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Reviews for The Lost Stories: The First Doctor Box Set

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Lost Gem of the highest order...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 21 May 2011
Rating:   10

Every so often in the BIG FINISH WORLD, along comes a real true gem of a story. And this time its two lost stories that for some reason or other never made it to the screen back in the early nineteen sixties. I have been a great fan of these lost stories, it is an excellent thought. Its really nostalgic and a great memory to the actors who played the time lord first of all. Its so sad that niether William or Patrick are with us anymore, both oif them were splendid chaps and splendid actors too.

What Is so brilliant about the first story here, FAREWELL GREAT MACEDON, is that firstly its an historical tale. I always loved the Will Hartnell historicals, whether they be full on grim tales such as The Aztecs and The Massacre, Light comedies like The Romans, or epic masterpieces like Marco Polo. They all had such high drama inherent in the storytelling. And it was more of a highlight of human evil rather than some alien nasty all of the time. And what I also liked about them is the high calibre of acting in every single one of them in those black and white early years.

Another sadness is the loss of Jacqueline Hill, a fine companion and missed greatly by me as Im a great fan of her character. But What William Russell and Carole Ann Ford do here is simply incredible: they bring the First Doctor and Barbara to life just as much as their own original characters. And John Dorney is frankly excellently cast as Alexander the Great. This story would have made such a big impact on me on screen had the BBC of had the sense to make it all those years ago. This story provides as much epic quality as Marco Polo, there is real character developement along the way, and one truly seems to feel a lot for all the characters who fall foul of the plans of Antipita and his band of scheming thugs.

This story is one of the very best Big Finish had done of late. The pace is excellent, and the story itself boasts some very fine set pieces and great slices of dialogue. One can clearly tell that both Moris Farhi and Nigel Robinson had a great time in the adaptation of this splendid six part tale.

The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance is a wonderful little oddity of a follow on too. Its rare as it truly seems to be nothing much more than a charming little love tale set on a far distant planet where all the rules are different. Yet again William and Carole bring the script to wonderful life, so much so as to make this one parter just as excellent as the Epic Macedon. These tweo stories both sould have been made. They are true pieces of Doctor Who that would have easily fitted into the TV series (although maybe Fragrance works better on audio, as the crystal seas and all that would have taken up a lot of budget on the classic series)

One is very grateful to BIG Finish at least for having the sense to produce these long lost artifacts. Long may they continue as this box set is on a real high for the series. The sixth doctor lost stories were all very good, but these two are unequivically excellent.



Elegiac

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 7 October 2014
Rating:   8

Here we have two scripts stretching all the way to 1964 and the first TARDIS crew. Sadly, that crew is at only half strength. So, rather than have new actors step in to take the old roles, Big Finish chose to have these scripts done like the Companion Chronicles series, as though these are stories being read rather than full dramatic performances. One ought, therefore, to approach these as audio books rather than as audio dramas. The stories themselves are both from the same writer written within months of each other. The scripts share some commonalities discussed a little bit later. Farewell, Great Macedon is a six-part historical centering on Alexander the Great. Though the CD extras segments emphasize the historical accuracy of the story, this is not truly the case. All the events in the story did happen, more or less, and there is much speculation that Alexander may have been poisoned. However, these events in history happened months apart and hundreds of miles from each other. For the sake of drama and TV budgets, therefore, some condensing had to take place, so that the events here happen only days apart and within the space of a couple of square miles. Alexander here is a touch more modern than probably the real Alexander was, and certainly is less brutal and hot-headed. However, the script is no more inaccurate than any other Doctor Who historical. The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance, in contrast, is as peculiar as its title suggests. Fragrance is a paradise planet on which everyone who reaches maturity must be coupled with an opposite-sex counterpart or die in an actual form of sailing off into the burning sunset. Our TARDIS crew enters this world unaware of its peculiar social systems, and so Barbara unwittingly causes death and distress to the host family. It is a nice reminder that travel in the TARDIS will necessarily involve making howling cultural blunders that could have real and dire consequences. What joins the two stories is their elegiac nature. Both stories are about long goodbyes. Confronting the deaths of loved ones is a persistent theme here. In both cases, Morris Farhi has chosen to write about the matter in a Shakespearean fashion, with death drawn out by eloquent speeches that give shape to grief. I suspect that this is why Farewell, Great Macedon was not picked up for production. It has all the elements of Doctor Who historicals, with dramatic tension, recognized bad guys, and a fight scene or two. However, it and Fragile strike long, pealing notes of the death bell almost from beginning to end. The funereal atmosphere hanging over the whole script may have been deemed as too emotional for the TV audience of the time. Still, in drama, in what other way is there to have us reflect on the losses we must all go through than to give characters the oratory power to express what in ordinary life is mostly inexpressible?




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