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Hunting Time For The Doctor and Nyssa
I was excited when I heard the 2014 Fifth Doctor trilogy would feature just the Doctor and Nyssa!
I love the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, played by Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton! They’re my favourite TARDIS duo. It was nice to have a trilogy with just those two. The last time we had a trilogy with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa was ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’. This is the first trilogy in a long time with them.
I’ve enjoyed all three stories of this trilogy including ‘Moonflesh’; ‘Tomb Ship’ and ‘Masquerade’. I’ve had all the CD covers of the three stories of the 2014 Fifth Doctor trilogy (including ‘Moonflesh’) signed by the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014. This trilogy is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
The first of this trilogy, ‘Moonflesh’, is by Mark Morris. Mark previously wrote for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in ‘Plague of the Daleks’, the third of ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’. This is a great story and has fast become my favourite from the trilogy. It has an historical setting, animals and great characters.
The story is about the Doctor and Nyssa arriving in Suffolk in 1911. They find themselves in a country estate and are soon brought to the house of Nathanial Whitlock. The guests have arrived, as everyone is gathered for a spot of hunting on Whitlock’s hunting grounds teeming with wild animals.
But something mysterious is goes on, as a red shining rock is kept within Whitlock’s mansion. When the rock is suddenly woken up, something alive runs free from it. Will the Doctor and Nyssa save the day, as they try to find out what the Moonflesh creatures are and keep the guests safe from harm?
This story feels so good to listen to and after listening to the first episode, I could familiarise myself with the characters and the historical setting of 1911. I enjoyed it when we followed the Doctor and Nyssa on their journey through the hunting grounds, before meeting up with the other characters.
Mark writes well for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. They’re such a lovely and fun TARDIS team to listen to. There’s a romantic flair to this story, especially when all the characters get together and are having dinner in the first episode. Nyssa also adds to that romantic flair of the story remarkably well.
I’m a lucky person to have met Sarah Sutton at conventions and she shines as Nyssa in this adventure. I really liked how Nyssa’s anti-hunting views are touched on. Sarah puts a lot of thought in developing Nyssa’s character. I liked it when Nyssa befriends Phoebe and has nice scenes with her.
Nyssa gets to question Edwin Tremayne over the future of his son Hector, as she knows that he’s a cold man. Nyssa does get taken over by a Moonflesh creature I’m afraid, but it doesn’t last for long. I did like it when Nyssa holds everybody together in ‘Part Four’ and gets to have her own adventure.
Peter Davison is superb as the Doctor. I really liked the banter and the friendship he shares with Nyssa, especially at the start of the story. I like his curiosity when they arrive in Suffolk, especially when he wants to find the ‘misplaced elephant’ that he and Nyssa hear at the beginning of the story.
I liked the friendship the Doctor forms with Silver Crow, as they gradually have great respect for each another. I like how Peter’s Doctor interacts with the Moonflesh creatures and how he interacts with Whitlock. It’s a great story for Peter’s Doctor, even though he doesn’t get to do much cricket in this.
This story features a fantastic bunch of fruity characters including Tim Bentinck as Nathanial Whitlock. Whitlock is this big game hunter and explorer and Tim’s very good (as every Tim should be, hey? 😀 ). Tim gives a rich and rounded performance, making Whitlock so toughened and proud.
Despite Whitlock’s views on hunting, there is a side to him that is very appealing. He loves his daughter Phoebe and he’s definitely one of the good guys. He is sometimes difficult to take seriously as he sounds so rounded and fruity to listen, but it’s compensated by Tim’s marvellous performance.
There’s Rosanna Miles as Phoebe Whitlock, Nathanial’s daughter. Phoebe is a sweet character, who welcomes the guests when they arrive at Whitlock Manor. Phoebe has a loving relationship with her father and is genuinely nice. She has a little crush on Hector Tremayne when he and his father come.
There’s John Banks as Silver Crow, who serves Mr Whitlock and is one of the early American natives. John delivers a truly spellbinding performance as Silver Crow. Sarah is certainly impressed with John’s range of voices. I liked Silver Crow’s nobleness and the respect he gains with the Doctor here.
Francesca Hunt guest stars as Hannah Bartholemew. Hannah is a great character as she has come to join the game-hunting on Mr. Whitlock’s estate. It turns out she has a hidden agenda as she’s come to find the Moonflesh. Hannah is a member of a spiritual group who believe in the ‘crescent moon’.
Hugh Frazer guest stars as Edwin Tremayne, one of the well-known industrialists in the country. Hugh has worked with Peter and Sarah before in ‘Circular Time: Spring’. Here Hugh plays a rather insensitive and icy character. I like how Hugh underplays Edwin, in being so arrogant and dismissive.
Geoffrey Breton guest stars as Hector Tremayne, Edwin’s son. I like Hector, as he’s a complete contrast to his father. His father sometimes bullies him on what he wants in his life. He’s more caring; understanding and has this boyish charm. He clearly likes Phoebe and being enthusiastic about life.
I liked how Mark Morris uses the historical setting of Suffolk as well as the animals when possessed or not. The anti-hunting themes do strongly standout for me. The Moonflesh creatures were a challenge to grasp with, especially when possessing Nyssa. But they were very effective to listen to.
At the time of this CD release, Big Finish promoted the new Fifth Doctor and Nyssa trilogy with ‘Circular Time’, one of my favourite CDs. I’d listened to ‘Circular Time’ again before this and instantly wrote an e-mail/letter to Big Finish, telling them about how I love the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa audios.
I had a nice reply from Paul Spragg (Big Finish’s administrator), who told me that it was a lovely letter by me to them. I cherish that e-mail reply always, especially since dear Paul Spragg died recently and tragically. I would like to dedicate this review to Paul, as he was such a valued member at Big Finish.
‘Moonflesh’ has been a great adventure to listen to. I enjoyed every minute of it. It is a wonderful story to start the 2014 trilogy with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I enjoyed the historical setting; the guest cast; wild animals; the story’s romantic flair and of course Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison in it.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there are two tracks of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Tim Bentinck, Hugh Frazer, John Banks, director Ken Bentley, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Moonflesh’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Moonflesh’.
I was quite shocked when Janet Fielding (who plays Tegan in ‘Doctor Who’) sent Peter and Sarah a rather rude text message for not being there with them during the recording. How shocking! Ha, ha!
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa called ‘Tomb Ship’.
‘Moonflesh’ rating – 9/10
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