‘HOUSE OF BLUE FIRE’
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The Fear Factor at Blue Fire House
“Fear itself is largely an illusion”, The First Doctor, ‘The Five Doctors’.
Welcome to Blue Fire House! ‘House of Blue Fire’ is another exciting solo adventure with Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor. I enjoyed listening to this audio drama. It’s a story of two halves, as it has a twist with it starting as a spooky haunted house story before it turns into something different.
This is a four-part adventure by Mark Morris. Mark has written for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in ‘Plague of the Daleks’ and ‘Moonflesh’. Mark delivers a creepy story that mainly focuses on four young people who experience their fears. The Doctor is there to help them to fight against their fears.
The story starts with a young woman arriving at Blue Fire House, welcomed by the butler. She has no idea how she got there and she can’t remember her name. She soon meets three more young people in the same position as her. They eventually meet the Doctor, who is the master of Blue Fire House.
I liked how this story plays on the sense of mystery as to what’s going on and making it spooky and creepy throughout. The Doctor doesn’t appear in the story until the end of ‘Part One’. When he does turn up, he knows what is going on as he has come to rescue the four people from their worst fears.
The four young people are nameless at first and are referred to as their room numbers at Blue Fire House. Their names are soon revealed by the second half of the story when things become clearer. I was intrigued about who these people were and wanted to know what their names were in the tale.
There’s Amy Pemberton as Sally Morgan (No. 18); Miranda Keeling as Rachel McMahon (No. 5); Howard Gossington as Toby Dodds (No. 12) and Ray Emmet Brown as Jerome Fisher (No. 16). Each of these four young people have certain phobias and they get to experience them in this audio play.
The phobias are as follows. Rachel (No. 5) suffers from aquaphobia (the fear of water); Toby (No. 12) suffers from catoptrophobia (the fear of mirrors); Jerome (No. 16) suffers from blattodephobia (the fear of cockroaches) and Sally (No. 18) suffers from arthazagoraphobia (the fear of being forgotten).
I liked how the Doctor in this story helps the four young people to face and overcome their fears in order to survive. Each of these four characters experience their fears in unique ways whilst at Blue Fire House and it is pretty terrifying to listen to when someone’s drowning or cockroaches come out.
Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. I really liked how Sylvester’s Doctor is in the know already, but he is determined to save these people. The Doctor also gets to face his fears when he comes up against an enemy that haunts him from his childhood days.
This story has special guest star Timothy West as Soames. I’ve seen Mr West in a number of period TV dramas including ‘Bleak House’ and he’s Prunella Scales’ husband. Mr West delivers a superb performance as Soames, the butler at Blue Fire House. There is also a twist to his character later on.
The lovely Amy Pemberton makes her first appearance as Sally Morgan (No. 18) in ‘Doctor Who’. I love Amy’s performance as Sally. Sally is a nice person who is quite plucky and willing to listen to the Doctor. She may end up being the Doctor’s companion, as she is pretty reliable and resourceful here.
Miranda Keeling is very good as Rachel (No. 5). Rachel is a no-nonsense woman who is very brash, confident, tough and quite aggressive at times. She gets impatient when she demands to know what is going on, despite the Doctor being so hospitable when they’re all having dinner at Blue Fire House.
Howard Gossington is equally good as Toby (No. 12). Toby seems to think of himself as a charmer and eye-catching for the ladies. He thinks highly of himself and is a bit of a prat. He gets on Rachel’s nerves when he’s trying to chat to her and both face the same perils together when they go outside.
Ray Emmet Brown is also good as Jerome (No. 16). Jerome comes across as rather nervous and out of his comfort zone. But Jerome is willing to stay in Blue Fire House like Sally does when Toby and Rachel go off outside. Jerome is easily scared out of his wits when he sees cockroaches coming out.
The enemy in this story is the Mi’en Kalarash. It is an ancient myth from Gallifrey, translated into English as ‘blue fire’. The Kalarash is the Doctor’s worst nightmare since it preys on the worst fears of everybody in this story. It takes on the form of a woman called Eve Pritchard (played by Lizzy Watts).
As I said before, I liked how this story shifts from a spooky story into a sci-fi twist when the Doctor wakes up at the end of ‘Part Two’. In ‘Part Four’, there’s an ‘Avatar’-styled of story featured which I must admit was pretty mind-boggling to listen to. But it was interesting and fascinating nonetheless.
The story concludes with the Doctor managing to defeat the Kalarash and bustles everyone into the TARDIS. The Doctor seems to like Sally Morgan and compliments her. Sally hopes to get a promotion, but the Doctor suggests that she goes AWOL. Does this mean she is going to be a new companion?!
‘House of Blue Fire’ is a great audio story that I have enjoyed. It’s pretty spooky throughout with lots of twists and turns in the story. I enjoyed the performances of Sylvester McCoy, Timothy West and Amy Pemberton in this one. Who knows what’s going to happen next when the Doctor comes back?!
This is the third of the solo 2011 Seventh Doctor trilogy. The previous two stories were ‘Robophobia’ and ‘The Doomsday Quatrain’. Throughout the trilogy, the TARDIS’ exterior has been black. There is still no explanation on why it’s black. I hope I’ll find out more soon as I go through listening to these stories.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music. At the end of Disc 2, there is a trailer for ‘The Silver Turk’ with Paul McGann and Julie Cox. There are also behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews including Sylvester McCoy, Timothy West, Amy Pemberton, etc.
I liked it in the behind-the-scenes interviews when Sylvester McCoy mentions about his work on ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy in New Zealand. It was very interesting to hear him talk about auditioning for Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy as well as talk about his work with Ian McKellen in ‘King Lear’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘House of Blue Fire’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘House of Blue Fire’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘Neptune’ with the Third Doctor, read by Beth Chalmers.
‘House of Blue Fire’ rating – 8/10
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