‘THE FEAST OF AXOS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Axos Calls Earth or Earth Calls Axos
Axos has returned! Oh no! Will the Doctor stop the chaos of Axos?!
I first heard about the announcement of ‘The Feast of Axos’ when I attended the ‘Regenerations 2010’ convention in Swansea, September 2010. The producer David Richardson described how exciting the story was on the Big Finish panel and I was sold into believing that it was pretty exciting.
‘The Feast of Axos’ is a four-part adventure by Mike Maddox, who previously co-wrote ‘Circular Time’. The story features Colin Baker’s Doctor with Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe and John Pickard as Thomas Brewster. I was looking forward to finding out what this ‘Axos’ sequel was about.
As I said in my review for ‘The Claws of Axos’, that TV story was such a bonkers adventures by Bob Baker and Dave Martin with the Third Doctor, Jo, U.N.I.T. and the Master. So how could Mike Maddox write a sequel about this unique monstrous foe that our friendly Doctor previously tackled?
Well the story takes a look at what happened to Axos after the Doctor defeated him in ‘Claws’. Axos was caught in a time loop in space that the Doctor created with his TARDIS. Many years later, someone discovers Axos caught in the time loop and attempts to re-establish contact with the being.
Axos is an alien spaceship-like creature that could divide itself into various entities such as humanoid like beings that hide their spaghetti-like appearances and into the powerful component called Axonite. Axons, Axonite and the spaceship Axos were all the same thing as the Doctor discovered it.
Bernard Holley returns to voice Axos in this sequel to the classic TV story. I’ve met Bernard Holley in real life at the ‘Pandorica 2014’ convention in Bristol, September 2014. I recall having a nice chat with him. He shared some of the acting work he did including his ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ episode.
Hearing Bernard Holley’s voice as Axos was chilling to listen to. It’s clearly aged over the years, but Bernard drives forward the menace of Axos as well as the cold calculating thought-processing within the alien creature’s mind. It coordinates the activities Axos does to succeed its objectives of escape.
Axos remains the parasitic vampire-like monster that it was when intending to suck the planet Earth dry again with its ‘feast’. Axos is clearly eager to make a deal with Earth that wants to utilise them in providing power for their greedy purposes. Axos takes no chances with choosing the people to trust.
Most of the story takes place inside the Axos spaceship itself. It was so surreal to hear the eerie interior of the Axos spaceships, with its tendrils and putting me in mind of the TV story. The Doctor, Evelyn and Thomas Brewster have to be careful where they tread with exploring the Axos spaceship.
Of course this story directly follows after ‘The Crimes of Thomas Brewster’, where Thomas demanded the Doctor and Evelyn to take him back to his own time in the 19th century at gunpoint. I’m glad the Doctor said that Thomas could have asked nicely, since those were my thoughts exactly.
Thankfully, the Doctor manages to outwit Brewster by putting a force-field around him and Evelyn takes the gun from him. After freeing Brewster from the force-field, the Doctor refuses to take him back to the 19th century as he intends to take him back to the 21st century where he ‘made his bed’.
But of course that’s not what happens as the TARDIS gets diverted of course and ends up inside the Axos spaceship. The Doctor, Evelyn and Brewster eventually explore the Axos spaceship, before coming across a group of human astronauts who visit on behalf of a billionaire wanting Axos’ power.
John Pickard stars as Thomas Brewster in this second adventure of the trilogy with him, Colin Baker’s Doctor and Evelyn Smythe. Over the years since I did my reviews on the Thomas Brewster stories with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa and in ‘The Three Companions’, I’ve discovering an astounding thing.
Most of the fandom in ‘Doctor Who’ hates Thomas Brewster. Now this is something I can’t fully appreciate, as I like the character and find him an interesting companion with the Doctor. But as I listen to these Sixth Doctor audio stories with Thomas Brewster, I see why fans dislike him so much.
Thomas Brewster isn’t a clear-cut, trustworthy character. In this story especially, he can switch sides at any time and has hardened over the years since he left the Fifth Doctor and reunited with the Sixth Doctor. Brewster’s brashness and duplicity can trigger fans to really loathe him as a companion.
Brewster’s relationship with the Sixth Doctor isn’t a smooth one, as they tend to argue with each other on various points of view. It isn’t helped when Brewster sides with Axos and is sometimes convinced the Doctor wants to abandon him when he overhears his conversation with Evelyn in this.
Colin Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. It’s interesting how he interacts with Brewster in this one, since he doesn’t trust him completely. He gets persuaded by Evelyn to trust him, especially when they talk about what to do with him when this adventure’s over.
I like how Colin’s Doctor tackles Axos in this one. It’s interesting how the Doctor recalls his encounter with Axos when he was exiled to Earth all those years ago by the Time Lords. Colin’s Doctor makes some tough choices when he allows Axos to get inside his TARDIS and he finds a way to outwit them.
The highlight of Colin Baker’s performance in this story is that he gets to play an Axon version of his Doctor. This is after the Axons duplicate him for his purposes. I can easily imagine Colin Baker looking gold-eyed as an Axon and when he has scenes with Bernard Holley’s Axos voice in the story.
Maggie Stables is wonderful to listen to as Evelyn Smythe in this adventure. I like how she’s the referee between the Doctor and Brewster, as he tries to talk to both of them and get them to be friendly with each other. She also tackles them dangers of being inside and outside Axos pretty well.
In the story, Evelyn gets a chance to do a ‘spacewalk’ of sorts when she, the Doctor and the two astronauts Joanna and David get onto Axos’ outer shell. They do this in order to get back inside Axos. There’s quite a shock when Evelyn disconnects herself from the safety line and floats out into space.
I found that cliff-hanger to ‘Part Three’ where Evelyn floats out into space very moving, as it seems like the Doctor will never see her again. Imagine how effective that cliff-hanger would work for TV compared to audio. But thankfully Evelyn survives when she’s rescued by the Jules Verne spaceship.
The story also features Chook Sibtain as David Brock, one of the UK Earth astronauts from the spaceship Windermere. Chook guest starred in the TV story ‘The Waters of Mars’ as well as in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ story, ‘Warriors of Kudlak’. He’s also done Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’.
I don’t feel Chook Sibtain had a large role to play in this story, despite being implied that on the CD front cover of the story. His role is mostly limited aboard the Windermere spaceship before he joins Joanna, the Doctor and Evelyn on the ‘spacewalk’ to Axos after their colleague Craig has been killed.
Andrée Bernard guest stars as Joanna Slade of the Windermere crew in this story. Apparently, Andrée was in ‘The Shakespeare Code’ and has done many Big Finish audios like ‘The Entropy Composition’ in ‘The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton.
There’s also Peter Forbes as Craig Swanson of the Windermere crew in this story. Peter has also done many Big Finish audios for ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Dalek Empire’ over the years. At first you think Craig Swanson is a straight-forward heroic character in this. But as it turns out, there is more to him.
The story also features John Banks as Campbell Irons, the arrogant billionaire who gets more than he bargained for when he attempts to negotiate with Axos and plunder its energy. There’s also Duncan Wisbey as Philippe Lefevre, of the Jules Verne spaceship that’s in competition with the Windermere.
The Axons spaghetti-like monsters do make an appearance in this story as I heard transform into them during ‘Part Three’. I will have to listen to this story again, but I didn’t get enough of the Axons’ spaghetti appearance in this one as I’d done with the TV story. Maybe it’s just me, but it is how I feel.
‘The Feast of Axos’ has been a pretty enjoyable sequel to ‘The Claws of Axos’ with Colin Baker’s Doctor, Evelyn and Thomas Brewster. I like how the story ends with how the Doctor manages to defeat Axos. It sounds very complex to listen to, but it was great to hear how Axos worked on audio.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music that I enjoyed. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with Colin Baker, Maggie Stables, Bernard Holley, script-editor Alan Barnes and director Nicholas Briggs. There’s a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Evelyn and Brewster called ‘Industrial Evolution’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Feast of Axos’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Feast of Axos’.
‘The Feast of Axos’ rating – 8/10
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