Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes - SPOILERS

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Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes - SPOILERS

Postby John on November 22nd, 2009, 3:41 am

When it was announced that there was to be a new series of audio books featuring Tom Baker reprising his role as the Doctor for the first time in nigh on thirty years, there was understandably a great deal of excitement. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt, it’s that high expectation invariably leads to disappointment, and it appears that’s exactly how a great many fans feel about The Dead Shoes.

Whilst it’s undoubtedly true that Hornets Nest is nothing like Doctor Who in it’s broadest sense, it is nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping piece of drama, and it is therefore rather puzzling that Paul Magrs second instalment has been greeted with such hostility. Perhaps it’s just the whinging traditionalists -- who were no doubt expecting the Doctor and Mike to grab their insect nets and clamber aboard the TARDIS to do battle with the evil Hornet’s -- that have been piqued, if this is the case then we need not be too concerned as such fundamentalist opinions are almost impossible to satisfy.

On the subject of Mike, my only complaint is that his character thus far has been somewhat lacking in substance. In the first episode his participation was limited to asking the obligatory “but Doctor…” type enquiries and venturing the occasional opinion, regrettably however The Dead Shoes renders Mike largely superfluous, and one hopes that future instalments will see Richard Franklin fulfilling a more active role.

There’s something rather disconcerting about lifeless objects being brought back to life and stalking the unwary, and it’s stories like The Dead Shoes which illustrate these anxieties plainly. Like The Stuff of Nightmares, The Dead Shoes is far from being a conventional Doctor Who story, but being a huge fan of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes horror era, this particular type of story really struck a chord. Bodily possession and killer dolls are far from original concepts; however I’m not certain that they’ve ever been used quite as effectively. I mentioned before that Paul Magrs scripts are more like fireside ghost stories, and some of the gaudy themes he uses are perfect for the storytelling talents of Tom Baker.

Several reviewers have written that Tom’s performance in The Stuff of Nightmares was a little stiff, personally I never got that impression, and it’s certainly not an accusation you could level at his portrayal in The Dead Shoes. The depth of feeling that Tom manages to convey is impressive, the sheer power and poetry of his words driving the story along and keeping the listener on the edge of their seat. It sounds as though Tom is really enjoying the story; it’s almost as if he never left, which I’m not certain that he ever did.
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Re: Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes

Postby Toothy Grin on November 23rd, 2009, 2:49 pm

The Dead Shoes is an improvement on the (still very good) Stuff of Nightmares. Tom has fully settled back into the role now, I wouldn't say he was wooden or tired in the first installment, I think he was just a bit cautious and feeling his way back into the role. By the time the first episode ends he has remembered just what his Doctor was like. Dead Shoes has a fantastic story that, if I didn't know better, I would have thought Tom had written himself. It's got his brand of macabre black humour and ludicrousness stamped all over it. He sounds like he's having a whale of a time in this one, and works well with the temporary companion, Ernestina. Yes, it's ashame that Richard Franklin has little input here, but it seems clear that the final episode will be where he gets the most to do.
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Re: Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes

Postby tracy on December 18th, 2009, 7:16 pm

ive enjoyed the dead shoes all the storys from hornets nest has had me sitting on the edge of my chair very gripping stuff
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Re: Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes

Postby merlinsseer on December 22nd, 2009, 1:27 pm

Ghost stories and horror films, I love them .I can handle my ghouls with them best of them and it's not often that I find the chills and thrills hanging around later to bother me. Silence of the Lambs was the last time something got to me and as much as I love Anthony Hopkins, I STILL cannot see his face or hear his voice without wanting to climb under the bed . My well loved copy of ' Lion in Winter' sits on the shelf collecting dust...
The Dead Shoes is trying very hard to stick around to.
I loved 'The Dead Shoes " and am totally enjoying the fact that Hornets Nest isn't a typical Doctor WHO story . This is more grown-up and far more exciting than any novel to audio book could ever be because it isn't confined to an original storyline or companion asking questions every five minutes and it takes full advantage of that It treats the listener as if they had a brain. The writing is beautifully descriptive, almost poetic at times and Mr. Baker's rich chocolate voice and glib tongue take full advantage of THAT. From the creepy Palace of Curios to the break-neck chase through the doll house we get a wonderful range of the imagery that his vocal skills can bring to life. No one else can possibly call Mrs Wibbsey a " delightful, fun loving soul " with such drool sarcasm.
My daughter's favorite horror fear is zombies or any non-living thing coming to life for that matter, her fear of this is so great that during one of her dreams she tripped her own brother to give the zombies something to pounce on while she escaped. She also has that teenage ability to filter out anything she doesn't want to listen to and most anything I listen to within her hearing range gets filtered. She decided to invade my room before I started listening to the Dead Shoes and the filtering lasted about five minutes into the story. Mr. Baker's voice is one she knows and she was trying hard to pretend she wasn't listening. I didn't know how caught up she was in the story until the dollhouse scene and I was suddenly hit upside the head with earphones. She demanded that I put them on or turn off the story as she was getting too wigged out to hear anymore. I think that is sort of a complement on the image invoking thing.It seems Mr. Baker has now added another undead thing to her list of things to run away from in a nightmare-DOLLS.No worries though as she likes nightmares and thinks of them as a really good horror film.Odd child.
As for myself, little snatches from the Dead Shoes have been sticking in my mind long after I listened to it . I knew it was getting to me but realized the full impact when I went to make my lunch, a very nice little ham sandwich and as I started to take a bite ... Tom Baker's voice suddenly drifted through my head with the words
" chilly cutlets of dead flesh". I tried three different times to eat that sandwich, same result. I've been off meat for a week now- thanks for that.
I'm happy to have Tom Baker's Doctor back in full force with all his energy, humour (scarf ) and powers completely intact. I'll take him anyway I can get him and so far Hornets Nest has done nothing but leave me wanting more.In fact , after Hornets Nest , I demand more and I'm not taking no for and answer.
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Re: Hornets Nest - The Dead Shoes - SPOILERS

Postby Theta Sigma on June 3rd, 2010, 4:32 pm

Ernestina makes for a very good companion type character and it was quite interesting the Doctor's first meeting with Mrs Wibbsey and how she ended up being in comptempory times.

A very chilling adventure
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