So as Christopher H. Bidmead had to change so much for the adaptation including the identity of Prof. Stream and that weird frame story in the TARDIS, the question becomes did it really work or would it have been a lot better on television? How is it compared to Bidmead's other stories? I say it's about the same level of quality with a big complaint being the Tractators being overhyped.
I am someone who would love for CHB to produce more stories for Big Finish, because his time on the television show was my favourite. He was an excellent Script Editor in my view, and his three television stories were/are excellent. However, his two audios have been, I'm sorry to say, appalling. It's as if two different people were responsible for his TV and Big Finish work. What on Earth is the point of bringing back the interesting Tractators from 'Frontios' and have them 'appear off camera', and their scenes simply being recounted by The Doctor? Incredible, bizarre, and more than a little frustrating, especially considering their inclusion was a selling point of the story. And a Tractator was featured prominently on the cover.
I'm glad 'Hollows of Time' was adapted, Ireally am. It's interesting, if only to see how CHB's brilliance in the early 80's seems to have deserted him.
Synopsis The Doctor and Peri have been on holiday, visiting old friend Reverend Foxwell in the sleepy English village of Hollowdean. But why are their memories so hazy?
Piecing together events they recall a mysterious chauffeur, who is not what he seems, and Foxwell's experiments that could alter the nature of reality. Huge sand creatures have been sighted on the dunes, and many of the locals are devoted to a leader known as 'Professor Stream'.
But who is Stream? And what lies within the Hollows of Time?
The Doctor will discover that not every question has a definitive answer...
Written By: Christopher H Bidmead Directed By: John Ainsworth
CAST Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), David Garfield (Professor Stream), Trevor Littledale (Reverend Foxwell), Susan Sheridan (Simon/Mrs Streeter), Hywel John (Steel Specs), Victoria Finney (Jane)
While an interesting story, the two biggest things I take away from it are that the plot gets ridiculously complicated in the second episode, and that the overly visual nature of the original storyline shows.
In actual fact, the second episode is extremely padded. When you think about it, the only plot that's really important is that the Doctor and co get trapped, the Doctor advises the Gravis and that the Tractators explode Stream. It's lengthened with time travel and technobabble that's dense and hard to understand (the best I can get is that the Tractators can somehow generate time corridors).
It's clear Christopher H Bidmead intended to stretch the budget as far as he could, and he's created an audio out of it that requires whole scenes of the Doctor and Peri in the TARDIS after the fact discussing how it happened. The scene with the car for example, which would be impossible without dialogue blatantly describing what's happening and the set.
For a story built up around the Tractators, they'd oddly inconsequential until they deal with Stream. Even the conversation the Doctor holds with the Gravis (who spoke in Frontios) is done off microphone, which is odd since it could easily have made the story more interesting. Fleshed out the Tractators as a race for example. Similarly, Stream only appears in the story for a short amount of the run time, yet is the guest star credited on the cover. Both Trevor Littledale and Susan Sheridan spent more time in front of the microphone. I get that he was supposed to be the Master and that The End of Time (which aired a couple of months before this was released) meant the BBC didn't allow it, but still.
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