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Doctor Who: Forty-Five by Mark Morris, Nick Scovell, Mark Michalowski and Steven Hall

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Forty-Five in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Forty-Five in the UK

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CD. pub: Big Finish ISBN: 978-1-84435-324-8. 120 minute 2 CDs. Price: 14.99 (UK). 12.99 download). cast: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier. False Gods: Benedict Cumberbatch, Lucy Adams, Paul Lincoln, Jon Glover and Paul Lincoln . Order Of Simplicity: Jon Glover, Lucy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Lincoln . Casualties Of War: Paul Reynolds, Linda Marlowe, Beth Chalmers, Beth Chalmers and Andrew Dickens. The Word Lord: Linda Marlowe, Paul Reynolds, Andrew Dickens, Paul Lincoln and Beth Chalmers.

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Hard to believe that 'Doctor Who' has just celebrated its forty-fifth birthday. Nobody could have foreseen on the 23rd November 1963 that the old guy would still be travelling through time and space and getting younger and dishier along the way. To celebrate, Big Finish has prepared its own little homage to the man himself. Sylvester Mc Coy was picked to star in four episodes with the common theme of 45. They are fiendish and in some ways quite scary.

Each episode is a complete story but the finale ties up the underlying story arc in a nice neat and amusing package.

Part 1, 'False Gods', sees our Doctor with faithful companions Hex and Ace arriving in Egypt in the late nineteenth century. They meet one Howard Carter and his assistant, Jane. Howard has yet to make his stunning discovery of King Tut but this dig is showing promise, until the mysterious deaths and disappearance that is. Something has directed the TARDIS to this place...

In Part 2, 'Order Of Simplicity', the team are desperate for a brew but on the bleak island on a bleak planet it looks like there isn't much chance. A professor has been dabbling and he is looking for a very clever person to solve his puzzle. The Doctor is a very, very clever person, so how can he resist?

By Part 3, 'Casualties Of War', the listeners are getting the point about the number 45 though it is still evading our plucky girl and boys. Its 1945 and Ace has come home much to her consternation. She meets a little girl called Audrey and finds some dodgy gear in the sideboard that is definitely 'foreign'.

Finally, Part 4, 'The Word Lord', finds the team getting to the point of all those adventures. In a fiendish little plot that has been well-cooked, they put together 2 and 2 and make 45.

There are CD/download extras featuring the writers of the different episodes and some interviews with the actors.

Overall, it's a charming idea and the short story format works well. Having a tighter time-scale is limiting but it felt energised. The characters have to be quickly drawn and there is no time for huge amounts of chat but that did it no disservice. I particularly like the way it tied up at the end. It is worth re-visiting to pick up all those hints you or maybe just me, missed during transmission. A worthy tribute to a continuing franchise.

Sue Davies

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This book has 69 votes in the sci-fi charts

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