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The Doctor and Peri with the Ice Warriors
This was the first Ice Warriors audio adventure to be made by Big Finish!
‘Red Dawn’ is also the first of a series of audio adventures featured in ‘Doctor Who’ with the Fifth Doctor and Peri. It is set between ‘Planet of Fire’ and ‘The Caves of Androzani’. I’m very pleased that Big Finish did some adventures with this TARDIS duo as they only had two adventures together on TV.
This four-part story is by Justin Richards. It is about the Doctor and Peri having an adventure on the planet Mars. They meet a NASA team on their first manned mission to Mars called Ares One. They also discover this strange alien building that contains the frozen bodies of Ice Warriors that soon re-awake.
I did enjoy ‘Red Dawn’ as an audio, but I don’t regard it highly as a ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. This is because I felt the story was slow-paced at times and it didn’t have the dramatic and energetic impact I felt it should have had. For the first Ice Warriors tale by Big Finish, it isn’t the most exciting I’ve heard.
But there are some interesting moments in it, since Justin Richards delves into the first Mars manned mission. This does raises questions in terms of continuity to the TV story ‘The Waters of Mars’ mind. The story also introduces us some historical references regarding the Ice Warriors’ connection to Mars.
Hearing both Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri together in this audio adventure was a true delight. Though they do get separated for most of the story. This is a shame, as I would have liked there to be more of them together. At least they have a good first episode together.
Peter Davison as ever excels as the Doctor, since he shares new adventures with Peri and discovers the Ice Warriors that wake up from their blocks of ice on Mars. Peter’s Doctor also works out well with what’s going on with the Ice Warriors’ revival plans; learns who the real enemy is and tries to stop him.
Nicola Bryant as Peri is a delight to listen to. This is Peri’s first encounter with the Ice Warriors in her adventures with the Doctor in the TARDIS. I liked how Peri becomes resourceful when being separated from the Doctor. I liked how she handles being among the group of Tanya and Paul Webster.
The supporting guest cast for this adventure are the NASA team of Ares One on Mars. They include Robert Jezek as Commander Lee Forbes; Maureen Oakley as Pilot Susan Roberts, Georgia Moffat as Tanya Webster and Stephen Fewell as Paul Webster. All deliver good performances in this audio story.
Robert Jezek was in ‘Battlefield’ with Sylvester McCoy. He would later voice Frobisher the penguin from the ‘Doctor Who’ comics for audio with Colin Baker. Here Robert Jezek as Lee Forbes is a reluctant commander who distrusts the Doctor first before being thrust into a tricky situation with Ice Warriors.
Maureen Oakley plays a sweet character in Susan Roberts who seems to be Forbes’ confidante and is the voice of reason throughout this audio adventure. Susan has a sticky end when she dies in ‘Part Two’, getting shot by an Ice Warrior. Susan’s death upsets Forbes as he desperately tries to revive her.
Georgia Moffat guest stars in her first ‘Doctor Who’ adventure with her dad Peter Davison. This was way before Georgia played ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ with David Tennant. Georgia plays Tracy Webster, who is a lovely character that befriends Peri and may hold the key to what’s going on in this adventure.
Stephen Fewell plays Paul Webster, who is Tanya’s cousin in this adventure. Stephen would later go on to do villains in some of the Eighth Doctor audio stories. Paul Webster is no exception here, as he becomes threatening to the Ice Warriors and to those around him who try to get in the way of his plans.
The Ice Warriors are interesting in this audio adventure, since they’re all played by a variety of actors. This is different compared to the later Ice Warrior audio stories when they’re all voiced by the multi-talented Nicholas Briggs for Big Finish. Nick Briggs certainly isn’t playing an Ice Warrior during this tale.
The Ice Warriors include Matthew Brenher as Lord Zzaal; Hylton Collins as Sub-Commander Sstast; Alistair Lock as Zizmar; Jason Haigh-Ellery as Sskann and Gary Russell as Razzburr. Each of these Ice Warriors have their own unique voice, which Nick Briggs would adapt to play later for his Ice Warriors.
So ‘Red Dawn’ is not the best Big Finish audio adventure I’ve heard. It’s an average tale that starts off the adventures with the Fifth Doctor and Peri reasonably well and features the Ice Warriors in it. I don’t disregard it, but this isn’t an audio tale to get excited about should you want to add it to your collection.
The CD extras are as follows. There are two tracks of trailers at the end of Disc 2. The first track contains ‘coming soon’ trailers for ‘Winter For The Adept’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton; ‘The Fires of Vulcan’ with Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford and ‘The Spectre of Lanyon Moor’ with Colin Baker, Maggie Stables and Nicholas Courtney. The second track contains trailers for the first seven Big Finish audio stories including ‘The Sirens of Time’ with Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison and Colin Baker; ‘Phantasmagoria’ with Peter Davison and Mark Strickson; ‘Whispers of Terror’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant; ‘The Land of the Dead’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton; ‘The Fearmonger’ with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred; ‘The Marian Conspiracy’ with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables and ‘The Genocide Machine’ with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred.
‘Red Dawn’ rating – 6/10
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