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Glasst City on Nocturne with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex
It was nice to hear the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex again! 🙂
The first time I heard about ‘Nocturne’ was when I first heard the trailer for it on my first ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audio CD – which was of course ‘Circular Time’. From listening to the trailer, it sounded pretty exciting, especially with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor describing Glasst City and such. 😀
It took a while for me to get around to listening to it, but thankfully I did and now I’m reviewing it for my blog. Not sure if I purchased the CD from the ‘Doctor Who’ Up-Close exhibition in Cardiff Bay or at the Forbidden Planet in Cardiff City Centre. Either way, I heard ‘Nocturne’ and I greatly enjoyed it.
The story of course stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor with Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex. The first time I listened to this TARDIS trio on audio was when I heard ‘Forty-Five’ back in 2011. By the time I got to hear ‘Nocturne’, I knew how the trio of the Doctor, Ace and Hex worked. 🙂
‘Nocturne’ is a four-part adventure by Dan Abnett. He’s known for creating the character of Hex in his first ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Harvest’. So it’s good that he’s come back to write for Hex again as well as the Seventh Doctor and Ace. Dan also writes a compelling adventure for the TARDIS trio here.
In ‘Nocturne’, the Doctor, Ace and Hex visit the titular-named planet for a relaxing holiday. They explore the beauty of Glasst City as the Doctor tells his two friends that there’s been an ages-old war going on. Despite that, Glasst City as well as Nocturne is regarded one of the finest places of fine art.
It happens to be one of the Doctor’s favourite places in the universe as it has the late, great flowering of human art called the High Renaissance. Music, art and poetry happen on this planet. The Doctor’s been to this planet many times as one previous visit was with Tegan Jovanka apparently.
Ace and Hex aren’t really that impressed with Nocturne. Hex is reminded of a school trip to Venice when visiting Glasst City since he finds the place damp as well as Ace. Ace and Hex also think the Doctor’s hiding something and keeping them in the dark. The Doctor reassures them that he’s hiding nothing.
But as the story progresses and as the Doctor reunites with old friends, a deadly menace starts to brew in Glasst City. It happens to be an elemental force with a note of death in the wild, midnight wind. Can the Doctor, Ace, Hex and others be able to solve the mystery with what’s happening here?
This story does require careful attention when getting into the world of Nocturne. In many respects, Nocturne is almost like Earth with forms of art, music, poetry and such. But you have to listen in when concerning the death-like wind that happens to be the enemy and killing many innocent lives.
Thankfully the story isn’t without a monster…of sorts. There are these service robots called the Familiars, voiced by Helen Kay. They sound eerily polite and friendly when someone requests a service from them. But they become dangerous when they act strangely and attack our main heroes.
Sylvester McCoy is very good as the Doctor in this adventure. I love his interaction with Ace and Hex as well as the dwellers of Glasst City. Sylvester’s Doctor’s hoping for peace and relaxation when on Nocturne. Sadly he is denied this but he becomes determined to tackle the menace no matter what.
Sophie Aldred stars as Ace in this adventure and is very lovely to listen to. I like how she gets to flirt with Will Alloran in this adventure which grows into an intimate bond of sorts. Ace seems to have become wiser by this point in her travels. She becomes sad once Will’s killed by the death-like wind.
Philip Oliver is equally very good as Hex in this adventure. I love the banter and chemistry between him and Ace as well as with the Doctor. It’s interesting how Sylvester describes Hex being Ace’s companion in the CD interviews. Hex gets wrongly accused for murder by Oberst Reeney in the tale.
The story features special guest star Trevor Bannister as Korbin Thessinger. Trevor Bannister is well-known for playing Mr. Lucas in ‘Are You Being Served?’ I’ve also seen him in a Christmas Special of ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. Thessinger is a music composer and he knows the Doctor pretty well here.
Paul David-Gough guest stars as Will Alloran as well as Lomas Alloran, his twin brother in the story. As I understand, Lomas was responsible for creating the wave of destruction in the wind with his music pieces before he died early in the story. I liked Will’s scenes with Ace and how they fell in love.
Eric Potts guest stars as Lothar Ragpole, another old friend of the Doctor’s in Glasst City. He happens to be a nightclub owner and writes bad poetry according to Lilian Dillane. Lothar helps out with the Doctor stopping the menace of the strange death-like wind. It includes getting attacked by Familiars.
Ann Rye guest stars as Lilian Dillane, another old friend of the Doctor’s who meets him at Lothar’s in Glasst City. Lilian is a painter and quite obsessed with art, especially as she’s with Hex when they try to find Luke. Lillian’s obsession gets the better of her when she wants to acquire the death-like wind.
As well as voicing the Familiar robots, Helen Kay guest stars as the no-nonsense Cate Reeney who is an obsert (a law enforcement overwatcher) in Glasst City. She judges Hex for murdering Luke who got killed by the wind and she doesn’t trust the Doctor once looking up records on his previous visits.
Just to raise some more trivia, apparently Trevor Bannister was also in ‘The Tomorrow People’ and was doing a musical of ‘Me and My Girl’ with Sylvester McCoy at the time of the recording of this story in Manchester. Eric Potts also played one of the Slitheen in the new ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. 😀
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a trailer for Series 1 of ‘The Eighth Doctor Adventures’ with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith. I’m surprised they didn’t include a trailer for ‘Renaissance of the Daleks’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton as indicated in the CD sleeve notes.
At the end of Disc 2, there’s an excerpt from ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Philip Olivier, Trevor Bannister, etc. I liked it when Sylvester and Sophie commented on comparing the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ to their era with Billie Piper and such. There are also trailers for three ‘Doctor Who’ stories with Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier. These include ‘The Harvest’, ‘Dreamtime’ and ‘The Settling’.
‘Nocturne’ has been an enjoyable adventure with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex. It’s a story that requires careful attention especially in terms of the atmosphere and hearing the death-like wind. But the performances of the cast including Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier are brilliant.
‘Nocturne’ rating – 8/10
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