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< 1. The Sirens of Time
3. Whispers of Terror >

2. Phantasmagoria

Rating Votes
10
3%
4
9
9%
13
8
24%
36
7
31%
47
6
21%
32
5
9%
13
4
4%
6
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.0
Votes
151
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 7/30/17 7:32 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Phantasmagoria is a solid slice of Doctor Who, through and through. While this is the story's greatest blessing, it may also be it's greatest curse, as there's little adventurous or novel to be found here.

The plot's pretty much the kind of thing you'd expect from a standard Doctor Who story - people are going missing, and the Doctor and companion must investigate the disappearances. Where Gatiss' script really shines is in his characterisation. Each of the characters is larger than life, and a joy to listen to (David Ryall's Valentine and Gatiss' own Jasper Jeake are particular highlights). They populate this world, and make it seem more detail than it is. This is probably another complaint I have with this story - it could be set at any point in history. What makes 1702 unique to this story? That said, sound designer Alistair Lock does a convincing job at bringing this world to life, with some suitably appropriate effects and music.

Overall, Phantasmagoria isn't as average as The Sirens Of Time was, but it's not a perfect Big Finish release. It's certainly a light listen across it's hour and a half run-time, however, and a perfectly decent entry in early Big Finish cannon. It just pails in comparison to what would come later, however.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 3/12/17 7:07 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A reasonably enjoyable story with a straightforwardly traditional feel, well-drawn characters, and a witty script. However, the story is built up around a rather extraordinary series of coincidences. The lighthearted tone of the piece makes these problems easy to overlook, but the story collapses spectacularly under the lightest scrutiny. It's the kind of story that works best if you're less than fully attentive.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 1/26/17 8:41 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Peter Davidson’s 5th Doctor kicks off Big Finishes first solo Doctor Who adventure alongside Mark Strickland’s Turlough. They are joined by the late David Ryall as the sinister Sir Nicholas Valentine. The supporting cast included the at the time largely unknown pairing of David Walliams (Little Britain) and the adventures writer Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, New Who). As the only female in the cast Julia Deakin(Spaced), plays a maid with a hidden secret

Gatiss is well known as a regular contributor to the New Series and co-writer of the Sherlock TV stories. However, he began writing Doctor Who stories in the New Adventures novels back in the early 90s. This tale contains many themes and riffs that Gatiss would revisit in later work such as The Unquiet Dead. In fact, in that story he has Charles Dickens utter the word Phantasmagoria as a little in joke.

The adventure is set 1702, shortly after the death of William III. This is not a time of massive upheaval or important, and seems to have been chosen to simply offer a reasonably easy to identify time period for the coffee house and highwayman threads in the plot

Much of the action centre's around the Diabola Club, a gambling establishment. It is here that Gatiss’ flair for period dialogue works best. Elsewhere, the plot is pure pseudo-historical hokum. But what Doctor Who plot isn’t? This is an adventure that relies on our willingness to buy into the supporting casts likeability and for the most part pulls it off. Gatiss and Walliams excels as Jeekes and Flowers, and their scenes with Turlough are a highlight of the CD’s

My abiding memories of Davidson’s TV Doctor is that of a frustrated Geography teacher dealing with his unruly kids on a field trip. I also recall Strickland’s Turlough as the Ginger Whinger, and as such I wasn’t expecting much when I first played this. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Davidson, plays his Doctor with quiet authority, and Strickland is a star turn here.

The episodes rattle along, helped by the fact that each episode is only 20 or so minutes long. The structure apes the classic Doctor Who format ride down to fake radio times listings in the CD cover booklet and first episode announcement. The Adventure is never going to be a classic, nor will it rate highly in Mark Gatiss’ body of work, but it is no dud either. It’s fun and keeps its charm for the most part upon repeat listening. The audio effects are decent enough without wowing.

One of the opportunities that was missed here was the chance to explore the Doctor-Turlough dynamic. On TV, Turlough and Doctor were never alone. This story is set near to the time when Turlough moves on, and indeed Davidson’s regeneration which followed quickly on its heels. Sadly, the plot sees them parted for much of the time.

In the end this is an affable bit of Doctor Who to fill a pleasant hour or so. It's also available for £2.99, bargain.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 2/21/16 11:42 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

While The Sirens of Time saw Big Finish’s Doctor Who range begin with what was supposed to be a bang by reuniting three Doctors in a multi-Doctor story, what classic team will they follow it up with? Well they decide to get Peter Davison in to do the story, but set the story within the gap between Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire where he is travelling with Turlough. Yeah not really a classic team as Turlough’s character had some promising beginnings but after his second story he became one-note with his trait being whiny. So Big Finish could easily elevate themselves by redeeming his character through this story, which it does by giving him nothing to do except to be captured and ask questions. So yeah this is the stereotypical companion role for any character in Doctor Who which doesn’t do anything to improve his character. It makes him completely indistinguishable from the other companions, but Mark Strickson is trying his best with the material he is given and like The Sirens of Time he shows potential to be better with a better script.





Peter Davison gets his first full story as the Doctor for Big Finish here and he does come through as the Doctor. He feels a lot more wary from the events of Frontios and Resurrection of the Daleks which see him go through a lot of stuff. He nails the old man in a young man body seen in Season 21. Some of this helps that Davison is much older here than he was when his television era was. He is clearly having a blast working with the story as it is a pretty interesting mystery in the seventeenth century akin to The Visitation. The biggest problem with the mystery is that Part Four really lets the entire story down and there is a bit of a tone shift from a dramatic comedy to plain drama. The writing early on is really comedic as Mark Gatiss can excel at comedy and drama, but not at the same time. The script also feels like it was meant to be a lot darker than it turned out, like something akin to the novel Nightshade. Though I do commend the Big Finish Team for getting Gatiss in along with a rather star studded with Gatiss in it as a character and comedian David Walliams playing a big part. Also the lesser known actors are much more memorable than the ones in The Sirens of Time.





The problem with the story is mainly that it feels very cut down and like it’s rushing to get to a conclusion without all the pieces in place. The twist cliffhanger for Part Three just sort of happens with very little buildup to be had and while it doesn’t create plot holes it does just happen and the plot then changes focus quickly. Also some lackluster characterization but great comedy.