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Ergostorms and Hargreaves with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan
Would you like some tea, as Hargreaves would say?
I enjoyed listening to the two ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories ‘Aquitaine’ and ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ during the Easter weekend for 2016! They’re by Big Finish and feature the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan in them. The stories have been great adventures with tremendous performances by the cast!
When I attended the ‘Fantom Films at Memorabilia 2016’ convention in March 2016, Sarah asked if I had heard those two stories yet. I told her I hadn’t since they didn’t arrive in the post on time before I saw her there. Now I’ve had the CD covers of the two stories signed by Sarah and I’m very pleased!
‘Aquitaine’ is a thrilling adventure set on a spaceship with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. The story is by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris and is a four-part adventure. The story had me gripped from start to finish and Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding shone throughout in their performances.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Aquitaine’ (as well as the CD cover of ‘The Peterloo Massacre’) signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘Stars of Time Film and Comic Con 2016’ at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare before my birthday in May 2016. I was very pleased to see Sarah that day before my birthday!
I enjoyed sharing with Sarah how much I enjoyed both ‘Aquitaine’ and ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ at the ‘Stars of Time’ convention in May 2016. I was especially anxious about what happened to Nyssa during that adventure as well to the Doctor and Tegan. I really liked the robot-like butler Hargreaves in this!
As I said before, ‘Aquitaine’ is an outer-space adventure on a spaceship. The TARDIS responds to a distress call from the starship Aquitaine. The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan arrive and discover the ship is empty, apart from a butler-like robot called Hargreaves who has been dusting and cleaning the ship.
For me, this story is pretty complex and quite complicated especially concerning time. The Aquitaine ship gets caught up in some Ergostorms that messes up the ship’s timeline. Gradually, the Doctor and his companions get separated from each other and are in different time zones aboard the ship.
After having two listens of the story, I feel I’ve been able to get a grasp of what ‘Aquitaine’ has been about. You do need to keep alert and pay attention when listening to the story. It is very timey-wimey, but I enjoyed how Nyssa, Tegan and the Doctor are separated and they soon find each other.
Sarah Sutton as Nyssa is the first one who gets separated from the Doctor and Tegan, after she gets infected by some dangerous plant in the botanical gardens aboard the ship. I felt sorry for Nyssa, as she always seems to get the short straw whenever she gets infected and becomes ill in these stories.
But I’m so pleased that Nyssa has her own adventure in ‘Aquitaine’ and Sarah is wonderful to listen to. I get anxious when Nyssa is in peril such as when being chased by the mad scientist Dr. Akunin and when she’s about to be turned into a vicious plant monster. But I liked how strong she is in this.
Nyssa doesn’t know her own strength at times and somehow manages to break free of her restraints from the operating table in Dr. Akunin’s lab. She also breaks free of Captain Maynard’s handcuffs which I was so impressed by. I like it when Nyssa’s with Hargreaves, even if she finds him frustrating.
Janet Fielding is equally good as Tegan in this story. Tegan gets to share more scenes with the Doctor in this adventure after Nyssa is gone first. She soon ends up getting separated from the Doctor too by the end of ‘Part Two’. She also gets to follow Lt. Jennings’ ghost when she sees on the Aquitaine.
Tegan sadly gets trapped in some moss-like vegetation before a vicious plant-like monster comes for her. Eventually she gets rescued by Lt. Savino and the two share some nice scenes when they’re running away from the plant-like monstrous Akunites and when they get trapped inside a turbolift.
I really liked Tegan’s descriptions of the Doctor and Nyssa in this adventure when she shares how she feels about them to Savino in ‘Part Four’. Tegan finds Nyssa lovely and ‘too good for this world’. She finds the Doctor as ‘the most annoying man she has ever met’, but keeps on having faith in him.
Peter Davison is equally good as the Doctor in this adventure. For me, Peter’s Doctor is the most ethical of all the Doctors in the series. I like the relationship he forms with Hargreaves, especially as he tries to work out what’s going on. The two share scientific knowledge and bounce off each other.
I also like it when the Doctor shares some scenes with Tegan and keeps patient with her, especially when he’s worried about Nyssa and what’s going on with the Aquitaine. He’s upset when he discovers Dr. Akunin’s terrible experiments and makes a brave, daring move with the Aquitaine ship.
The Doctor has Hargreaves pilot the Aquitaine ship towards the black hole in space. This is in the hope of him seeing his friends again and resolving this business with the ship displaced in time. I found it funny when the Doctor remarks on Hargreaves making too many cups of tea in the TARDIS.
Matthew Cottle guest stars as Hargreaves, the computer consciousness in the form of a robot on the Aquitaine. I love Hargreaves, as he’s terribly polite and treats the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan as guests aboard the ship. He offers them cups of tea such as chai, chamomile, Earl Grey and English Breakfast.
Hargreaves is very much like Jeeves from ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ as Tegan describes him. There are many versions of Hargreaves including the butler, the gardener and the medical one. But Hargreaves has a tendency of forgetting the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan once he’s rebooted himself after a time-storm.
Nina Sosanya guest stars as Captain Anna Maynard in this story. Nina has been in the TV series of ‘Doctor Who’ in the episode ‘Fear Her’ with David Tennant. I was pleased to hear her in this Big Finish audio of ‘Doctor Who’ and to have her play a spaceship captain which I’m sure that she enjoyed.
Captain Maynard and her crew have been in cryogenic sleep for some time aboard the Aquitaine. Nyssa finds her with Hargreaves and revive her from her sleep to find out what’s going on. Maynard suspects Nyssa of being a spy, before she soon turns into a plant-like monster and becomes deadly.
There’s also Harry Myers as Dr. Sergei Akunin, a Russian botanist and medical officer aboard the Aquitaine. Akunin seems pleasant at first when Nyssa or the Doctor find and meet him. But he soon turns out to be a madman, as he’s been conducting experiments on humans with the deadly plants.
The deadly-plant like monsters are the Akunites, obviously named after him. I can’t understand why Akunin would go to such lengths to turn his shipmates into plant-like monsters. But it’s disturbing when Tegan and Savino get attacked by one and when Maynard turns into a monster before Nyssa.
There’s also Gerald Kyd as Lt. Maurizo Savino and Danusia Samal as Lt. Freya Jennings. All the crewmembers aboard the Aquitaine suffer a worse fate than death and it seems that they’re all doomed. But the Doctor soon has a plan and perhaps the Aquitaine crew could have a chance to live.
I liked how Nyssa gets reunited with the Doctor and Tegan, and how the Doctor and Tegan work out how to find Nyssa with the ship so displaced in time. Nyssa, with Hargreaves’ help gets into a cryo-chamber to sleep and wait. The Doctor and Tegan soon find Nyssa to take her out of her cyro-sleep.
‘Aquitaine’ has been a great audio adventure to listen to with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. It’s a pretty complex tale with the Aquitaine ship displaced in time. But I enjoyed the adventure with the TARDIS trio and enjoyed Hargreaves in it. I was so looking forward to listening to the next adventure!
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there are two tracks of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Matthew Cottle, Nina Sosanya, co-writer Paul Morris, director Ken Bentley, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Aquitaine’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Aquitaine’.
‘Aquitaine’ rating – 8/10
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