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The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Destination Nerva

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Author Topic: The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Destination Nerva  (Read 201 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: May 13, 2012, 03:06:30 pm »

No one who has bought Doctor Who Monthly Magazine in last few months can have escaped the intense publicity surrounding the return of Tom Baker to Doctor Who in the Big Finish adventures. The old adage states that “you should never go back” especially when the tenure of Baker was iconic and arguably the most successful in the shows history. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the cellophane seal on the first, new Big Finish story. Will it be Saturday Teatime in 1977 All Over Again....?


The Big Finish Synopsis teases us with the following goodies...

“After saying their goodbyes to Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, the Doctor and Leela respond to an alien distress call beamed direct from Victorian England. It is the beginning of a journey that will take them to the newly built Space Dock Nerva… where a long overdue homecoming is expected.

A homecoming that could bring about the end of the human race”

The first thing that should be said, is that this story rattles along at a fair old pace. All of the stories in this range are 60 minutes long, so there is no room for wasted scenes or excessive dialogue. The author, and Big Finish grandee, Nicholas Briggs keeps the story simple and there are plenty of thrills and spills along the way. The clever use of Nerva Beacon as the setting for this story (from the first season of Tom Baker’s TV series) means that, as listeners, we are in a setting of familiarity and one where we have overwhelmingly positive memories. The supporting cast give very good value (Raquel Cassidy is rapidly becoming one of my very favourite artistes). As is almost de rigueur with Big Finish these days, the production values are excellent. Good music, good sound effects and well directed (again by the protean Briggs).

Whilst all of this is good and pleasing, there is only one real question in your mind as you pick the virgin CD from its casing and pop it in the trusty Linn Akurate.... “How will Tom Baker be back as the Doctor?”. It’s actually not an easy one to answer. He sounds older and this is not a carbon copy of the voice from 35 years ago. The story does not actually beget the Doctor at his finest and there is not quite the imperious majesty of the early years. The real jewel, however, comes in the interplay between Baker and Louise Jameson as Leela. They have found their voice as ‘Enry ‘Iggins and Eliza Doolittle. It is almost as if the story and peril are incidental to the development of the Doctor and Leela’s friendship, and the spirit of Doctor Who shines through in this.

The cover notes for this story say that in producing this range, Big Finish were looking for a series of authors who can be trusted as a safe pair of hands. Nick Briggs does that with a very solid and highly listenable story. Tom Baker finds his way back into the role with little difficulty, ably assisted by Louise Jameson. Is this worth buying... You bet your life it is! It’s Saturday teatime back in 1977 - and Jim has Fixed it for us to have one last hurrah with Tom Baker playing and winning The Generation Game!
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 12:35:56 am »

These reviews are making me want to dip my toe in, I have to be honest. As I was saying in another thread I've been wary of the new TB audios because he was always so hesitant that now he's doing it I can't help but think he won't be putting the effort in. I think I will give this one a go and see where we go from there.
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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 03:49:43 pm »

These reviews are making me want to dip my toe in, I have to be honest. As I was saying in another thread I've been wary of the new TB audios because he was always so hesitant that now he's doing it I can't help but think he won't be putting the effort in. I think I will give this one a go and see where we go from there.

I will say, it is a very different Tom Baker to the one we saw in 1977. There isn't quite the energy there (I suppose TB is nearly 80 years old now so that is to be expected). But he still exudes that arrogant intellectualism that we have grown to love and his relationship with Leela is perfect
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 08:36:48 pm »

Tom Baker has been better. There is no denying that. But he is still great and the stories I have heard so far have been mainly good. They also revealed this week that a third season has been commissioned for 2014. S2 is out in January I think.
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