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  1. #1
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    Default Unbound 7: A Storm of Angels

    A Storm of Angels
    Starring Geoffrey Bayldon and Carole Ann Ford

    What if... the Doctor really had changed history, even just the tiniest bit?

    What I liked about the original six Unbound stories was their length. Each one clocked in at just over an hour - some at 1 hr 20 mins, but no longer. Each was one episode, and this either felt like a TV feature these days, or a short film. I felt that this worked perfectly for this series of one-off audios.

    So, when they decided to bring back Bayldon's Doctor, one of my biggest disappointments was that they'd changed the structure of the format to the more traditional structure - this story is around 2 hours long, and divided up into four episodes.

    Anyway, it is precisely because of the structural changes that I feel so disappointed with this. The whole story has such an epic, cinematic feel to it (at least, as far as an audio can) - in the same way that Neverland did. I really feel that the episode breaks upset the flow of the story.

    However, that is one of two criticisms. The other will come later. Beyond those two criticisms - this is a truly excellent story. The Doctor upsets the course of history - takes Leonardo da Vinci into space, and the next thing he knows, he's encountering Sir Francis Drake and John Dee on the Hind in space, carting treasure back to Gloriana (Elizabeth I). But all is not as it seems, as the treasure has an agenda of its own. At the same time, there's a threat from the space-faring Mayan Alliance, who defeated the Spanish and launched their own Empire.

    And while all this is going on, the Doctor and Susan are on the run from the Time Lords, too. Wonderful!

    With this story, I feel that Marc Platt is an absolute master of the audio format. What we see spun here is a story that could not have possibly been shown on tv - even now - due to budgetary reasons. The whole thing should also, in theory, appeal to Steampunk fans - while it's not set in the Victorian era, as so much Steampunk is, the setting really has that kind of feeling.

    Like the story, the acting involved here is brilliant. Everyone involved really shines - Bayldon and Ford are both superb, just as they were in Auld Mortality, while the guest cast are really superb. Particular mention must go to Ian Hallard, who played Agent Zeuro - particularly magnificent once he's taken over by the jewels, and becomes a snarling, angered amalgamation of a Time Lord and something else.

    What this play also does unashamedly that the tv series would never have the cohones to do is that it messes up the timeline. And keeps it messed up. There's no resolution to it, there's no reset button at the end. No raptors come to cleanse the timeline, history doesn't happen all at once. Things are just different. Permanently. Which made the threat of the jewels and the angels even more potent.

    So, I will finish with my other criticism. The ending. The revelation that the Susan who is travelling with this Doctor is not the real Susan - who stayed behind at the end of Auld Mortality to become President of the Time Lords - but another Susan, created by the Doctor's possibility generator. To me, this took the edge off of the ending to the previous play, as I had liked to think that Susan had chosen adventure over well - pomp, circumstance and ceremony. However, Platt does make up for this somewhat by having her and the fake Susan switch places at the end.

    For the most part, I love this - two marks off for my two criticisms, and this gets 8/10.

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  2. #2
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    Glad you liked this one Anthony. I've forgotten some of it so looking forward to catching up soon but I do remember feeling it was a bit long.
    Again I think there are retrospective hints that this is set in the version of reality where Susan chose to stay behind (and I really like the idea of her as President).

    All I'll say at this point is if I liked this one unless you have an aversion to Davros then you'll love Masters of War

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Brinck-Johnsen View Post
    All I'll say at this point is if I liked this one unless you have an aversion to Davros then you'll love Masters of War
    I've already listened to it! But more on that in a day or so

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  4. #4
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    With this story, I feel that Marc Platt is an absolute master of the audio format.
    He's pretty good at imagery, but his story-telling can be miles off. This one was acceptable, but there's been more than a few BF's that have been intolerable, such as Time Reef and Vallhalla.

  5. #5
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    You even made Beethoven a hearing aid

    I don't have a lot to add to what Anthony said above except that I like the scenes towards the end with the two versions of Susan. That said having a version of Susan created by the Possibility generator reminds me of a minor bugbear I had with the first play. Being able to summon fictional characters into reality seems just a little convenient although within the context of Auld Mortality I was able to let it slide as I liked Hannibal and the talking elephant.
    Also as Anthony has already observed this play was very long (interesting change of perspective post-new series as back in 2003 I found the original run of plays to be somewhat on the short side)!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Brinck-Johnsen View Post
    That said having a version of Susan created by the Possibility generator reminds me of a minor bugbear I had with the first play. Being able to summon fictional characters into reality seems just a little convenient although within the context of Auld Mortality I was able to let it slide as I liked Hannibal and the talking elephant.
    I think you've hit the nail on the head, Richard. Although I got the feeling that the whole Hannibal scenario was set inside the Possibility Generator, rather like a holodeck in Star Trek... the idea of a version of Susan actually emerging and travelling with the Doctor is another thing.

    As I've said before, I really think that this ruined the "did she or didn't she go travelling" ending of Auld Mortality. Shame.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Williams View Post
    I think you've hit the nail on the head, Richard. Although I got the feeling that the whole Hannibal scenario was set inside the Possibility Generator, rather like a holodeck in Star Trek... the idea of a version of Susan actually emerging and travelling with the Doctor is another thing.

    As I've said before, I really think that this ruined the "did she or didn't she go travelling" ending of Auld Mortality. Shame.
    I enjoyed the scenes set inside the generator. I wasn't entirely happy with the scene towards the end of Auld Mortality when Hannibal, the elephant and his army come crashing into the real Panopticon and helped save the day (at least that was how I understood it).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Brinck-Johnsen View Post
    I wasn't entirely happy with the scene towards the end of Auld Mortality when Hannibal, the elephant and his army come crashing into the real Panopticon and helped save the day (at least that was how I understood it).
    Oh blimey! I'd forgotten about that (or: wiped it from my memory )

    Watchers in the Fourth Dimension: A Doctor Who Podcast
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    ----
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  9. #9
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    I've just listened to this one (finished it today) and I agree with most of the posts on this thread. It's a very good script (8/10) and my opinion differs from those above only in one respect. I found the length of 2 hours about right; this made it feel like an old 4-part tv story.

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