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  1. #1
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    Default CC 1.1: Frostfire

    Frostfire
    Starring Maureen O'Brien

    Did you ever want to hear a new First Doctor adventure, even though Hartnell is sadly no longer with us? Yes, me too! Did you ever wonder what happened to Vicki after leaving to be with Troilus? Eh, not too bothered.

    This was my first foray into the Companion Chronicles, thanks to Big Finish's recent Companion Chronicles Day deal. And to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Was I going to get a noticeably older-sounding O'Brien trying to sound like a younger version of herself?

    At the end of the day, I was glad that this was clearly a much older version of Vicki. The way in which Platt combined her tales of the past with little hints of what happened after she had left the Doctor was extremely well done. As I said, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved the way in which this story was told. It's the only way that they could do a First Doctor story without re-casting again, really - which I think would've been really disrespectful.

    There's one thing that Marc Platt does extremely, extremely well - and that's character moments. The characterisation of the older Vicki is wonderful, particularly her recollections of telling Troilus about things like elevators. Likewise, the story telling about Jane Austen is just lovely - I could just imagine that being Hartnell and an actress. Beautiful!

    Likewise, the story telling is just excellent. The Companion Chronicles are clearly a different beast to the main range, and the style of story-telling needs to be MUCH more evocative. But, Platt really excels with this two - the words he gives Vicki when she describes early-19th Century London are extremely well done - I could just picture the frozen Thames and other scenes, such as St Paul's Cathedral rising so high above the other buildings. This is clearly a different London from today.

    So, what about the actual plot? Well, it's not bad, but it's nothing special, really. But is that really what we're looking for in this play? There are some nice little ideas here - the perpetual time loop for the Phoenix, for example.

    But the plot itself isn't what this play is about. This play introduces the Companion Chronicles - it sets up the concept, and in my opinion, it does that beautifully. It gets a solid 8/10 from me.

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  2. #2
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    As I said elsewhere:

    It had a really creepy atmosphere and was really well written and really well narrated by Maureen O'Brien. Although it was obviously not a Hartnell story they could have told at the time, it felt perfectly in keeping with early Season 3, with a very plucky Vicki, a still slightly sceptical Steven and a rather loveable first Doctor, who still has that steel about him when necessary. I liked the circular nature of the story and the hints of Vicki's life with Troilus which felt just right. Really good!

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    Just listened to part one -

    So, it's a scary egg with a scary eye! And it's COOOOLD!!! It's remarkably gothic, something that Jane Austen might have frowned upon having written her own gothic parody.

    'Frostfire' is a remarkably silly name, yet somehow it kind of works. Better than 'Hotcold' or 'Warmchills' anyway. I suppose it's at least alliterative.

    The story suits Maureen O'Brien pretty well. Though I notice that the Doctor doesn't have any dialogue as such, he seems well characterised.

    In some ways it's a shame there always has to be a sci-fi element. As with the Peter Purves / Marc Platt Companion Chronicle 'Mother Russia', the story seems to rattle along reasonably well as a comedy of manners, before aliens get in the way.

    The cliffhanger is a little weak, as Sir Joseph's wife is sucked up the chimney. Plus the framing device gets in the way of the story again. But there's a nice sense of cold atmosphere, where everything is cold. Cold!
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  4. #4
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    This was the first one I listened to so the framing device for the narration seemed quite innovative at the time but the concept of inventing reasons for the stories has been badly overused in subsequent releases.
    I think of the earlier companion chronicles the way the Cinder and Vicki are connected is probably the most effectively executed as it feels as much a part of the story as a whole as the events of her time in Regency London.

  5. #5
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    OK, I'm not quite sure what having Jane Austen in it contributed, but I suppose it's nice to have an historical character of the time. Still, it didn't really have an interesting new angle on her and I don't think she brought much to the story. She could have been any nice girl from the 1800's. Jem the Sweep was much more fun, with his crowbar in his trousers!

    Some of the little details were brilliant. The TARDIS landing on the ice floe in the frozen Thames was a great touch, especially when they had to catch up with the ice floe to get it back! The whole business of them chasing it in a boat was only implied in a sentence, but it's such a great image. The showdown at the Royal Mint was great too, as was the image of Georgiana becoming part of the Frostfire and striking people down. I loved the idea of Steven being seen as a dashing hero and the implied relationship (lack of) between Steven and Vicki.

    Maureen O'Brien was bloody good I thought as well.

    Overall - a few brilliant details, some confusion in the story but most enjoyable!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!