01/06/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 2CDs 100 minutes and extras. Price: CD: £14.99 (UK), download: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-448-1)cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Alex Macqueen, James D'Arcy, Helen Goldwyn, Andree Bernard, Teddy Kempner, Claire Wyatt and Richard Earl.
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
'Paradise 5' is a found lost story that has been adapted for audio from the original PJ Hammond script by Andy Lane. It's no mean feat when it takes place in Paradise.
The Doctor and Peri are investigating the disappearance of Professor Albrecht Thomson, last heard of setting off for the exotic resort of Paradise 5. So exclusive it's by invitation only but Thompson has not returned. The two of them decide to head there themselves and while the Doctor chooses to hide in the hold of the shuttle, he insists that Peri should go as staff. At least she gets a cabin and spends several hours persuading the computer she should be able to sample the refreshments for 'training' purposes.
When Peri meets the manager she shouldn't be surprised he is called Gabriel and is dressed all in white. His assistant is called Michael and it might be advisable to remember that those two angels guarded the gates of Paradise rather fiercely. In fact, these two do much more than that as we find out later. Meanwhile, we can enjoy their deliciously acerbic double act. Gabriel (played by the sublime Alex ('The Thick Of It') MacQueen is all 'dear-heart' this and that would as soon poison the gin and tonics as look at you. Michael is the wiz with systems and as played by James D'Arcy is the foil to the wit of Gabriel.
We are also introduced to the non-related Stella and Bella who happen to look exactly alike and Lorelei the hostess who does the bidding of the angels. The cast of not-thousands is rounded off by the guests of Paradise 5, who manage to retain individuality despite being played by members of the small cast. It seems that Paradise 5 has more than a little in common with Hotel California. 'You can check out anytime you like-'
This is another convoluted tale which can be enjoyed more than once. There is time for everything as it does last two hours and there is time for luscious and catty dialogue from the Angels, the introduction of a new alien called the Elohim and a life-form called the Cherubs. Peri's costumes as described are also a pervert's paradise. It was Andy Lane's desire to get the bikini scene into the play that caused the creation of the massive aquarium on Paradise 5. Luckily for the budget and Peri's blushes, it's all in sound only.
'Paradise 5' is another example of a story that has been updated and adapted for audio from those set-aside in the 1980s. The original script by PJ Hammond has been worked on by Andy Lane. Originally rejected by the producer John Nathan-Turner, it meant Hammond didn't work on anything Doctor Who-ish until 2006 when he wrote 'Small Worlds' for 'Torchwood' and went on to write 'From Out Of The Rain'. There is plenty of detail on the extras to get fans up to speed with the background to its inclusion in this series.
Overall, this is another good addition to the 'Lost Stories'. There is a lot of attention to detail and, despite being set on a space station, it manages to introduce a variety of locations including a world of ticker tape and virtual space. There is a lot of sparkly dialogue and some reflection on the effects this life has on both Peri and the Doctor. Very enjoyable.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA