Stories:
2949
Members:
741
Submitted Reviews:
8571
Reviewers:
349
< 6.1 Tales From the Vault
6.3 - The Memory Cheats >

6.2 - The Rocket Men

Rating Votes
10
23%
25
9
33%
35
8
19%
20
7
13%
14
6
3%
3
5
7%
7
4
3%
3
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.3
Votes
108
Director:
Writer:

Purchase From:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 3/16/16 6:40 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Once again we have the wondrous talents of William Russell, effectively providing all the required parts to this a first Doctor, companion chronicle release. I am rather enjoying the wander through these earlier releases, and also I am at a loss as to why Big Finish do not promote them more. These are simply excellent. This story is another expertly written and fantastically acted by Russell with the occasional assistance of Gus Brown. But the real star of the whole performance is William Russell who takes on all the main parts of this release. William does that wondrous characterisation of Hartnell, with all the right mannerisms and quirks, that portray the Doctor in as near a perfect audio rendition that you can get, of course unless Purvis is telling the tale, in which case, he too has his way which gives the listener the feeling of Hartnell still being in the drama. Even after all of these years. The story is simply stunningly good, written by Dorney, this as to rate as one of the best. Using the story of the ever ineffectual Doctor’s ability to get himself and his passengers to where they want to go, they land on the holiday planet of Jobis. Jobis is a floating planet, with a spectacular vista that has flying manatee’s. The planet, is simply unbelievable for Ian, Barbara and Vicki. Things are going well, the Doctor as managed to swing four passes so that they can reside on the planet in style. In addition to this there is a chance for once for some relaxation. Things are you come to expect do not run as smoothly as they should, when, the Rocket Men arrive, a bunch of pirates who sole intention to rob Jobis of it’s fabulous twinkly diamonds that pepper the sky, except that they are not just diamonds but they are the food that the flying manatee’s live off.
The separation element works well here, as the Doctor decides to go off to the scientific part of the Jobis, leaving his companion’s to deal with the invasion. The rocket men soon realise that the Doctor is the thorn in their side, and they try and use the companions as leverage.
The story is told in a sort of past recollection/present day retelling, and it works wonderfully well indeed. In fact, Dorney as painted a superb story, one of those that is so real it gets you thinking that was this a real episode, or not. It certainly feels like one. I cannot fault this, everything is perfect. Acting, writing, production all pull this to being one of the best Companion Chronicles that has been listened too so far.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 10/18/15 11:25 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I had noticed the 'The Rocket Men' and its sequels, and was curious as the reoccurrence of the titular antagonists seemed to suggest that these were titles worth paying attention to. John Dorney and Lisa Bowerman take up writing and directing duties respectively. These names are ones that I try and lookout for as they have been consistently good in other productions I have heard.

William Russell emits an authoritative tone even in narration and manages to capture Hartnell's inflections well. This makes William narrating as Ian more engaging, and some of my favourite narration in the Companion Chronicles range. Gus Brown has a steely tone to his voice and plays the antagonist Ashmen with the calculating callousness you might expect. John Dorney does a wonderful job of painting the setting of Platform 5, the floating city on the planet Jobis, lots of rich; vivid imagery. The Doctor's companions Ian, Barbara and Vicki, find themselves in a hostage situation and are presented with many hard choices. There is action, emotion and moral dilemma in this tale. The combination of the acting and writing make this an engaging and stimulating production.

On the other hand, the story jumps back and forth so much between recent past and present more than is really necessary, this is hardly helpful. The flash back framing device becomes tiresome early on, and punctures a lot of the tension. The Companion Chronicles are often understated, but I think more could have been made of the action, eventually the past and present events catch up with each other. The scene where Ian and Barbara first witness the Rocket Men would probably have had more impact at the beginning rather than 25 minutes in. Saying that the cliff hanger to the first episode is a sharp contrast as Ian jumps out an airlock after Barbara who has been thrown out by the Rocket Men, but then the opening of the second episode is a scene set closer to the arrival on Platform 5. John Dorney states on the extras that he had intended for an older Ian to be going through Barbara's possessions while she was in hospital overnight, with their daughter, but couldn't do that because of a reference in the Sarah Jane Adventures. From an emotive aspect, there is a blossoming romance between Ian and Barbara which is only really alluded to without the characters ever actually directly acknowledging the situation.

This story manages to capture the sense of wonderment that underpinned most of the Hartnell years. Back when the characters were explorers as well as heroes. Yet in terms of emotion and writing it's more developed but equally as inventive. Exciting, explosive and emotive story telling.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 9/9/15 8:35 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Well Big Finish has done what I previously thought would have been impossible. John Dorney took the basic premise of The Space Pirates and turned it into a brilliant story. Take a moment to let that sink in. John Dorney took The Space Pirates, which in my opinion is the worst Troughton story and possibly the worst Sixties story, shortened it by four episodes, made it a lot darker, gave it to The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki, and made it brilliant. The plot really works and you feel tension for all of the characters. The Rocket Men kill people and nearly get Barbara killed. Also Ian admits through inner monologue that he loves Barbara and it is amazing. The story would be perfect if it weren't for one tiny flaw. You see Dorney had the original idea to have this story told to Ian and Barbara's daughter many years on but then because of the mention of them in The Sarah Jane Adventures he had to rewrite his entire script. Now the story is told in media res with a lot of jumping around through the adventure which makes it confusing as it is just William Russell performing.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 4/3/15 2:41 am
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

In the Rocket Men, a rare vacation for the TARDIS crew that features Ian, Barbara, and Vicki turns into a crisis when pirates with Rocket Packs take them hostage.

The very concept is just marvelously awesome and Big Finish realizes it very well for audio with some amazing sound design that makes this come to life particularly during the in-air dogfight between Ian and the leader of the Rocket Men.

The story has the type of emotional core you expect from a John Dorney written tale, though a little bit less humor as the story focuses on the relationship between Ian and Barbara.

William Russell doesn't have the vocal dexterity of some of the other Companions, so you won't forget there's only two actors doing this story, but his performance is still fantastic. He's a marvelous reader and brings Ian back to the life as the first action hero of Doctor Who. He carries the narration wonderful and captures the perfect emotional tone.

My one issue with the story is its narrative style. Throughout most of it, it actually works well as we flash from Ashman (the Rocket Men leader) menacing the Doctor's companions to what happened prior to that. This work welled through 3/4 of the story as it built suspense and created curiosity. It also allowed a nice mid-story surprise. The problem comes when our "past" storyline catches up the present, so then the story becomes to alternate between the climatic rocket powered dogfight and the aftermath of that dogfight. This is really unnecessary and detracts from the air battle. It'd been much better if they'd just stuck in one time once the past caught up to where the story began.

Still, this is a great concept for Doctor Who and also has a solid emotional arc, so despite the double edged sword of the story telling, it's an enjoyable story.