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< 1.4 - The Beautiful People
2.2 - Helicon Prime >

2.1 - Mother Russia

Rating Votes
10
12%
12
9
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8
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33
7
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6
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5
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Average Rating
7.8
Votes
101
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User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
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Replay Rating:
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8
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 11/27/17 9:16 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Just like Marc Platt's previous Companion Chronicle, this one features the first Doctor and Steven visiting Earth in the second decade of the nineteenth century. That's a bit of an odd coincidence, as this story has nothing at all to do with "Frostfire". This time, Steven Taylor is the narrator, which means we finally get to welcome Peter Purves to Big Finish. He does a marvelous job in this debut.

The first episode indulges in a very slow pace, and I appreciate this. It's not easy to do, as a slow-moving story can easily be boring, but the combination of strong writing and performance prevents this. Instead, we get to spend a little time establishing the setting before the excitement begins. Most of the first episode is taken up with Steven's efforts to fit into the life of the village. And this isn't merely to show off Marc Platt's historical knowledge. Adapting oneself to an unfamiliar environment is one of the key themes of the story. The script sets up an obvious contrast between Steven, who takes a genuine interest in the lives of the villagers, and the so-called shape thief, which constantly tries to deceive and exploit the people around him to advance his own agenda.

Others have pointed out that Steven is a bit slow to notice what would seem to be a rather obvious doppelganger. This can be a source of frustration, but I feel it fits in with stories of the Hartnell era. "Doctor Who" in those days did not assume its audience would be familiar with sci-fi tropes. I also appreciate that the so-called "shape thief" is more like a chameleon than a typical doppelganger, in that it doesn't seem to be in control of its form.

Another fine first Doctor story from Marc Platt.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
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7
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7
Replay Rating:
6
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7
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 11/15/15 9:45 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

'Mother Russia' is a good, well plotted story from start to finish. The Tardis crew integrate themselves into the community of a Russian village in 1812 while on holiday, sometime after the events of the Gunfighters, and they soon stumble upon a shapeshifting alien - the shape thief. This is one of only four stories that features Dodo, so it's no great surprise that she has little real impact in this story. This story dawdles along at a leisurely pace with a sombre tone and is packed with rich historical detail.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 10/30/15 9:50 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Mother Russia finds the First Doctor, Steven, and Dodo visiting a Russian village in 1812, with all of them settling in and finding jobs but they find themselves impacted by the inexplicable behavior of a man who Steven befriended and the invasion of the French Army under Napoleon.

This story does a wonderful job capturing the spirit of 19th Century Russia and establishing a great sense of place and the culture of this village. The story is filled with well-drawn characters and interesting relationships particularly with Steven and his forester mentor.

If there's a flaw in the story, it's that fans will figure out what's going on long before Steven does. The revelation of the truth is a bit drawn out for the explanation of the Doctor and Dodo's odd behavior.

Despite that one flaw as science fiction, it works tremendously well as a historical and as a drama, with Peter Purves turning in an absolutely superb performance and doing a solid job creating distinctions that makes each character's voice sound unique including a very solid interpretation of the First Doctor. This was Purves' first acting job in a long time and his first Big Finish. And the strength of this production would ensure that there would be many more to come.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 9/12/14 4:21 pm
3 out of 4 found this review helpful.

I am a Peter Purvis virgin, yes I happy to admit I have not had chance to catch any of the previous work with the Peter and the Doctor. My reference for Peter is actually Blue Peter, a BBC Children Entertainment show exceptionally popular on the BBC in the 70's, 80's and I believe in the 90's. However lets forget that. And concentrate on what we have here. Peter bearing in mind I have not witnessed any of his acting ability, performs, well superbly. In fact the manner in which he portrays the parts whether they be him as his character of Space Pilot, or whether he is imitating the Dr, he really does nail it. Although not audibly a mimic he seems to covey the stuttering paused rhythm of Hartnell first incarnation with ease and grace. To that measure the whole peace is handled wonderfully well. It brings to life a potentially old historical Doctor Who romp that would have been shot in B&W into full glorious HD 4K colour, albeit thanks to the superb writing by Marc Platt.
The story is very classic late 1st Dr, historic putting the Dr, Dodo, and Peter's character Steven Taylor - Space Pilot into the depths of Mother Russia, circa 1812 with impending French invasion by Napoleon himself looming on the horizon, however the impact of a invasion by the little general is somewhat side stepped when an alien with shapeshifting abilities decides to basically mimic everyone from The Doctor to Napoleon himself in order to get in the way of this. Superbly acted and to say that I listened and then checked my library to see that this was not a existing episode that had been made for TV but lost, I can only say one thing. Well done Big Finish, bloody fantastic.