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< 2.1 - The Auntie Matter
2.3 - War Against the Laan >

2.2 - The Sands of Life

Rating Votes
10
7%
6
9
8%
7
8
13%
11
7
23%
19
6
24%
20
5
11%
9
4
6%
5
3
2%
2
2
4%
3
1
2%
2
Average Rating
6.5
Votes
84

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 11/11/15 1:21 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Listening to The Sands Of Life is an odd experience, mostly because it favours the intimate over the epic. Now while I quite often like that about Doctor Who stories, I wasn't so sure here. After all, this is the longest single CD release in the Fourth Doctor Adventures to date, but I don't feel that having an extra episode actually did this story any good. It just seemed to ramble on a lot, with a lot of episode 2 involving a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing, when all of it could have been settled more quickly. That being said, the first episode doesn't pull any punches, and launches straight into the action, with only some of the early TARDIS scenes feeling a little like a pause for breath. The story was gripping right from the opening newscast, right up until the military became involved. Then, it just started to feel like the story was treading water, waiting for the final ten minutes, which started to bring the plot together. I particularly felt that the military grunts were a complete waste of time, and simply there to show the pig-headedness of humans and how they treat every incursion with such contempt. They weren't even well sketched out characters, merely cyphers to bounce the Doctor and Romana off. The only notable character is Duncan Wisby's General Vincent, who is a completely boring character, I started to turn off from the story whenever he spoke. It didn't help that his American accent was a bit corny as well (you would have thought Big Finish would have learnt there lesson with American accents), but he was just so flat and one-dimensional, that the interrogation scenes were a real chore, despite the witty dialogue that Tom and Mary had. I did think that character was sacrificed for ideas in this episode, with those ideas in particular being very strong. The idea of a explosive pregnancy that could destroy the human race is incredible, and certain sets up War Against The Laan with the potential for some amazing moral ideas. However, while most character was sacrificed, there was one character who shined. Quite simply, Cuthbert has to be one of Nick Briggs' best creations, with his character feeling wonderfully well rounded. A lot of that is helped by an amazing performance from David Warner, who quite simply sounds fantastic as this gruff Northern businessman. Toby Hadoke is brilliant as his subordinate Dorrick, who lurks in the background a lot. I hope he gets to do something in the second half that's a little more substantial. Another character who is wasted here is Hayley Atwell's Sheridan Moorkurk, who is restricted to a couple of scenes only. It's a shame, because Atwell's performance is amazing, and I'm looking forward to see what she can do with the role. Tom Baker and Mary Tamm are given plenty to do, Tamm in particular, and I love there interaction, it just feels witty and cleverly written. John Leeson also returns in this for his first Fourth Doctor Adventure, however here he is given a limited amount to do, and is bumped off before the next episode, so I'm hoping that later episodes give him something more substantial. I though that while Briggs' direction was solid, I thought that his music was a little 'odd'. It sounded like Malcolm Clarke's work on The Sea Devils, although it did echo Dudley Simpson's work at points. I also felt the sound design was a little off too, particularly in the 'dreamscape' scenes. That didn't come off clearly at all. While The Sands Of Life has some great ideas, I think it's frankly wacky pacing and some really odd execution choices weigh it down quite heavily. However, it's not my least favourite Fourth Doctor Adventure, and I really think that it sets the plates rolling really well for War Against The Laan.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
3
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 11/9/15 4:22 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Sands of Life is odd in that it is the first three episodes for a five part story and the best bits of the story are whenever Tom Baker and Mary Tamm are playing off of each other. The plot involves the Doctor and Romana arriving in the Sahara Desert after a species called the Laan appeared in Romana's mind along with the voice of a parrot in a really funny gag. The humor in this is the best bits and when we get to the serious stuff it gets really boring. David Warner is alright I guess as Cuthbert but as it stands it feels like The Beast Below mixed in with The Green Death. The Laan are the only original thing in the story and there is a good idea there if it is explored in the next release.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 10/20/15 6:03 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

'The Sands of Life' and 'War Against the Laan' were both written, directed and scored by Nick Briggs. They're essentially a two-parter, and unusually for a Big Finish production it's divided into three parts. Mind you it takes the Doctor and Romana twenty minutes to get out of the Tardis. This is essentially set up for the following story, and is very dialogue driven with a loud action scene at either end. There is Tardis Turbulence at the beginning and a loud action scene at the end.

Which leads us onto the audio qualities of this production, it's loud. Wall papered in music, which bounces between woodwind type instruments of the early Baker era with a big dollop of wonky techno music from the Pertwee era. There is even a piano thrown in for good luck. Plenty of good sound effects though, must of them being the crisp crunching of sand. John Leeson is back as K-9 Mark II, and the unmistakable David Warner stars as the villain 'Cuthbert'. Tom is at his magnificent quirky best, and Mary Tamm is given plenty to keep her occupied.

Finally, it's not often a Forth Doctor Adventure won't hold my attention, but I struggled with this, and for a story about seven and a half billion psychic sea cows from space giving birth and possibly blowing the planet and time stream apart that's saying something.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/17/15 5:37 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Sands of Life finds the Doctor and Romana drawn to Earth by several very large creatures that land in the Sahara Desert and have the ability to disrupt time and space. The creatures are interesting, though the Doctor's explanation of them may simplify them too much and make them too similar to other creatures.

The plot itself does have some mystery about the creatures, but other than that doesn't have much going on. The first paragraph of Big Finish's description mentions that Sheridan Moorkurk is the new President of the Earth, but she is mostly irrelevant to the plot in this one The military believes in bombing and shooting at the giant impervious creatures in the military that could snap a helicopter in two--because they're the military. And the big-time CEO joints in the fun because he's an Evil CEO. What other explanation do you need?

The saving grace of this is the performance of stars Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, and John Leeson (returning as K-9) as well as that of guest star David Warner. Warner takes the character of evil CEO Cuthbert and makes it interesting.
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