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< 169. The Wrong Doctors
171. The Seeds of War >

170. Spaceport Fear

Rating Votes
10
2%
1
9
13%
8
8
30%
19
7
30%
19
6
17%
11
5
5%
3
4
0%
0
3
2%
1
2
0%
0
1
3%
2
Average Rating
7.1
Votes
64

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User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
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6
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 2/23/16 3:41 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Spaceport Fear is from that Doctor Who sub-genre, "Technological Society decays and reorganized into a much more primitive one," as was seen on television in, "The Face of Evil," and "Paradise Towers." Spaceport Fear is a decent take on this trope. It's positive is a nice twist on who the villain is and the way both sides of this society of "business" and "economy" have been placed at odds. Ronald Pickup turns in a very good performance. Mel's computer plays a key role in the conclusion.

On the negative side, as this a spaceport rather than an airplane or space vessel, the idea of having people divided between "business" and "economy" is somewhat dubious. Also, while I thought it was nice to really make use of Mel's knowledge of computer that does lead to a lot of technobabble in the Last Act and a somewhat anti-climatic ending.

Still, a solid cast make this a decent listen.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 4/29/15 11:32 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

We have so far had in real terms, one hit, and one near miss with the latest instalments from Colin and good old number 6 as the Doctor. This however finds us back on tera firma, well at least Tantane Spaceport that is. This is bread and butter Who, and for me it hits the mark from the off.

The premises is that the Doctor and Mel land on a Spaceport, and immediately get separated from each other, and to get back together and to the TARDIS, they need to get past the tribes of Business and Economy, the two groups of people who have survived in the Spaceport for many a year. Add to this that there is a monster trailing the place called the Wailer and we are on for one hell of a journey. What is great is the way that this feels like it is of the time 80's BBC television, I especially like that the two tribes are scared of new technology even though ironically they are trapped in a what is a state of the art space port. It is also no surprise that the pantomime villain Elder Bones is working each clan of each other for his own devices. The adventure works well in all parts. There is some confusing elements of people playing similar parts but for different classes and that is a little of the undoing of the whole production, however, the monster in this is cracking and certainly had the behind the sofa feel of the TV Doctor.

Colin and Bonnie are excellent and I also enjoyed the performance of Ronald Pickup a bit of cult figure when it comes to the old Who universe and for me was actually the standout, his quality of performance is belied by the fact that he is a excellent character actor anyway. All in all after the output of late this as established a much more back to the norm for Big Finish main release platform.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
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NA
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Reviewed By: komodoReview Date: 3/21/13 12:19 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

First up, this does not follow on directly from Wrong Doctors, so I was a little confused at the start. Secondly, the cover has the doctor in his blue coat, but in the story he is clearly wearing the colourful one. All unnecessarily confusing.

Get over all of that that and then...

Its a good story, though the key plot twists are predictable.

I think the best part of the story is the doctor's idea for improvising a telecommunication system. Not even McGyver would have done it this way.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: EiphelReview Date: 2/12/13 1:23 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

There’s an odd paradox dominating Spaceport Fear, and it regards the titular Spaceport setting. It’s a conceit which is simultaneously omnipresent and yet strangely irrelevant. The notion of an entire culture founded on some small aspect of life is not a new one, or one invented by Doctor Who, though I confess I tend to think of such tales as ‘Face of Evil’ stories. In that outing, the origins of the culture served as a key twist in the tale which put events into perspective and progressed the plot.

In Fear, the spaceport (airport) culture is not a twist, but a conceit up front from the word go. It’s heavily laid on to every element of the characters’ society, and particularly shot through their dialogue. Fear’s lighthearted in tone and plays this for humour with a liberal seasoning of puns, rather than explore any implications of the conceit. In this way, the setting bears more resemblance to Paradise Towers than Face of Evil. If nothing else, the jovial tone is spot on for the amiable Mel era.

Even in Paradise Towers, though, the High-Rise culture conceit informed the plot and was central to its resolution. In Fear, it just never seems to connect. As the story begins, I’m wondering why there’s a culture founded entirely on spaceport life, pondering the meaning of closed up windows and moving walls (redolent of the setting in Red). Yet as the story progresses, it never seems to be a mystery that the play is interested in, nor the characters. It’s never really viewed as a question that needs answering at all, and so ultimately it never seems to matter to the plot. It’s just window dressing. It still manages to be quite amusing at times - a few of the puns are particularly choice - but more often than not it just sort of washes by along predictable lines.

Two members of the supporting cast stand out, though for different reasons. Ronald Pickup as Elder Bones takes the focus of the story, and commands it fairly well with a decent performance. Bones’ background isn’t as predictable as it might have been, and there’s the suggestion of some interesting nuances in his history. The story never really joins the dots though, so Bones doesn’t so much end up as an intriguing character as a character who seems like he would be intriguing if we just had a little more detail. Pickup manages to preserve what facets are present, rather than rendering the character two-dimensional as could easily have happened, which is to his credit.

The other cast member of note is Beth Chalmers. Notable because she’s become so omnipresent in Big Finish’s productions of late that I’m finding it distracting from the story. To be clear, I think she’s a solid performer and I’ve never disliked her in something. I really liked her in Dominion. However, she has a distinctive voice and something of a signature fingerprint (voiceprint?) that she puts on all her characters. When hearing her every month, it starts to pull one out of the story.

The remaining characters are passable though nondescript. In particular, I found Pretty and Beauty to be lacking in definition during the first half of the story, to the point where they just blurred into Galpan and Rogers. (And I never quite got what Gallagher was going for with the names.) I realised eventually that they were intended to be mirrored pairs, but I barely registered they existed as seperate characters. This isn’t helped by having Beth Chalmers double up on Beauty and Galpan, exacerbating two issues at once.

Beth Chalmers is also one of a number of elements which Fear has in common with last month’s Wrong Doctors. The villains of last month’s piece, with their satirical big-business culture styling, are heavily echoed by the humour and style of this story. Whilst it’s not a bad thing to maintain a consistent tone, I think the positioning of these releases back to back is a bit unfortunate. It causes Fear to come off as a bit of a repeat, tonally, of the Wrong Doctors, which it can’t compete with.

With Bonnie’s appearances being such a rare thing, it would have been nice for this series to really capitalise on her return with every release. Whilst Spaceport Fear’s not bad, it’s rather ephemeral. A 6/10.
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