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Reviews for The Lost Stories: The Hollows of Time

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Tractators....

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 24 April 2010
Rating:   10

And so we follow on the heels of the excellent Leviathan. One question on my mind when I ordered this story: would it live up to Leviathan's standards? In short the answer is a resounding yes! Had these stories have been produced and shown in the time when they were first realised, I could have seen the audience figures going up and up and up.

I cant believe stories as good as The Hollows Of Time never made it to the TV. Goodness knows why the BBC couldnt have started over with all these excellent lost stories.

Chris Bidmead has crafted a tale with good pacing and good spins and turns. And the Tractators are back. And they are not quite as bad as they first appeared to be in that great tv story Frontios. I notice they have used some of the score from that story again. The Tractator's theme it should be called.

And is Professor Stream the Master? What is really good is that you can easily think so, but you dont find out. I find this an intruiging thing to do. Leave it to the veiwer or listener in this case to decide. And if it was the Master, or whoever, blowing into pieces isnt a very nice end at all for anyone. That might have been just a bit too over the top for a PG 1986 adventure but it certainly is a great ending.

And again it boasts good characters that are likeable. And the relaxed start is a breather from more far paced tales that sometimes are too quick for their own good.

This is another delightful example of what might have been. This really should have been made at the time it was written. But im glad its been done now!!!!



Bidmead on Acid

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Tuesday 5 October 2010
Rating:   4

The Hollows of Time gives us more quirk from Christopher Bidmead. This time around, it's just kind of strange and pretty boring. At important points, including the episode 1 ending cliffhanger and the buildup of the story around the midpoint of episode 2, I really had no idea what was going on. Something about a car that merges with the TARDIS and shoots the Doctor out into space, and trippy but mundane time corridors. Most of this story takes place in a boring little village, and features elements like a fake 11-year-old boy (played mostly well, but perturbingly, by Susan Sheridan), a hokey mechanical turtle, and tractators that can now create their own time corridors (huh?).

This story often has a feel to it similar to the whimsy of the old Fourth Doctor lost story, Shada, all professors and wild technobabble and so on. At the same time, though, there is some good dialog, mostly from the Doctor, well-delivered by Colin Baker, who gives this one his best effort.

The character Professor Stream was originally to be the Master (Stream is an anagram of Master and vice versa), presumably to be played by Anthony Ainley. Adding this in just serves to further confuse what was already a very strangely ambiguous, gloppy story.



A Good Story in the Wrong Medium

By:Jeremy Matthews, Brisbane, Australia
Date:Sunday 29 January 2012
Rating:   9

I'm a fan of Bidmead, both as a script editor and a writer. He writes weird, sprawling narratives, which take in lots of different ideas, but somehow come out as something coherent. And, had it been made, 'The Hollows of Time' would have been no different. There's lots of great ideas in here; the use of the Tractators is ingenious, I LOVE the sequences of the car in space, and even little things, like the 'turtle', are marvellous. And yet, by transferring the story to audio, and robbing it of it's original villain, the story loses something, and becomes a random sequence of images, which don't really add up. The score is magnificent, and I love all the acting, but the adaptation of the script robs it of something. It's one of the few times that the production by Big Finish has failed slightly. So I'm giving it a good grade, but that's more for the ambition of the original story than the final realisation here.



Don't Know Quite What to Make of It

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 1 March 2017
Rating:   7

Christopher H. Bidmead's strength as a writer was in really interesting ideas from the edges of science regarding warping reality. This is probably the best element of The Hollows of Time. The worst element is the boy Simon (Susan Sheridan), one of those annoying brilliant, lonely kids who seemingly end up in every family-oriented program. One of the repeated elements of the lost season seems to be "get Peri to be a babysitter," as we see in The Nightmare Fair (Kevin's not a child, but certainly acts like a young teen who needs to reigned in by the more level-headed Peri), Mission to Magnus, and now this. Leviathan even had a child part. Simon in this story is mostly a needless distraction. The story itself is curiously structured, told in flashback with the Doctor and Peri after the events trying to remember what happened and telling each other bits of the story. It is not quite clear why the story should have been told in this way apart from Prof. Stream's apparently magical ability to mess with people's memories. Another curious aspect of the story is that for long stretches there is not much action. Part 1 is mostly in the form of a slow investigation of a mystery. The action picks up in Part 2, but then slows down again as the story reaches its climax. Also, curiously, all the conversations between the Doctor and the Gravis happen off stage. The only reason I can think of for this was that Big Finish did not want to replace the voice of the original actor for the Gravis. The choice is another element slowing down the action, so that we get characters fretting, "what did he say?," and the Doctor reporting on the conversation. Apparently, in the original TV version, Prof. Stream was to have been revealed as the Ainley Master. With Ainley unavailable, Big Finish got David Garfield (from The War Games and The Face of Evil) to play the role very Master like, while the Doctor keeps saying "He reminds me of someone." The takeaway: interesting villain, intriguing bent reality concepts, but clumsy plotting and strange writing choices.




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