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Reviews for Terror Firma

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Impressed and impressionable

By:Phil Ince, Outside your house ... waiting ...
Date:Monday 22 August 2005
Rating:   3


The broadly efficient but over-rated 'Master', sketches a background to the Doctor about which he'd forgotten and which we'd previously known nothing. In 'Terror Firma' - good title, shame about the play - 'Tiny' Joe Lidster repeats his revisionist trick. It's hard to understand why Joe bothered because the 8th Doctor's previously unknown travelling companions are abysmally-written, facelessly-dreary 'young persons' so common to Bog Flush productions.

Additionally, 'Tiny' is evidently (and justififably) impressed by Robert Shearman's 'Jubilee', taking that story's trailers and comedy leader to liberate a Dalek-infested Earth.

Repetition replaces creation, allusion replaces narrative. There really isn't a plot, 'Terror Firma' is the closest BF have yet got to the empty, stupid, amateurish, overblown bollocks which poor inept Eric Saward threw up in 'Ressurection of the Daleks' and 'Attack of the Cybermen'; umpteen references to umpteen stories, even quoting directly from the 'Genesis of the Daleks' capsule speech - " ... enough to break the glass etc" - and achieving nothing more than sullying their memories whilst highlighting its own lack of invention.

The wonderful Julia Deakin does what the guest stars often do, she does her best and turns in a performance as Harriet Griffin which ... well, it can't be, can it!? It seems to be modelled on Beryl Reid's turn as Briggs in 'Earthshock' but a version from a (slightly) altered reality where Briggs got the keys to the grog during part 2 and spent the rest of the story slurring drunk.

Some notable details are Lidster's original idiom "clutched onto" - Track 7, around 3' 00" in.

Davros whimpering like Homer Simpson forced to choose between free slices of a favourite cake and springing Bart from gaol.

The opening rant from the Daleks causes one to visualise them as a pack of stupid, tethered dogs.

The outstanding moment, however, is Davros' becoming the Emperor Dalek in the denouement though Christ alone knows why this happens and at no stage is any explanation proposed. Lidster flatters us by declining to insult our intelligenc on that point and his play is, it has to be admitted, commendably free of technobabble. It's also though largely and sadly free of sense. When Davros becomes the Emperor, the first thing that the blindly-obedient Daleks do ... is ignore his order to destroy the Doctor.

After Erimem's sanctimonious turn as Adric in last month's 'Council of Nicaea', C'rizz is finally discovered to function as Turlough - a viper in the Doctor's skinny bosom.

Maybe, Joseph, you could have said, "No."

Maybe ...?

Puzzling decision

By:Herb Romansa, Iraqi Free State - God Bless America
Date:Tuesday 30 August 2005
Rating:   2

Why would you go to the trouble of ending a story arc planned to take several years because new fans brought to the audios by the Eccleston series on the telly might find it alienating and then make your first release in this new, cleansed 8th Doctor series such a piece of fanwank? Why would you do that?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

By:the Traveller, Dalek-infested Folkestone
Date:Saturday 11 February 2006
Rating:   8

Despite the absence of any kind of reasonable plot, Terror Firma is, in my opinion a success.
The cast are superb, special mention must go to Terry Molloy and Julia Deakin. And the scenes where Davros appears completely insane are actually quite disturbing.
Overall, an entertaining Dalek adventure spoilt slightly by the over-complicated plot.

Dreadful Script

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Saturday 17 June 2006
Rating:   4

To kick off a new "season" of 8th Doctor audios, Big Finish has brought back the Daleks and Davros, hoping, one supposes, that merely having those components will be enough to warrant the production. They aren't.

In the early days of Big Finish audios, the Dalek stories were often the best (for instance, "The Apocalypse Element" and "The Genocide Machine"). The Daleks play very well in the audio format, and work when they are handled as the ruthless, efficient military power that they are. In "Terror Firma," the Daleks seem to be almost an afterthought. They have no significant presence in the story and do virtually nothing.

The real focus is on Davros. It is here that problem #2 crops up. Joseph Lidster has attempted to fill in gaps in the Davros saga left in the various TV serials. As is often the case, the "explanations" for these gaps are silly and nonsensical. The basic concept is that Davros after "Resurrection of the Daleks," has developed a split personality - Davros and the Emporer Dalek - and the two are fighting each other for control. This affords Terry Molloy a chance to go all out in the acting department, and he does a super job of displaying Davros's fear and despair. However, rather than giving us something new with this, Lidster reverts to the tried and not-so-true formula: Davros cannot control the Daleks, who revolt against him. Surprised? I wasn't.

The real weakness, though, is not just Lidster's. There is no doubt that the Big Finish audios are now producer Gary Russell's baby. And he has devoted most of his energy to the 8th Doctor series, making this "his" Doctor Who. He has dedicated his efforts toward a nearly complete overhaul of the series, in line with his own later novels. Nearly all of these tweaks are bad. In particular, he seems bent on running Doctor 8 through the emotional wringer again, and again,...and again, ...and again. So, what do we get? (Spoiler coming. You have been warned.) We get, it turns out, that Davros has managed to capture the Doctor and 2 companions we knew nothing about. He used his surgical skills to gain control over all of them. He watched all of Doctor 8's adventures with Charley and later with C'rizz, and all the while plotted to humiliate the Doctor by destroying everything he loved. Thus, though Lidster is careful to stay true to the Davros timeline, he completely ignores Terry Nation's. The Daleks take over Earth again, earlier (it seems) than in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," and the Doctor seems to have no recollection that any of that had happened. Sloppy on Lidster's part. I kept expecting a "this is not right, something is meddling with history" twist. No chance.

So, in the end, the story is contradictory, both to itself and to the Dalek history as established in the TV series. Things are brought in, then abandoned. Multiple references to previous stories lead nowhere in particular. All we are left with is Terry Molloy's superb performance to raise the story.

A story best forgotten...

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Saturday 25 November 2006
Rating:   2

You can't be serious.

This story was bad. Really bad.

It's not that the plot itself was really that bad. The ideas and the script here were no worse than what was in The Creed of the Kromon or The Twilight Kingdom. The problem is that because this featured a return of Davros after the events of Remembrance of the Daleks, in which the Doctor essentially destroyed the Daleks' home planet Skaro, this should have been so much better than it was. And really it was awful. The premise deserved far better.

The other reviews here sum it up pretty well. (Spoilers ahead.) I kept waiting for some further development in the plot that would tell us that, no, it wasn't actually true that these two no-name, characterless people once traveled with the 8th Doctor before he met Charley, and no, Davros never took over the Doctor's TARDIS and erased the Doctor's memory of those early travels. I kept waiting to be told that, no, we were just fooling - that was just a deception. But that development never came. And to add insult to injury, now C'rizz is being turned into a real psycho - far worse and more stomach-churning than Turlough, a comparison raised by another reviewer.

With Terror Firma, The Big Finish 8th Doctor storyline is wending its way toward a marked similarity to the worst of the 8th Doctor BBC book series. Yuck.

Not half as bad as many make out.....

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 4 April 2008
Rating:   10

I really dont know why so many people find this story either badly scripted or badly acted. I for one am going to give my thoughts on this story. After all, it would have had to have had at least something going for it to be labelled the best story of 2006! And i do have some observations to make that are actually brilliant and not pathetic about this story...

If you have half a mind the story isnt half as all over the place as some make out. I for one think Terry Molloy returns as Davros supremely well in this dark tale of lies and manipulation. We get to see him really flipped in this story. Brilliant acting by Terry for a start.

Then Paul McGann gets a more personal tale for a change, having been manipulated into forgetting his companions of the past. Paul really was let down by only doing the movie on screen.

And we see very very decent performances from all other members of the cast. We see India Fisher and Conrad Wetsmaas shining as Charley and C'rizz for start. Especially we get to hear a darker and deeper side to C'rizz, which made me gulp the first time i heard this story.

And the daleks for once are not badly utilised, although this is essentially another Davros story, but the daleks are as cold and clinical as they ever were. Joseph Lidster has indeed delivered a great script here then. This is fast paced and yet not ecletic at all, twists and turns all along the way keep you guessing from the word go. And the green cover is well designed, gives of a feel of the good old days of metal corridors and nasty little aliens roaming around.

So I must be an idiot saying that this story is highly entertaining, but i dont care! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and this is mine thats all!!!!

Firm but good

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 6 February 2015
Rating:   9

I really enjoyed this story. Nice twists and lots of nice references and filling in blanks of the 8th Doctors past such as how he was alone when he first met Charlie. Great that Gemma and Samson are now cannon. Terry Malloy is as excellent as ever as Davros. Reccomended.

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