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Doctor Who: Beast of Orlok by Barnaby Edwards

01/05/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who Beast of Orlok in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who Beast of Orlok in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD. Price: CD: 10.99 (UK), download: 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-395-8). Cast: Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith, Miriam Margolyes, Samuel Barnett, Peter Guinness, Nick Wilton, Trevor Cooper, Alison Thea-Skot and Nicholas Briggs.

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A village deep in the Black Forest in 1827 has been troubled in the past by violent, savage deaths. It has been peaceful for some time but there are two strangers in town and the attacks have begun again. Death has returned to Orlok.

It's time to get out the lighted torches and the pitchforks, the Doctor and Lucie are in big trouble. As they attempt to investigate the crime, they start to hear the legend of Beast of Orlok. Has it returned to rip, maim and kill? The so-called accident that rendered the coachmen doesn't look very accidental and the only survivor, the mysterious Baron Teufel, is asking some very odd questions.

The local landlady of the Inn, Frau Tod, and her grown-up children, Hans and Greta, are all for helping. But the Doctor is not the only stranger in town and Greta is drawn to the mysterious gypsy in the woods. With the Doctor off investigating, Lucie and Hans decide to do some sleuthing of their own and get into deep doo-doo.

This is the third outing for the new Doctor in Season 3 and again it shows off a completely different style of adventure. We are in the sort of historical but mainly more literary past and writer Barnaby Edwards has drawn on lots of sources to come up with this Gothic adventure. Spotting the connections is an activity itself. The cast give it all they've got and with the addition of Miriam Margoyles, this is quality stuff.

The supporting cast are well drawn, including some good comedy turns. The story is loaded with coincidence but then the presence of the Doctor and Lucie is always the biggest coincidence of the lot. It's a fun story with everybody milking the laughs when they can. Lucie gets to play with her Hans and the Doctor gets a more mature helper in the form of Frau Tod.

All in all a rollicking two-parter with the first part cliff-hanger that is reminiscent of the good old days. The weekly downloads are a hit and should continue to entertain. If you don't do downloads they will also be coming out on CD shortly.

Sue Davies

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