Monday, November 25, 2013

Dovie's Day: Doctor Who - The Light At The End Review

Why are we here?...Why are all the Doctors here?

October 2013 appeared to be the momentous month for Doctor Who fandom: the recovery and iTunes release of  two 2nd Doctor serials (The Enemy of the World and 4/6 of The Web of Fear with part three still missing), and (the disappointing) Day of the Doctor, and the most surprising of all was the early release of Big Finish Productions highly anticipated 50th anniversary release The Light at the End.

For those who are quite disenchanted by The Day of the Doctor, The Light at the End is right up your alley. Its a milestone in many ways than one. It's the first major anniversary story from Big Finish since the critically derided Zagreus from the decade before. Unlike 2010's The Four Doctors and the previous TV multi-Doctor stories of old, this release has not only the surviving five Doctors (with Tom Baker finally taking part in a multi-Doctor adventure with his predecessors) but also the partcipation of 1-3 via the voices of William Russell (Ian), Frazer Hines (Jamie) and recurring guest voice Tim Treloar (Destination: Nerva, The Return of the Rocket Men).

The story takes place at No. 59 Barnsfield Crescent, Northampshire on November 23rd, 1963 where the life of Bob Dovie (Big Finish's top tier writer John Dorney) has turn upside down with the arrival of a police box on his chimney...and it all ties to the Master and a red light flashing at the end of TARDIS console signaling a greater danger that threaten's the Doctor's very existence. Unlike this past season's finale, only the Doctors have to rally together to thwart the Master once and for all before its too late.

On to the cast!: All five Doctors: Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann are at the top of their games here; particulary in key scenes like 4th and 8th and their perspective companions Leela (Louise Jameson) and much missed Charley (India Fisher), 5th and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) at the Dovie home investigating, and most of all 6th and 7th at their finest and less disagreeing. I did chuckle out loud when Ace (Sophie Aldred) called ol' Sixy "Joseph" and felt maudlin when 7th sees Peri (Nicola Bryant). John Dorney pulls off his performance as Bob Dovie with the greatest of ease ranging from scared, confused, to outright ticked off. Geoffrey Beevers gives another slam dunk performance as the Master showing his crispy incarnation is just as ruthless as ever imagined. Distorted voices aside, William Russell and Frazer Hines honor their late co-stars with their voices as the 1st and 2nd Doctors and Tim Treloar's 3rd sounds more or less akin to Jon Pertwee circa the early 90s BBC audios.

Gotta give around of applause to Jamie Robertson for pulling all the stops with the score and the rocking theme tune that gives Murray Gold's recent arrangement some tough competition. Further his sound designs is top tier work raking along side the efforts of previous sound designers of old. Last of all, Nicholas Briggs, who both write and directed it, has certainly given us what some can call this release the 40th anniversary present we should've had instead.

All in all, The Light At The End gives Classic Who fans (old and new) something to cheer about as this reviewer certain views it, the recovered Troughton episodes and the recent docudrama An Adventure In Space and Time as the real gems of the program's 50th anniversary and a damn good jump-on point for brand new listeners.

Highly recommended!

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