Review: Whispers Of Terror
Recently I rediscovered my personal collection of Doctor Who audio adventures. How? Some time had passed since I last listened to stories which introduced me to widescreen audio and while the titles and album artwork called up an impression of each as I perused the lot by way of iTunes, remembering specific details wasn't so easy. Well now, I can listen to them all again, it's been awhile... little did I know it was going to be like Christmas all over, again.
I began working out which stories to make room for on my iPod Nano and finally decided on going back to the beginning, using the 'date added' to my iTunes library as my criteria for which ones I loaded and listened to first. I remember with some accuracy what I was doing, where I was, etc., when I first experienced a few of those adventures that were 'new to me' at the time even though many had been produced years before I even knew they existed. There was a wide ranging mix, some produced by the BBC, others by Big Finish and truth be told a number of fan produced stories as well. Some were going on 10 years old while others were literally brand new. The 8th Doctor who had just one fleeting TV appearance in 1996 returned to the Whoniverse by way of audio, as did Doctors 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3. Companions came back to life in a manner of speaking as did old rivals while new rivals were born on the pages... or perhaps more likely on computer monitors of creative types gifted with the story telling gene.
So the stage is set. The audience, that would be me, awaits that well known signature tune. It begins and in a matter of seconds I'm off. Where to this time? To see, or rather hear personal favorites of mine, the 6th Doctor and Peri, who team up in this 'early days' release from Big Finish. Credit where credit is due, the bar was set high, audio production values are paramount when there's no picture and Big Finish rose to the occasion. Characters were skillfully developed. Just the right amount of mystery is maintained which is to say the goals and aspirations of some were kept well hidden, allowing the story to unfold, a credit to its writer. The plot was visible from the get-go and remained understandable throughout the recording. The period in which the story is set is unclear apart from being between Revelation Of The Daleks and Trial Of A Time Lord so it's 'in the future' for all intents and purposes, especially since the Doctor can arrive anywhere and anywhen. Soundscape gets full marks, however with respect to plausibility, well...
Technology based or maybe better put 'technology reliant' drama often has a limited life-span. Such is the case with 'Whispers Of Terror' which otherwise is an excellent production. I was ready to give it a 4.5 Blue Box Score until it crossed the line, technically speaking. Ever mindful that any comment one make here can spoil the story for anyone that hasn't experienced it, I'll have to leave it at that although I will entertain private communication about this planet sized plot pot-hole with anyone who cares to. Don't get me wrong, I really like this story and have enjoyed it each time I've listened to it, but during this last playing it fell apart in a big way.
Whispers Of Terror earns a 2.5 BLUE BOX SCORE
PRODUCTION NOTES: Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri); Rebecca Jenkins (Amber Dent / Car Computer); Hylton Collins (Goff Fotherill / Computer Voice); Matthew Brenher (Visteen Krane); Harvey Summers (Radio Announcer); Peter Miles (Museum Curator Gantman); Mark Trotman (Miles Napton); Nick Scovell (Detective Berkeley); Steffan Boje (Hans Stengard); Lisa Bowerman (Beth Pernell); Justin Richards (Answerphone Message); Jacqueline Rayner (Audio Voices)
Written By: Justin Richards
Directed By: Gary Russell
Trailer link: http://wmiii.net/doctor_who/dw_mp3/Trailer_Whispers_Of_Terror.mp3
Product link: http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/whispers-of-terror-621
Detailed synopsis: http://www.drwhoguide.com/who_bf03.htm