott, and Barnaby Edwards as Leon. The cover sleeves of both audios also includes pictures of the cast. This audio is on two cassettes (about 100 minutes running time).

For those who have been resisting the Benny books, the Big Finish tapes are an convenient way to ease into the series. But the audio adventures of a space and time traveling archeologist are interesting enough on their own. I highly recommend both audios.

Big Finish Productions has a web site of their planned audios and an order form at http://www.bigfinish.com
For phone orders by credit card:
011-44-162-8828-8283
Big Finish will also have a presence at Gallifrey (LA in February) and CONvergence (Minneapolis in July).

Big Finish Reviews

FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 11, Number 2 Fall 1999

Big Finish Reviews
The Continuing Adventures of Bernice Summerfield
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

“Walking to Babylon”
by Kate Orman, adapted by Jac Rayner

 

‘Walking to Babylon’ is the first in the ‘Time Ring’ trilogy, which makes use of the time rings Benny and Jason were given as wedding presents by a certain time traveller. For those expecting a complete adaptation of the Kate Orman book, this audio is only based on the book, and this is one of the first divergences. For those who haven’t read the book, the audio stands quite well on its own.

Bernice Summerfield finds her ex-husband Jason King on her doorstep one morning, along with a fan of her works. After they leave, she discovers that her wedding ring–one half of a time ring set–has vanished. Attempting to retrieve her ring, she learns that a time path has been set up to ancient Babylon, and that a powerful race, The People, wants to shut down the path–with a bomb, if necessary– before time can be changed. Benny volunteers to walk the path to Babylon and rescue Jason from his powerful kidnappers before the People’s plan to destroy the path destroys Babylon as well.

Directed by Gary Russell, Jac Rayner’s adaption of “Walking to Babylon” has humor (hinted at by the track/chapter headings), mystery, nice historical touches and suspense. Lisa Bowerman is again terrific as Benny, at times sarcastic, self-mocking, intelligent, diplomatic and quick-thinking in times of danger. Elisabeth Sladen is perfect as Lady Ninan, curious, concerned, wistful, and a good friend to have in times of trouble.

Harvey Summers has some very nice music for this story, managing to suggest both the ancient and the futuristic.

The cast includes Lisa Bowerman as Benny, Stephen Fewell as Jason Kane, Elisabeth Sladen as Ninan-ashtammu, Barnaby Edwards as John Lafayette, Steven Wickham as The Drone, Nigel Fairs as WiRgo!xu, Louise Morell as Miriam, Anthony Keetch as !C!ci-tel, and Alex Canini as Babylonian Child.

110 minutes. Also included is an interview with Lisa Bowerman and Stephen Fewell.

Recommended.

“Birthright”

by Nigel Robinson, adapted by Jac Rayner

 

The second of the Time Ring trilogy opens with Benny in England, trying to find Jason. The time period is around the turn of the century, and someone is killing East End ladies of the evening in a very nasty way. Benny teams up with a Russian detective (portrayed delightfully by Colin Baker) in an attempt to catch the murderer. However, the police seem intent on blaming her.

Meanwhile, Jason has been taken captive by the Charri, large grasshopper beings who want his help to travel to another world. But why does the world they’re on seem familiar to him?

This story is filled with plots and counterplots, as Benny attempts to solve both the murders and the mystery of why someone is trying to get her wedding ring. Jason has problems of his own while he tries to reason with the Charri and find Benny. The pacing of the two storylines works very well, although strong characters such as Popov, Charlie and Khan make the Benny plotline more interesting.

The cast includes Lisa Bowerman as Benny, Colin Baker as Mikhail Vladamir Popov, John Wadmore as Jared Khan, Jonathan Reason as Chief Inspector Prior, Jane Shakespeare as Queen Ch’tizz, Benjamin Roddy as Charlie, Stephen Fewell as Jason Kane, Barnaby Edwards as John Lafayette, and other voices by James Grapham, David Sax and Nicholas Briggs. Very creepy sound design and chilling music composition by Nicholas Briggs. Directed by Nicholas Briggs.

110 minutes.
Recommended

“Just War”
by Lance Parkin, adapted by Jac Rayner

The third in the Time Ring Trilogy finds Benny and Jason still separated. Jason arrives on Earth in 1936, while Benny arrives in 1941–right into the middle of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey.

This story (as it was with the book it’s based on) pulls no punches as to the grim reality of war, military occupation, and the treatment of prisoners. Benny’s knowledge of the Nazis’ methods helps her a little–but she’s only human. On the other hand, the Nazis don’t understand what type of human stands against them.

This is a very powerful story in many ways, although it is painful to listen to what Benny endures.

The cast includes Lisa Bowerman as Benny, Stephen Fewell as Jason Kane, Michael Wade as Obeerst Oskar Steinmann, Mark Gatiss as Standardtenfuhrer Joachim Wolff, Maggie Stables as Ma Doras, Nicky Golding as Nurse Rosa Kitzel, Anthony Keetch as Private Franz Hutter, Simon Moore as Private Gerhard Flur. Sound design and haunting music by Harvey Summers. Directed by Gary Russell.

110 minutes.
Recommended.

“Buried Treasures”
by Paul Cornell & Jac Rayner

An additional bonus available only to those who ordered the Time Ring trilogy, this CD contains two short plays, an interview with Paul Cornell, and a track of Harvey Summers’ excellent music from ‘Walking to Babylon’ and ‘Just War’.

‘Making Myths’ by Jac Rayner is delightfully funny, as Pakhar journalist Keri (Sarah Mowatt) conducts a radio interview with Professor Bernice Summerfield on the site of her most recent dig. Pakhar and human humor mis-steps and insults abound amid the mudfields, tunnels and language lectures.

‘Closure’ by Paul Cornell is much more serious, as Benny uses the time rings on a mission to prevent a war on another planet. Isabelle, voiced by Sarah Mowatt, is a young woman with a baby who is the centerpoint of her mission. A very strong performance by both actors.

70 minutes.
Highly recommended.

Big Finish Reviews

FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 11, Number 4 Spring 2000

Big Finish Reviews
Big Finish Doctor Who Audios
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

“Land of the Dead”
by Stephen Cole

“The Land of The Dead”, a four part adventure written by Stephen Cole and directed by Gary Russell, opens with the TARDIS materializing in the sky over Alaska and almost causing a plane crash. Although the Doctor avoids the midair collision by rematerializing thirty years later, he and Nyssa spot the same energy readings as earlier and set off across the ice fields to investigate. But as night falls, large creatures chase them to the door of a strange house.

The Doctor and Nyssa find their investigation into the strange energy readings and mysterious creatures is linked to other questions. Why is the millionaire Shaun Brett spending his fortune constructing a house where each room is made of only one material? What killed Tulung’s father and why does Tulung blame Brett? Is there a link between what is happening inside the house to what took place at a dig in 1964?

Peter Davison is once again the Fifth Doctor, with understated panic, calm in the face of danger, and well-meant lectures. Sarah Sutton brings Nyssa–intelligent, analytical, and able to talk to anyone–back as if she had never been away from the part. This is a team that hasn’t truly been seen on their own before, and, without the need to link back to other missing/kidnapped/possessed companions, the story runs smoothly, especially with both Nyssa and the Doctor taking turns explaining things. Neil Roberts makes the complex Tulung a very interesting character. Christopher Scott as the obsessive Brett, with an understated nastiness to his snide insults, does make the listener wonder why his employees continue to work for him.

Written by Stephen Cole, “The Land of the Dead” is an interesting horror/mystery. The incidental music by Nicholas Briggs is nicely moody. The liner notes also include a map of the house, useful for when the story seems too claustrophobic.

Along with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton, the cast includes Lucy Campbell as Monica Lewis, Christopher Scott as Shaun Brett, Neil Roberts as Tulung, Andrew Fettes as Gaborik, and Alistair Lock as Supplier.

The trailers for “Fearmonger” and “Wetworks” are included on the CD and sound especially good.

110 minutes
Recommended.

“The Fearmonger”
by Jonathan Blum

“The Fearmonger”, a four part adventure written by Jonathan Blum and directed by Gary Russell, opens with the Doctor appearing in the studio of a radio talk show while it’s on the air and leaving a message for one of the listeners. The flustered talk show host soon finds that he hasn’t seen the last of the Doctor. Hate mobs are on the rise, and terrorists are sending assassins after the leader of the New Britannia party. But one would-be assassin hears something else in the leader’s speeches, an alien voice. It’s up to The Doctor and Ace to find out who’s reallybehind the attacks and stirring the mobs to riot.

Sylvester McCoy is once again the Seventh Doctor, the one who travels to places to prevent things from happening, yet is capable of making mistakes. It’s also fun to notice the misquotes are back as well as the plots within plots within plots. Sophie Aldred brings back the Ace in apprentice mode. She’s been learning a lot from her travels with the Doctor and her attempts to emulate him are great to hear. Ace is aided in the fact that they have arrived in a place familiar to her and she knows people who can help. Jacqueline Pearce is wonderful as Sherilyn Harper, political leader of the New Britannia Party.

Written by Jonathan Blum, “The Fearmonger” is a very well-plotted fast-paced story, which captures the spirit of the Sixth Doctor/Ace pairing. The cliffhangers are especially good. The ‘butterfly’ references will seem excessive to those who have already encountered them in Blum’s novels, however. Alistair Lock’s incidental music is wonderfully done, and his post production/sound effects are riveting, especially the alien voice.

Along with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, the cast includes Jacqueline Pearce as Sherilyn Harper, Hugh Walters as her devious assistant Roderick Allingham, Jack Gallagher as Alexsandr Kardjic, Mark McDonnell as Walter Jacobs, Vince Henderson as radio announcer Mick Thompson, Jonathan Clarkson as the helpful Paul Tanner, Mark Wright as Stephen Keyser, and John Ainsworth as a Tannoy voice.

The trailer for “Dalek Empire” is included on the CD and sounds especially good.

110 minutes
Highly recommended.

Big Finish Reviews

FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 12, Number 2 Fall 2000

Big Finish Reviews
Big Finish Doctor Who Audios
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

“Winter for the Adept”
by Andrew Cartmel

“Winter for the Adept”, a four part adventure written by Andrew Carmel and directed by Gary Russell, has a different opening than usual. A narrator reminisces about her days at a school in the Swiss Alps in 1963. This is a nice change of pace, allowing for background information and details about the school and its teachers to be established, as well as why there are two students escaping from the “ghost academy” in the middle of a blizzard.

Nyssa arrives on her own in the middle of the blizzard, and she’s not happy with the Doctor and his experiments. She’s rather grumpy towards him throughout most of the audio. She takes up the challenge of figuring out the mystery of the spirits supposedly haunting the school. Are the movements of the furniture caused by ghosts, poltergists, or…something else?

Sarah Sutton is great as Nyssa in detective mode. Peter Davison is a more relaxed Fifth Doctor, a little less self-assured–especially when Nyssa starts scolding him–and a little more secretive. Liz Sutherland and India Fisher are excellent as the two students, with just the right mixture of boredom and wonderment.

Andrew Cartmel’s “Winter for the Adept” is a nicely paced ‘haunted house’ story, with twists and chills and close calls. Russell Stone’s music and Andy Hardwick’s sound design and post production produce just the right atmosphere.

Along with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton, the excellent cast includes Liz Sutherland as Alison Speers, India Fisher as the stubborn Peril Bellamy, Sally Faulkner as the HeadMistress Miss Tremayne, Hannah Dickinson as Mademoiselle Mauspassant, Peter Jurasik as Lt. Peter Sandoz, Christopher Webber as the hapless Harding Wellman, Andy Coleman as Commodore, and Nicky Goldie as Empress.

The trailers for “The Apocalypse Element” and “The Fires of Vulcan” are included on the CD and sound especially good. There’s also a little additional segment at the end of the very last track.

100 minutes
Highly recommended.

“The Apocalypse Element” (Dalek Empire Part 2)
by Stephen Cole

“The Apocalypse Element”, a four part adventure written by Stephen Cole and directed by Nicholas Briggs, opens on the planet Archetryx with Monitor Trinkett and her assistant Ensac coordinating the arrival of several timeships from various races for a major conference. Some uninvited timeships also turn up: the TARDIS has been pulled off course and materializes in the wake of another timeship. But the other conference-crashers aren’t so friendly.

The delegation from Gallifrey requests the Doctor’s assistance and, although suspicious of the CIA’s motives, he agrees to help, especially when he learns that Romana is missing. What caused the disappearance of a planet she and others were on twenty years ago? Why are the gravity wells of Archetryx suddenly unstable?

I’ve enjoyed all of the Sixth Doctor’s travels with Evelyn. This companion doesn’t take any nonsense from him, and it’s fun to watch the Sixth Doctor dealing with situations in a much calmer manner, thanks to her. Evelyn copes with strange aliens rather well, and it’s interesting to puzzle out when she’s impressed and when she’s just being misleading. She’s not afraid to take chances, and she doesn’t hesitate when people need help.

Lalla Ward is excellent as Romana. This story pushes the Time Lady’s resources and strength of will to their limits. I enjoyed the pairing with the Sixth Doctor–the two work well together.

Stephen Cole’s “The Apocalypse Element” is a very well-plotted fast-paced story. The Daleks are exceptionally devious this time and the excellent cast of characters with their own agendas added levels to the plot. The battles with the Daleks are choreographed rather well, and the cliffhangers are especially good. There’s also a link to the tv movie that I quite liked.

Nicholas Briggs’ sound design and music are marvellous as always. One reason the story flows so well is probably because he does the post-production as well as directing.

Along with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables, the cast includes Lalla Ward as Romana, Karen Henson as Monitor Trinkett, James Campbell as Assistant Monitor Ensac, Andrea Newland as Commander Borna, Anthony Keetch as Coordinator Vansell, Toby Longworth as Monan Host, Michael Wade as The President, Alistair Lock and Nicholas Briggs as Dalek Voices, and Andrew Fettes as both Vrint and Captain Reldath.

The trailers for the McGann stories that start coming out in January and “The Fires of Vulcan” are included on the CD and sound intriguing.

120 minutes
Highly recommended.

Big Finish Reviews

FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 12, Number 3 Winter 2001

Big Finish Reviews
Big Finish Doctor Who Audios
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

“The Holy Terror”
by Robert Shearman

“The Holy Terror”, a four part adventure written by Robert Shearman and directed by Nicholas Pegg, opens in a dark and dank dungeon with Captain Sejanus conducting the interrogation of the court scribe Eugene Tacitus on the charge of heresy. The Emperor has died and everyone must now worship the new God Emperor.

In the TARDIS, Frobisher is chasing fish in the bathtub. The TARDIS responds to Frobisher’s interference with the console by going ‘on strike’, and the only way the Doctor can get the ship to work again is by giving the TARDIS control over its landings. The TARDIS materializes during the coronation of the new God Emperor, and the court hails its appearance as a miracle. Their arrival also frustrates the plans of the new Emperor’s brother. And the plans of the treacherous High Priest. But then the story gets more complicated than that.

“The Holy Terror” is one of those rare stories that is not predictable at all. Just when you’ve got it labeled a comedy, another twist sends it off in a different direction. The talented cast is able to handle all the twists and turns wonderfully, providing some delightful dark comedy in the best Python style one moment, striking drama in the next. You might have to listen to the audio more than once, though, to spot when things suddenly change.

Russell Stone composed the atmospheric music, while Gareth Jenkins handled the marvelous sound design (I loved Frobisher’s flipper sounds) and post production.

Robert Jezek brings the wise-cracking Frobisher to life, and the banter between the shape-changing being and the Sixth Doctor works to convince the listener that they’ve been traveling together for some time. The cast also includes Dan Hogarth as Captain Sejanus, Sam Kelly as Eugene Tacitus (who has a wonderful narration of the coronation), Roberta Taylor as Berengaria, Helen Punt as Livilla, Peter Guinness as Childeric, Stefan Atkinson as Pepin, Peter Sowerbutts as the High Priest Clovis, Bruce Mann as Arnulf, and Robert Shearman as the Sculptor.

The trailer for the “The Mutant Phase” is included on the CD and sounds intriguing. And, at the very end of the last track, there is a short music piece.

140 minutes
Highly recommended.

The Bernice Summerfield Adventures
“Dragons’ Wrath”
adapted by Jacqueline Rayner

Bernice’s long-awaited return in audio format is in the dramatization of the novel Dragons’ Wrath, written by Justin Richards. As directed by Edward Salt, the adaptation is a mixture of Benny’s diary entries and action scenes. This works very well, letting the listener into Benny’s thoughts about people and events.

A wealthy overlord has asked St. Oscar’s University on Dellah to send an expedition to Stanturus III to verify that this was the site of his ancestor’s rise to power. The University chooses Benny, a history professor and an accountant to go, but meanwhile, Benny has fallen over another mystery. An art history professor at the university is murdered, and his dying words to her are ‘Dragon…key.’

Searching his apartment, Benny finds a jewel-encrusted dragon statue. On a visit to the overlord’s home on Thaan, she finds a similar dragon, a symbol of his ancestor’s power and supposedly one of a kind. Which statue is the original, and how could it have been copied? What is the real reason for the overlord’s decision to fund an expedition?

The new theme song “Adventure is my Game” takes a bit of getting used to, but it does set up the “James Bondish” side to Benny’s life. Along with the song, the sound design and post-production by Toby Richards and Emily Baker seems to be bit intrusive to the story, with little odd ticks and clatters at strange moments, sometimes threatening to drown out the dialog. Incidental music normally enhances the mood or serves as transitions between scenes; this tended to detract from the drama by sounding ‘humorous’ or as if the story was taking place in a construction zone. The tracks are also longer than usual.

Justin Richard’s novel Dragons’ Wrathhad been one of my favorites of the Benny books, and I have been looking forward to the audio version. This CD has been well worth the wait. Jacqueline Rayner’s adaptation of “Dragons’ Wrath” is a very well-plotted fast-paced mystery/adventure story. Benny is on top form: observant, stubborn, and quickly spotted as a potential trouble-maker. The sequence of her breaking into the overlord’s archives is especially well-done.

Lisa Bowerman returns in grand form as Professor Bernice Summerfield. Another familiar DWvoice, Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), portrays the overlord Romolo Nusek, who switches from charming to nasty with ease. Gary Russell voices Mappin Gilder, the University’s accounts manager whose fussiness has hidden strengths. Nigel Fairs is very convincing as the historian Dr. Nicholas Clyde, who works with Benny to solve the mystery behind the dragons. Other members of the excellent cast include Jane Burke as the famous archeologist Dr. Truby Kamardrich and Jez Fielder as the delightful Librarian Reddick.

70 minutes
Highly recommended.

Other Audio

Doctor Who: Music from the New Audio Adventures. Volume 1
composed and compiled by Alistair Lock

 

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a big fan of soundtracks. I’ve enjoyed the incidental music of Big Finish’s Doctor WhoAdventures, and I jumped at the chance to get the full version of this music. Alistair Lock’s selections from “Phantasmagoria,” “The Fearmonger,” “The Marian Conspiracy,” and “The Spectre of Lanyon Moor” are wonderful, ranging from period music for “Marian” to truly spooky pieces for “Spectre” and “Fearmonger.” It’s also fun to see the titles for individual tracks, such as “Tea With The Locals,” “Kitchen Attack,” and “First Shooting.”

I’ve been listening to the music again and again since the CD arrived and I’ve yet to tire of it.

Each section is introduced by the trailer for that particular story.

70 minutes
Highly recommended.

“The John Nathan Turner Memoirs”

“The John Nathan Turner Memoirs” are an interesting production. This is a two-volume set of four CDs, on which John Nathan Turner talks about his memories of working on Doctor Who, starting when Patrick Troughton was The Doctor. Volume 1 covers 1969-1985, and Volume 2 covers 1985-2000.

Listening to these CDs is, in a way, reminiscent of attending panels at American conventions. If you’ve attended some of JNT’s panels, some of the stories will be familiar, but others are the side that the fans hadn’t been told before. Unlike a published biography, where the text would be broken up with pictures and illustrations, the memoirs are told with only occasional incidental music by Alistair Lock, track breaks and the changes between disks. The CDs are organized in chronological order, so it is possible to listen to memories from particular time periods and skip around to different stories.

The anecdotes are interesting. Here are told the casting decisions, the costume designs, location plans, successes and failures. Some gossip is included, as would be normal with any behind-the-scenes tales.

Those who enjoy the Doctor Who Handbooks, biographies and other behind-the-scenes books will find these CDs a valuable addition to their collections. I know I do.

Two volumes, 120 minutes each
Recommended.

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