Synopsis In the renovated docklands of South East London, on the bank of the river Thames, the doors of the Dusk are open for business. Bets are called, cards are dealt and roulette wheels spun. As fortunes are won and lost, an inhuman killer stalks the local avenues and alleyways - a killer with a taste for human flesh.
Is there more to casino owner Reggie 'The Gent' Mead or is he just a common gangster? What secrets are hidden in the bowels of the Dusk? And what connection does the apparently sleazy Bermondsey casino have to a long-buried government initiative known as Project: Twilight?
The Doctor must form uneasy alliances where the line between friend and enemy is blurred, playing games of chance...
But are the stakes too high?
Written By: Mark Wright and Cavan Scott Directed By: Gary Russell
CAST Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn Smythe), Holly De Jong (Amelia Doory), Rob Dixon (Reggie Mead), Rosie Cavaliero (Cassie), Stephen Chance (Nimrod); Rupert Booth (Dr William Abberton/Matthew), Mark Wright (Mr. Deeks), Kate Hadley (Nurse), Daniel Wilson (Eddie), Gary Russell (Newsreader)
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This was a great story. I was always surprised (and disappointed) that the female vampire character never reappeared whereas Nimrod did. I'm not knocking Nimrod or the Forge, but the first tine I listened she was the character I wanted to see a rematch against
Some great dark ideas, Nimrod is fantastic, Evelyn's relationship with Cassie was nicely done and the Doctor being so utterly hoodwinked feels earned, the vampires' slowly revealed motivations are consistent throughout but still pay off nicely with a twist. And so many seeds are planted so subtly...
The best Doctor Who 'horror film' I've heard - a seriously dark vampire story which I think gains a lot from the reality of the modern-day setting. (The 'Tooting Bec' effect in action. )
Amelia and Nimrod the Hunter are outstanding characters and I liked the idea of the deadly vampire hunter being as much a villain as those he hunted, having created them in a WWI 'black ops' program before he saw the light (so to speak.)
And I liked the strong contrast drawn between them on the one hand and on the other, the compassion shown by the Doctor, and Evelyn's protective compassion for Cassie. It's perfect that the Doctor was first distracted by his compassion and wish to help, then even when he did know what Amelia was, by his wish to overcome his Time Lord prejudices about vampires and still help her. Before discovering that his prejudices were justified...
An excellent story which I know spawns many threads, which I'm looking forward to following. (And oh my goodness just imagine the reaction if they'd made it for 80s TV as it's written here!! )
Definitely in my top ten BF Doctor Who releases, they wouldn't be allowed to produce something so violent and horrific today. Terrific performances, a brilliantly frightening story-line and some truly memorable characters - and of course the unforgettable scene when someone 'explodes into' Evelyn's handbag! In some ways this is a logical progression from the brutality of Series 22's gorier moments and I absolutely love it. Did I mention the soundtrack (Jim Mortimore: genius - you can get the music for this here. Well worth the cover price)? A beautiful production.
I've got to admit, this is one of my favourites for the same reason that The Sandman appeals to me. It's really ghoulish, something indicative of that latter-day Wilderness period where Who didn't (or often, wasn't made to) flinch from its punches. The whole story's got this lovely sense of noir. You can really feel the soot on the brickwork under your fingernails and taste the cigarette smoke in Reggie's little dive. Amelia Doory and her convocation are... They really are some of my favourite villains. There's this lovely little ambiguity about whether becoming vampires made them monsters or being monsters made them vampires. In either case, boy are they nasty creatures. What they do to Cassie ends up having longterm consequences that I don't think the listener could have really imagined.
It's a stunning reevaluation of the Season 22 era of violence, pushing it much further than on television -- to the point of emulating the Grand Guignol -- and allowing Sixie to flourish his moral horror. And of course, Stephen Chance's Nimrod makes one hell of a first impression. With Sancreda from The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, the Daleks of Etra Prime in The Apocalypse Element, Tulok from Bloodtide, the Sixth Doctor built up quite the rogue's gallery from this early run of releases. As with its peers, highly recommended.
Another impressive story for the Sixth Doctor. It is remarkable how good his early stories are with Big Finish - Whispers of Terror, The Marian Conspiracy, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, the Holy Terror and Bloodtide make up an impressive run. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Baker was poorly served by woeful stories and a generally cr** production team at the BBC. It angers me to think what could have been had his Doctor been given the same care and attention on TV as he has with Big Finish. Easily could have been better than Tom Baker - especially if Colin had got his wish and stayed for longer.
Anyway, ranting aside - what about this story. Project: Twilight is what Eric Saward was attempting to do but done properly. Arguably, this is the most 'adult' themed Big Finish adventure I've listened to in a while and certainly would not be one that could be shown on TV pre-watershed (if at all). The Doctor is thrust into a world of violence and bloodshed. The themes surrounding this adventure are unpleasant, to put it mildly, and none of the supporting characters (with the exception of Cassie perhaps) comes off well. The story starts of bleak - with the experimentations during the Great War and continues in that manner - the Doctor and Evelyn discovering disembowelled animals to eventually human corpses. However, unlike a Sawardian approach, there is some redeemable features in the story that prevent it from being almost 90 minutes of misery - the opening with the Doctor eating his favourite take away, Evelyn at Cassie's home and the ending with the Doctor in the TARDIS for cocoa. The Doctor (and Evelyn), whilst drawn into the violence, solve the situations before them without resorting to violence (which probably would not have been the case under Saward). Again, the Doctor doesn't lose his moral compass and the audience still knows he is 'their' champion. Even though the Doctor is a lot more 'shouty' and arrogant here, which makes him more akin to what is seen on TV, the Doctor doesn't come across as unpleasant - yes, he shouts at Evelyn and is rude to her, but the sheer distraught the Doctor shows at the end of Episode 3 and early Episode 4 when he thinks he's caused Evelyn's death more than makes up for this. The audience knows that the Doctor isn't a cold, aloof alien - but genuinely cares about his companions. The Doctor's apology at the end of the story is heartfelt and genuinely shows the level of respect and affection he has for his companion (and vice versa).
The introduction of vampires was a nice touch. Impressively, the writers tried to avoid the usual cliches and by allocating each vampire a specific weakness - it made for an interesting story. In particular, Reggie and Amelia were well scripted and developed here. Reggie came across as a downright nasty individual and was believable as a psychopath, with hints of far worse than just torture/violence - e.g. we hear that he beats up Cassie pretty badly but it is implied that he may have sexually assaulted her/raped her as well. His comeuppance is well deserved in the end and makes Cassie appear more than just a cowering victim. Amelia was just as repulsive and her ability to manipulate the Doctor by playing on his compassion was genius. The open question of whether she survives at the end makes for a potential return in a subsequent episode.
I particularly liked the fact that the story has a few loose threads. Obviously, we know how it works out with Cassie, but at the time this would have made for an interesting story arc. The same with the Forge/Nimrod. It is also blatantly obvious where the inspiration for Torchwood comes from and where Russell T Davies took the idea - this just shows the impact that Big Finish has had on Doctor Who. Similarly, the idea of the Doctor having 'blood on his hands' has been developed in the new series, but is directly referenced here by Nimrod.
A very good story and a rare occasion where Doctor Who steps into a more adult world. Although released in 2001, this story feels contemporary and the themes are still relevant. The idea of 'Blood Money' and casinos are still being discussed as is the treatment of women and prejudicial attitudes towards others (even the Doctor falls foul of prejudice when he learns of vampires.)
'Well now I know you're mad. I just wanted to make sure."
Very dark story, really grim. Perhapse undeedlesly so in parts but still very nicely done. I loved the moral and prejudice issues tackled and im very excited to see how things plan out later down the line. 8.5/10
Listened to this again - ironically, in the sunshine!
An amazingly good story. Well constructed and scripted. All the cast are on top form here and a pivotal release in many ways - it's the launch point for the Hex arc/the changing relationship between Sixie and Evelyn.
One throwaway line in Part 2 pricked my ears up - Evelyn mentions a relative who 'did some codebreaking during the War' when reading through the diary of Dr Abington at Cassie's flat. Now, perhaps I am reading too much into this - but would BF develop this by linking this throwaway line to a certain Mrs Clarke? Might be a stretch too far, but it certainly was something I mused (and had missed it on the first release)?
'Well now I know you're mad. I just wanted to make sure."
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