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Audio: CITY OF SPIRES


Chase - Posted on 01 May 2010

This Big Finish audio gets an 80 from me. Why? Well the first disk is a 10/10 and the second...a 6/10. Why? Well the first disk brilliantly sets up Colin Baker, who's fast becoming or has already become THE audio Doctor above all others (although I'm not sure he's done more than the others, it feels that way), who's great by the way in this and almost all of them, and his old companion Jamie as, well, first strangers to each other and then allies.

Jamie is afforded the respect not afforded to Adric and if you discount  the BOY THAT TIME FORGOT ( I DO cause well, it was junk and I'd rather count DIMENSIONS IN TIME as canon over that piece of junk), this is the first time the DOctor has revisited an old male companion that traveled with him as a younger man/boy and I find the male companions, not having been done as often as the boring female ones, much more refreshing. We've seen the Doc revisit Sarah Jane, Reinet, Rose, and Martha not to mention others in the novels such as JO Grant (who's returning again, this time  in Sarah Jane's show! supposedly). I find the DOc plus female stuff old hat and very very boring by now. Let's face it, there's got to be well over 1000 DW stories in the different mediums. For me, the ones that work well have more than one comp and the male companions are always fresh from that POV. In any case, Frazier sounds OLD but acts well and redoes Jamie quite well. HIs relation with the DOc, even this strange Jamie as Colin Baker says in the interview bits, is good.

The history for disk one is nice but I"m afraid the messed up timeline stuff doesn't go over well nor is it explained but maybe that will be explained in later episodes of this trilogy. FOr me, thinking of it as a trilogy is sad as I'd want Jamie to stay with the DOc far longer than three stories. In any case, having Colin in a historical or even a psuedo historical setting is nice and this is rather well done and presented.  The sound effects are great, the acting great, and even Georgina Moffet is good as Alice. Moffet might be Peter Davison's daughter but usually she's inherited none of his realistic acting ability. Usually she's this fake sounding over the  joyous top pracing figure (so terrible in DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER). I found myself almost hopeing ALice would be a companion at one point. SHe's sort of sidelined in part two but comes back a bit. The French husband was a cliche but he at least sounded French, at least to my untrained ear.

Pity part two is a typical Doctor meets alien in the past storyline. And possession. Sigh. The good bits of part one flail their way through however and the typical Doctor faces down alien with raspy voice (again!) in a so called climatic show down inside black water does not totally ruin this but comes close. Very close.

The ending is rather nicely done too and I'd give this a 8 out of 10, again mostly for part one and for Jamie and the 6th Doctor remeeting. Their collaboration also saves most of part two. Well done, in a way...

      

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