Home Big Finish Classic Who on Big Finish AUDIO REVIEW: 1963 – Fanfare for the Common Men

AUDIO REVIEW: 1963 – Fanfare for the Common Men

by Eddie Robson

Featuring Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton

Out Sept 30

This is my first Big Finish Audio adventure in a while and listening to the voices of Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton reprise their role as The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa is what makes this whole adventure worthwhile for me.

It is 1963 and The Doctor has brought Nyssa to see The Beatles, only something is wrong, the popular Liverpudlian beat combo don’t actually exist and are in fact usurped by a three piece band call The Common Men. At the interjection of an unknown assassin, The Doctor and Nyssa jump to the rescue only for Nyssa to be transported a decade in time from The Doctor. 

In an attempt to rescue his companion, The Doctor realizes that the Fifties have been time-locked. Someone has changed history and they definitely don’t want the Doctor interfering. Are the Common Men who they think they are and can the Doctor span the decades to pursue the man responsible?

This is a nice adventure and certainly more so for any Who fan who shares a common interest in the music of Sixties. 

But this is not an easy listen; certain characters appear in both the Doctors time and Nyssa’s making it difficult to follow exactly which time you are in. Add into that the plangent strumming of Sixties music [though, it should be noted, the songs are original numbers written for this piece, a pastiche of the decade’s sounds – Ed.], crowds of screaming fans and the need for the listener to have a rudimentary knowledge of The Beatles (which I do not) [Tsk tsk! – Ed.] and you can be easily distanced.

But it is not all negative, if you strip away all the distractions you have a story that I would love to see produced into a TV episode; it is fast, exciting and spans time as opposed to just space. Hats off to every actor in this adventure as they all deliver a wonderful performance.

Thanks to Big Finish

Review by Phillip Rowntree



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