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Reviews for Slipback

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Not Douglas Adams

By:David Layton, Los Angeles
Date:Wednesday 27 September 2006
Rating:   5

When Doctor Who was sent on an unanticipated hiatus early in 1985, fan outcry was loud. The result was that a team at BBC radio filled the gap with this production. Series script editor Eric Saward provided the script, and regular Radiophonic Workshop Doctor Who contributor Peter Howell provided the soundtrack. With a guest appearance by Valentine Dyall, things seemed right for vigorous reaffirmation of the program. However, Saward provided a script that can only be described as a poor man's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Full of quips and gags, vaguely satirical of something, space opera perhaps, this story returns us to the send-up year of 1979. Remember "Creature From The Pit"? It rests right around there in its "you can't possibly take any of this seriously" winking and nodding to the audience. Like those 1979 stories, the humorous element interferes with the main action/adventure story, so that the script feels schizophrenic. Additionally, the story was broken up into 15-minute segments, which means an abundance of cliff hangers. Most of these involve Colin Baker operatically bellowing "Periiiiiiiii" or "Nooooooo." There are some funny lines, and Peri does get to do a bit more than she did in the TV series; however, the script just does not work.

Perhaps The Worst Story Ever

By:Matthew Kresal, United States
Date:Tuesday 2 September 2008
Rating:   1

In 1985/1986, Doctor Who found itself on hiatus. In an attempt to give fans something during this, this radio story (the first Doctor Who story made especially for radio) was made. It plays like some of the worst stories of the Colin Baker era. This isn’t Baker’s or Nicola Bryant’s fault though as much as it’s the fault of the writing and other actors. In short, Slipback is amongst the worst Doctor Who stories ever made.

Baker and Bryant though aren’t at fault. Hey manage to play Eric Saward’s script as well as they can. In fact they make the story worth listening to just to hear their chemistry together. Baker in particular seems to be a little more human and less arrogant then his TV performances in the role. Bryant plays the only really sane character in the story, which gives her a chance to shine. They do their best with the story.

The rest of the cast is a let down. Valentine Dyall in his final performance as Captain Slarn, is a real let down with some odd line delivery and a poor performance all around. Jane Carr seems to have fun in the dual role of the ship's computer with two personalities. While the hidden personality is fine to listen to, the public voice of the computer is very annoying and while meant to be humorous, it isn’t in the very least. The other characters are just there for the laughs and are really dumb…and that’s being nice.

The main problem with the story is the writing. Eric Saward, the show’s script editor and some time writer, had done some good stories in his time (Earthshock, Revelation Of The Daleks) and this is not one of them. In fact, this may be his worst piece of work on the series. The main story is perhaps the most improbable collection of characters and circumstances ever to be put together in a single Doctor Who story. The characters are bland and played for laughs to the point of annoyance. In particular the whole section featuring Dyall’s Captain Slarn could have been left out without making a single difference to the story considering he does absolutely nothing in the story! Sawrd seems to have forgotten what makes Doctor Who work and instead creates, or rather tires to create, a poor man’s version of Douglas Adams’ classic Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. And, as I said, it’s a poor man’s version.

Is Slipback worth listening to? It depends on how much of a fan you are. If you’re ea casual fan, avoid this and listen to one of the Baker Big Finish stores or one of the other BBC audio stories. If you’re a die-hard fan of the series then yes. But keep this in mind: listening t this is a really bad way to die. Slipback is perhaps the worst Doctor Who story ever and I do not recommend it.

From an acorn grows a mighty oak

By:John Saltzburg, Philadelphia, PA USA
Date:Thursday 14 January 2010
Rating:   4

Really not a great performance it's the first created for a general audiences (the prior 2 Tom Bakers were really for kids). Written recorded and broadcast in 1986 (during the first haitus) it is obvious filler. Colin and Nicola do their best but any BF is much easier to listen to

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