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3. Whispers of Terror

Rating Votes
10
3%
5
9
11%
16
8
32%
48
7
22%
33
6
19%
29
5
10%
15
4
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6
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Average Rating
7.1
Votes
152
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Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 7/30/17 7:46 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Whispers Of Terror is a surprisingly novel story from Justin Richards that makes full use of the audio medium. While the idea of a creature composed of pure sound may seem dated now, in 1999 it was something that had never been attempted before. And, despite a few mis-steps, it's a pretty decent release for the most part.

One thing that Richards nails is the mid-80's feel that runs throughout the Colin Baker tenure. However, I'd argue this does actually damage the story a bit, because it takes an age for stuff to start happening. Apparently, the first episode was about 45 minutes long, and it's a problem that still hasn't been fixed here. It's also not helped by the interminable music, which, like the Malcolm Clarke or Jonny Gibbs scores of the period, drones on and on. That said, Nicholas Briggs' sound design is fantastic, and really plays on the unsettling feeling that the medium it's being told in lends the story. I also feel that making the sound creature not the villain was a smart move, which would have been the obvious choice to go for in a story like this.

Backed up by some strong performances from Nicola Bryant, Lisa Bowerman and Colin Baker (despite the fact that his Doctor is written very much like the Sixth Doctor of the mid-80's), Whispers Of Terror is a good story that tries to do something that Doctor Who could never do as successfully on television. It's just a shame some of the elements don't quite come together as they should.
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 3/12/17 7:07 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A standout success. Justin Richards concocts a tale that doesn't simply take full thematic advantage of the audio format, but one that just wouldn't work in any other medium. And yet it is no mere gimmick. Although the cliffhangers are a bit ropey, the characters, story, and themes are all extremely effective. Special credit, however, must go to the sound design.
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Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 1/29/17 10:24 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Of all the Big Finish, stable of Doctors Colin Baker is the one with the biggest point to prove. It is well publicised how the he was unceremoniously dumped by the BBC, and that he refused to return for the usual regeneration scene. He remains one of the least well known and least popular Doctor’s, he came 14th behind Rowan Atkinson (Spoof Doctor) in an IMDb poll.

I must admit I always felt sorry for him. He suffered from a combination of poor scripts, decidedly iffy production decisions and a hostile production company. The decision to make him unsympathetic and unlikable combined with ever changing scheduling, gave Baker, a Doctor Who fan, little chance to shine. This then is his opportunity, and he seizes it with grateful fists.

Writer Justin Richards is another graduate of the Virgin New Adventures and serves up an intriguing plot, with the hook being the big bad is a sound creature, seemingly ideal for audio. Much of the substance deals with political intrigue on an unnamed planet at an unknown time, which is never a gripping setting. The tale is quite dark, centering around murder and revenge. It is not an easy listen, and needs a bit of concentration to follow. However, the plot is still too thin to stretch over the 4 episodes. The big plot twists are somewhat telegraphed and the whole thing lacks pacing, with many scenes feeling like padding. There are also a couple of jarring plot moments which don’t bear too much scrutiny but this is Doctor Who, and the same could be said of most TV stories.
There are some cracking lines including my favorite "We can't stay - the Doctor's clothes are too loud for this Museum" and it’s good to see Big Finish try to play to an audio audience rather than rehash old TV themes but the whole thing lacks a bit of vroom.

Most of cast give decent turns, but it’d Baker who stands centre stage. He is clearly having a ball, and his performance rescues the production. He booms, quotes Macbeth, makes a few in-jokes and steals just about every scene. He portrays the Doctor as a much softer, kinder character than his TV stories. The only quibble I had was the decision to have him mock Peri near the end. It did not sit with the rest of his portrayal. It may have been a misfired in-joke regarding Bryant’s infamous fake American accent. Nicola Bryant for her part, doesn’t have a whole lot to do, but the fact that they don’t have her constantly squabbling with Baker’s Doctor is a move in the right direction. She still puts in the odd one-liner aside but that is fine.

The Soundscape is generally very good, although the sound of typing and general button pushing was over loud. The final explosive scene was very cinematic and well executed.

Overall, this is a solid production, which ticks most boxes without dazzling. It’s certainly worth the price of a cup of coffee. You probably won’t return to it anytime soon but still a decent play.
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 2/21/16 11:44 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Now going by the premise of Whispers of Terror, the story sounds like it was meant for an audio drama. It involves the Doctor and Peri arriving at the Museum of Aural Antiquities which is devoted to cataloguing anything in the sound medium where there is this creature made entirely out of sound killing people. There is also political unrest as a popular candidate for Prime Minister who had just died and his running mate Pernell played wonderfully by Lisa Bowerman is trying to take over as like any politician she wants power because she can do it better. Yet the story is written by Justin Richards who is famous for writing traditional Doctor Who stories which can be a good thing but it hurts this story. Whispers of Terror could have been a really experimental story yet only uses the audio medium once or twice to have some twist moments. So yeah the story is one of the weakest elements and it is a real shame as the story could have, no should have really dragged me in and given me social commentary on the nature of politics and how our society views fame and fortune. With that said the audio as a whole does have enough in it to keep it interesting.





First the sound design and music was done by Nicholas Briggs which is masterfully done especially considering it is still the third Doctor Who audio drama. There is a lot of pulsing in the design and some of the music intentionally cuts out just so you can get atmospheric moments in the story. This is helped by the direction done by novelist Gary Russell who does some great work here as he knows where to put in the music to make the story pop and the mixing on the sound is perfect as well.





Second the acting is top notch. Of course this is Colin Baker’s first full audio drama and he was the best part of The Sirens of Time and he is the best part of Whispers of Terror. Baker is just as bombastic as ever in his dialogue delivery and of course he is with Nicola Bryant’s Peri which is where I have any gripes with the performance. This is because in Part One and Part Four he is really antagonistic with her which is even worse than what we got in Season 22. Also Justin Richards doesn’t really do much with Peri and Nicola Bryant’s performance is definitely down to Gary Russell’s direction and Bryant being a good actress. The supporting cast is oddly where the story shines the brightest. You have of course the amazing Lisa Bowerman in a role as political candidate Beth Pernell who is genuinely distinct from her other Big Finish roles. Peter Miles is back in the Doctor Who universe who you may remember from Doctor Who and the Silurians, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and Genesis of the Daleks. His voice is very distinctive from any of the other voices in the story. Nick Scovell has a minor part in the story and he is great and the sound creature is voiced by Matthew Brehner who is great as the creature takes the form of a politician. Brehner has a very charismatic voice yet sounds almost introverted which is a paradox.