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1.2 - Hounded >

1.1 - The Oncoming Storm

Rating Votes
10
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9
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6
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Average Rating
6.9
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Reviewed By: smythers1977Review Date: 2/5/16 4:30 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I know that I gave the ratings for acting and such on these plays a pretty good rating. An actor as distinguished as Ian McNeice and his portrayal of Winston Churchill deserves it. He really does own the role, just as he did in the Victory of the Daleks back in the early Matt Smith years. He just simply IS what you would believe the late, great Winston Churchill was like in life.

But, Victory of the Daleks was one of the worst episodes of New Who, and probably the worst of the Matt Smith era. I absolutely hated it. The new Daleks looked like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, for God's sake! And, it was just a really annoying story in general with the android and them setting up space technology for "Danny Boy to the Doctor" and Amy was pretty useless.

The stories involved in The Churchill Years are simple but much better scripts. I really wanted to like this series. Since the great licensing breakthrough that has finally brought Big Finish to modern day Who, I have eagerly awaited every release. Some have been great like Strax in Jago and Lightfoot. Others have been uneven but still very interesting, like The Diary of River Song.

This series of plays didn't work for me for a simple reason: the absence of the Doctor. It just didn't work having Winston say his lines and such for him. I can only imagine how awesome this series would have been if they had got Chris Eccelson on board, but that is never going to happen. He washed his hands of being the Doctor back in 2006, leaving us with an incarnation void.

You don't need to have the Doctor to tell good Doctor stories. The Companion Chronicles have defined this, and some of the early adventures. But, it requires stories that do not focus as much on the Doctor, and unfortunately these stories have the Doctor right in the front of most of the action. So, they simply don't work out. Instead, these stories rely completely and totally on the charisma of Ian McNeice as Churchill. Considerable as that is, it make for some flat story telling.

Why didn't they just use a willing actor for these stories instead? I'm sure any of the other Doctors would have worked in these stories. My personal favorite is Paul McGann. Hell, try probably could have got David Tenant to do these if they asked him and paid him nicely.

I am not a fan of Chris Eccelston. I think he's an arrogant actor with pretenses that far exceed is actual acting ability. People still think of him as The Doctor if they see him in anything. He will always be thought as such. David Tenant doesn't care about this and plows on in other projects all over the place. The few things I've seen Chris in since Doctor Who have been just fine in quality, like the John Lennon movie.

His absence is keenly felt in this set of stories, though. I wonder if he will even come around in his attitudes toward being the Doctor. Being an good actor means having duties to your fans, after all. I think the secret going forward is to simply mostly ignore the 9th Doctor or try doing some plays with the companions that don't feature him as a lead character.

So, basically this was a travesty. So much talent and so much going for it. But, it just didn't work out.

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 2/5/16 1:46 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Churchill's first meeting with the 9th Doctor, although they actually remain apart for most of the episode. The story is enjoyable with an interesting alien with a very distinctive speech pattern, and a final twist in the tale. The character of Hetty Warner, who fills the Companion role for this story is absolutely delightful to listen to.

The story is set when Winston Churchill has rejoined the government as the First Lord of the Admiralty and focuses on his determination to beat the Nazis even if it risks his own sanity. Overall, an enjoyable start to the set.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
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8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: PolarityReversalReview Date: 1/21/16 2:03 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Ian McNeice plays an amazing rendition of Churchill, as always. I thought it was clever the way this series is set up so far in that it includes the character of the Doctor, but the story is almost told as a recollection of Churchill's. He provides some narration as well as interpreting the voice of the Ninth Doctor. The narration is done so well in a way that it is like Churchill is telling the story rather than just providing information about the scene. The whole cast plays their parts well. At first it seems a bit jarring that Churchill/The Narrator/The Doctor are all the same person, but McNeice pulls it together well. If it was not for the fact that McNeice fully becomes Churchill with certain pronunciations and mannerisms, this may have fallen flat. Would I have loved to hear Eccleston's voice, yes, but that is why this is billed as the Churchill Years and not a Ninth Doctor adventure.