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< 8.5 - The Beginning
8.7 - Luna Romana >

8.6 - The Dying Light

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9
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Average Rating
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 1:40 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The second in Big Finish's Doctor Who Quadrigger Stoyn trilogy, The Dying Light was released three years' ago this month - making this one of Big Finish's most notable Big Finish releases. This trilogy formed a part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, starting with The Beginning (which I reviewed previously) and the following month's Luna Romana.

Whilst the first release followed the first Doctor and Susan, this time it's the turn of the second Doctor, Jamie (Fraser Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury) as they arrive on a dying planet with a dying sun, its people living in a city carved out of rock known as the 'Sanctuary'. They soon discover a temple within the city, where Quadrigger Stoyn (Terry Molloy) has been carving equations for draining the TARDIS of power. After being stranded by the Doctor in the previous release, Quardigger now plans to strand them - and the TARDIS crew have walked straight into his trap.

The Dying Light is pretty much a by-the-numbers adventure, but it's an enjoyable one nonetheless. It doesn't do anything particularly new, but is executed as well as you would expect from a Big Finish release offering an enjoyable release all the same. Most importantly it feels like a story that fits into the 60s era of the show, with a major focus on adventure and exploration over the new series' more bombastic nature.

This audio adventure does a particularly good job of creating a vibrant and realistic world. The wonderfully poetic words of Nick Wallace helps to create a vivid image in your mind of just how the Sanctuary would appear. I loved the mention of the sea being made up of sand, for instance, and the idea of a city being carved out of rock is a very imaginative one. Even the rescue boats are given extremely descriptive words for Fraser Hines to read out loud, helping to create a world that feels like a fully-realised part of the Doctor Who Whoniverse.

The main problem with this Big Finish audio is that unlike The Beginning, The Dying Light doesn't have a hook. The Beginning was already an interesting story because it was about an essential part of the show's mythos: the first Doctor and Susan's escape from Gallifrey. The second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe doesn't have an important part of the show's history to rely on and therefore has to present a satisfying enough story to maintain the audience's interest. Whilst for the most part it succeeds, The Dying Light still isn't as interesting as its predecessor and as a result it feels like a much smaller story - perhaps a story too small for a 50th anniversary release.

It also isn't completely clear what Quadrigger Stoyn wants. He's clearly angry at the Doctor for stranding him in The Beginning but his motives behind the TARDIS trap are unclear. What exactly does he gain from draining the TARDIS's power? Surely it would make more sense for him to steal the Doctor's TARDIS and leave Sanctuary? Quadrigger Stoyn just comes across as a bitter old man rather than a worthy foe for the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. It's a shame because Terry Molloy is clearly trying to add menace to Stoyn's actions but even his huge talent isn't enough to save the character.

Fraser Hines narration, on the other hand, is brilliant and a big reason why this release is so entertaining to listen to. He's perfect at narrating the second Doctor's lines - in fact, I'd go as far as to say he sounds exactly like Patrick Troughton - and his approach to storytelling is so engaging that you find yourself immediately drawn into the story. It wouldn't be hard to imagine Fraser Hines to narrate an episode of Jackanory should they ever decide bring the iconic kids' series back again. Fraser Hines should be hired to narrate every Doctor Who release as he has the perfect reading voice. Wendy Padbury does a good job too with speaking her character Zoe's lines but is unfortunately over-shadowed by Fraser Hines' performance.

Overall, The Dying Light is pretty much your standard 60s' Doctor Who adventure, that creates a wonderfully vibrant picture of the story's setting. Fraser Hines does an amazing job of narrating the release and the writing by Nick Wallace is impressive. However, The Dying Light suffers from the lack of an interesting hook and Quadrigger Stoyn's plan doesn't quite hold up. It doesn't make sense for him to drain the TARDIS of power when he could instead attempt to steal it from the Doctor and escape the dying planet. Hopefully Luna Romana - which I have yet to listen to - will feature one of Stoyn's better plans.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 9/21/15 8:58 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Dying Light is a bit of a let down for me. The Beginning was a great start to the trilogy of 50th Anniversary Companion Chronicles. Nick Wallace is a writer who has done numerous Doctor Who novels which should make a Companion Chronicle from him have less in the way of feeling like prose as they are basically audiobooks. But as a prose it is really quite forgettable with the premise being that the world the Doctor and co land on is dying. That's a fairly average premise but this one twist is that the world won't be dead for thousands of years. That isn't a good twist. Seriously that isn't a very good twist and just destroys any sort of tension that could happen with the story and is awful. The rest of the story isn't anything special either so I can't say anything more about the plot.

The performances are really the only enjoyable things you can get out of it as the three actors are great as they've shown before except Wendy Padbury doesn't have much to do. This is all for Frazer Hines' Jamie who gets the narration and Quadrigger Stoyn played once again by the brilliant Terry Molloy. I have a suspicion that this story was added later to the trilogy as it was produced last for some unknown reason. Also the Doctor acts really out of character at the end at least for the Second Doctor.
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: St. XtoferReview Date: 9/12/15 12:57 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A very intriguing setting for sure. However it just kind of feels like it was wasted on the story to some extent. I've not been able to get on board with the Quadrigger Stoyn character. It just seems unlikely that the Doctor would be so casual about repeatedly screwing over and stranding someone. You'd also think that given a Time Lord's abilities and ingenuity, Stoyn would eventually find some way home or to at least get the attention of the Time Lord's for a rescue. If he could build this island/ship thing with all the equations and elaborate TARDIS trap, you'd think he could do something. Basically, his character doesn't make much sense to me. However, the setting, acting (while I'm not big on Stoyn the character, Terry Malloy rocks) and general ambiance of this one makes for at least an entertaining listen. It would probably help to listen to 'The Beginning' first for the context, but you could probably do well enough without it.
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Reviewed By: SkyTwoReview Date: 1/10/14 1:04 am
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Not realizing Stoyn had been introduced in another audio, I jumped right into Dying Light and enjoyed it quite a bit on its own terms. There are several things about the story that appeal to me: I'm a sucker for ambitious world-building (and this story has a very strong sense of place and identity), I like a little ambiguity in the proceedings rather than a strict black-hat/white-hat scenario, and of course it's great when the author captures what was so appealing about the characters in the first place. I'd say those are all present here, though it's entirely possible that things would be a bit less ambiguous if I'd heard the first Stoyn story. Padbury arguably gets short shrift here, but Zoe's obsession with a series of inscrutable equations is certainly in character, with the action-oriented Jamie making Hines the more appropriate narrator. And at this point in the Companion Chronicles series, the impressions of the First and Second Doctors are bordering on the uncanny, which really adds to the proceedings. But the story isn't perfect. It maybe tries to throw in one Big Idea too many, and the resolution feels oddly abrupt. Its inspirations are a bit obvious as well (though in this case giving a title or two would be too much of a spoiler, so I'll skip it). But these are pretty minor quibbles, and certainly don't outweigh the positives. High marks to the supporting cast, too, not only to the characterization of Stoyn as more sad and bitter than villainous, but to the other inhabitants we meet who have to come to terms with the fact that the man they think they know is actually just the man who might have been.