The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure (Doctor Who) (英語) CD – オーディオブック, 2015/9/30
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A very special story which at last provides a heroic exit for Colin Baker's much-loved Time Lord. Four hour-long episodes, connected by the presence of the Valeyard, the entity that exists between the Doctor's twelfth and final incarnations. THE END OF THE LINE - The Doctor and his latest companion Constance investigate a commuter train that has lost its way...THE RED HOUSE - The Doctor and Charlotte Pollard arrive on a world that is populated by werewolves. STAGE FRIGHT - The Doctor and Flip visit Victorian London, where investigators Jago and Litefoot explore theatrical performances that have echoes of the Doctor's past lives...THE BRINK OF DEATH - The Doctor and Mel face the final confrontation with the Valeyard - and the Doctor must make the ultimate sacrifice. Denied a proper farewell from the Doctor Who TV show, Colin Baker here takes the role anew to show how the Sixth Doctor met his end...New companion Constance Clarke is played by Miranda Raison, a familiar face from British stage and screen including Spooks, Poirot, Merlin, Doctor Who and 24: Live Another Day...India Fisher (Charlie Pollard) is the narrator for BBC's popular Masterchef program. The four stories are from four different periods of the Sixth Doctor's life, each bringing back a popular companion and other friends of the Time Lord...CAST: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Anthony Howell (Tim Hope), India Fisher (Charlotte Pollard), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Lisa Greenwood (Flip), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Jago), Trevor Baxter (George Litefoot), Lisa Bowerman (Ellie Higson), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush).
Four wonderful stories are woven together to bring us to the final adventure of Doctor Six (who was rooked out of his televised Regeneration by being summarily fired by the BBC between seasons) - and it was definitely worth the wait.
Working with four separate companions (Constance in "The End of the Line," Charley in "The Red House," Flip in "Stage Fright," and of course his last companion, Mel, in "The Brink of Death"), against the menace of the Valyard, Doctor Six races toward his destiny in four richly told and exciting hour-long adventures.
Colin Baker is on board as Doctor Six, along with Bonnie Langford as Mel, and a fairly magnificent cast including India Fisher as Charley (Charlotte Pollard, who has been Doctor Eight's companion in several Big Finish productions), Miranda Raison (Constance), and Lisa Greenwood (Flip).
The stories begin with "The End of the Line," a story so intriguing and gripping we had to stop working and just sit to listen. The Doctor and Constance are trapped in what appears to be a time loop or a series of loops leading to alternate, parallel worlds; it's intense and creepy and a great way to start the series.
Then comes "The Red House," the most light-hearted of the series, but a sharp and fun episode that serves up more than a few surprises. Here the Doctor is traveling with Charley, whom we discover actually first met him in his Eighth Regeneration, so she has to be careful not to let on that she will be a part of his future -- yet she can't help but sometimes slip up, potentially messing with Time!
The third story is Stage Fright, where lower-class Londoner Flip is a clear pre-Donna-like character, sharp in her own way and a terrific foil for acerbic Doc Six.
It wraps up with "The Brink of Death," welcoming in Mel - while I know Mel has always gotten a bum rap as Doctor Seven's first Companion, she really did work extremely well with Doctor Six. Their scenes together in "Trial of a Time Lord" were excellent - here they are just as good together. It's a crying shame they didn't get a whole season on television to explore that relationship.
I loved "seeing" this strong Regeneration story for Doctor Six, who was my first doctor and still one of my all-time favorites. I'm glad Big Finish is finally giving him his due.
Thus, when the Sixth Doctor unceremoniously disappeared to be replaced by the Seventh, I was perplexed and later angry, particularly so because ever since the end of the Sixth Doctor's era DW just didn't feel like DW to me and the 21st Century DW definitely doesn't feel like DW. For me, DW basically ended with the Sixth Doctor's era. For this reason, I am very happy that Big Finish has given the Sixth Doctor and the other Doctors I like new life in audiobook form. I fully support there decision to make a "last adventure" for my favorite Doctor. Having said that, I do believe that The Last Adventure could have been better. Perhaps no production could have matched the expectations 6th Doctor fans have after nearly thirty years of anticipation, but I do admire Big Finish's ambition.
The Last Adventure is structured in four hour-long stories with the struggle between the Doctor and the Valeyard as a thread tying them all together. I think that this format was a mistake because, as evidenced by new DW and old 50-fifty minute DW episodes like "The Awakening" and "The King's Demons", stories of an hour or so are not long enough to fully develop a first-rate DW plot. I would like to have seen one tight hour-and-a-half story like "Caves of Androzani" or, even better two hour-and-a half stories with the Doctor/Valeyard conflict thread, reminiscent of the Keeper of Traken/Logopolis Doctor/Master thread. As a minor point, I don't like that "The Last Adventure" has cold starts to its episodes which feels more like new DW than classic DW; this is a slight problem for me because the selling point of Big Finish is that they try to capture the feel of classic DW; the cold starts undermine this effort. I also thought the Title could have been a little more imaginative. "The Brink of Death" would have made for a more DW-like title.
On the other hand, an unexpected strength of this story was the companions, three of whom I had not encountered before. When I read unfamiliar names: Constance, Charley and Flip, I thought, "More pointless additions - just stick with Mel". I have never been partial to DW works introducing companions that were not on TV, e.g. Frobisher in the the book Mission Impractical was silly and Bernice Summerfield was boring to me. The three new ladies in The Last Adventure, however, were surprisingly effective. Constance Clark makes her debut here and is my favorite - I'm actually looking forward to hearing more about her, particularly about her World War II history and about her husband. It was refreshing to have a companion who was a woman rather than a girl and a woman is obviously devoted to her husband - she is "Mrs. Clark" after all. Constance is also brave, witty and strong. Although the web of time stuff involving the second companion, Charley, unduly diluted the focus of the story, I thought she was one of the few good elements of the second episode. Her prim, plummy, upper-class Englishness in the middle of a science-fantasy adventure makes her rather like a female Phineas Fogg. Even Flip in the third story is sweet and pleasant in her rough-around-the-edges way. All three actresses have perfect voices for their roles and play their roles flawlessly as does Bonnie Langford who sounds just like she did in 1987.
As is usual with Big Finish, the overall production is solid in terms of sound effects and sound atmospheres: thuds feel like thuds rather than just sounding like them and people calling to each other sound like they actually are separated from each other with maybe something between them like a window. Secondary characters are also played extremely well, especially the man who plays Norman. As always, we get some Brits with great voices who could read the tax code and make it sound good.
Now for the main conflict, Doctor vs. Valeyard. Michael Jayston has a superb voice and his performance is adequate in The Last Adventure, but sometimes if feels like he's playing this role for the first time which is odd since he was masterly when he did first play the Valeyard in the Trial of a Timelord. Colin Baker, my favorite Doctor, sometimes sounds much older than he was when he played the role on TV, which of course he is, but his drier, huskier voice sometimes threatens to break up the Big Finish illusion. His performance is strong as always, but I think he could have been better served by the material.
The strongest of the four Last Adventure episodes is the first "End of the Line". Harkening back to Hinchcliffe-era DW of pastiche storytelling, we have a murder on a train and an unnatural fog contributing to a classic creepy atmosphere. I also enjoyed parallel universes element of the plot. The Master makes an appearance in a disguised form that is enjoyable, but I wish Anthony Ainley had still been alive to put in an appearance.
By far, the weakest of the stories is the second, "The Red House". Sometimes, the last season of a particular Doctor start to feel like the first season of the new Doctor, which only becomes apparent in retrospect. Thus, Tom Baker's last season felt more like a Peter Davison season except for "State of Decay" and "Meglos", while especially "Resurrection of the Daleks" and "Caves of Androzani" felt more like Colin Baker stories. Oddly enough, "Red House" feels more like a Sylvester McCoy story with annoying characters who are supposed to be funny or clever but are really just silly - I'm thinking of "Paradise Towers" and "Happiness Patrol" - classic DW at its worst. "Red House" isn't that bad, but it moves in that direction. The idea of werewolves in DW would be great if done in the Hinchcliffe style of DW, not the pseudo-comic way that a McCoy story might pursue. Unfortunately "Red House" takes the latter approach and ruins the atmosphere of the 6th Doctor's last story. I don't mind a little levity to lighten the mood in a final story, but I think they should be largely weighty DW stories to convey the sadness of the passing of a Doctor. As a pseudo-comical story, "Red House" is completely out of place here and rather irritating even if it had been a run-of-the-mill story. Colin Baker is good in the story, as is the woman who plays Charley, and I like how the Valeyard, yes the Valeyard, "saves the day". Otherwise, very disappointing.
"Stage Fright" is fun in that it captures a good creepy atmosphere and sees the return of Jago and Litefoote, popular characters from Talons of Weng-Chiang - I'm glad these gentlemen are still with us. The plot is a bit contrived, inserting previous regeneration scenes for reasons that I find a bit difficult to accept, even if it is DW.
"The Brink of Death" ends "The Last Adventure" adequately with a good setting - the abandoned Trial of a Timelord space station and an interesting origin story for the Valeyard. His plan to usurp the Doctor's lives is also a good device for the plot to spin on. The events leading to the regeneration show the Doctor being suitably heroic but the whole matter is somewhat spoiled for me because I did not buy the idea that there was a form of radiation that kills Time Lords but not humans. It feels too much like the writer, Nicholas Briggs, had quickly dashed off a dubious explanation for Mel being only unconscious when "Time and Rani" begins while the 6th Doctor is fatally injured. I think a better explanation could have been developed.
The Last Adventure is required listening for any fan of the 6th Doctor and it does have moments and stretches of greatness, but the fragmented nature of the story arc keeps the story from having a unified ambiance of dark portent, high stakes and sadness that make for great last stories for Doctors "Logopolis" and "Caves" did this very well but The Last Adventure does not reach up to the level of those two stories. Even so, I recommend the story which is a good effort and could have been much worse. For bad examples of Big Finish DW with the 6th Doctor there is Paradise 5 - major disappointment - and The Reaping. For a superb example of how Big Finish DW should be done with the 6th Doctor, check out The Guardians of Prophecy - I could actually "see" the action played out on the TV in my head for the that one - absolutely brilliant. The Last Adventure? Well, let's say rather good but with some fundamental flaws.
brilliantly dramatic Sixth Doctor. It's a real joy to see Baker finally
get his due after his ill-fated television years, as Big Finish has allowed
him to realize the depth and power that was always there anyhow. One
of the great releases from this company. A landmark in DR WHO history,
and it really is about time.