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Reviews for The Marian Conspiracy

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A Meeting of minds

By:Clive Wright, Jersey
Date:Saturday 20 December 2003
Rating:   8

Colin Baker shines again and maggie stables a new and welcome addition comes across well in a strong story line.

A couple of the cliffhanders are excellent leaving you wanting more. Evelyn is a very real charter and I look forward to more of a good duo.

Great intro to a new Companion

By:Siskoid, Moncton, NB
Date:Friday 14 October 2005
Rating:   8

never liked the 6th Doctor on TV, largely due to the fact that he and Peri just couldn't get along. But this is the start of a new era. While still pompous, his bubble is burst by his new companion Evelyne, and they make a rather wonderful comedy double act.

Ok, there's little realism in the way Evelyne just accepts the time travel idea and heads for the past with the Doctor, but that's a small problem easily dismissed by her humoring him. She's a great character from the beginning, savvy and not without courage, though you wonder if she won't hold back the Doctor in the realm of action. Well, this is AUDIO, so there's more talking than action anyway.

There's an equal amount of comedy and drama, with Queen Mary portrayed as unusually reasonable. This is refreshing, but slightly offputting. She's at once the villain of the piece, and a tragic character. Some great cliffhangers too, and the historical aspect of the tale isn't made boring despite the excessive talking.

Overall: Not perfect (a lot of dialogue and no real motiviation for Evelyne), but the start of something great nonetheless. At least proves there's still some juice in more historical stories.

Excellent New Companion

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 29 September 2006
Rating:   7

The best thing about The Marian Conspiracy is the introduction of a new companion, Dr. Evelyn Smythe, for once not a kid. A mature, knowledgeable companion is an excellent foil for Colin Baker's bombastic Doctor. Baker himself demonstrates his magnificent vocal talent, with range and nuance of superb skill. Other good bits include a balanced perspective of Queen Mary, who could easily have been treated as a stock villain, and realism regarding character motivation. On the negative there is the "temporal nexus," a rather weak maggufin. Another is that characters tend to respond to anachronisms rather tamely. There is much commentary on Evelyn's pills, but none about the obviously plastic bottle and its label that would be wholly unintelligible to Tudor age people. Still, this is a good, character based story.

Wow! A Historical episode.....

By:Greg Holtham, Mattydale, USA
Date:Sunday 10 December 2006
Rating:   8

OK, I'll be honest here. I really didn't think that a completely historical episode of Doctor Who could work in this day and age, let alone intrest audiences....until I realized that "Quantum Leap" essentially did the same thing 15 years ago. The historical aspect is the backdrop to the tale, its main ideas come from the characters, their interactions, relationships, and actions propels the story forward and (hopefully) makes it a story worth, hearing.
Which is something "The Marian Conspiracy" does very well(although I'm a little confused on where the title comes from; is this an English thing?) Rather than making Queen Mary an evil tyrant, she's depicted as a devout Catholic who truly believes that her action are pure and that God in the end will forgive all of their sins. In fact it's neat little touches like this that makes all the characters beliveable and well-rounded. Like Crow and Leaf saying that while burning Protestants is wrong, it's all right to burn sinners instead.
And then theirs the intro of Evelyn. This is perhaps Big Finish's best gift to the Doctor Who mythos: creating companions for the Doctor who from the starting gate are three-dimensional and fully realized. It in turn allows the "older companions" to become more 3-D as well (the interaction between Peri and Erinem, e.g) Evelyn, besides being older than previous companions, is far more acid-toungued and witty; making her more than a match for the 6th Doctor (who incidentally is FINALLY starting to live up to the potential the he was starting to show in his final televised season. Colin Baker is sounding fantastic in the audios and is truly a delight to hear him back in the saddle once again).
So, all in all this was a great story (even the minor annoyance about the 'temporal nexus point' to get the story running was good; it creates a unique way for the Doctor to meet Evelyn) and the start of more pure historical episodes in the future.

This is the 6th Dr we should have had

By:C G Harwood, Dunedin, NZ, New Zealand
Date:Thursday 27 September 2007
Rating:   9

My entire throught threw out this audio was 'Dame you Micheal Grade, this is the Colin Baker we should have had in the 80s' Bakers proformance was brillant.
He was backed up by a good story and very good directing by two people who obviousely knew what they were doing, I look forward to Mr Russle and Ms Rayner working together again. It was realy nice to see three cliff-hangers that made me want to listen to the next episode straigh away.
The Highlight for me (apart from Bakers proformance.) was the introduction of a new companion. THis to me was the best intro for a companion that i can remember, and i hope Maggie Stables does more. Its nice to see that the Doctor didn't have to carry the story for once. She was actualy better than some of the extablished companions that have done these audios. although pls next time leave the cocco at home.
I liked that the suport cast was small, it made following who everybody was a lot easyer for me, and the lady who played Queen Mary was brillant.
When you listen to this prepare to lose 2 hours, and trust me it goes very quickly. I was actualy very suprised when episode 4 started.
the only bad thing about this story (apart from the cocco) was the title?????? and I'm still not sure what the temperal Nexis was (i must have missed something, oh well its not important).
In closeing, great acting, great writing, great direction, just great everything (except the cocco). If your new to these audios defantly give this one a try first. You wont be dissapointed.
I want to give this 9.5 out of ten but i cant so i'll give it 9.

A Hartnell tale for Colin Baker

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 12 March 2008
Rating:   10

This really does feel like a William Hartnell tale. A true historical with hints of the past. You can tell Jac Rayner loves the historical stories cant you? Here in this great tale we see two things. firstly, the intro of Maggie Stables as the great Evelyn Smythe, the big finish teams second best companion, she sounds like shes been in the part for years on this tale doesnt she? then secondly theres the historical's return !Yippee! I love historical who stories! We go back to the reign of Queen Mary in this one, maybe not the most likeable queen ever, but despite this Jac somehow makes you feel sorry for her. Her phantom pregnancies and fears of plots are all elements that are portrayed very well and realiswtically here. Makes you feel you really have gone back in time and are there! Colin Baker of course needs no mention, he's as brilliant as ever. Nearly gets married in this one, that was a laugh!

Simply Brilliant

By:Matthew Warren, Sittingbourne, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 4 July 2008
Rating:   9

When I first came to listen to this I was expecting something that would have a few good bits and a plot that had been done loads of times before.

Instead what I got was probably the best Big Finish yet that I've heard. The plot was simple and interesting and the entire play was great. The only small thing was that I don't really get the title but that doesn't effect it at all.

Highly recommended.

History Meddler.

By:Andrew Shaw, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 7 August 2010
Rating:   8

This was an enjoyable historical story great characers and it showed queen mary in a different light a few small problems tho the stuff Evelyn takes back with her could change or alter history by giving people ideas about things and they brushed off the idea about witchcraft just because she said it wasnt it would take moe than that to convince people back then I dont like it when the Doctor breaks his own laws by saving peopl especially a whole family.

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