Philip Hinchcliffe Presents

Big Finish, Special Release

The Ghosts of Gralstead

Whoa! I have to say I’m totally impressed with this story. There is fighting and dying and monsters and the universe in peril – fun and crazy moments galore. This captures the 4th Doctor at his best, with his wit and intelligence getting him far with a companion he cannot control. The Doctor and Leela land in London in Victorian times, 1860, and almost immediately get embroiled in helping someone who is being hunted at a freak show. They are introduced into a household where strange things have been happening and the family considers it their curse. So they get involved, trying to figure out what’s going on. But there’s no easy discovery by the Doctor where he figures things out. He does know the species but it’s really of little consequence other than he can speak to the aliens. Plus there is a classic “battle” of good and evil that happens throughout. The Doctor is almost like a pinball, bouncing from action to scenario to occurrence with no real control over events, much like the 4th Doctor just did back in the day.

This story really has lots of character, characters, and mysterious happenings to make things move along at a fantastic pace. People die and are resurrected all over the place so you never can be sure who will live or die in a permanent or temporary way. The acting is superb, the effects the usual standard of fantastic, and we really feel like we’re in the African jungle or at an English mansion. Fantastic story and setting and all around story! Very dark in some ways but I found it to be just great!

Tom Baker(4thDoctor),Louise Jameson(Leela),Carolyn Seymour(Mordrega),Gethin Anthony(Sir Edward Scrivener),Martin Hutson(Professor Cedric Scrivener),Emerald O'Hanrahan(Clementine Scrivener),Alan Cox(Dr Gideon McDivett),Ivanno Jeremiah(Abasi),Andy Secombe(Jonas Bulmer),Sean Carlsen(Ned Davey),Mandi Symonds(Mrs Targate),Andrew French(Obingo)

The Devil’s Armada

It’s not nearly so interesting or fun listening to the Doctor fight devils/imps while the population points him out as the one summoning the devils, which seems to happen pretty regularly when he heads back to the 16th Century or thereabouts. Some historicals go quite well (see The Ghosts of Gralstead) and some are just not as entertaining. I liked this story but I found it a bit tedious to listen to. Perhaps it’s the peasants with pitchforks or stubborn inability to listen of the villainous human, who either is subsumed by the bad guy or saves them all in the end. So in that way this is a classic 4th Doctor story. But it’s just not nearly as interesting or strong as The Ghosts of Gralstead. This should’ve been the first story and I probably would’ve rated it higher but there was a high standard to live up to and it didn’t hit the bar, that’s for sure.

Tom Baker(4thDoctor),Louise Jameson(Leela),Jamie Newall(William Redcliffe),Nigel Carrington(Sir Robert Harney),Alix Dunmore(Anne Harney),Joe Jameson(Nicholas Harney),Beth Chalmers(Mistress Pincham/Lady Jane Mountville),Philip Bretherton(Vituperon),Ben Porter(Father D'Arcy),Tim Bentinck(Ned Bones/Lord Burghley)

Writers: Philip Hinchcliffe, adapted by Marc Platte

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: September 2014

Laura Vilensky 2019