‘THE HOLY TERROR’
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A Side-Step into a 2-D Universe with the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher
It’s time for us to venture into…‘The Holy Terror’!
No! No! Not ‘Batman: Holy Terror’! This is the ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure called ‘The Holy Terror’! Look, you know this is a ‘Doctor Who’ story that I’m reviewing. I started off this review with the Big Finish audio CD cover at the top of this page for goodness sake! So there’s no need to refer to another story called ‘Holy…’
(put-off) I don’t want to think about that one.
Although quite ironically, this ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure does connect to a character that features in the ‘Doctor Who’ comics. I’m of course talking about Frobisher, the shape-shifting companion of the Sixth Doctor, who very often looks like a big talking penguin in the comic stories.
I must admit, I’ve not read many ‘Doctor Who’ comics. I’ve read the Fifth Doctor comics and one half of the Eighth Doctor comics by ‘Doctor Who Magazine’. I’ve also checked out a couple of the Titan ‘Doctor Who’ comic adventures like ‘The Many Lives of Doctor Who’ and ‘Defender of the Daleks’. 🙂
I’ve also read the ‘Doctor Who’/‘Star Trek’ crossover called ‘Assmilation2‘. But when it comes to talking about Frobisher as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion in the comics, I’ve still a lot to learn about him. I know that he featured in the ‘DWM’ comics with the Sixth and Seventh Doctors in the mid-1980s. 🙂
Mostly he was with the Sixth Doctor in the ‘Doctor Who’ comics. I’ve also checked out his appearance in the IDW comic ‘Prisoners of Time’, which celebrated ‘Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. Frobisher has also appeared in the BBC ‘Past Doctors Adventures’ book called ‘Mission: Impractical’.
There are also ‘Doctor Who’ adventures featuring the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Frobisher by Alan Camlann (Wolfie) of the Divergent Wordsmiths, including ‘Eden of Annihilation’ and the upcoming story ‘The Alchemists of Fear’. I’m currently working with Alan Camlann/Wolfie on a third ‘Doctor Who’ story featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy meeting the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Frobisher. 🙂
Wolfie: “Hi, all! If you’re looking for more of the big talking bird, ‘Eden By Annihilation’ is available now for reading. Taking influence from stories like ‘Arcane’, ‘Thunderbirds’, ‘Life is Strange’, ‘Oxenfree’, and ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’; it tells of the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Frobisher’s struggle against a newly awakened living planet. The Doctor tries to understand it whilst the companions hope to find a means to escape it. This is a story that could only be told with this TARDIS team. Their friendships, their hardships, their personal tragedies and their triumphs. This is a team that will fight to the last breath, and there’s so much on the line in ‘Eden’ to justify it.
Coming up is ‘The Alchemists of Fear’, which will take the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Frobisher into a world being used as a living experiment. Its people at the mercy of a conclave that have the means to dominate – or to destroy – every living thing under their wide influence. Even on the back foot, the Doctor and his friends are determined to see the danger through. Whatever the cost to themselves. But are they prepared for it? Truly? And will it be enough this time?
And soon, two unique groups of Doctors and companions clash and coincide on… Well, Tim and I will be able to talk more on that as things develop. 🙂
Check out ‘Eden By Annihilation’, the Frobisher solo story ‘Ask Nicely’ in ‘Unbound Imaginings: Volume 2’, and stay tuned for further stories, hopefully sooner rather than later. Bye for now!”
When it comes to talking about Frobisher’s audio appearances in ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish, they’re very rare. As of 2022, there are two audio stories featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher, including ‘The Holy Terror’ and ‘The Maltese Penguin’. I find this very surprising to find out about Frobisher. 😐
You’d think that Big Finish would make more audio adventures featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher, especially since ‘The Holy Terror’ is one of Big Finish’s earliest monthly range adventures. ‘The Holy Terror’ was released in 2000 whilst ‘The Maltese Penguin’ was released in 2002. Very odd!
I would like it if Big Finish made more ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories featuring Frobisher. Perhaps box set stories of the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Frobisher could happen. I would welcome audio adaptations of the comic book adventures featuring Frobisher in ‘Doctor Who’. As is, this hasn’t happened yet. 😐
I must get around to checking out more Frobisher stories in ‘Doctor Who’ in comic form. For now though, let’s talk about ‘The Holy Terror’ as an audio adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher. After hearing it, I find it to be one of the best ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories ever produced. 🙂
It was even rated highly by fans as one of the top five favourite ‘Doctor Who’ monthly audio adventures by Big Finish in 2021. It’s no surprise ‘The Holy Terror’ has been rated highly, as it’s a four-part audio story by Robert Shearman, well-known for writing the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Dalek’.
Since seeing ‘Dalek’, I’ve checked out quite a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories by Robert Shearman in audio form. As well as ‘The Holy Terror’, he’s also written stories like ‘Jubilee’, ‘My Own Private Wolfgang’ in ‘100’, ‘The Chimes of Midnight’ and ‘Scherzo’. He comes across as a very good writer. 🙂
I’ve even met and chatted to Rob Shearman at conventions, including ‘Regenerations 2011’ in Swansea, September 2011. I was surprised by the twist revelations featured in this story, especially when the world that the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher visited turned out to be not what they expected.
In the story, the TARDIS lands in a castle at a time of religious upheaval. One god has been overthrown and the heretics have been slaughtered. The Doctor and Frobisher get involved in the story’s events, hailed as messengers from heaven, before they’re caught in the struggle for power. 😐
There’s certainly an underlying level of humour featured throughout the story, bordering on the lines of Douglas Adams-styled humour, I think. Rob Shearman clearly likes meshing in the balance of horror and comedy throughout this audio story and the direction by Nicholas Pegg is pretty well-handled.
Colin Baker stars as the Sixth Doctor in this audio adventure. I like how Colin gets into the story, joined by a penguin companion in Frobisher. This must be the first time Colin Baker’s done a Sixth Doctor story with Frobisher and he acts like he’s been travelling with Frobisher for a really long time.
I really hope audio adaptations of the comic stories featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher will happen someday, as I would like to hear how Colin Baker’s Doctor gets to meet Frobisher. The chemistry between Colin Baker and Robert Jezek is so good and I like the interaction between them.
Speaking of which, Robert Jezek plays Frobisher in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. In the TV series, Robert Jezek played Sgt. Zbrigniev in ‘Battlefield’ with Sylvester McCoy. He’s played other roles in Big Finish over the years, but Frobisher seems to be his most notable one in ‘Doctor Who’. 🙂
I like how Robert Jezek puts across Frobisher’s cynicism, especially when he gets hailed as a god at the end of ‘Part Two’. I enjoyed the story Frobisher had when interacting with Pepin, especially when he was without the Doctor for a bit. It was amusing to think of statue built in Frobisher’s image.
The guest cast includes Sam Kelly as Eugene Tacitus, the scribe at the castle. Sam Kelly played Captain Hans Geering in ‘Allo ‘Allo’. He also played Acheron in ‘Return to the Web Planet’. I enjoyed Sam Kelly’s performance as Eugene Tactius in the story. He also plays the Child featured in this story.
There’s also Roberta Taylor as Berengaria, the mother of Pepin the Seventh. Roberta Taylor is well-known for playing Irene Raymond in ‘EastEnders’. In real life, she’s married to Peter Guinness, who plays her son Childreric. Yeah, I know. Weird! Berengaria comes across as a rather sulky character. 😐
As well as being Roberta Taylor’s wife, Peter Guinness has been in ‘Casualty’ and ‘The Secret of Sleepy Hollow’. Peter Guinness as Childreric is played out to be the main villain here. Quite frankly, there are lot of villains in this. As well as the Child and Childeric, there’s also Clovis, Arnulf and Livilla.
The cast also includes Daniel Hogarth as Captain Sejanus, Helen Punt as Livilla, Stefan Atkinson as Pepin the Seventh, Peter Sowerbutts as Clovis and Bruce Mann as Arnulf. Rob Shearman also plays a sculptor and a guard whilst Gary Russell plays another guard and Jacqueline Rayner plays a woman. 😀
A lot of these characters can be mean-spirited, especially when they perform their function in an over-zealous and religious society. Pepin the Seventh seems to be the only nice character featured throughout this story. But things do make sense when you get to the revelation of who made this world.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Mutant Phase’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. There’s also an outtake from ‘The Holy Terror’, which you’ll have to wait for or fast forward to at the end of the last track of Disc 2.
‘The Holy Terror’ has been an invigorating ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure to listen to, featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Robert Jezek as Frobisher. I enjoyed Robert Shearman’s take on the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher. It’s been a fun adventure filled with comedic and quite dark overtones. 🙂
Hopefully after hearing ‘The Holy Terror’, I’ll be able to get onto to checking out more ‘Doctor Who’ stories featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher, both in comic and prose form. My next port of call will be the audio story ‘The Maltese Penguin’. I’m curious as to how the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher will fare out in that.
“All hail Frobisher! All hail the big talking bird!” 😀
‘The Holy Terror’ rating – 9/10
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