‘U.N.I.T. Dominion’ (Audio)

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‘U.N.I.T.: DOMINION’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Doctor, Raine, Klein and U.N.I.T.

This is one ‘epic’ ‘Doctor Who’ box set by Big Finish!

‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ is a 5-disc box set of ‘Doctor Who’ starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, with Beth Chalmers as Raine Creevy; Tracey Childs as Elizabeth Klein and Alex MacQueen as ‘the other Doctor’. I enjoyed listening to this box set so much and it’s worth having in your collection!

I purchased this box set as well as ‘Love and War’ from Amazon.co.uk to celebrate the Seventh Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ for the 50th anniversary. I’ve now had the box set cover of ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ signed by Alex Macqueen, who I’ve met at ‘Big Finish Day 6’ in Slough, January 2015.

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‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ is a four-part 60-minute episode story by Jason Arnopp and Nicholas Briggs that is spread across the first four discs. The fifth disc is a behind-the-scenes documentary that focuses on the making of ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews.

The story of ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ takes place mostly on Earth and it is set during the period towards the end of the Seventh Doctor’s life. He travels with his companion Raine and they both join forces with Klein and U.N.I.T. to stop a terrible crisis of invading aliens and a deadly enemy.


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PART ONE

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The first two episodes have plots with the Doctor and Raine and Klein and the ‘other Doctor’.

The first episode begins with Elizabeth Klein working for U.N.I.T, and a series of alien invasions take place on Earth. Klein also meets someone who claims to be a future Doctor. Can it be true?

Meanwhile the Seventh Doctor and Raine travel in the TARDIS, until they crash through a dimensional barrier. They then end up in an alternate reality and soon meet these alien Tolians.

I found it took a while for the Doctor and Raine to meet up with U.N.I.T. in the first two episodes. But I was able to easily visualise the earth setting and military atmosphere for U.N.I.T.

Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor is interesting in this story. He’s not the cunning, manipulative Doctor we know as he’s on his way to regeneration in ‘The TV Movie’. But he still gets to stand out well.

The Doctor is intrigued by meeting someone who claims to be a future him. I liked the Doctor’s scenes with Raine as he shares his wisdom with her when they both discuss helping the Tolians.

Beth Chalmers returns as Raine Creevy. Raine appeared in the lost Season 27 of ‘Doctor Who’ from ‘Crime of the Century’ to ‘Earth Aid’. I was happy to hear Raine back with the Doctor in this.

I was surprised Raine was with an older Seventh Doctor. I wondered why she was with him and how she got to be there in the first place. It turns out she joins him now and again in the TARDIS.

There’s a cameo appearance of Sophie Aldred as Ace. The Doctor and Raine left Ace on Gallifrey. Why, I do not know! Ace sends a message to the Doctor and Raine. What it was, I don’t know! 😀

Tracey Childs returns as Elizabeth Klein. Klein met the Doctor in ‘Colditz’ and was with him from ‘A Thousand Tiny Wings’ to ‘The Architects of History’. She’s now the scientific advisor to U.N.I.T.

Klein has been haunted recently and knows it has something to do with the Doctor. She’s surprised to meet a future Doctor who claims to know her but doesn’t know of their adventures.

Alex Macqueen stars as ‘the other Doctor’. I was surprised to find another Doctor we’ve never met before. I wondered who this Doctor was since I suspected he was not who he claimed to be.

This ‘new’ Doctor is a vibrant and energetic character. His methods are a little sharp for my liking, but he seems willing to help and be involved in the action of U.N.I.T. when danger’s afoot.

There’s also Julian Dutton as Colonel Lafayette, who is in charge of U.N.I.T. The colonel thinks highly of himself, since he always likes to show his face on the TV and he clashes with Klein a lot.

There’s also Bradley Gardner as Sergeant Wilson (not the ‘Dad’s Army’ one). He’s a Welsh soldier doing his job and is the human emotional heart of the story with a wife expecting a baby.

In this episode, there are monsters that U.N.I.T. encounter called Mind Leeches that hang on the ceiling. The leeches attack some of the U.N.I.T. soldiers before the ‘other’ Doctor sorts them out.

The episode ends with the Doctor and Raine trapped in a dimensional corridor. It also ends with Klein, U.N.I.T. and the ‘other’ Doctor seeing these gigantic heads in the sky high above the Earth.


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PART TWO

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The second episode begins where the first episode left off, as the Earth invasions continue.

Klein, the ‘other’ Doctor and U.N.I.T. try to make contact with these gigantic heads in the sky. As a result, Colonel Lafayette gets killed in the process which sees the end of him for this epic story.

The ‘other’ Doctor manages to gain control of the ‘Skyheads’ as he calls them, by using hypnotic commands with his eyes. This indicates some more clues onto who this ‘other’ Doctor’s really is.

I found the Skyheads, voiced by Alex Mallinson, very terrifying to listen to on audio. They’ve got big booming voices that sound like fog horns and it seems these heads aren’t to be antagonized.

The U.N.I.T. forces are then taken over by Sam Clemens as Major Wyland-Jones. The Major is a no-nonsense army-type and isn’t into appearances in the TV as the fallen Colonel Lafayette was.

Klein and the ‘other’ Doctor react against the Major’s ruthlessness, especially as the Doctor wants his TARDIS from U.N.I.T. Klein and the others don’t like the Major looking in their records.

As the story progresses, Klein gets to be more suspicious of the ‘other’ Doctor’s behaviour and his methods. This is when she questions him, especially as he caused the deaths of many people.

Klein gets to have her own adventure as she and Sergeant Wilson go to Germany as ordered by Major Wyland-Jones. On the way to Germany, they run into these deadly lava-shooting spiders.

We learn more of Sergeant Wilson who misses his wife Sylvie and wants to be there with her for the birth of their baby. But the Major wants him to do his job for the survival of the human race.

I’m afraid I found the Seventh Doctor and Raine’s story limiting in this episode. They haven’t met up with Klein, U.N.I.T. or the ‘other’ Doctor yet, and this won’t take place until the third episode.

The Doctor and Raine make their way through the dimensional corridor to find a way out as they’ve lost the TARDIS. Raine becomes increasingly tired as the Doctor helps her to stay awake.

There’s another appearance of Ace in this episode. Ace manages to get through via telepathic contact with the Doctor and Raine from the Time Lords, though her message is still very unclear.

I really liked it when in the episode the Doctor persuades Raine to use her safe-crackling skills to get out of the dimensional corridor. It works as they soon find themselves in another dimension.

The dimension they entered in is a volcanic world full of lava-spiders. They have to survive by the skin of their teeth as they enter into some caves and get away from the lava and the spiders.

The lava spiders are a terrifying form of monster in this episode. They can shoot lava-like webs that smashes a U.N.I.T. jeep with Klein, Wilson and German U.N.I.T. officer Hauptman Byer in it.

Byer gets killed and Klein and Wilson are about to fried alive by the lava-like webs of the spiders. But they are saved by the ‘other’ Doctor who rides in on the Skyheads and comes to the rescue.

The episode ends with Klein, Wilson and the ‘other’ Doctor finding the valley with the lava-spiders. The Doctor and Raine follow the lava-spiders into the valley until the spiders come back.


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PART THREE

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The third episode has the Seventh Doctor and Raine meet Klein, the ‘other’ Doctor and U.N.I.T.

The Doctor and Raine are rescued by the ‘other Doctor’ from the attacking lava-spiders in the valley. The Doctor and Raine soon meet up with Klein and head on their way back to U.N.I.T. HQ.

The Doctor and Raine discover that whilst meeting the ‘other Doctor’ already, it hasn’t happened for the ‘other Doctor’ yet. Perhaps there’s more to it than the Doctor and Raine know.

I liked it when the Seventh Doctor reunites with Klein. Klein is easily suspicious of both Doctors and is not so willing to trust them, especially as the Seventh Doctor interfered with her timeline.

Raine finds Klein scary when her Doctor reunites with her. The Doctor soon tells Raine, with the ‘other Doctor’ in earshot of them, that Klein was once this former Nazi in an alternative timeline.

The Doctor makes it clear that Klein mustn’t remember her former life before joining U.N.I.T. This is because it would result in catastrophe, should Klein remember or if the Doctor talks of it.

Meanwhile, the invasions of Earth continue. There are attacks on Germany, America and Japan by various creatures from other dimensions that the Doctor and party encounter in this episode.

There are the metallic Cubes that attack America. These cubes emit a blue beam of light that turns red which means chaos. U.N.I.T. in America can’t even make contact with these odd cubes.

There are also space octopuses called the Nexus that attack Tokyo in Japan. Each of the octopus’ tentacles has heads and alien voices. These voices are given by Miranda Keeling and Ben Porter.

This story would have been impossible to film as four hour-length TV episodes. It would have required a Hollywood movie budget full of locations; aliens and lots of action-packed sequences.

Major Wyland-Jones separates the Doctor from Raine in the episode. The Doctor goes with Klein to deal with the Cubes; while Raine joins the ‘other Doctor’ and Wilson to tackle with the Nexus.

I really liked Raine’s interaction with Sergeant Wilson. She’s seemingly flirting with him, learning that he is married and Raine tells Wilson how she suspects the ‘other Doctor’ is up to something.

The ‘other Doctor’, Raine and Wilson get to speak to the Nexus individually by talking to different heads. The ‘other Doctor’ seems to makes a deal with the Nexus which gets suspicious.

I liked how the Seventh Doctor and Klein handle things in America. Klein is unwilling to trust her ‘umbrella man’ and the Doctor is struggling to explain why he’s keeping watch on her at U.N.I.T.

Something serious happens whilst in America, as the cubes merge together to form one gigantic cube. The Doctor and Klein realise that it’ll mean all the walls of the dimensions will break down.

The ‘other Doctor’ eventually demands for a dimensional node from Klein and threatens to have his TARDIS back. Once he gets these things, he escapes into his TARDIS with the Seventh Doctor.

The episode ends with the Seventh Doctor inside the ‘other Doctor’s TARDIS. It turns out that the ‘other Doctor’ isn’t the Doctor at all. He’s actually the Doctor’s greatest enemy…the Master!


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PART FOUR

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The fourth and final episode brings ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ to a fantastic, epic conclusion.

I was stunned to discover Alex Macqueen was actually the Master all along. All the clues made sense, and this episode certainly shows his true colours and it reveals what his plans really were.

Alex McQueen’s Master puts forward the question of where he is in his timeline. Is he a Master before ‘The Deadly Assassin’ or after ‘The TV Movie’? It doesn’t get revealed in this audio drama.

I liked the prologue scene at the beginning of ‘Part Four’ set on Gallifrey. In that, the Master steals the dimensional nodes and he zaps one Time Lord with his tissue compression eliminator.

The scenes between the Doctor and the Master are tantalising to listen to. The Doctor learns more of the Master’s plans to collapse the dimensions and making this alliance with the Tolians.

The Master uses his ‘Doctor’ alias again when he’s interacting with Klein; Raine and U.N.I.T. He also imprisons the Doctor in that dimensional corridor with the Tolians and this gets dangerous.

The Doctor is offered a deal by the Master to join forces and take control of the dimensions. But the Doctor gets to win his way through to Arunzell, leader of the Tolians, to distrust the Master.

Raine Creevy has a bad time since she gets locked up at a U.N.I.T. prison when her Doctor goes missing. Sergeant Wilson brings her food and Raine still manages to strike a chemistry with him.

Eventually Klein and U.N.I.T. suspect the ‘other’ Doctor’s motives when seeing evidence on a CCTV camera. They soon free Raine in order for her to tell them what she and her Doctor know.

Earth gets attacked by the Tolians who invade from their dimension. The Tolians are different to the ones the Doctor and Raine met, as they’ve grown bigger and seem so ferocious than before.

The Master eventually has Klein, Raine, Wilson and Major Wyland-Jones in his TARDIS. They suspect once the Master becomes violent and threatens with his tissue compression eliminator.

The Master also reveals Klein’s true identity right in front of her, which shocks Raine. Klein eventually realises who she was before until the Master soon forces everyone out of his TARDIS.

The Doctor soon defeats the Master in the dimensional corridor as Arunzell turns against him. The Doctor also has his key and escapes into his TARDIS, whilst the Master tussles with Arunzell.

But the Master isn’t dead. Arunzell grows weaker, giving the chance for the Master to escape in his own TARDIS to fight another day. Who knows when we’ll see this version of the Master next!

The Doctor reunites with Raine and U.N.I.T., telling them of his ordeal. Wilson soon sees his wife Sylvie, who has a baby boy instead of a girl. But Raine sees that something is wrong with Wilson.

I liked how things are resolved between the Doctor and Klein. I wondered whether Klein would revert back to her old Nazi self, but she soon rescues the Doctor when Wilson tries to shoot him.

This episode ends with the Doctor and Raine returning to the TARDIS and Klein escorting them. Who knows where the Doctor and Raine will go next and when Klein will meet the Doctor again?


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BEHIND-THE-SCENES DOCUMENTARY

The fifth disc of this box set contains an engrossing, in-depth, behind-the-scenes documentary looking at the making of ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’. It contains behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew as they talk about how they enjoyed making the story from its massive epic script.

The interviewees include Sylvester McCoy; Tracey Childs; Beth Chalmers and Alex Macqueen. There’s also the supporting cast members like Bradley Gardner; Miranda Keeling; Ben Porter; Sam Clemens; Julian Dutton and Alex Mallinson. And there’s director/co-writer Nicholas Briggs.

I liked how Nick Briggs makes mention of the scripting and scheduling problems in his writers/director’s notes for the CD and the documentary. The documentary also includes the problem when Sylvester wasn’t around when he worked in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy at the same time.

The documentary includes an indulgent section of the character of Klein and how she’s developed gradually since ‘Colditz’ to the point she’s at in ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’. There’s also an equally, indulgent section of the casting of Alex Macqueen as the Master and how it developed.

I found it fascinating how many of the supporting cast played a variety of characters in the story. Alex Mallinson certainly has a wide variety of characters to perform including Americans; Japanese and German. I enjoyed how some talk about working with Sylvester McCoy in this tale.

The documentary ends with Nick Briggs pointing out the unsolved questions in ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’. These include a relatively new Raine joining an older Doctor; the appearances of Ace; where the Master is in his timeline. These questions will be answered in other adventures.

There’s an additional outtake at the end of the box set where Nick Briggs is being interviewed for the ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ box set. It sounds so amusing, especially when the producer David Richardson interviewing him, saying that ‘someone’ is more interesting than Nicholas Briggs. 😀

I liked how this box set is put together with cover designs for the individual CDs and the box set by Alex Mallinson. The four episode covers feature the Doctor; Klein; Raine and the Master adorning them; and include pictures inside the CD covers to identify who’s who during the story.

‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ has been one big epic story. I enjoyed listening to it when celebrating the Seventh Doctor era for the 50th anniversary. It’s opened up more of the worlds of Big Finish to me, especially since I met characters like Klein and the Alex Macqueen Master for the first time.

‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ rating – 9/10


The previous story

For the Seventh Doctor was

  • ‘Keepsake’ (Audio)

For Klein was

For Raine was

  • ‘Earth Aid’ (Audio)
The next story

For the Seventh Doctor is

  • ‘The Shadow Heart’ (Audio)

For Klein is

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2 Responses to ‘U.N.I.T. Dominion’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007 says:

    Epic review Tim this is possibly one of your best ever reviews mate & puts my shabby efforts to shame.

    The detail & explanation about this outstanding story is commendable Tim you have written a detailed summary of the plot, characters & contents that tell you everything you need to know.

    I love this box set it’s in my top 20 all time favourite Doctor Who audio dramas, tense, action packed, solid acting, great production values definitely worthy of 9/10.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley says:

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ and very pleased you found it epic! 😀

    These box set ‘Doctor Who’ reviews are a challenge for me to write and I have to review each episode in turn in order to give a justified and well-deserved summary of the story. I’m pleased that it’s paid off in this review for ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ and I enjoy the process of reviewing ‘Doctor Who’ box set stories like ‘U.N.I.T.: Dominion’ and ‘Dark Eyes’.

    I’m pleased I enjoyed listening to this box-set story to celebrate the Seventh Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ for the 50th anniversary.

    Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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