‘THE VALLEY OF DEATH’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Valley with the Fourth Doctor and Leela
For Timelord 007, who is a huge Tom Baker fan.
‘The Valley of Death’ is a four-part adventure spread across the fourth and fifth discs of ‘The Fourth Doctor Box Set’. It is a bonus adventure in the box set and it comes from the mind of Philip Hinchcliffe.
Philip Hinchcliffe produced the first three seasons of Tom Baker’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. Philip had a number of story ideas for the TV series and one included ‘The Valley of Death’. Sadly, this wasn’t made.
Big Finish was asked by Philip Hinchcliffe for his ‘Valley of Death’ story to be turned into an audio drama. Greatly accepting Philip’s storyline, Big Finish turned to the writer Jonathan Morris to adapt it.
In the story, the Doctor and Leela join an expedition to the Amazon rainforest run by explorer Edward Perkins. The team search for a lost professor and temple before they come up against the alien Lurons.
What Jonny Morris comes up with is an exciting action adventure tale that has elements of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘Star Wars’. I expected this to be a full-on jungle adventure in the Amazon rainforest.
Tom Baker’s Doctor is pretty engaging to listen to in this audio adventure. The Doctor is curious about this expedition run by Professor Edward Perkins as he passes himself off as U.N.I.T.’s scientific advisor.
I loved some of Tom’s funny and sarcastic lines as the Doctor when he’s having scenes with Leela, Edward and Valerie. Clearly Tom hasn’t forgotten how to play the Doctor for these thrilling audio tales.
Louise Jameson is a superb as Leela in this audio adventure. Leela gets to use her warrior and hunter instincts to tackle dangerous situations. She shares an adventure with Edward and is braver than him.
Leela is careful of booby traps than Valerie. I found it funny when Leela gets annoyed with Valerie for not doing as she’s told. Louise equally hasn’t lost the feisty nature of Leela when playing her for audio.
Anthony Howell guest stars as Edward Perkins in this audio adventure. I’ve seen Anthony Howell in the 1999 BBC production of ‘Wives and Daughters’. It was amazing to hear him in this audio adventure.
In the story, Edward Perkins claims to be an adventurous explorer. But it turns out that he’s not as brave as he appears. During this adventure, Edward forms this romantic interest for Valerie Carlton.
Jane Slavin guest stars as Valerie Carlton in this audio adventure. Jane has done plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories with Tom Baker and she’s due to play the Fourth Doctor’s companion, Ann Kelso, in 2019.
Valerie is an American journalist who joins the expedition to get the scoop of the century. She seems dim and doesn’t listen to the Doctor and Leela when she gets caught into traps which I found so funny.
The guest cast also includes Nigel Carrington as Emissary Godrin and Delia Lindsay as Overlord Saldor. There are also David Killick as Professor Cornelius Perkins and Richard Bremmer as General Hemmings.
The story’s monsters are the Lurons. They’re an interesting alien race and are described by Leela as yellow looking and small with heads like vampire bats. One can just imagine how they’d appear on TV.
In the story, the Lurons depend on a source of power that is their sun and are good at making duplicate copies of the Doctor and Leela in their invasion plans. I wonder if these Lurons have met the Kraals. 😀
This four-part story is divided into two CD cases with individual CD covers. The CD covers are great but I wished the two CDs were put together into one 2-disc CD release in the box set instead of single CDs.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of each of the 2 discs for ‘The Valley of Death’, there are some behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. These interviews are with Tom Baker; Anthony Howell; Jane Slavin; director Ken Bentley; etc. On Disc 2, there’s trailer for ‘Destination: Nerva’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson.
‘The Valley of Death’ is a well-written and very engaging story. The story starts as a jungle adventure before it turns into something else. It has amazing performances from Tom Baker and Louise Jameson.
Disc 6 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Box Set’ contains a full-length behind-the-scenes documentary looking into the making of ‘The Foe From The Future’ and ‘The Valley of Death’. It’s about over an hour long and contains interviews with cast and crew. Sadly Philip Hinchcliffe isn’t interviewed which is a shame.
The interviewees for this behind-the-scenes making-of documentary include cast members like Tom Baker; Louise Jameson; Louise Brierley; Anthony Howell; Jane Slavin, etc. There’s also some interviews with director Ken Bentley; writers John Dorney and Jonathan Morris and producer David Richardson.
I really enjoyed how the cast including Anthony Howell, Jane Slavin and Louise Brierley talk about enjoying working with Tom Baker in these audio adventures. I also liked how Tom Baker and Louise Jameson talk about their time on ‘Doctor Who’ and how they compare that to doing the audio stories.
I also enjoyed how the ‘Bonus Interviews’ documentary discs opens and closes with someone who is switching on the TV and off again. I presume it’s Nicholas Briggs. 😀 It feels like that these lost adventures are being watched back in the 1970s since that what would have happened had these stories been made for TV.
‘The Fourth Doctor Box Set’ is a pretty excellent ‘Doctor Who’ CD box set that is worth having with Tom Baker’s Doctor and Louise Jameson’s Leela. I’m glad I purchased this box set to celebrate the 50th anniversary with Tom Baker. I highly recommend this box set to those who adore Tom Baker’s Doctor.
‘The Valley of Death’ rating – 8/10
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