Please feel free to comment on my review.
Cybermen and the Fate of Marc
Okay, let’s talk about the two-part story ‘Conversion’ by Guy Adams with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc. Guy Adams also wrote ‘Dalek Soul’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I like that story.
‘Conversion’ however… (sighs) I’m sorry. I really want to like this story and I know there are people out there that praise the heck out of it. But ‘Conversion’ was a let-down after listening to ‘Warzone’. 😦
I was hoping that ‘Conversion’ would be an epic battle between our heroes and the Cybermen. But I didn’t feel that’s what we got here and it’s a shame after all the positive things I’d heard about the story.
Now does that mean there aren’t any good things to be found in ‘Conversion’? No, of course not. There were things I liked in the story. But I can’t give it an 8/10 or a 9/10 from my point of view here.
Let me try and explain. The story takes place directly after ‘Warzone’. Marc is taken to a research facility where a medical researcher Combatta attends to him. It’s a big mistake on the Doctor’s part.
I would’ve expected Nyssa to work with a fully competent medical researcher that would do everything in his/her power to keep Marc stable until the Doctor returned with a solution. That’d be great.
But Combatta ends up being a corrupt tentacle-squid thing who wants Marc’s cyber-technology for her own ends. I’m pleased that Nyssa suspected Combatta wasn’t entirely sincere in her duties.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Tegan are off somewhere in a shuttle to find a means of saving Marc. They end up in this place where millions of Cybermen wait to be woken up to dominate the universe.
Now the whole business of Marc struggling to maintain control and hearing Cyber voices inside his head is very good. George Watkins delivers a brilliant performance as Marc in playing his inner struggles.
Sarah Sutton as Nyssa is equally excellent. The scenes where she’s interacting with Combatta and her droids as well as coming up with a solution to temporarily weaken the Cybermen are great. I liked that. 🙂
The story with Peter Davison’s Doctor and Janet Fielding’s Tegan is…half and half for me. On the one hand, I liked it when Peter’s Doctor expresses anger over Marc’s condition and connecting it to Adric.
Tegan is also challenging the Doctor on his mental state, which can be infuriating for the Doctor to hear. The dramatic aspects of the Doctor and Tegan interacting with each other in this story are very good.
But what lets me down about this is that there aren’t many confrontation scenes between the Doctor and the Cyber Leader like there were in ‘Earthshock’. I was expecting to hear that in this tale.
This leads me onto the Cybermen – featuring David Banks as the Cyber Leader and Mark Hardy as the Cyber Lieutenant. Now I have made it no secret that I’m not a fan of the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen’.
So, when I heard the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen were making an appearance in this adventure, I wasn’t really excited by it. I would’ve preferred Nicholas Briggs’ more robotic Cybermen starring in this tale.
But after hearing this story, I actually did enjoy the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen. I mean, there weren’t enough of them and I could’ve done without the Cyber Leader’s “Excellent!” line. But they are okay.
Another disappointment on my part is that the story has the disadvantage of not being a four-parter instead of a two-parter. A four-parter could’ve made the story far epic and the Cybermen worthwhile.
The guest cast includes Pepter Lunkuse as Combatta. There’s also the two techno-pirates Angela Bruce (well-known as Brigadier Bambera in ‘Doctor Who’) as Herb and Liz Sutherland-Lim as Creasey.
I was expecting the story to end up with Marc getting killed like with Adric. But surprisingly he wasn’t killed. He’s still alive despite still having cyber-technology on him. Oh! Well, this makes a nice change. 🙂
I was shocked by how the story ended with Tegan angry with the Doctor and Nyssa sticking up for him. The Doctor leaves his companions on Callanna in order to give them some time away from him.
Wow! I wasn’t expecting that to be the end. I hope the Doctor is coming back for his companions. It can’t end like that since Nyssa will need to be in ‘Terminus’ and Tegan in ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’.
I did enjoy the ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’ CD. ‘Warzone’ provided a big build-up to an epic adventure. But sadly I felt ‘Conversion’ was a let-down and could’ve benefited being a four-parter with the Cybermen in it. I hope to upload my own Cybermen story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy soon.
I hope this isn’t the end of the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc TARDIS team as I have enjoyed them. I’m sure the Doctor will return to Callanna to pick them up, but how that’ll be resolved is for another day. What will happen in the next set of stories with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc?
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1 of the ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’ CD, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there is a trailer for ‘Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, George Watkins, David Banks, director Scott Handcock, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There are PDF scripts and extended extras for ‘Warzone’ and ‘Conversion’.
‘Conversion’ rating – 7/10
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