Okay it is easier to summaries the whole release than to individually review each episode as the whole thing. The first thing straight off the back is that I was not expecting to like this, I was in fact expecting this to be a bit of a traumatic experience which I would compare to listening to the dreaded Scherzo or the other proceeding two releases in the 8th Doctor range to this day I recall with dread. To be fair I haven’t ever had a really bad experience with Bernice releases, some have been somewhat dry, but, you have to approach each release with an open mind I feel. So that is what I did with this release. The most exciting part of this is that we have Lisa Bowerman at the helm, accompanied by the stalwart David Warner as the unbound Doctor, and of course the sprinkling of Mark Gatiss as the Master. Although the appearance of Mark does not occur until the last episode, it is well worth the wait. Stand out line as to be the one where The Master comments could you ever see him in a supermarket, I think that summaries the whole thing up a treat. The first story in our 4 part box set is that of Bernice trying to find the Apocalypse Clock, the fabled device that will save the universe, will she find it, the Doctor as faith as he is the one who has sent on this exploration. The only issue is that like most adventures, there is a slight problem with the locals, in the shape of the dead ones don’t really want her to have it. We are now off on the path of 4 hours of fun. The second installment is rather insightful, one of those things that when you listen to it you think, this should have been done years before, I know lets put the Doctor on the psychiatrists chair and see what makes him tick (pun intended there), this episode explores a side of this Doctor that belies the simple fact that unlike the other chronological ones, he actually cares beyond reason for what he is and has achieved and feels somewhat responsible for it and the people, and entities in it. Rather a cleverly executed exercise in the use of the theme here and David Warner shines like the star that he is in this amazingly brightly. Before we know we are onto episode 3 of the release, So bored with his position of being the ruler of the universe that he decides to have a little holiday of his own, and wanders off, needless to say the Sisters of Mercy send Bernice after him to try and track him down. He and Bernice end intertwined with the need to sort out a race war, and the Doctor is trying his best to keep his temper, again a wonderful line in this episode is when the Doctor and Bernice are both gassed in a taxi, and the Doctor almost with a smile on his face instead of showing panic, remarks how wonderful it is. Again emphasis here is on laughs and giggles and it makes for a entertaining and rewarding release. So we are finally at the door of the last episode that of the True Savior enter in true style of dramatic pathos the Master, the Doctor who is tired and worn, himself as also worn out the patience of the government he serves, and they question his ability to rule. The Doctor in a rather unprecedented move relinquishes his control in order for of all people the Master to take on the Savior of the Universe role, one in which he can unleash the power of the Apocalypse Clock to preserve the universe. Of course it’s subterfuge and if you cannot see what is coming then you have not been paying attention., the whole episode starts to unravel and the real plan of the Doctor comes to the fore in a momentous and satisfying conclusion.
What can I say but my initial fears where non founded and the entertainment that I gained from listening to this release are immeasurable, this is one of the best Bernice Summerfileds for a country mile and one which I certainly highly recommend. Everything just ticks and is a 4 hour adventure worth every minute of the listen
Stories contained there in are: –
1) The City And The Clock by Guy Adams
2) Asking For A Friend by James Goss
3) Truant by Guy Adams
4) The True Savior Of The Universe by James Goss