‘NIGHT OF THE STORMCROW’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Night Adventure For The Doctor and Leela
This is a Big Finish treat for all ‘Doctor Who’ fans!
Announced in 2012, the main range subscriber’s special of ‘Doctor Who’ from Big Finish was revealed. A Christmas treat was in store for ‘Doctor Who’ fans, as another Fourth Doctor adventure was to be released free to subscribers along with ‘1001 Nights’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton.
This two-part story is by Marc Platt, who delivers a dark, creepy and complex story. Marc adds a lot of ingredients to make this story creepy, disturbing and unnerving. The story is well-directed by Nicholas Briggs who is talented in all areas of ‘Doctor Who’ and Big Finish as well as the Dalek voices.
I listened to this two-part adventure for the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ to celebrate Tom Baker. I also listened to it on my way to ‘Big Finish Day 6’ in Slough, January 2014. This audio follows on the success of Season 1 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Night of the Stormcrow’ signed by the lovely Louise Jameson, who now remembers my name! 😀 I’ve enjoyed chatting to Louise about her Big Finish audios as Leela in ‘Doctor Who’, including this one with superb guest performances by Ann Bell and Chase Masterson.
I was genuinely surprised that a Tom Baker audio was chosen to be the subscribers’ CD special release for December 2012. This was because Tom Baker’s Doctor isn’t one of the main range Doctors and I also know that this audio story is more suited to ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ range.
Also it was a two-part adventure, as normally for a subscriber CD release it would be a one-hour adventure. But I was delighted to have this audio adventure as part of my subscription from Big Finish in December, 2012. It’s also a nice treat to hear another Doctor and Leela adventure on audio.
In this, the Doctor and Leela help a group of four people at an observatory on an island. The story is set at night as an extraordinary creature called the Stormcrow comes out to feed on fear and time. It also lets out something evil and dangerous. Can the Doctor and Leela stop the Stormcrow’s menace?
Marc Platt’s inspiration for this adventure came from his experience of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling there was something wrong and lurking in the shadows. This is an idea that we can easily relate to, as I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and have felt uncomfortable about it.
Louise Jameson delivers an amazing performance as Leela in this audio drama. In the Big Finish audios, Leela is a more interesting character as she isn’t a simple savage that she was on TV. Leela seems to be good at picking things up. She’s so willing to learn despite being a huntress all of her life.
I also liked how Leela is willing to help. She is determined to carry on hunting, despite when she thinks the Doctor has abandoned her. I loved the moment when Leela offers Trevor a jelly baby. There are some nice links to ‘The Face of Evil’ in connection to Leela’s past and what she believes in.
Tom Baker is superb as the Doctor in this. I enjoyed how he and Leela arrive and that he wants to help the people at the observatory. He deals with the Stormcrow and knows about the ‘no-things’. I didn’t like it when Tom’s Doctor got taken over by one of the ‘no-things’ and he got nasty with Leela.
Tom’s Doctor has a knack of making pancakes which I liked in this. I liked the relationship the Doctor develops with Professor Gesima, as he tries to understand what goes on at the observatory. It was a relief when the Doctor was back to normal and he defies Gesima when he’s stopping the Stormcrow.
Chase Masterson guest stars as Peggy Brooks, director at the observatory. I was delighted as Chase played Leeta, the Daboo girl in ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’. Peggy can be quite bitchy to the people she works with. She readily dismisses the Doctor and Leela for who they are and why they’ve come.
Ann Bell (who worked with Louise Jameson in ‘Tenko’) guest stars as Professor Gesima Cazalet. Gesima is a scientist working at the observatory. She is obsessed with claiming the Stormcrow as her own discovery and should be careful for her wishes. I liked the bitter rivalry between her and Peggy.
The guest cast also includes Jonathan Forbes as Trevor Gale and Mandi Symonds as Erica McMillian. I liked Trevor, who is scared when the darkness comes for him. I also like Erica, who gets knocked out and taken over by the ‘no-things’. But she comes out alright and shares some nice scenes with Leela.
The concepts of the no-things and the Stormcrow are frightening and disturbing. Sometimes it’s hard to visualise it on audio with the no-things as there’s ‘nothing’ there and you have to use your imagination. It’s disturbing when time gets eaten away and when a no-thing latches onto the Doctor.
The Stormcrow creature is amazingly disturbing to listen to and seeing it on the CD cover gives one the shivers. It is meant to be a carrion devourer in the shape of a giant crow. It also uses Erica as a medium to speak. It was quite terrifying when the Stormcrow kills one or two people in the process.
The CD extras are as follows. There’s a trailer for Season 2 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and John Leeson. There are also behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Chase Masterson, Ann Bell; writer Marc Platt, director Nicholas Briggs; etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘1001 Nights’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription with ‘Night of the Stormcrow’, you’ll get the following extras. As well as this story in the post, there is also a PDF script of ‘Night of the Stormcrow’ on download. There’s a two-part making-of documentary called ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures Retrospective’ that goes with ‘Night of the Stormcrow’.
‘Night of the Stormcrow’ is an enjoyable CD release by Big Finish and an intriguing Christmas treat with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. If you’re into the Fourth Doctor and Leela, you should have no problem enjoying this one. It’s a complex story, but with a few listens it shouldn’t worry you much.
‘Night of the Stormcrow’ rating – 8/10
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