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Hex meets the Doctor and Ace and faces the Cybermen
This is such an exciting and enjoyable story to listen to!
‘The Harvest’ starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Phillip Olivier is a tense and gripping ‘Doctor Who’ audio drama that works well. It features the return of some old foes and introduces a new companion for the Seventh Doctor. You won’t regret listening to this audio drama. It’s brilliant!
This is the third of a trilogy of stories featuring the Cybermen. It started with ‘The Reaping’ and then with ‘The Gathering’. However ‘The Harvest’ was made in 2004 before those two stories were made in 2006. But Joseph Lidster decided to link up his two audio stories into ‘The Harvest’ by Dan Abnett.
This is a four-part story by Dan Abnett, who is a clever writer for strong dramas. His experience working in comics helps to make this story very dynamic and enjoyable to listen to. He was very keen to write for the Seventh Doctor and Ace and enjoyed introducing Hex as the new companion.
Thomas Hector Schofield – or Hex as he calls himself – works at St. Gart’s Hospital in London. It’s his birthday in October 2021 and all is not well. A flatmate of his has been reported to A&E at the hospital and is soon reported dead. Hex is upset at this and doesn’t feel like celebrating his birthday.
Hex meets and becomes friends with Dorothy McShane – or ‘Just McShane’ – from HR. Hex then gets run over by a car before ‘McShane’ saves him. Curious, Hex follows her to find an old battered blue box, which is bigger on the inside and meets a mysterious man with an umbrella called the Doctor.
This is a great introduction to Phillip Olivier as Hex. I’ve met Phillip at the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle in October 2013. Here he plays a young Northerner and it’s nice to have someone who isn’t of the ‘home counties’ as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion and very down to Earth (no pun intended).
Hex is a male nurse who shows concern for his patients and is horrified by anything gory. He gets curious about ‘McShane’ and why she’s interested in him. He’s gobsmacked by the TARDIS and the Doctor is rather annoyed by his ‘OMG’ moments. But the Doctor enlists ‘Mr Hex’s’ help in this story.
Sophie Aldred is lovely as Ace, or as she prefers to be called ‘McShane’. She’s still in shock from the events of ‘Colditz’ and is now using her alias as McShane to grow up as she recently did also in ‘The Rapture’. But she gets on well with Hex and manages to get into working in HR at St. Gart’s Hospital.
Ace is into the action and mystery, as she; Hex and the Doctor investigate what’s going-on at the hospital. She gets captured but she has enough tough talk to fight herself out of a tricky situation. I’m lucky to have met Sophie at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions and I look forward to see her again soon.
Sylvester McCoy’s really good as the Doctor. He has an idea of what’s going and is working things out with regards to this mystery. He’s mysterious and manipulative as ever. He learns something about Hex when accessing the System and is intrigued by it. I’m also intrigued by what that ‘something’ is.
I liked how Sylvester’s Doctor gets on with well Hex; when he tells him about the TARDIS and who their enemies are. I liked it when the Doctor confronts Subject One or when he defies Garnier. Sylvester’s on top form as the Doctor. I’m glad that I’ve met Sylvester at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions.
The guest cast also includes William Boyde as Subject One; David Warwick (from ‘The Pirate Planet’) as XSO David Garnier; Janie Booth as System (the same ‘System’ in ‘The Gathering’); Richard Derrington as Dr Stephen Farrer; Paul Lacoux as Dr Mark Mathias and Mark Donovan as hulking Polk.
The Cybermen also make a return! They’re kept well-hidden until the end of ‘Part Two’. They’re not featured so heavily in the story, but their presence is felt with their cyber technology and Subject One turns out to be the Cyber Leader. The theme of emotion is also challenged and touched upon.
The music and sound design of ‘The Harvest’ is in similar to the tones with the previous stories, ‘The Reaping’ and ‘The Gathering’. I assume that Joe Lidster had this in mind to keep these stories consistent.
At the end, the Doctor, Ace and Hex defeat the Cybermen. The Doctor and Ace say goodbye, but Hex follows and gets to catch up with them before they leave. Hex wants to join the Doctor and Ace in the TARDIS in their travels. The Doctor and Ace happily accept Hex and the new TARDIS trio is made.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there are trailers for two audio dramas called ‘Medicinal Purposes’ (with David Tennant) and ‘Arrangements of War’ with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables. There’s also a trailer for the third series of ‘Dalek Empire’ that also features David Tennant.
‘The Harvest’ is a great conclusion to this Cybermen trilogy of stories and it is a great new beginning for Phillip Olivier as Hex as the new companion. I’m glad to have heard the first adventure with Hex and I’m hoping to hear more stories with Hex and find out where he goes with Ace and the Doctor.
‘The Harvest’ rating – 9/10
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