‘The Star Men’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Star Men with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric

I’ve listened to ‘The Star Men’ with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric in it!

I was so excited by the news about the Season 19 TARDIS team of ‘Doctor Who’ returning for a new trilogy of audio adventures by Big Finish in 2017. Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse and Janet Fielding return as the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Adric and Tegan in these new audio adventures.

I couldn’t wait to hear these three new audio dramas by Big Finish in early 2017, after enjoying ‘The Fifth Doctor Box Set’ so much (with ‘Psychodrome’ and ‘Iterations of I’). The Fifth Doctor team from Season 19 is my favourite in ‘Doctor Who’, as these new audios made my dream come true as a fan.

I greatly enjoyed ‘The Star Men’, the first of the 2017 trilogy with the Season 19 TARDIS team. It’s a very gripping and exciting audio adventure! ‘The Star Men’ is by Andrew Smith, who is well-known for writing ‘Full Circle’, the first story of ‘The E-Space Trilogy’, which was also Adric’s debut TV story.

‘The Star Men’ is a four-part adventure. Andrew Smith has written a lot of ‘Doctor Who’ stories for Big Finish lately. It was great to hear another story by Andrew, and I’m so pleased he got to write for Adric again with Nyssa, Tegan and the Fifth Doctor, especially since he introduced him in ‘Full Circle’.

I’ve now had the CD cover of ‘The Star Men’ signed by Peter Davison at the ‘GEEKS Salisbury Comic Con’ in July 2017; by Janet Fielding at the ‘MCM Birmingham Comic Con’ in November 2017; and by Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse and writer Andrew Smith at ‘The Capitol II’ convention at the Arora Hotel, Gatwick in May 2017. It was great to have my CD cover signed by them.

In this story, the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric visit an observatory on the planet Gallius Ultima. But something strange is going on, as the Explorer-class ship, Johannes Kepler, gets destroyed from visiting the mysterious Large Magellanic Cloud. Can the Doctor and his friends solve this weird mystery?

As I said before, I found this a gripping audio adventure set in outer space. Andrew Smith seems to write well for Peter Davison’s Doctor as well as his companions. I thoroughly enjoyed the character journeys of the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric in this audio adventure, as they face terrible dangers.

I had a nice chat with Andrew Smith at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in May 2017, when he signed my CD cover of ‘The Star Men’. I shared with him about me posting my ‘Doctor Who’ fan-fiction on my blog and saying that it was well-received. I also thanked Andrew for encouraging me to keep writing.

In the story, the Doctor and Tegan get to venture into the Cloud itself whilst Nyssa and Adric remain behind at the observatory. I found the story pretty tense, especially when our heroes faced the Star Men and were at great peril, which I found so compelling and intriguing to listen to in this audio drama.

Peter Davison excels as the Doctor in this audio adventure. I like how the Doctor gets to be inquisitive, especially when he wants to know what’s become of the Johannes Kepler spaceship. He becomes concerned when something’s wrong, as he and Tegan travel through the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The scenes where the Doctor faces Rovus and the Star Men are very engaging and gripping to listen to. It gets tense when the Doctor tries to rescue Tegan from the Star Men and when he and Adric work out on how to get into the Star Men’s universe. The Doctor refuses to open the TARDIS for Rovus.

Sarah Sutton is lovely as Nyssa in this audio adventure and I’m very lucky to have met her at conventions. ‘The Star Men’ isn’t a standout story for Nyssa’s character I’m afraid, but she has a decent outing. She puts her scientific knowledge to good use as she has some scenes with Kala Tace.

I liked it when Nyssa denies to Autumn Tace that she and Adric are a couple, as I enjoyed Sarah’s performance during that moment. I was anxious for Nyssa when she got pushed into the Dark by the Star Men and ended up in a hostile world where she faced monstrous beasts before getting rescued by Tegan.

Matthew Waterhouse is great as Adric in this adventure. The highlight of this story was the semi-romance between Adric and Autumn Tace. I liked how the semi-romance wasn’t done over-the-top and it keeps within Adric’s character. There were some nice and intimate moments between them.

Early on, Adric gets to practice his astronomical skills by piloting the TARDIS before he fails miserably. Fortunately he gets to pilot a ship with Autumn by his side when they venture into the Star Men’s universe to rescue Nyssa and Tegan. Adric also gets to resist the Star Men attacking him.

the star men2

Peter Guinness and Janet Fielding in ‘The Star Men’.

Janet Fielding is great as Tegan in this story. She still wants to go back to Heathrow Airport at this stage in her travels with the Doctor. But she seems willing to go with the Doctor and help him out when they visit the Large Magellanic Cloud. She gets captured by the Star Men when they are there.

Tegan also becomes victim to being thrown into the Dark by the Star Men, before Nyssa meets up with her. I like how Tegan gets to be resourceful in this adventure. She’s not as bossy and aggressive as in her TV stories. She clearly shows compassion, especially when Adric loses Autumn in this story.

Sue Holderness guest stars as Kala Tace, Controller of the observatory on Gallius U. Tace is suspicious of the Doctor and his friends at first when they come to visit the observatory. But she soon trusts them, after they save the day as she mistakes them to be members from Earth Security.

Sophie Wu guest stars as Autumn Tace, Kala’s daughter and plays her wonderfully in this audio adventure. Autumn is a mathematical genius just like Adric and she clearly crushes on him when they first meet. She willingly goes with Adric to the Star Men’s universe and he’s happy to have her.

The Star Men, as villains, are pretty cruel to listen to in this adventure. They are without mercy and feed on humanoid life with their influence using a red coral-like substance. The Star Men are also known as the Keltin. They intend to conquer every universe, believing themselves to be so superior.

The leader of the Star Men is Peter Guinness as Rovus. I found Rovus very loathsome and unforgiving in this audio adventure. The scenes where the Doctor’s compassionate and Rovus is ruthless are very tense. I hoped the Doctor would sort Rovus out. Thankfully he did and Rovus was not happy! 😀

The Star Men are an interesting concept in terms of an alien race. They’re described as men with having lights all over their bodies, hence why they’re called Star Men. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that aspect to them, but the performances of the actors playing these vile creatures makes up for it.

the star men1

Damien Lynch and Kris Dyer in ‘The Star Men’.

The guest cast also includes Damian Lunch as General Darin Fell, the commander of the Carl Sagan spaceship and Lom, a reptilian survivor in the Star Men’s reality. There’s also Kris Dyer as Nomar, a former Vileri slave of the Star Men and Vedrin, one of the Star Man that is Rovus’ deputy in the tale.

The story’s conclusion was very sad and moving to listen to. Autumn helps Adric in rescuing Nyssa and Tegan from the Star Men’s universe. But at a cost, Autumn gets speared and soon dies. I liked that scene between Adric and Autumn, where she was saying goodbye to him and he became upset.

The scene in the TARDIS where Adric wishes that they could go back in time and save Autumn and the Doctor tells him they cannot was very touching to listen to. Adric doesn’t lash out as he would expect him to, as he goes off to his room and Nyssa, Tegan and the Doctor are sorry for him and Autumn.

the star men3

Matthew Waterhouse, Sue Holderness, Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Sophie Wu and Janet Fielding in ‘The Star Men’.

‘The Star Men’ has indeed been a gripping audio adventure to listen to with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. It has the feel of a classic story, but with some lovely moments of character drama featured throughout. The concepts by Andrew Smith were also pretty clever and interesting to hear.

The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there are two tracks of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘The Contingency Club’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, writer Andrew Smith and director Barnaby Edwards.

If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Star Men’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Star Men’.

‘The Star Men’ rating – 9/10

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8 thoughts on “‘The Star Men’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord007

    Fantastic review Tim, I admit I was teary eyed at end of this one Matthew Waterhouse gives a understated emotional performance pitched perfectly, Andrew Smith a good writer for the Fifth Doctor & I like the drama of this story & the Star Men are strong villains & a sinister threat.

    A pity we didn’t get more stories like this on tv during the Fifth Doctor era instead of Timeflight, Kings Demons, Warriors Of The Deep, arh well thank goodness we have Big Finish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hey! Don’t forget there are my Fifth Doctor stories on ‘Bradley’s Basement’ as well as the Big Finish audios. 😀

      Thanks Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘The Star Men’. I certainly enjoyed the semi-romance between Adric and Autumn in this story and Andrew Smith is indeed a very good writer for the Fifth Doctor era. He should’ve written more stories for the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team in the TV series.

      I would’ve liked the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric to be showcased in two seasons as opposed to just one season on TV, especially as the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz seem to be getting another season on TV.

      I don’t mind ‘Time-Flight’ so much; ‘The King’s Demons’ should’ve been a four-parter and ‘Warriors of the Deep’ was just awful in execution from its shoddy production.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. helenofvulcan

    I enjoyed this; a good ol’ fashioned romp through sci-fi – full of interesting ideas and a cool storyline. The characters set a nice balance with one another, and there was plenty of mystery spun out just long enough to keep us interested, but not over-done.

    Again, I’m not a big fan of romance, but when compared to those of Tegan and Nyssa in ‘Serpent in the Silver Mask’ and ‘Ghost Walk’, Adric’s turn was nicely handled. It felt suitably less mature and intense than the two women (given that he’s younger) and more awkward, since he doesn’t have much of a clue what to do with himself in this context. It was played really well. I also liked how all three failed relationships contrast: Tegan felt she wasn’t interested enough to take the risk; Nyssa felt it was too fast and impractical; and Adric once again lost someone – a theme which follows him ’round. All were very ‘in character’ and nicely handled.

    But again – when anyone shows some sympathy for Adric, he isn’t present to witness it. I was rather sorry that nobody went after him with some consolation over Autumn, even if it was a scene that took place ‘off-screen’ so to speak.

    It’s a strong story for Adric; it was nice to see the Doctor actually paying him some attention and teaching him to fly the TARDIS, although I do wonder whether he’s motivated by events of ‘Zaltys’ and ‘Iterations of I’ and considers it in everyone’s best and safest interests, rather than a response to Adric’s enthusiasm. He seems to be the only non-Gallifreyan character who pilots the TARDIS so successfully without somehow ‘cheating’, and it makes me wonder about possible links between Gallifrey and Alzarius, given that they share the same spatial co-ordinates in their respective universes, N- and E-Space. That’s an aspect I’d like to see explored further.

    I enjoyed the threat of ‘the Dark’, and there is a lot of sacrifice in this story which, to me, made it impossible not to feel invested. It’s definitely a high-point in the high-quality we’re getting from Big Finish.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      Nice to hear from you again.

      Glad you enjoyed ‘The Star Men’. It is one of the best stories to feature the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric as a team. Glad you found it engaging. Interesting how you compared the failed romances the companions had in the series like with Tegan’s in ‘Serpent in the Silver Mask’, Nyssa’s in ‘Ghost Walk’ and Adric’s in ‘The Star Men’.

      It’s been a while since we had a Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric audio story by Big Finish. I hope future stories are being considered and that Peter, Sarah, Janet and Matthew will get to work together again once the current pandemic is over.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. helenofvulcan

    Hey, Tim 🙂

    Nice to be back. I had Annual Leave at the end of February, and it was lovely to be able to indulge in your reviews, pictures and stories. I have more leave coming up at the end of March, too, which I’m already looking forward to. In the meantime, I’m looking at all the Classic Dr Who stuff I’ve managed to gather together – Fifth Doctor, Seventh Doctor and Ace, and the final Fourth Doctor series, which together make up my main interest in the Classic stuff. Mostly I’m reading the Missing and Past Doctor adventures at present, with some of the Short Stories from the BF anthologies.

    It would be great to gather everything from those eras, eventually. I keep hoping the next hundred audios from Big Finish will get the price reduction the first hundred did so I can add more to my collection without having to be quite so choosy. Although if the above TARDIS team get back together when this is over, it would be terrific. I’d certainly be treating myself to those 🙂

    Take care; stay safe and well


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Thanks Helen.

      Hope you keep safe and well too.

      I’m currently listening to ‘Masterful’ at the moment. I’m looking forward to hearing more Big Finish audios including the War Master stories, the upcoming ‘Dalek Universe’ stories with the Tenth Doctor and the upcoming Ninth Doctor adventures with Christopher Eccleston. Like you, I’m keeping myself occupied with ‘Doctor Who’ entertainment during the lockdown periods we’ve had. I’ve reviewed a number of Fifth Doctor novels on my blog including ‘Cold Fusion’ (which is now a BF audio adaptation) and ‘Goth Opera’.

      Many thanks,

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. helenofvulcan

    Cool 🙂 I read both not so long ago although I’ve not listened to the audio of ‘Cold Fusion’, yet. I’ve been saving it as a treat for March’s holiday. I’ve seen some pretty interesting comments about the differences on FaceBook, so that should be interesting 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      I hope you’ll enjoy the audio adaptation of ‘Cold Fusion’ when you hear it. I greatly enjoyed it and it was intriguing to compare and contrast the book and the audio when reviewing them for my blog back in 2017. 😀

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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