Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Audio Review: Vengeance of the Stones

Vengeance of the Stones
by Andrew Smith 

Vengeance of The Stones is a new audio adventure for the Third Doctor in the 50th Anniversary AudioGO/Big Finish collaboration series, Destiny of the Doctor.

After an RAF fighter vanishes from the air in Scotland, the Doctor, the Brigadier, and UNIT are called in to solve the mystery. The pair enlist the help of a local military officer - a certain lieutenant Mike Yates. It soon becomes apparent that there is a link to a number of stone circles that are plentiful in this part of Scotland. Yates is abducted by an alien race with an affinity for stone and a grudge against humanity, and it’s up to the Doctor to save his new friend Mike and the entire planet.

The narrative is set between Liz Shaw’s departure and Jo Grant’s arrival which feels like a fresh idea as it’s a fairly untapped era for Pertwee’s Doctor. The story isn’t going to knock your socks off but it fills-in-the-blanks and genuinely feels like good old Seventies Who. Where the previous story in the range, Shadows of Death, typified the base-under-siege feel of the Troughton era, Vengeance of The Stones mirrors the Pertwee era’s earthbound action sequences and rural horror.

It’s great to see Mike Yates throwing himself into his first alien incursion; he doesn’t shy away but handles himself calmly, proving his worth to earn a secondment to UNIT and promotion to captain.

The idea to take stone circles and explain them away with an alien connection feels a little obvious. That aside, my real criticism of the Destiny of The Doctor series is its two-hander style which at times can prove not to be the best at holding one's focus. When compared with a more engaging full-cast-audio, narrative pieces always seem a little flat to me.

Actors Richard Franklin (who played the aforementioned Mike Yates on screen) and Trevor Littledale carry the piece well whilst writer Andrew Smith (Full Circle) has done a good job creating the long left untold story of how Mike Yates joined UNIT. It fleshes out Mike Yates character nicely and is worth a listen just to join up one of the remaining gaps in continuity. 

BLOGTOR RATING 7/10
Thanks to AudioGo

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