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< 5.12 The Cold Equations
6.2 - The Rocket Men >

6.1 Tales From the Vault

Rating Votes
10
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7
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27
6
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Average Rating
7.6
Votes
76
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 4/13/16 5:08 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The tales from the vault could not be done for any misdirection on its content based on it's title. In fact never has a title conveyed the truest meaning of what the production enclosed contains. The Tales From the vault takes a sort of sideways on view of a new recruit starting work within U.N.I.T and trial and tribulations of his induction to the secret unit. We are taken on a tour of the relics held with the confines of U.N.I.T's ownership, and the various items offer the new recruit (Warrant Officer Charlie Sato) played by Yee Jee Tso expertly and with enough belief that there is a deep scepticism at first followed by a need to be fully believed and accepted by his new masters. Daphne Ashbrook (Captain Ruth Matheson) is the person in charge of the new employee. We get to hear the stories connected with what appear to be four articles of no discernable connection. That of course unravels like a ball of wool, once, we discover through the reminisces of previous Doctor's companions from Jo, through to Zoe, Steven and Romana (aka Mary Tamm). Their independent recollections make for exceptional mini-sodes of Who entertainment. The finale is a nice ending to a rather decent Companion Chronicles release.
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 11/14/15 9:36 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

As much as I enjoy the reminiscent nostalgia of the normal entries to the Companion Chronicles range it's invigorating to hear something a bit more dynamic. It's a bit like comparing something painted with water colours to an oil painting. 'Tales from the Vault' is vibrant rather than understated, and it owes a lot to the framing device with gives it a semi-narrated feel. Yee Jee Tso's character, Charlie Sato, is the new warrant officer at UNIT's high security vault dubbed 'The Museum of Terrors'. Charlie Sato is being given a guided tour of his new work place by Capt. Ruth Matheson, Daphne Ashbrook. This requires listening to multiple tapes recorded by various assistants of the Doctor, giving this has a real selection box feel to it: Jo, Romana, Steven; Zoe all offering their interpretations of various events.

Jo's tape is quirky absent minded, full of digressions and ultimately forgettable. Romana's is a more interesting tale of a prophetic painting, but nothing more than an obscure foot note. Zoe's story is held in a memory crystal and involves failing a group of bank robbers. Steven's is probably the most engaging and is the catalyst for Charlie’s actions later on.

What we have here is a story that is cobbled together from the short segments, items that are used to record the narration of past companions or are perhaps the focus of the stories themselves. This is a bold but ultimately insubstantial and fragmented offering that lacks momentum and is pretty average all things considered. The characters of Ruth and Charlie resurface in 'Mastermind', which is a more satisfying story.
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/22/15 12:24 am
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Tales from the Vault gives us 4 short trips as Captain Ruth Matheson introduces Warrant Officer Charlie Sato to the Vault, where U.N.I.T. stores it's treasure trove of top secret items, many of which are tied to the Doctor.

Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso had key parts in the TV movie and that's why they landed this job which gives us American accents in lead characters which in unusual for Big Finish. This works fairly well for the most part, although Ashbrook acknowledged in the extras that radio acting was a new experience and it shows a few times, as she doesn't quite have the poise she would in future audio outings. Tso doesn't miss a beat however and his performance requires more vocal dexterity. The two are assisted by not 1 but 4 companions as we get 4 mini-short trips with Jo Grant, Romana, Zoe Herriot, and Stephen Taylor with all but Jo Grant's having been recorded previously.

The sound design on the story is good with each particular recording mode utilized to feel genuine including Jo's 1970s Audio Tape, a crystal for Zoe, and Stephen's Wax cyclinder. Though given the explanation for why Stephen's warning was sent, it doesn't actually make sense for them to use 1900 audio technology rather than something durable.

The stories are fun, but not really anything special in themselves. What is nice is how they all come together in the end and work within the story of our two active protagonists. A very unusual but well done Companion Chronicle.
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Reviewed By: komodoReview Date: 8/8/13 7:52 pm
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.

Not so much a story as a framing mechanism for a fifth season of Short Trips.

The framing is okay.
Jo's story is a little quick and focuses too much on Jo's weaknesses.
Romana's story is acceptable, but seems forced.
Zoe's story is well told, but her Doctor impression doesn't fit well.
Steven's story is well told, but then leaks into the framing.

The parts are not great, but the whole is better than their sum.