‘Conversion’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Cybermen and the Fate of Marc

Peter Davison and David Banks in ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’.

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 who 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 heard about this 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 this 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 have expected Nyssa to work with a fully competent medical researcher that would do everything in his or 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 are waiting 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 expressed 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 this story down for me 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 story.

Mark Hardy, Peter Davison and David Banks in ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’.

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 have preferred Nicholas Briggs’ more robotic Cybermen appearing 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 have done without the Cyber Leader’s “Excellent!” line, but they are okay.

Another disappointment on my part is that this story has the disadvantage of not being a four-parter instead of a two-parter. A four-parter would have made the story far epic and the Cybermen worthwhile.

The guest cast includes Pepter Lunkuse as Combatta. There are 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 the 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’.

Janet Fielding, Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Liz Sutherland-Lim, George Watkins and Angela Bruce in ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’.

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 it could have 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 will 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’s 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

The previous story

For the Fifth Doctor was

For Tegan was

For Nyssa was

For Marc was

The next story

For the Fifth Doctor is

For Tegan is

For Nyssa is

For Marc is

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4 thoughts on “‘Conversion’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    I understand what your saying Tim, although it linked to Warzone this needed be longer & feature a Doctor/Cyberman face off, i loved the erratic nature of the Doctor as the past comes back to haunt him it shows the characters emotions, how vulnerable he is expressed his fears & regrets that another companion may die at the hands of the Cybermen, what the Doctor does to the Cybermen was quite possibly the darkest the Fifth Doctor has ever been & shows when the Doctor’s angry & unleashed he can be truly terrifying.

    Tegan i thought was way too harsh on the Doctor, erm you became possessed by the Mara luv & look how that turned out? However Nyssa arc was excellent & played to the strengths of the character trying find a cure, this is were Nyssa works best & Sarah once again gives a excellent performance.

    The ending was a bit abrupt, not sold on the Doctor going solo to give him some time apart from his companions, they’ve been through a lot worse & not spilt up so why does it happen in this story?

    Overall though i enjoyed this as it shows a darker side to the Fifth Doctor & doesn’t hold back on his actions, it just needed be longer to fix a few minor quibbles, I’m curious to what you would’ve changed Tim?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      I know I sound harsh and maybe I might like ‘Conversion’ as a story with multiple listens. But this one felt very disappointing on my part. I would’ve preferred more Cybermen stuff with the Fifth Doctor and not have the Doctor and his companions split up at the end. I agree, Tegan was too harsh with the Doctor after everything they’d been through.

      I’m looking forward to sharing my Cybermen story ‘Neptune Connect’ soon to my blog. Maybe it’ll illustrate what I would’ve done differently compared to how ‘Conversion’ did things.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this story and can see how you feel regarding the Fifth Doctor’s darker nature. Like I said, maybe I’ll like it more over time with more listens. Glad you agree this story could’ve benefited from being a four-parter instead of a two-parter.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I agree that this story was a let-down after ‘Warzone’. This may surprise you but, I actually liked it even less than you did and I have to disagree with a few of your points. I didn’t find the Doctor to be that great. I get the emotion he had behind Adric’s death and trying to not let that happen to Marc, but the Doctor often came across as being a bit selfish as times as well as OTT. He was rather unfair to Tegan at one point saying she doesn’t know anything about him. I can’t say I completely agree with your view on Tegan being a bit harsh on the Doctor. Yes they have been through so much together, but then again my points above I feel make that invalid. Nyssa I felt didn’t get to do much, especially in part 1. It was good that she got to unleash a virus on the station. I agree with Tegan that Nyssa didn’t see what the Doctor was like when they where on that other planet. The ending for me was very poorly handled. I actually lost all sympathy for the Doctor at that point and decided to let Tegan’s rant slide. I know the Doctor said he would come back for them but even so, that won’t help them at all.

    I found Herb, Creasy and Combatta to be incredibly annoying. The ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen on the other hand were an joy to listen to and very menacing. I’ve actually yet to watch ‘Earthshock’ so I’ll watch it over November to see their debut in that. However, the award for best character in this story and the overall arc goes to George Watkins as Marc. He has actually been very well written and played so far. I have to unfortunately say however that the strained relationship between the Tardis crew has made the arc go downhill a bit in my opinion. Tegan may have sounded a bit rough, but the Doctor and Nyssa didn’t really do anything to keep the peace, especially the former. I hope I’ll enjoy ‘Time Apart’, as well as ‘Thin Time’ and ‘Madquake’ when the Doctor comes back for his companions.

    P.s. did you know that Angela Bruce starred in an episode of an ITV anthology tv series called ‘Hammer House of Horror’ which also featured Janet Fielding (credited as Janet Claire Mahoney)?

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Conversion’.

      I’m pleased you agree with me that this story is a let-down after ‘Warzone’. I’m a bit surprised you like the story even less than me. I expected you to like it more. 😀

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the story. I can’t entirely agree with what you say, especially concerning the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan’s characterisations. I also can’t say I find the Cybermen a joy to listen to compared to you, but I agree with you that George Watkins as Marc is very good. Even though Tegan is well-written in most of the Big Finish audios, I do often find her character journey to be inconsistent in TV and audio combined, which is why I prefer Nyssa over Tegan since Nyssa’s more gentler and reasonable whereas Tegan can often be aggressive and hard on the Doctor at times, which I don’t think is a favourable and likeable trait in a ‘Doctor Who’ companion. I know you won’t see it that way compared to me, but that’s how I feel. I also don’t think the Doctor is as bad as you imply, but then again, I would have handled the story and the ending better if I was the writer of it. Again, ‘Converson’ needs to be a four-parter as opposed to a two-parter to justify the epic scale of the Cybermen’s appearance in the adventure as well as the emotional dilemmas faced by the Fifth Doctor and his companions.

      Many thanks for sharing the tidbit about Angela Bruce and Janet Fielding being in ‘Hammer House of Horror’. I see that they were in the same episode called ‘Charlie Boy’ from that series. I’m hoping to revisit ‘Tartarus’, ‘Interstitial’, ‘Feast of Fear’, ‘Warzone’, ‘Conversion’, ‘Time Apart’, ‘Thin Time’ and ‘Madquake’ this week before checking out ‘The Lost Resort and Other Stories’ box set for my ‘Nyssa Challenge’ mini-review season this coming December.

      Many thanks,

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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