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Romance in the English countryside with the Doctor and Nyssa
At last! Here’s my review of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ audio with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa!
I bought ‘Circular Time’ for my birthday in May, 2008. It was the first Big Finish audio I listened to and my life has never been the same since! It features Nyssa, my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion as it was ‘Black Orchid’ and ‘Circular Time’ that got me to become a huge Nyssa/Sarah Sutton fan.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Circular Time’ signed by Sarah Sutton (as well as the DVD cover of ‘Black Orchid’), when I first met her in London, February 2010. She ranks ‘Circular Time’ as one of her favourites since it develops Nyssa’s character and is the template for Nyssa in later Big Finish audios.
‘Circular Time’ by Paul Cornell and Mike Maddox is four episodes on two CDs. But it’s not the traditional four-part story in ‘Doctor Who’. Oh no! These are four individual one-part stories loosely connected by four seasons in the annual year. This has become a successful format of storytelling.
This first episode is set on an alien planet where bird-like creatures live. Some say this is the weakest of the four stories, but I quite like this tale. It’s a gentle way to start the set of four stories for me.
I love how the Doctor and Nyssa’s relationship is played out between Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. Peter and Sarah know their characters inside and out and bounce off each other very well.
This episode guest stars Hugh Frazer as Cardinal Zero. Hugh is well-known for playing Captain Hastings in ITV’s ‘Poriot’. He’s very good in this playing a rogue Time Lord ruling an alien bird-planet.
The ending for this episode took me quite by surprise. It was rather unexpected and a little rushed in a short space of time. But having listened to it again, I think the story manages to hold up somehow.
‘Spring’ rating – 3/5
The second episode is a pure historical adventure. I really like this little episode with the Doctor and Nyssa, as they get arrested by the famous Sir Issac Newton, wonderfully played by David Warner.
David Warner delivers a great performance as Sir Issac. I’m not sure how historically accurate Sir Issac’s personality is in terms of the writing. But it was certainly convincing when I was hearing this.
There’s a lovely exposition of dialogue between the three characters. The Doctor and Nyssa are trying to divert the conversation long enough to prevent Sir Issac knowing anything about the future.
The comedy moments are by far what I like about this episode. Most of the comedy is black and a little bemusing at times since some of the lines by the characters are pretty bizarre and unexpected.
‘Summer’ rating – 4/5
The third episode is my absolute favourite of the four stories. It’s a story that’s personally close to my heart and is a gentle tale where Nyssa falls in love for the first time with a boy named Andrew.
As I’m a sloppy guy, I find this a rare treat. The love story is very sweet as Sarah is lovely as Nyssa. I like the scenes where she falls in love with Andrew and it’s a side that we rarely see in her. Nyssa goes through the emotions of falling in love and contemplates whether to spend life on Earth or not.
It’s heart-breaking by the end of the episode, but it’s told lovingly and beautifully. This is an easy story to listen to and is supported by beautiful music. I want more romantic love stories with Nyssa.
‘Autumn’ rating – 5/5
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