Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 8/30/17 3:53 pm
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In The Storm of the Horofax, the Doctor (Tim Treloar) and Jo (Katy Manning) are called to the site of an interrupted military exercise, due to the discovery of an alien and her spaceship. But upon arrival, the Doctor realizes that everyone is in danger, as leaking time particles threaten the crew of the Nemesis with temporal disruption, and a fleet of invading aliens threatens to destroy the world. With quite literally running out, the Doctor and Jo will have to race against the clock to save humanity's future. The Storm of the Horofax closes out The Third Doctor Adventures, Volume 03 with an enjoyable enough story, with lots of enjoyable elements of time travel and alien invasions. Writer Andrew Smith was able to do a great job capturing the Third Doctor's era on audio, with a really nice military story. Tim Treloar and Katy Manning were great as the Doctor and Jo, and were joined by the excellent Robin Weaver and Iain Batchelor as Arianda and Adam for the story. Overall, the story manages to be a fun, rompy story with some great writing, snappy dialogue, and a really interesting premise, well-realized by both cast and crew.
Tim Treloar and Katy Manning once again star as the Third Doctor and Jo Grant. Treloar sounds a bit better here compared to the last story, with his impression of Pertwee working a bit better in a military story. Treloar's impression is fairly good, but where he impresses most is his capturing of the "feel" of Pertwee's voice, rather than exactly matching his voice. That is far more important to me, and Treloar is always able to capture the sort of exasperated authoritative aspect of Pertwee's performance when needed, but also tapping into the gentle affectionate side of Pertwee's performance as need be. He's great at the former, but he's at his best with the latter, and that comes through here in his concern for Jo throughout the story. I continue to be impressed by Big Finish's casting of Treloar here. Manning also reprises her role as Jo; much like the previous story, she's very much the star of this story, interacting with Arianda and Adam throughout the story moreso than Treloar's Third Doctor. She's still as strong as ever, and she bounces off of Treloar well, as well as matching Robin Weaver well during their scenes against one another.
The guest cast for this story was made up of several excellent performances, but none moreso than the two by Robin Weaver as Arianda and Iain Batchelor as Adam. Arianda, the villain of the story, is ably played by Weaver; she does a great job in the first part of the story, playing nice alongside Manning, but she truly shines in the latter half of the story after dropping the act. Weaver is delightful when she's torturing Manning's Jo, by threatening her character with the loss of her memories of the Doctor. Similarly, the steady, calming presence of Iain Batchelor's Adam, a ranger who Jo meets while searching the area around UNIT's base, is a welcome addition to the cast, with Batchelor meshing well with both Manning and Treloar. It's his final scene, as he begs for Treloar's Doctor to save the world from the Horofax, as he's being frozen by time, where he truly shines, giving a great send-off to the character.
Andrew Smith, a long-time Doctor Who writer, gave listeners another great solid story with the Third Doctor. It was a great story with an awesome concept for a patchwork group of time sensitive villains, brought together by a shared history of judgment and prejudice directed towards them. The Horofax were a great creation, full stop. I loved the idea, as it really made for an interesting, kind of tragic concept for the villains. There are some vague similarities to Faction Paradox here, with the group being made up of a variety of time sensitive aliens who all escaped their worlds and are loyal to the Horofax now. It makes for an interesting concept, and one I'd love to see appear again on audio. The story itself is pretty interesting; it's a good, rompy UNIT era story, with the Third Doctor and Jo on the run trying to regroup to solve the problem of the Horofax. What ensues is an enjoyable enough story; it doesn't really try to be anything more than rompy fun, and it does drag a little bit in the second part, but once the Horofax invasion becomes apparent, the story kicks into high gear, and becomes something really great. Mixed together with some great dialogue, this story is a vast improvement over Andrew Smith's previous Third Doctor story, and a great story on its own merits.
The final part of this review I'd like to mention is Tom Webster's work on the cover art for this release. Webster has done the cover art for all three Third Doctor Adventures sets so far, and his work here is similarly excellent. I've loved the designs of his covers, and while this one can't quite match the excellent cover for the previous set, the design is still superb. The Dalek on the cover is gorgeous, and very detailed, and the whole cover comes together with a sort of epic, mid-explosion feel to it. While I maintain that the strip of story information on the side of the cover was not the best choice, style-wise, I can't deny that I still absolutely adore Webster's work on these releases, and his work here is no exception.
Overall, The Storm of the Horofax is a great, rompy UNIT story, with some really interesting villains. The Horofax themselves are an interesting concept, one I'd like to see return, much like many of Smith's creations for audio. Likewise, the dialogue of the story was great, and was well-realized by Tim Treloar and Katy Manning. Both actors did a great job acting out the story, with Treloar doing such a wonderful job at capturing the feel of Pertwee's performance, while Manning continues to impress as Jo here, despite her age. Joining Manning and Treloar were the excellent Robin Weaver as the villainous Arianda and Iain Batchelor as the calming presence Adam. Overall, the story is a strong way to close out the set, and a great entry into the Third Doctor's body of work at Big Finish.