‘1963: FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MEN’
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Rock n’ rolling in the 1960s with the Doctor and Nyssa – Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
I loved every minute of this! This is a lovely, fantastic, terrific audio adventure!
‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ is fab! I love the sixties; I loved the music; I loved the story and I really love Nyssa and the Doctor in it! I heard this story not once; not twice but THREE times!!! I was lucky to get this CD in the post before I went to a ‘Doctor Who’ convention in September, 2013.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ signed by Peter Davison at ‘H-Con’ in Eastleigh, Hampshire, July 2015 and the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea, September 2013. I like the CD cover, as it has the three Common Men and the Fifth Doctor doing the iconic Beatles walk and there’s an image of Nyssa in the midst of a screaming crowd of teenagers which looks so impressive!
This story is the first in a multi-Doctor trilogy with the theme of 1963 running through it to celebrate 50 years of ‘Doctor Who’! It’s a four-part adventure by Eddie Robson, who delivers a clever tale about the Beatles taken out of history and replaced by another pop group that follow the same path.
The Doctor takes Nyssa to see the Beatles in 1963, as they get off a plane at a London airport with huge crowds of fans ‘shouting’ at them. But oh wait a minute! It’s not the Beatles! It’s the Common Men! They’ve taken over the Beatles’ place in history. Something’s wrong and the Doctor knows this!
I really liked this story as Eddie Robson captures the sixties well and I love the atmosphere with the Beatles-like attitude and the screaming crowds. The story’s pretty complex as it’s not just set in 1963 as it also shifts from 1963 to 1960 to 1967 to 1970 and back to 1963 again. But it was joy to listen to!
Director Barnaby Edwards, the musicians and the sound designers have also done a great job capturing the sixties in this. From the front cover into the story, you can really feel you’re in the 1960s zone. I enjoyed the Common Men’s northern voices and also how they sing their songs in this!
(singing) “Oh won’t you please love me? Girl, I’m begging you please!, Oh won’t you…” – (‘cough’). Sorry, I got carried away there. I might find myself singing on the odd occasion, so do bear with me.
Sarah Sutton is lovely as Nyssa in this. Sarah enjoyed this adventure too, being set in the sixties and having a Beatles-style to it. She loved the CD designs of this release as they look like original LP/vinyl records. Sarah said at ‘Regenerations 2013’ that she could eat them. She will need a big appetite. 😀
Sarah delivers one of her best performances as Nyssa in this. I’m pleased she’s in this 50th anniversary story. She was stunned when I told that I’d listened to this story three times. I told her the story is very good as I love the sixties and the music definitely sounds like the Beatles music in it!
(singing) “Oh won’t you please love me? Girl, I’m begging you please!, Oh won’t you…” – Sorry, sorry. I’ve done it again. I can’t seem to get that song out of my head now whenever I hear it!
Nyssa is transported back in time to 1960 where she meets the Common Men in Hamburg, Germany. She gets to see their gigs and enjoy their music. I loved the relationship she forms with Korky. Nyssa is mostly separated from the Doctor in this and gets to have her own adventure as well.
Peter excels as the Doctor in this with energy and enthusiasm shining throughout. The Doctor gets to journey through time in the Common Men’s lives before he discovers that they’re aliens. I love how Peter’s Doctor works things out and solves the mystery, unravelling everything layer by layer in this.
Peter knows his Beatles well and is so enthused about the plot and the action of this story with a semi-Beatles style to it. Peter puts so much thought into his performance and is so full of energy. You don’t doubt for one second he’s the Doctor and I’m sure he enjoyed doing this one with Sarah.
The three Common Men are Mark, James and Korky. Mitch Benn guest stars as Mark Carville, who is a John Lennon character on the guitar. I liked Mark’s casual northern way in this. Fans rave about him being great and he knows that he is. He can be broody at times, but he also performs a good gig.
(singing) “Oh won’t you please love me?, Girl, I’m begging you please!, Oh won’t you…” – Argh! What’s wrong with me? This song’s infecting me again. I can’t stop singing it. Stop it, Tim! Stop it!
Andrew Knott guest stars as James O’Meara, who is a Paul McCartney character on the bass. James is an easy-going guy, but is also a bit of a control freak. I liked how there’s friendly rivalry between him and Mark when they seem to threaten to spilt the group up and Korky referees between them.
David Dobson guest stars as Korky Goldsmith, who is a Ringo Starr character on the drums. He seems to like Nyssa, and who wouldn’t. He tries to pamper Nyssa when she’s with them in Hamburg. I like how Korky takes a shine to Nyssa. She calmly reveals that he’s an alien and he seems to take it well.
The villain is Ryan Sampson (from ‘The Sontaran Stratagem’/’The Poison Sky’) as Lenny Kruger. Lenny is an American-like character with some serious anger issues. He’s mysterious and has his own agenda. He controls the Common Men’s lives, as his motives for replacing the Beatles get revealed.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy that’s sounds very sixties. There are three songs sung by the Common Men with lyrics by Barnaby Edwards. The songs include ‘Who Is That Man’; ‘Just Count To Three’ and ‘Oh Won’t You Please Love Me?’.
(singing) “Oh won’t you please love me?, Girl, I’m begging you please! Oh won’t you…” – Oh, argh!!!! I’ve got to stop doing that! Keep that song out of my head!
Just to mention, there’s a familiar catchy tune featured in the suite of music. It was played when Susan was listening to her transistor radio in the first ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘An Unearthly Child’.
At the end of Disc 2, there’s a trailer for the next 1963 story called ‘1963: The Space Race’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. And there are also behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews with Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; Mitch Benn; Andrew Knott; David Dobson; Ryan Sampson; etc.
I liked it when Peter and Sarah talk during the interviews about their involvement in the 50th anniversary with ‘The Light at the End’ and attending ‘Doctor Who’ conventions. There’s also an interview with Howard Carter who talks about how he did the music and sound design for this story.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘Methuselah’ with the Fifth Doctor, read by John Banks.
‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ is a terrific story. I enjoyed Sarah Sutton who is lovely as Nyssa and Peter Davison who is brilliant as the Doctor. I can’t tell you how much I love this story! I can’t believe how lucky I was to get this story before going to a convention and seeing Sarah Sutton there! Now I’ve got this story both signed by Peter and Sarah at conventions, I love this story even more!
(singing) “…I’m down upon my knees!!!”
‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ rating – 10/10
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