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Doctor Who: The Stage Plays 'The Ultimate Adventures' by Terrance Dicks

01/11/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Stage Plays in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Stage Plays in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. ISBN: 978-1-84435-373-6. 120 minutes 2 CDs. Price: CD: 14.99 (UK), Download: 12.99 (UK)) stars: Colin Baker, Noel Sullivan, Claire Huckle, Nadine Cox, Bryan Pilkington, Derek Carlyle and Nicholas Briggs.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far away or perhaps in Peckham, these plays were performed live on stage. If you were around in 1989 then you might have caught one of the few performances by the late, great Jon Pertwee or the slightly longer run by Colin Baker. 1989 doesn't sound that long ago to me and its hard to accept that the Third Doctor was still around and at that point still taking straw from his Worzel Gummidge 'Thinking 'Ed' (see Wikipedia).

Now it seems impossible to believe that delirious fans wouldn't mob the stage but I'm sure we were all so much better behaved in those days. These days, of course, the current Doctor prefers to do Shakespeare rather than reprise his role on the stage.

As the play commences, the Doctor has been called in by the Prime Minster. It is Margaret Thatcher, shortly before she was deposed in real life. No, she doesn't do the gig, its been voiced by Nadine Cox.

This first play, re-created in audio, offers a curious and blind window into the world of Doctor Who and is rather old-fashioned. Because of the nature of the source material, there is a lot of explaining for the cast to do. It makes you realise how well crafted the modern audio plays are as they manage to incorporate all the explaining into the action. It is inevitable that this play comes across as stagy and rather creaky. The plot is firmly placed in the 80s and is quite panto-esque. There are also odd points such as when the Daleks massacre several people in a night club the manager is heard to bleat plaintively, 'I've got to clear all this up!' He doesn't seem to be at all concerned about the loss of life.

The special features are very good and an excellent addition if you happen to have seen the original plays or even if you are just interested in the evolution of the material.

Special features are: Remembering The Ultimate Adventure:-

A retrospective documentary narrated by Nicholas Briggs, stars Colin Baker and David Banks and writer Terrance Dicks recall the making of the original stage show, which made its debut at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1989 and then toured the UK.

In Conversation: Nicholas Briggs (the current voice of the Daleks) and Peter Ware (assistant editor of Doctor Who Magazine) share their memories of the stage-show and reveal what this audio adaptation means to them.

Re-making 'The Ultimate Adventure'. The cast, director and producers reveal how 'The Ultimate Adventure' was re-born on audio, almost 20 years after the original production.

The Making of the Music. 'The Ultimate Adventure' contains three musical numbers, performed for this production by Claire Huckle, Noel Sullivan, and Nadine Cox. We follow them during the recording while Musical Director Darren Lord reveals how the songs were re-visited.

Overall, this particular play is quaint but not a great addition to the audio collection. Its always good to hear Colin Baker making the most of the material but the other characters are poorly realised and the plot fairly desperate. It's one for those who sat in the darkened theatre in 1989 I think.

Sue Davies

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