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It's only a short week in Brussels, and I somehow didn't make it to the gym, but I got through another two Eighth Doctor audios on the commute, the second and third of the Big Finish series with Paul McGann and India Fisher playing his companion Charley Pollard.

The Sword of Orion seems to be much loved by fans, but I really couldn't get into it. The voices of the two female guest actors were so similar that it was a while before I worked out that they were different characters, and then of course one of them turns out to be a cute robot. (I hate cute robots.) The surprise is that it turns out to be a Second Doctor Cyberman story (Wheel in Space, I think, though I haven't seen/heard it) reheated. I recently decided (after re-watching Earthshock in particular) that No Cyberman Story Ever Makes Sense, and this was no exception. I knew I was losing interested when I found myself speculating that the hold the Tardis was stuck in, 38B, might have been named after someone's bra size.

The Stones of Venice was another matter. Starts with a fun little prologue of the Doctor and Charley, having meddled in some planet's local politics, getting shot at and deciding to call a halt to that particular adventure and go to Venice instead. Beautiful evocation of a dying city, contested by elites and cultists, with Michael Sheard putting in what must have been one of his last performances as Duke Orsino (and shout out also to Elaine Ives-Cameron, alas also recently deceased). The script is littered with references to E.M. Forster and Shakespeare. OK, I could see how the plot was going to work out from miles off, but the whole thing was done with great gusto and conviction. Also, I like the Eighth Doctor's obsession with tea.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)
At the time they came out Sword of Orion I eagerly anticipated Sword of Orion as the first cyber story since Silver Nemesis. As a child one of the first books I bought was Gerry Davis's Doctor Who and the Cyberment and I've been well disposed to the cybermeanies since then. However, at the time I was quite disappointed.

The Stones of Venice I was really looking forward to. Paul Magrs is a bloody good novelist (at the time I think he was leading the UEA creative writing course) and he'd written a couple of interesting DW novels - THe Scarlet Empress (which is worth having a look at); and Verdigris a Pertwee story laden with affectionate parody of the era. There's a literate script, and the likes of Michael Sheard seem to really enjoy playing in it.

Minuet in Hell is a different matter altogether and I'd be interested to read what you think of it in due course.

Best wishes

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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