‘The Silver Turk’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Mary Shelley’s trip in the TARDIS with Vienna and Cybermen

‘The Silver Turk’ is a four-part story with Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

I like Paul McGann’s Doctor and it’s great to have his resurgence in the Big Finish audios to make up for his short-lived TV era in ‘The TV Movie’. It was a nice treat when I subscribed to Big Finish and received the first adventure of the 2011 trilogy with the Eighth Doctor and an unlikely new companion!

The Eighth Doctor’s life has greatly expanded in the audio adventures as well as in the books and comics. Initially, he had a long run of adventures with Charley Pollard and then with Lucie Miller. Here, we begin this side-step trilogy of stories where the Eighth Doctor travels with Julie Cox as Mary Shelley.

‘The Silver Turk’ follows directly after ‘The Company of Friends: Mary’s Story’. I’m not very familiar with the works of Mary Shelley, other than that she wrote ‘Frankenstein’. I didn’t understand how she came to be travelling with the Eighth Doctor, but that was before I even heard ‘The Company of Friends’.

David Schneider, Nicholas Briggs, Claire Wyatt, Gareth Armstrong, Julie Cox and Christian Brassington in ‘The Silver Turk’.

I enjoyed listening to the Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley in ‘The Silver Turk’. The two work so well together and are a perfect fitting. It makes Paul McGann’s Byronic nature stand out well when interacting with Mary Shelley. Paul McGann and Julie Cox seem to enjoy working together in this audio.

The story opens with a brand-new theme tune for ‘Doctor Who’ composed by Jamie Robertson. He also provides the incidental music for this story. The new theme tune is pretty exciting and is so rich in music. Mind you, I really prefer the David Arnold theme where it concerns the Eighth Doctor stories.

‘The Silver Turk’ is Mary Shelley’s first trip in the TARDIS and the Doctor takes her to Vienna. In this, they witness the Vienna Exposition. But something’s amiss when someone gets brutally murdered. This leads the Doctor and Mary to discover an automaton called the ‘Silver Turk’…which is a Cyberman!

This audio adventure feels like a proper classical period drama by the BBC with its nineteenth century setting; music and atmosphere. It makes the story pretty enjoyable and intriguing to listen to. It’s a very well-written audio story by Marc Platt and it contains lots of ideas and threads connecting together.

David Schneider and Julie Cox in ‘The Silver Turk’.

I like Julie Cox as Mary Shelley. I don’t know much about Mary Shelley as an historical figure, but from listening to Julie’s performance I could easily get into her character. Julie is lovely to listen to with a clear voice and a warm personality. It’s a really intriguing portrayal of this historical character on audio.

Paul McGann excels as the Doctor in this adventure. He’s enthusiastic when it comes to showing Mary the wonders and sights of Vienna as well as confronting his old enemies the Cybermen. His Byronic character suits him well for 19th century Vienna and I like that he gets on really well with Mary Shelley.

Gareth Armstrong guest stars as the story’s villain, Dr Johan Drossel. Gareth has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before appearing in ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ with Tom Baker. He also did ‘The Renaissance Man’. Gareth is great as a villain! Drossel is an inventor of marionette puppets that are life-like and horrifying.

There’s also David Schneider as Ernst Bratfisch, a horse and cab driver. Bratfisch is quite an interesting character since he helps the Doctor and Mary and has seen and heard what’s been happening with the murder victims. He takes part to help, but is pretty reluctant to listen to the Doctor’s explanations.

Christian Brassington and Claire Wyatt in ‘The Silver Turk’.

There’s Christian Brassington as Albert Stahlbaum. He’s a misguided and arrogant person who has high delusions of grandeur. He loves Countess Mitzi Wittenmeier and is under the delusion that he invented the Turk himself. He becomes a difficult person when the Doctor interferes during this story.

There also are the Wittenmeiers. There’s Gwilym Lee, who I’ve heard in the Fifth Doctor audio adventure ‘The Emerald Tiger’, as Rolf. And there’s Claire Wyatt, who I’ve heard in two Fifth Doctor and Nyssa audio stories which are ‘Return to the Web Planet’ and ‘The Boy That Time Forgot’, as Mitzi.

There are two Cybermen featured in this story and they are the ‘Mondas originals’ as shown on the story’s CD cover with their cloth faces and exposed human hands. These Cybermen were in ‘The Tenth Planet’. They’re not my favourite Cybermen since they have really strange voices and a strange design.

Marc Platt has written a story with Cybermen like these before since he did the classic ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audio story called ‘Spare Parts’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. There’s a reference to that story in this one too. Interesting Marc decided to use them again in this story for Mary Shelley to meet.

The Cybermen have names in this adventure. Although Cybermen don’t usually have names, they did have them in ‘The Tenth Planet’ and ‘Spare Parts’. The two Cybermen are Gramm who works for Drossel; and Bremm who is the Silver Turk, owned by Stahlbaum, to play the piano and also play chess.

I call the ‘Mondas originals’ Cybermen the ‘confused’ Cybermen in terms of their weird voices. But Nicholas Briggs, who does the Cybermen voices, provides a different edge and tone to their voices compared to what ‘The Tenth Planet’ did. They’re not so musical in this as they sound more emotional.

Now the Cybermen I know and love are meant to be emotionless, aren’t they? They’re meant to be mechanical zombies. I didn’t find that to be the case with these Cybermen and it got me confused as to why they would be emotional. Mind you, the Cybermen were damaged during a crash-landing here.

I found it rather strange when a Cyberman was groaning in pain or became upset. It made me wonder what happened to their emotional inhibitors. I did find Gramm’s scenes with Mary Shelley to be effective in this adventure, but I’m not sure about Gramm telling Drossel to “Go to hell…!” That felt wrong.

Gwilym Lee, Christian Brassington, Gareth Armstrong, Claire Wyatt, Nicholas Briggs, Julie Cox and writer Marc Platt in ‘The Silver Turk’.

Drossel makes life-like puppets, including ones for the Doctor and Mary. I found it eerie, strange and quite disturbing when I heard these puppets that didn’t have any eyes. Mary keeps repeating “Doctor! Doctor!” and the Doctor goes “Mary, is that you?” before revealing that he hasn’t any eyes. (shudders)

At the story’s conclusion, the Doctor and Mary defeat Drossel and destroy all his puppets. The Cybermen are now dead. The Doctor offers to take Mary home due to an emotional outburst she had. But Mary wishes to continue travelling with the Doctor since he promised her ‘the stars’. That’s lovely!

There’s a post-credits sequence to listen out for at the end. It features Mitzi and Alfred Stahlbaum introducing a new act to their audience. It happens to be…the Silver Doctor. Apparently not all of Drossel’s puppets were destroyed. I found it quite disturbing with hearing Paul McGann as the puppet.

‘The Silver Turk’ is a fascinating and enjoyable ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure. I didn’t find the Cybermen to be great, but it’s a great beginning to Mary Shelley’s travels with the Eighth Doctor. I’m glad I heard this adventure and it does feel like a classic BBC period drama within this historical setting.

The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. This includes a lullaby performed by Claire Wyatt as Mitzi. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘The Witch From The Well’ with Paul McGann and Julie Cox. There’s also a brief selection of behind-the-scenes interviews with Nicholas Briggs, Paul McGann and Julie Cox.

If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Silver Turk’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras for ‘The Silver Turk’.

‘The Silver Turk’ rating – 8/10

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For Mary Shelley was

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For the Eighth Doctor is

  • ‘The Witch From The Well’ (Audio)

For Mary Shelley is

  • ‘The Witch From The Well’ (Audio)
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4 thoughts on “‘The Silver Turk’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    A fantastic summary of this excellent audio drama, I love this one, Cybermen my favourite monsters, Eighth Doctor written by Marc Platt…..enough said.

    Tense, terrifying, suspenseful & atmospheric definitely one to listen too with the lights off.

    Wait till you hear the Warzone/Conversion & what the Doctor does at the end, be very interested hear your thoughts & if you’d done something similar in your stories.

    Bare with me Tim, i will read the short trips & your new story it’s just i have little time at minute & when i do i fall asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you love this audio drama. It is very good with the Eighth Doctor, Cybermen and Mary Shelley in it. I hope I’ll get to revisit and review the rest of the Eighth Doctor/Mary Shelley trilogy soon.

      I’ll be interested in how they tackle a Cybermen/Mary Shelley story in Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’. Whether Julie Cox reprises her role as Mary Shelley on TV, I don’t know.

      I have heard ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’ already. I’ve got my reviews for those two stories ready to be released in December. It’ll be a while before I get to release my Cybermen story ‘Neptune Connect’ with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy. Hopefully it’ll be worth waiting for.

      No worries. I look forward to hearing from you on what you make of my latest stories including ‘The Paul Spragg ReCollections’ anthology Short Trips I’ve done and ‘The Prime Factor’. I’m pleased I’ve impressed Wolfie on the DU forum already with ‘The Prime Factor’. I’m halfway writing ‘The Dimension Serpents’ with the Fourth Doctor and Private James by the way.

      I love the covers for ‘The Crimson Lion’ and ‘The Popiz’ provided in ‘The Paul Spragg ReCollections’ anthology. Have you seen them?

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. Timelord 007

    I have seen the covers & they are impressive Tim, was it harder writing a short story compared to a longer one? I guess you have to scale back & make it more intricate.

    Private James & Fourth Doctor i can’t wait, does Private James say “my arms, my legs, my everything” lol.

    Listening to Silver Turk later tonight your review teased me to give it a listen, been ages since i heard it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Short stories can be harder to write especially when you’re having to limit yourself to a word count of 7500. But I enjoyed the challenge and it helped me with reanalysing the story to make it compact and improved upon. The Divergent Wordsmiths editors also added more to the stories compared to when I sent the first versions to them. They seem to have made them far better than I would’ve anticipated. 🙂

      Hmm. I hadn’t thought of putting that line in the story yet. I’ll see if I can work it in somehow for the Doctor to react to. 😀

      Glad my review has persuaded you to listen to ‘The Silver Turk’ again. Enjoy!

      Tim. 🙂



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