‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ (DOTD)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Tribute for Peter Davison – Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
May 2013. It’s time to celebrate the Fifth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ with Peter Davison!
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is a thrilling and engaging ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure that I’ve enjoyed!
This is the fifth instalment of the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series, produced by Big Finish and AudioGo. Like previous releases in the ‘DOTD’ series (previously with ‘Babblesphere’), this story is narrated and performed by an actor/actress who was in the TV series with a guest star as a supporting character.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ by Steve Lyons, is performed by Janet Fielding as Tegan from the TV series and guest stars Tim Beckmann as Harry Houdini. The story is set at a fairground in the 1920s. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ celebrates the Peter Davison era of ‘Doctor Who’, which is my one of favourite eras from the series.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ signed by Janet Fielding, who I met at the ‘Project Motor Mouth 2’ convention in Slough, August 2013. It was a delight to meet Janet at that convention as I didn’t think I would ever meet her at conventions. I’ve met Janet more than once at conventions.
There are some exciting TV stories from the Peter Davison era including ‘The Visitation’; ‘Black Orchid’ (my favourite); ‘Earthshock’ and ‘The Five Doctors’. I also like the Big Finish audios with Peter’s Doctor including ‘Circular Time’ (my favourite); ‘Spare Parts’; ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ (‘Castle of Fear’; ‘The Eternal Summer’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’); ‘The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories’; etc.
My favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion is Sarah Sutton as Nyssa who comes from the Peter Davison era. I loved the rapport shares between with Peter Davison’s Doctor and Sarah Sutton’s in the Big Finish audios. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Sarah at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions over the years.
I’ve written my own series of stories with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. For the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’, I also wrote a story with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa to celebrate the Fifth Doctor era.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ features the TARDIS team from Season 19 including The Fifth Doctor; Nyssa; Tegan and Adric. Season 19 is my favourite season of stories from ‘Doctor Who’ with those characters. I love the relationships between those four TARDIS regulars and their adventures on TV.
Steve Lyons wrote for this Fifth Doctor team before in a Short Trip called ‘Hearts of Stone’ for a Big Finish anthology book series called ‘Short Trip: Companions’. For this story, Steve has the characters spot-on, as it feels that this came from that era. I was very pleased to listen to this audio adventure.
Janet Fielding reprises her role as Tegan and reads ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. I wished it was Sarah Sutton who read this story as she’s my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion and I enjoyed her performance in ‘The Darkening Eye’ Companion Chronicle. But it was great to hear Janet perform and read this story.
I’ve never heard Janet read ‘Doctor Who’ a story before. I was captivated by Janet’s reading of the story without a problem. She doesn’t get the voices exactly right, but she has the energy required to go with these characters. Maybe it’s because I love the characters that I enjoyed this story so much.
I liked how Adric’s mathematical excellence and annoying mannerisms are touched upon in this story. Adric is as he appeared and sounded from the TV series. Janet delivers a good interpretation of the character as she knows Matthew Waterhouse well. Adric gets to run away from a tiger in this.
I also liked Tegan’s outspoken bossiness being touched upon in this story. Tegan at this point is trying to get back to her job at Heathrow Airport as this story is placed between ‘The Visitation’ and ‘Black Orchid’. I liked how Tegan interacts with her friends and when she gets to meet Harry Houdini.
I also liked how Nyssa’s gentle kindness and compassionate nature is touched upon in this story. The friendship shared between Nyssa and Tegan is great. Janet does a good impersonation of how Nyssa sounds as she knows Sarah Sutton well. I liked Nyssa’s bewilderment of things being touched upon.
I liked how the Fifth Doctor’s youthful energy is portrayed in this adventure. I liked the scenes where the Doctor meets Harry Houdini and how he confronts him when Houdini seems to be on the wrong side. Janet delivers an energetic and lively impersonation of Peter’s Doctor as she knows him so well.
Tim Beckmann guest stars as Harry Houdini, famous escape artist ever and friend of the Doctor. The Doctor has mentioned meeting Houdini once before and later mentioned it to Nyssa later in ‘Circular Time: Summer’. Tim brings Houdini to life. I liked Houdini’s relationship with the Doctor in this story.
In terms of the story’s villain, I won’t reveal any spoilers on that. What I will say however is that the villain has a close connection to Nyssa. When Nyssa realises who this person is and what he means to her, she’s terrified and shocked. It gave me a chill and a thrill down my spine when I first heard it.
If you’re still wondering what the link is between these ‘DOTD’ stories, it’s the Eleventh Doctor popping in and out to send messages to his previous selves. This time, Doctor 11 contacts Doctor 5 through a crystal ball (an Ovid sphere). I wanted to know what will happen in the last of this series.
There aren’t any CD extras, apart from the Fifth Doctor and Tegan’s biographies in the CD sleeve notes. If you purchase the complete ‘DOTD’ series as a bundle from Big Finish, there’s a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary on the series called ‘Meeting with Destiny’ with ‘The Time Machine’.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is an exciting and enjoyable story featuring Peter Davison’s Doctor and his companions Nyssa; Tegan and Adric. I enjoyed these ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ stories so far. It was a great way to remember and to celebrate these eras of ‘Doctor Who’ for the 50th anniversary in 2013.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ (DOTD) rating – 9/10
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