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< The Foe from the Future
4.1 - The Dark Planet >

The Valley of Death

Rating Votes
10
8%
6
9
15%
12
8
42%
33
7
19%
15
6
14%
11
5
0%
0
4
1%
1
3
1%
1
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.7
Votes
79

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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 1/4/16 4:27 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The setting of the first episode was a real nice change but the second half lagged a bit till the last half an hour or so. Quite a good resolution but the body doubles thing was just predictable. Liked the sense of an epic alien invasion which I think was mostly down to the thunderous effects and fantastic music. Very Sci-Fi ending and really like to know how they would have realised a lot of this on screen in the seventies. Also, it has the fantastic line: "Your explanations are worse than not knowing"

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/18/15 9:57 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

"The Valley of Death" was from an idea by former show-runner Philip Hinchcliffe and was written by Jonathan Morris. This was originally written for the Graham Williams era after Hinchcliffe had left as producer. In it, an explorer sets for the Amazon rain forest on the trail of his great grandfather's discovery a century before.

The story deals with some great concepts including time bubbles where time runs slower inside than in the outside world and a very interesting alien race. This is dense and in many ways, it's so dense with concepts, it could have been served by being a six parter to flesh out its characters and concepts. As produced, this felt less like a true four parter and more like two two parters.

The first two parts are set in the jungle and have the Doctor and Leela unraveling the mystery of the Valley of Death, which is known as a second Bermuda triangle. This is all pretty good and enjoyable. It’s a nice adventure story that moves along at a good pace and is plenty of fun. The second half of the story is a bit of a letdown. Episode three and the first part of Episode four are pretty weak sauce. The plot in this part is very weak and contrived particularly with Leela and Edward being left unconscious in the airplane for the convenience of the villain.

The middle of episode four sees a bit of a comeback as the Doctor and Leela have some great moments. The ending is a bit odd but better than the one Hinchcliffe planned. While meant to recapture the fun of the Williams era, this one misses. ("How do you know it's an escape pod?" "It may be that sign that says ‘escape pod.’") The guest stars are no help. Thanks to Minuet in Hell and Invasion from Mars, Valerie Carlton isn't the character with the worst American accent in Doctor Who history but it is annoying. However, I will say that Nigel Carrington makes for a fairly good villain. Overall, this isn't anything special, but Tom Baker and Louise Jameson make it worth listening to.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 8/2/14 6:24 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Professor Perkins travels to the darkest, distant Amazoian jungle to try and discover the lost city of the Magur’s. However he disappears. Many years later his grandson Edward decides to go in search of the lost city himself and also to see what has happened to his grandfather. Assisted by The Dr, Leela and the American photo journalist Valire Carlton, they set off aboard flight EP400 to Manus, and to the Amazon.
The flight however does not quite go as smooth as everyone would want. Needless to say an emergency landing is executed by the Dr. in to the “second Bermuda” triangle, near to the jungles of Manus. However, a tribe now under the control of a marooned and alien “Goduin” is now there little Yellow God*. Enslaving the locals and also creating a time bubble, he has also got Professor Perkins now working for him. Utilising alien technology he guards his little kingdom with artificially enlarged jungle animals, like man eating frogs. The arrival and survival of the Dr, and the ensemble give Goduin the belief that now is time for the final push for himself and his Lunon Race.
What we have here is a very high quality Dr Adventure, set in the 70’s with UNIT even making an appearance towards the end. It has a very thick multi layered plot that makes this much more than just the standard offering. There is at least three sub stories that twist and combine in the end act to conclude a very enjoyable way of spending 2hrs +. Not as good as the first but nevertheless excellent. It does emphasis the strength of Philip Hinchcliffe and Morris’s writing talents, making me look forward to the special releases from Big Finish in September of more of Hinchcliffe’s work.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
NR
Acting Rating:
NR
Replay Rating:
NR
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: gold1104Review Date: 6/25/14 7:13 pm
1 out of 4 found this review helpful.

I wish i liked this one more than I do, but my abiding memory is of listening to the play a little time after finishing the magnificent FOE FROM THE FUTURE and feeling disappointed. Perhaps those for whom VALLEY OF DEATH is a favourite may think I'm being unfair. I should add that I don't hate VALLEY. But not hating it isn't much of a recommendation.

As others have commented it's strangely unrepresentative of Tom Baker's early seasons and seems an odd choice for Philip Hinchcliffe to write a script partly based in an Amazon rainforest, complete with hostile natives, lost cities, giant wildlife etc. Would this actually have been something a 1970's DR WHO budget could have credibly realised? I strongly suspect not. In fact it sounds like it had the potential to be a Myrka-sized disaster. Is this why it was shelved?

Having said that and taking it on it's own merits as a revamped audio play, I would say it's so-so. Matters are helped by the performances of most of the cast. Tom and Louise sound like they're having a good time, and Jane Slavin and Anthony Howell do their best to flesh out what feel like rather underwritten characters (she's headstrong and aggressively go-getting, he's well-meaning but a bit of a wimp and a twit and err...that's basically it). Nigel Carrington's Godwin - who for much of the play is the main villain - gets to be despicable and treacherous in mildly entertaing ways but he's no more than a cartoon baddie and (perhaps for no other reason than the script suggests it) the performance verges on caricature. As for his species, the Lurons are generic aliens out to destroy mankind with not too much to make them different from say, the Kraals or the Axons (etc). Because DR WHO has seen quite a lot of these kinds of invaders in its history, they don't stand out and are not sufficiently interesting as villains.

On the plus side the sound design is excellent, the pace is fit for purpose and the plotting is crisp and clear. I was never bored or confused, I simply wasn't gripped or transported. I'm glad all concerned made the effort to do VALLEY OF DEATH, and it's a marked improvement on certain other Lost Stories (e.g. PRISON IN SPACE, THE HOLLOWS OF TIME or MISSION TO MAGNUS) I just can't get wildly excited about it. Perhaps I should have listened to it before FOE FROM THE FUTURE? 6/10
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