Stories:
2869
Members:
727
Submitted Reviews:
8144
Reviewers:
339
1.2 - The Devil's Armada >

1.1 - The Ghosts of Gralstead

Rating Votes
10
18%
11
9
29%
18
8
34%
21
7
19%
12
6
0%
0
5
0%
0
4
0%
0
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.5
Votes
62
Director:
Writer:

Purchase From:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 10/23/17 8:12 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I feel angry with myself for having had this in my downloads for months and not getting round to it - a superb serial and in my view what the FDA range ought to have pursued. After finishing season 2 of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, I stopped purchasing them, given their price and short running time - not only making them poor value in my view relative to other ranges, but forcing them to adopt an EDA / RTD punchy pace.

I've always believed the 4th Doctor to be incompatible with Doctor Who at its most frantic. My favourite memories, serials and scenes with Tom Baker tend to be character driven, loose (albeit strong) plots that allow one of the most interest portrayals of the Doctor to interact with some of the shows most interesting companions.

It was with real joy therefore I listened to this three hour story with the Doctor and Leela gallivanting around Victorian London. Whilst effort is made to emphasise the staging of the piece after the Crimean War but before the prelude to the Diamond Jubille & pompous apogee (Talons of Weng Chiang) - it's essentially retreading well worn and well loved boards.

This prevents top marks from me, but also guarantees a very very strong outing! It's not wholly derivative as elements from outside of the Hinchcliffe era are transplanted in, and by the end of serial we've visited a rich and broad range of locations and cultures, spending time with characters from across the social spectrum. That said, it's hard not to see patchwork Doctor Who. Splitting up the six serials with a trip away from the house reminded me of Seeds of Death. Victoriana reminded me of Talons and Ghost Light, the latter also echoing through the antagonist. Furthermore, the plot ultimately depends on a macguffin that skirts New Who territory of vague omniscient power (skirts being the operative word).

Of course, aping the best Doctor Who serials is not much of a critique, especially when it's done with aplomb! The cast are excellent and sound design is super. For a first outing, it's justifiably safe and takes elements from Hichcliffe and Platt that work, are beloved and fine tunes them. I can't wait to start the Devil's Armada.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 7/28/15 1:15 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 1 Box Set has a great premise with Philip Hinchcliffe sending in story outlines with Marc Platt expanding them into scripts. Yes Marc Platt is the writer working with Hinchcliffe which is a match made in heaven as both writers know what makes good gothic horror. This is no less apparent than here in the first story of the box set, The Ghosts of Gralstead.

The Ghosts of Gralstead sees the Doctor and Leela arrive in Victorian England where Gralstead Manor is being haunted by several ghosts. The most promenant ghost is Mordrega, an alien who is looking for the Coronet of Alceon, a crown which has healing powers. This is the main A plot and as a six parter, rather unusually there are B and C plots. B plot is a short plot about a freak show run by Dr. Gideon McDivett and Leela's reactions to this form of entertainment. The C Plot involves Abasi, an African prince, reclaiming his tribe from the tyrant Obingo. These three plots are all connected through the Coronet which has parts of itself passed on from person to person. You would think that this would overcrowd things, but each section of the story stays as long as it needs to, making the weird structure effective.

The A plot is the main focus of the story with the focus being on Mordrega and the denizens of Gralstead Manor. We have Sir Edward Scrivener, an explorer, his young daughter Clementine, a psychic, their butler, their servant Abasi, who Edward saved from Obingo in Africa nine years previous, and Edward's brother Cedric, a doctor who has been making deals with bodysnatchers for medical science. Each character has an interesting backstory and role. The butler plays the ex-soldier. Cedric slowly descends to madness as he cohorts with Mordrega. Edward comes to terms with the death of his wife. Abasi falls in love with Leela and redeems himself by taking his tribe back in the C plot. And Clementine, while she is there to be mysterious and a pain for the villains of the piece.

And speaking of the villains of the piece, Mordrega played by Caroline Seymour, feels like a villain out of the television show and is performed brilliantly. Our leads are also on top form with Louise Jameson's Leela getting some of her best development. The only problem with the story is that it is predictable in several places.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: FlyingTigerComicsReview Date: 7/25/15 6:11 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Fourth Doctor and Leela enter the earlier Victorian era, home to a big game hunter, his brother the surgeon, resurrection men (body snatchers) and a truly creepy villain.

On first listening I found it a little hard to follow but on returning to it and fully focusing on it as it played it was fine.

The interesting "twist" really is the trip to Africa, something never realised on screen in the classic show, and beyond the capability of the very samey wamey look of the current series.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 7/13/15 8:13 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

These are 6 of the most wonderful audio produced stories I have listened too featuring Tom in a very long time since the Fourth Doctor Box Set which certainly laid down the standards I thought for story telling on this scale. This is your equivalent of any of your current mega film releases like Iron Man or Avengers, it is stunning from start to finish. 6 CD's play out, as you are sucked deeper and deeper into the adventure. Tom is on the form of his life, and Louise Jameson is as ever the Leela we all love and cherish. Philip Hinchcliffe is a master of the gothic horror art, and this work is tantamount to a man who is never so much on form that he ever was. In fact I think this Big Finish production does Philip work more credo than any T.V could possibly do. The old adage of audio as a limitless stage to play out works to it's full. All the dialect paints the most incredibly vivid picture of a slightly twisted history of the Victorian past. Freak shows, open portals to other galaxies, tea and muffins, milk in after your pour the tea, it is all so brilliantly well composed. I am steering away from giving anything away about the story needless to say you have to listen to this, and potentially in one go, you will otherwise end up picking at like that box of chocolates you promise yourself you have had the last one, when you know you will go back for another, and another. This is simply that good. The cast in this are superb and add to the whole tale without any question at all. With Tom and Lou at the helm this is one hell of a statement, superb stuff.