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< 5. The Fearmonger
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6. The Marian Conspiracy

Rating Votes
10
29%
54
9
28%
51
8
27%
50
7
10%
18
6
5%
9
5
1%
1
4
1%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.6
Votes
184

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 3/19/17 2:27 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Quite an enjoyable historical romp, but the lighthearted tone doesn't really match the rather grim subject matter. As a vehicle for introducing a new companion, it's an unmitigated success. With the benefit of hindsight, long-time listeners may notice that Evelyn Smythe wasn't entirely fully-formed in her debut outing, but first-time listeners should find nothing to complain about. She's an ideal foil for the sixth Doctor, a delightful character, and Maggie Stables owns the role from her very first scene. My only serious complaint is the way the script tiptoes around the real problem: religion. If people weren't willing to kill and die over meaningless theology (the world's first fan fiction), none of this nastiness would have been necessary. The script presents this grim reality unflinchingly, but the Doctor is far too politic in his reluctance to call it what it is: primitive barbarism.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 2/4/17 8:19 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

When Doctor Who was first devised it was meant to fulfil an educational purpose. To this end, every alternative story was supposed to explore historical events. Several of those historical serials were critically acclaimed, and Marco Polo is hailed as a lost classic. However, it became increasingly clear that the science fiction stories were more popular and following The Highlander(1966). The purely historic tale was replaced by pseudo-histories. Historic settings with sci-fi elements. Only one other purely historic serial was ever produced. The 1982 two-parter Black Orchid.

Given that, it was something of a risk to schedule a pure historical so early the ranges own brief history. To do so while introducing a brand new Big Finish exclusive companion for their least popular Doctor might have been a bridge too far. Instead we get an absolute belter of a story.
In a serial of first, Jacqueline Rayner, became the first female audio adventure writer, and the first not to have penned a Doctor Who novel prior to this.

The adventure sees the Doctor team up with a history professor to explore the reasons behind her disappearing ancestral tree during the Tudor era. The professor is Dr Evelyn Smythe, played brilliantly by Maggie Stables. Maggie’s last BF outing was less successful, but here she is utterly captivating in every scene. She almost out shines Baker’s Doctor. Almost. Here her very presence seems to lift him to another level. The interplay between them is a fantastic listen. It’s so good your disappointed that events split them apart.

However, the supporting cast make a great contribution Sean Jackson (George Crow)and Jez Fielder (William Leaf) are excellent as the misguided henchmen. Nicholas Pegg is wonderfully creepy as ‘villain’ of the piece. Jo Castleton has a relatively slight role but plays her part well. Anah Ruddin is very good as ‘bloody’ Queen Mary. Her is a difficult job. She needs to make us feel sympathy for a figure with a degree of historical notoriety, and she does so with aplomb.

The soundscape is very good and the incidental score enhances both the drama and the period. Of course, it’s not flawless. Not the least the glaring paradox that is the central premise of the whole plotline. However, I said this before. This is Doctor Who, the central premise of almost all its plots are absurd.

This is the first classic story from Big Finishes range. It’s a great jumping in point for any 6th Doctor fans. £2.99 is great value if you haven’t tried it. If you have you’ve probably already listen a good few times. If not it’s high time you went back to. The only downside for me being the overwhelming urge to eat chocolate cake.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: templetongateReview Date: 1/7/17 10:29 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

This is the story that fixed the Sixth. In one go it softened him, humanised him, even made his pomp and humour accessible. It's an emotional foundation for stories that became enjoyably complicated and led by meandering path to Sixie's final adventure. Great stuff.

Evelyn is the trick. An intellectual equal to the Doctor, ahead in emotional smarts, and a lovely equivalent in the acting stakes. The Maggie-Colin partnership gave Big Finish several years of impetus that hold up very well today. Things are simpler and perhaps more clumsy in terms of soundscape and story-telling, but today's stories wouldn't be anything like as smart and knowing without this success.

Try watching a couple of Colin's TV episodes and you will feel bludgeoned by a character waiting to mature into what we have here.

Hugely recommended to new listeners of all ages.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: PolarityReversalReview Date: 1/21/16 5:49 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

As I progress through the monthly range in order, I now find myself looking forward to any audio adventures with Colin Baker's Sixie in it. I never thought that Sixie would quickly become a favorite of mine. His humor, wit, and the acting/inflection are so good. In this story it is an awesome history adventure, one of my favorite types!

This adventure offers a great introduction of a new companion (Evelyn) coming to terms with being a person out of place/time, but thoroughly enjoying it. This just makes it even more enjoyable for the listener. Mix that with some paradoxical issues and you have an instant classic. For me I felt as though Big Finish hit the mark for the first time across the board, things just seem to click so well. I have listened to some of the box sets like the 50th and the 4 Dark Eyes installments, so it has been interesting to see the difference in production values in terms of soundscape, and the Marian Conspiracy's only issue is that the soundscape is not quite as advanced but it still works!
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