Doctor Who Audio Review: From Tinseltown To Ribos

Silver and Ice is a Doctor Who audio boxset from Big Finish Productions which contains two new adventures with Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford returning to the roles of the Doctor and Melanie Bush. Samuel Clemens serves as the director. Nicholas Briggs returns to the Cybermen and a couple of other roles. Jasmin Hinds, Jenny Spark, Dan Starkey, and Vivienne Rochester are included in the cast.

Speaking of Dan Starkey, he is the scriptwriter for the first story, Bad Day in Tinseltown. In a town called Brightedge, which is supposed to represent some Old West locale, is on the verge of becoming some sort of entertainment mecca. When the Doctor and Mel arrive, it does not take them long to discover that the Cybermen are also there, and they are not interested in the fun and games. No surprise there!

What is surprising is how underwhelming I found this episode. I was distracted by the exaggerated American accents put on by some of the actors. Although I tend to enjoy pairing of McCoy and Langford, even their efforts were not quite enough to keep me significantly engaged. Doctor Who has attempted to recapture the atmosphere of the Old West, and this effort was not an improvement over the past forays into this setting.

The Ribos Inheritance by Jonathan Barnes is an improvement, but not quite as much as I had hoped. The Doctor and Mel return to Ribos, which was where he had recovered the first segment to the Key to Time in a previous life. Ribos is supposed to be in the midst of their Suntime, however it is still in the grip of bitter cold. For once, the eccentric steering of the TARDIS is not to blame. David Rintoul has taken over the role of Garron, the cosmic con artist previously encountered by the Doctor. Garron was originally played by the late Ian Cuthbertson in the television serial, The Ribos Operation.

I sort of found Garron’s inclusion to be somewhat unnecessary. Rintoul does fine in his performance and can almost sound like Cuthbertson. I think the episode would have worked better with a whole new cast of characters even though the Doctor would be in surroundings that he would find familiar.

McCoy and Langford continue to perform well together, and I don’t mind revisiting the early days of the Seventh Doctor. The mixed metaphor gag returned once or twice.

Anyway, this set isn’t the most exciting to me. It’s not an abysmal listening experience, but there is not much to leave an impression.

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