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Reviews for The Sands of Life

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Absolutely Brilliant 1978

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Thursday 9 May 2013
Rating:   10

Though it is still with a tinge of sadness that I listen to the brilliance of Mary Tamm in this second series of Big Finish audio stories for the Fourth Doctor, one cant not admit that this three episode start to what is basically a five part story is one of the very best stories I've heard with Tom so far since he's returned to the role of the Doctor so triumphantly.

The Sands of Life features an excellent cast for a start, David Warner, that brilliant stalwart actor who never fails to deliver a knockout performance, here gives one of his best performances as the decidedly moronic and genocidal villain Cuthbert, and the scenes he has with Tom Baker are really like the clash of the titans, and these scenes are gritty and tense and sparkling with absolutely corkingly good dialogue.

The Laan also are a really interesting race, and its good having a species once more that really, to begin with, doesn't have any hostile intent for the human race, and as per usual, its the psychopathic human race that have all the violent tendencies. The sound design in this tale is particularly excellent, and thee wail of the Laan in pain is particularly gut wrenching and very effective.

I love Hayley Atwell, who just captures the right amount of naivete in the role of the earth President, and is a really likeable character. And yes, its always great to hear the great John Leeson in the role of K9, culminating in the return of one of the very best Doctor and companions pairings in the whole history of the show. And its particularly brilliant to hear in a story as good as the Sands of Life.

Tom Baker of course needs no mention at all, giving his great sterling performance as the time lord once more, and there's some of the usual great acid tongue moments with the villains of the piece. It all serves to remind me just how great this chap is still to this day as the Doctor.

But most of all I love Mary Tamm. Here in this story perhaps at last given something more to do than she ever had given to her in the classic series, and her connection to the breeding Laan is very convincingly done. Mary was such a fine actress, and its great hearing her last acting in top in this series of audio tales. Its a great loss to the acting world. RIP Mary...

Definitely a Part 1 story

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 23 May 2019
Rating:   7

This is one of the least standalone series for Big Finish. It takes us to a setup the next story. As such, it is hard to make a proper judgment of this. It is certainly a Doctor 4 story in many ways, and thankfully there is not too much off the cuff silliness. However, it also has a Doctor 3 feel in its environmental message and anti-corporate sentiments. David Warner is great, as usual. The previous reviewer of this is also right to say that Mary Tamm really gets something to do here, and performs quite well. Even so, there are things to quibble about. For instance, why do the creatures have to be "the" Laan? It would make more sense for them to say that they are "Laan" in the same way that English speakers say they are "human." The soldiers, especially the American general, are just too pig headed and aggressive to be believable. On the whole, the story is an effective setup for what comes next.

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