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< 11. The Apocalypse Element
13. The Shadow of the Scourge >

12. The Fires of Vulcan

Rating Votes
10
18%
33
9
35%
65
8
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54
7
12%
22
6
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9
5
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4
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Average Rating
8.4
Votes
187
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Reviewed By: adpirtleReview Date: 4/27/19 5:30 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Mel Bush's first dramatized adventure since she was on TV is good enough to make listeners who weren't the biggest fans of season 24 reassess their opinions of the era, or at least imagine what might have been. Both Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford are as good as they've ever been in this pure historical about the end of Pompeii, brought magnificently to life with a nearly flawless guest cast and terrific sound effects. Even if the story's themes about the inevitability of time and nature are slightly undercut by the revived series' The Fires of Pompeii, it's still amazing.
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Reviewed By: BrainofMorbius23Review Date: 7/18/18 11:40 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Excellent story that proves a lot of us wrong about Mel. This story along with Marian conspiracy proved to me that big finish is going to do some great historicals.
Atmosphere, acting and sounds great. Good story I’ll be coming back to again !
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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9
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 4/11/17 11:19 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

What a contrast this makes to the previous release in terms of scope and scale, and yet this story is far more engaging, involving, and memorable. This is a so-called “pure historical”, but it's done in a way that is very appropriate for the seventh Doctor and Mel. Despite the plot complexities required by the time-puzzle nature of the piece, the story is refreshingly straightforward: the Doctor and Mel have to find the TARDIS before it's too late, and various other characters keep getting in their way. The supporting characters are not especially deep or complex, but they have strong and clearly developed motivations to justify their roles in the plot.

Everyone talks about what a revelation Mel is, but there's just no getting around it. She carries more than her fair share of the story. That alone is a great improvement over how she was used on television, but Steve Lyons also found a way soften Mel's rough edges while staying true to the character we all remember.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
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10
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9
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 6/4/16 12:54 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

You know The Fires of Pompeii right? Well The Fires of Vulcan is a story that does the same basic plotline, but does it thousands of times better. But Jacob I hear some of you asking, how can an audio be better than anything televised Doctor Who could put out? Well there are several reasons that Steve Lyons’ story is much better than James Moran’s script but first is the tone and the way the Doctor is portrayed. While Moran’s script deals with some tough topics and dilemmas his tone still remains relatively light while Steve Lyon’s can only be described as morose. The plot involves the Doctor and Mel landing in Pompeii the night before Vesuvius’ eruption, but instead of leaving the Doctor has to stay because in his Fifth incarnation the TARDIS was found in the ruins. The morose tone comes from the absolute hopelessness of knowing the volcano is going to blow and the Doctor can’t leave. Sylvester McCoy gives one of his best performances as the Doctor, even though the story is firmly planted in Season 24 where the order of the day was a lot of humor. McCoy’s melancholy attitude only adds to the tone and atmosphere. Yes he gets a few humorous moments in the story, particularly trying to get Mel not to be suspicious of his motives for leaving, but they are few and far between staying in line with the morose tone. But enough of the comparison, so let’s move on to the main attraction of the story, the plot.



The plot also involves no extraterrestrial elements outside of the TARDIS, going for another pure historical. Now this should have failed as it is the companion’s job to make the historical setting work in context and this story’s companion just happened to be the much loathed Melanie Bush played by Bonnie Langford. Yet much like their redemption of the Sixth Doctor, Big Finish almost immediately redeem the character by turning into a smart, quick-witted young woman and not the screamer we saw on television. Bonnie Langford’s performance is a lot better than ever on TV as she has grown up a lot in the years between Dragonfire and The Fires of Vulcan. She’s still her usual happy and optimistic self which serves as contrast to the Doctor’s morose attitude as she is convinced she can find a way out of it. The writing also has Mel give us a great view on Roman society as she does quite like it, but is appalled at the sexist and less than pleasant portions of the culture. She hates the idea of slaves as much as the next person but the suggestion that the female slaves will have to pleasure their masters makes her face red with outrage. Yes it’s possible for even Mel to be likable here and no longer the worst companion of all time in my book.



I also have to give props to master of sound Alistair Lock who is responsible for the sound design and the music of the story. While the music isn’t very catchy, per say, it immediately transports you back to Ancient Pompeii and helps set the mood from the word go, getting you ready for the historical drama that is about to follow. The supporting cast would probably have to be the only weak spot in the story. Some of them are fine, especially Gemma Bissix slave Aglae who becomes companion to Mel and has really good chemistry and the main villain of the piece Eumachia played by Lisa Hollander. Both actresses have some great chemistry with the lead actors and give it their all. The rest of the cast however seems really quite bland in comparison to the others. You have a barkeep and a gladiator who are both there to make us feel bad about the coming volcano. There’s a soldier who wants to well get with Mel, but he is played by Steven Whickham who is so underwhelming you can barely tell he has any feelings towards Mel. Also the solution to the story is a little weak as if you know anything about how Vesuvius erupted, you can guess it at the very beginning

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