Four Big Finish audios

My return to the gym this week after almost a month’s absence, combined with some solitary lunches and longer than expected train journeys, meant that I got through four more Who audios, one for each of the four participating Doctors. I liked the first of these least, and the last most.

Minuet in Hell: Fandom seems fairly evenly divided between those who thought that the fantastic acting of McGann, Fisher and Nicholas Courtney made this a success, and those who could not get past the ludicrously bad American accents and absurd plot (a new American state is being inaugurated, but the governor has done a deal with some demons). I’m afraid I am firmly in the latter camp. The episodes are far too long as well, at 35 minutes each. Really one to avoid. The McGann adventures so far for me are two hits (Storm Warning and The Stones of Venice) and two misses.

Loups-Garoux: Fandom is much less divided about this one, and I am with fandom – a very good Peter Davison story, perhaps his best after The Caves of Androzani. Lovely portrayals of Brazil, both city and forest, and a tremendously atmospheric set of performances – including Eleanor Bron, Bert Kwouk and Nicky Henson. I suspect that if I knew South America as well as I know North America, I would have found the accents as annoying as I did in Minuet in Hell; but I don’t. There is some particularly good character development of the relationship between Turlough and the Doctor, and some rather poignant moments from Davison which will have had Five fandom squeeing.

Dust Breeding: In a rare example of Who prescience, this story (made in 2001) revolves around the theft of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. A partial sequel to The Genocide Machine, so again I found it a bit difficult to tell the difference between Bev and Ace; but I liked everything else about it, with Caroline John as the doomed grande dame in charge of festivities and Geoffrey Beevers playing the mysterious Mr Seta. (Who? Yes.) It’s not easy to convey grand planetscapes and world-busting scenarios on audio, but I felt this succeeded. (The reprises at the start of each episode were surprisingly long though.)

Bloodtide: Glorious, glorious: Sixth Doctor and Evelyn meet up with Charles Darwin and Captain Fitzroy on the Galapagos Islands, and – how utterly appropriate – meet up with the Silurians. No doubt the play’s account of Darwin’s inner dialogue with himself, as brilliantly portrayed by Miles Richardson, would fail to pass muster with real experts (such as my PhD supervisor) but you don’t expect utter historical accuracy in something like this. Evelyn and Six continue to be a great pairing, and the Silurians with their inner conflicts and betrayals make a great story. Loved it.

So, skip the first of these but the other three are all worth getting.

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