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< 88. Memory Lane
90. Year of the Pig >

89. No Man's Land

Rating Votes
10
5%
5
9
19%
18
8
40%
39
7
22%
21
6
8%
8
5
2%
2
4
1%
1
3
2%
2
2
0%
0
1
1%
1
Average Rating
7.6
Votes
97
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 10/24/17 2:22 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This story teases us with a fascinating time-travel angle only to reveal it to be a red herring. This is dangerous, as replacing an interesting story with a less interesting can easily be a disappointment. It puts a lot of pressure on the underlying story to be strong in its own right. Fortunately, Martin Day delivers a tense, evocative story about the psychological effects of war.

There's not much more than a thin veneer of science fiction draped across this story. By the time it's all over, we discover that the whole situation is a psychological experiment run by the Forge designed to produced a new breed of hardened soldiers, but that's little more than a background detail. The story itself is basically a straight war drama (or perhaps a crime drama set in the midst of a war).

For me, the story is less important than the various reflections on warfare, but that's not to say that there isn't a good story in here. There certainly is. But the thoughtfulness of the script elevates the story further. It would be somewhat reductive but hardly unfair to label this an anti-war story. Certainly, it is that, but I don't mean to suggest anything as glib or easy as "war is bad". By centering the story on a military hospital, the script is able to focus on the horrors of war itself. That is to say, the injuries aren't all inflicted by the enemy.

The story makes this point quite literally by centering itself around a so-called "friendly fire" incident, but the point goes much deeper than that. Who is ultimately responsible for the injuries, physical and emotional, suffered by English soldiers? It is the government that chooses to fight a war that is responsible for the consequences that ultimately befall its own troops. By basically writing the Germans out of the story altogether, Martin Day creates a powerful story that forces us to ask ourselves who the "enemy" really is.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 10/20/17 2:39 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A well-done anti-War tale that decides to once again throw Hex into a traumatic battlefield, this time it's in World War I.

Overall, the story has a disturbing and fascinating anti-War concept and makes for a brilliant psychological pseudo-historical. It really raises some hard questions about the effects war has on people and how far a country should go to win a war. This is the type of story that Sylvester McCoy's Doctor excels at. All the supporting performances were good, with Michael Cochrane making a great villain. The sound design is a bit dodgy for the era, but the story is disturbing and brilliantly conceived.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 7/19/17 8:23 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

With a chilling opening to the chant of 'Die! Die! Die! Die!' as a man is shot to pieces, the Seventh Doctor and his companions Ace and Hex find themselves in 1917 France in the midst of the horrid violence of the Great War. But in a French hospital miles away from the front lines where the crew end up, the war is the least of their problems. The TARDIS team are forced to become detectives of the strangest kind, trying to find information regarding a murder that hasn't even occurred yet. While details are obviously scarce, it seems to be connected to a mysterious room in the hospital known as the Hate Room maintained by an old enemy of the Doctor's. Can Seven and team solve the mystery before the powder keg explodes and the killings begin again? This story is pure and unadulterated historical drama with little to no real sci-fi in it, something that the show used to be amazingly good at back in the day and Big Finish continues to excel at in its best moments. It also happens to be one of the best commentaries on war and its effects on the human condition that Big Finish and Doctor Who has ever done even more so than some of the War Doctor stories I've heard. The soundscape and the atmosphere of WWI is portrayed almost perfectly and it feels so viscerally real almost as if you are actually there. This makes some of the scenes of torture, violence, and hatred on display with the story so powerful and so painful to hear especially regarding what is truly happening associated with the titular Hate Room. Make no mistake when I say that this audio is a very hard but very rewarding listen for those who are invested. Everyone in the cast is great even the side cast which is rather unusual for a story like this. Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier as Ace and Hex do suitably well in their necessary companion roles especially as things get darker and darker. Each and every soldier in this story also has an especially strong and very believable angle from the straight-laced Lieutenant-Colonel Brook and the innocent Private Taylor to the cowardly strong Lance-Corporal Burridge and the sadistic Sergeant Wood. Each character has a strong part to play in the story and it all draws you in as the best war time drama should. But it's Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor who once again steals every scene that he's in. Every moment he's in the story from his kind-hearted chats with the soldiers to his amoral investigative prowess to his outright and yet apparently understated disgust when he discovers what's going on is brilliantly portrayed and McCoy is on fine form here in one of the best stories he's ever been cast in. Everything about this story grips you and does not let go until the very end with its flaws being very minimal at best. The ties that the villain has to an audio-only Doctor Who nemesis don't seem that necessary and the story could've very well lived without them and the whole 'solve the murder before it happens' angle does get sort of dropped halfway through in favor of something else which is just good if a little less interesting. Overall though, this is Big Finish and the Seventh Doctor at their absolute best and another amazing story for me to add to my physical collection.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 11/18/14 8:59 am
3 out of 4 found this review helpful.

For me this is a first rate drama, it is not Sci-Fi in any shape or form, it's actually a moral commentary on the futile thing we have and call war. Sylvester Mccoy and Philip and Sophie are way above the normal form, and the supporting cast are also of high quality, in fact special mention should go to Michael Cochrane who is superb in his role. I especially liked the way Mccoy underplays certain elements, and is especially impassioned about the anti war stance, when the actual horror of what is going on becomes apparent to the Doctor, his complete disgust is very well portrayed by Sylvester who comes across so unbelievably understated that it is quite chilling. What is a big win for Big Finish is that the soundscape what we have is the First World War, which as we know paints a picture that we all are all familiar with. I really enjoyed this and I felt that Mccoy has possibly topped the best performance so far of his BF main stream output.

I am not going to comment on the content of the story, but as I said before this is not a Sci-Fi Doctor this is more of a moral tale of the utter madness that is war and what it does to people, the only hook I loved is the end, when we discover why what has happened and why it has been carried out by the Army Lieutenant-Colonel Brook. Superb stuff.