‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ (Audio)

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‘THE HAUNTING OF THOMAS BREWSTER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

A Spooky Victorian Ghost Story with the Doctor and Nyssa

This is one of the greatest ‘Doctor Who’ audios produced by Big Finish and is one of my favourites!

‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ is a cracking good historical tale set in Victorian London. It stars Peter Davison as the Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa! It’s a four-part adventure and it is well-written by Jonathan Morris, who is one of my favourite writers for ‘Doctor Who’ in Big Finish audio!

I purchased this audio drama and ‘The Boy That Time Forgot’ at a Forbidden Planet shop in Cardiff at Christmas, 2008. I was getting into these Fifth Doctor and Nyssa audios and I’ve listened to this story a number of times. It’s cleverly structured, pretty complex and has a lot of timey-wimey moments in it.

This is a spooky ghost story with an element of Charles Dickens in it. It’s about a young orphan boy named Thomas Brewster, who has been haunted by the ‘ghost’ of his dead mother. The Doctor and Nyssa have to save Thomas and stop a plot by some smoke creatures that will change Earth’s history.

I liked how the writer, Jonny Morris, structures his four-part adventure with a different feels for each of the four episodes. For ‘Part One’, it’s a ghost story; for ‘Part Two’, it’s a detective story; for ‘Part Three’, it’s a base-under-siege story and for ‘Part Four’, it’s a timey-wimey jigsaw puzzle of a story.

In March 2013, I attended a ‘Doctor Who’ convention in Tunbridge Wells and purchased a Big Finish script at a charity auction. The script was ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ and was signed by Sarah Sutton. I also had it signed by Jonny Morris who was at the convention and had a nice chat with him.

I’ve also had the CD cover of ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ signed by the lovely Sarah Sutton, who I saw later on at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea, September, 2013. I’ve also had the inside of the CD cover, signed by Trevor Cooper, who played Mr. Shanks in this adventure.

Sarah Sutton, Peter Davison and Christian Coulson in 'The Haunting of Thomas Brewster'

From left to right: Sarah Sutton (Nyssa); Peter Davison (The Doctor) and Christian Coulson (Robert McIntosh) in ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’.

Sarah Sutton delivers an amazing performance as Nyssa in this story! I told Sarah at the Swansea convention how much I loved this story and that I liked the Charles Dickens/Victorian setting and atmosphere. I know Sarah likes that aspect of the story since she prefers doing historical adventures.

In the story, Nyssa gets sent back from the TARDIS to the 1800s on Earth before she meets up with the Doctor again. I liked those scenes when Nyssa connects to Thomas Brewster and comforts him when she knows he’s an orphan. Nyssa hasn’t forgotten her parents, as she honours their memory.

Peter Davison is great as the Doctor in this story. I liked it when the Doctor gets to live the life of an English gentleman in Victorian times for a year. I loved the moments when Peter’s Doctor takes over Nyssa’s explanations, and when he’s shocked about losing the TARDIS key before having a spare one.

Thomas Brewster

John Pickard as Thomas Brewster

This story introduces John Pickard (from ‘Hollyoaks’) as Thomas Brewster. Thomas is an 18-year old orphan boy who has lived a rough life in Victorian London. I liked how Thomas narrates the story and that he’s been haunted by his mother for most his life. However he doesn’t seem to be trust-worthy.

Leslie Ash guest stars as the ghost of Thomas’ mother. It gets spooky when Thomas’ mother sings a nursery rhyme to Thomas and screams at him. Thomas’ mother died, by throwing herself into the Thames. She crops up in Thomas’ life as she’s connected to the smoke creatures that attack London.

Christian Coulson guest stars as the short-lived companion, Robert McIntosh. Robert is a medical student from Edinburgh, who helps the Doctor in his research and to investigate a mystery. Robert seems to be a loyal and willing companion, but doesn’t know the Doctor is an alien with a blue box.

The guest cast also includes Barry McCarthy as Mr Creek, a Fagan-like character and Sid Mitchell as Pickens, Brewster’s friend. There’s also Trevor Cooper (from ‘Revelation of the Daleks’) who plays a variety of characters in this story. This includes Mr Shanks; Toby; Mr Hartwright and the Train Guard.

haunting

The atmosphere is really good in this story. Hearing the smoke creatures swirling and making their slow but steady approach towards their victims, causing them to suffocate and choking them to death is so frightening and disturbing. The sound effects made me feel that it was Victorian London.

The incidental music is pretty enjoyable too. Sometimes the music seems sounds out of place and doesn’t sound right for a Victorian setting. But I found it very easy and catchy to listen to. Even when there were people running or there are action scenes, there’s that jaunty music in the background.

This story seems very wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, but it’s cleverly handled by Jonny Morris. I liked it when there’s that scene of a TARDIS within a TARDIS in ‘Part Four’ of this story, as it echoes ‘Logopolis’. I’d advise you to listen to Disc 1 more than once, in order to understand ‘Part Four’.

I’ve enjoyed ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ very much! It’s a brilliant adventure by Jonathan Morris and it’s a good one with the Doctor and Nyssa meeting Thomas Brewster. It’s a lovely, spooky ghost story in Victorian London with great storytelling and is very well-directed by Barnaby Edwards.

The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a trailer for ‘Assassin in the Limelight’ with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew including Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; John Pickard; writer Jonathan Morris, etc.

At the end of this story, Thomas Brewster steals the TARDIS and leaves the Doctor and Nyssa stranded on Earth in Victorian times. “I don’t believe it!” says the Doctor. “He’s done it again!”

The Hauting of Thomas Brewster - Banner

‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ rating – 10/10


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2 thoughts on “‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ (Audio)

  1. Hi Tim, brilliant review on The Haunting Of Thomas Brewster my friend you summarized it word perfect & i see you have it signed.

    I thought I’d commented on this story but remembered it was a G+ link.

    I enjoyed this one, Thomas Brewster a kinda lost soul tragic figure & I’m surprised he’s not liked by many, i wonder if it’s the character or John Pickards performance fan’s don’t like?

    This is a excellent story by Jonathan Morris it’s a spooky mystery & i think Jonny probably writes best for Nyssa.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Simon! Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’. Very pleased you like my summary of it and that I had the story signed by Sarah.

    That’s alright. Don’t worry. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my review both via my blog and the G+ link.

    I’m equally surprised Thomas Brewster isn’t well-liked by fans. Despite him being a thief and untrustworthy, I do kind of like him a character and in terms of concept in being from the Victorian/Dickensian era. I did consider doing a ‘Doctor Who’ story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy meeting Brewster again called ‘The Prison of Thomas Brewster’.

    I enjoyed the spooky mystery of this adventure too as well as the historical period and the clever plot aspects of ‘Part Four’. Jonny Morris is a great writer for Nyssa, although why did he have to rob her of so much in ‘Prisoners of Fate’ and ‘The Entropy Plague’ later on. 😀 Tim. 🙂

    Like

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