Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New Liz Shaw tale proves a winner so far

A pleasing review has appeared for SENTINELS OF THE NEW DAWN, the 'Companion Chronicle' Dr Who audio drama I recently penned for Big Finish.

The author of said review is Stephen Theaker, writing on his blog:


The story concerns Liz Shaw, the Third Doctor's first companion, so admirably played by the cool and sexy Caroline John (pictured, in her heyday), and goes into a little bit of detail about why, back in the early 1970s, she left UNIT and the Doctor's side after a relatively short stint. Caroline performs this story as well, alongside Duncan Wisbey, and does another very smart job. The tale itself is a prequel to LEVIATHAN, a full-cast audio drama Sixth Doctor adventure, which I wrote in 2009, having adapted it from an original but never-screened TV script written by my late-father, Brian Finch, in 1984.

New Dawn are an organisation of political and cultural idealists, whose philosophy is based on a strange combination of modern environmentalism and medieval feudalism, but they are so ruthless that they seek to impose their new order by non-democratic means and think nothing about enforcing it with an array of biomechanical monstrosities.

Anyway, here are some details from Mr. Theaker's review:

It’s a brave writer who asks an English actress with a plummy accent to perform the dialogue of an African dictator (this one plays a crucial role in the plans of the New Dawn), and a braver actress who accepts the challenge, but if that’s all this adventure is remembered for it would be a shame. Caroline John’s Pertwee isn’t perfect either, but there’s never any doubt that we are listening to Elizabeth Shaw. There are interesting reflections from Liz on why things didn’t work out for her at U.N.I.T. – the Doctor’s life is simply too intense for an ordinary human – and we realise how little she got to know him – she doesn’t really know which way he’ll jump with regard to the New Dawn.

The two-episode structure of the Companion Chronicles once again proves a triumph, these two episodes squeezing in so much more than was usual for Liz’s period on the show. The Doctor is for once allowed to be as clever as he really is – there isn’t a lot he can’t sort out in an hour-long adventure when he puts his mind to it!

At the risk of blowing my own trumpet too much, these kind words sit rather nicely with other positive comments recently posted about SENTINELS on the excellent Dr Who forum, GALLIFREY BASE:

A very solid story from anera that's often overlooked. It's good that BF remains true to this earth bound era, and whilst parallels can be drawn with Inferno in moving the story on, this is a story that could easily have appeared on TV. Perhaps of some most recent Companion Chronicles this remains truest to it's television counterpart.

Listened to this whilst shoping in Sainsburys, and loved it, (it really transported me away from the screaming brats and chavy mothers that shop in my local branch!!) Wonderful to hear Caroline John again on these companion Chronicles, and agree with coastalbloke that this era is a little overlooked by the range, maybe because of the non-availablity of artists, I would love to hear one with Liz and Jo together, (but maybe if I want one like that I should write it!) 9 out of 10 for me, should be lower I fogot half my shopping and picked up stuff I didnt need too!

I quite enjoyed this, it was very evocative of the era, and combined with the present-day narration, just felt right.

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