Issue 3

Hello there and welcome to the third instalment of new and comment from Fine Line. Hope you are well. It's been pretty hectic recently but the results should be good news for everybody.

Trick of the Light

Although it has been a slow seller so far, virtually all the feedback about Trick of the Light has been overwhelmingly positive. Indeed some have acclaimed it as the best story which has been very satisfying considering its experimental storyline and the difficulties in making it at all. If you've sent in a review, thank you very much again and if you haven't please do! And of course if you've not ordered it yet...well the message is obvious :)
Interestingly the demand for tape copies has been pretty equal to the requests for CD copies so it looks as though future stories will carry on being released in the dual format.

Second Chance - Behind the Scenes

The main recording session for Second Chance took place in Sheffield last weekend and I'm pleased to say it went extremely well. In fact I think it has set the pattern for future sessions, with a morning readthrough followed rehearse/record for each scene. This will be the first story not directed by myself. Adrian Hudson, who had also written the story, took over the chores and did a splendid job. Not to mention sacrificing his house to a horde of Doctor Who fans for the weekend which was very brave of him. Thanks to Catherine too for her understanding and the excellent food. Adrian is already known to regular listeners for his acting. Not only that but he's an excellent fanzine writer to boot.

Second Chance enjoys an excellent cast of experienced actors, both professional and amateur. Joe Binks once again assumes the role of the Doctor with aplomb and rest assured, there's a lot more Doctor in this story. Following the dangerous Madame Schreck, Amy Ward returns on the side of the angels as Mo, a young woman who helps the bewildered Doctor in his strange new world. Also late of Trick of the Light is Mark Lenton who provides an entertaining vocalisation for 'Sarge'. The last Fine Line veteran making a welcome return is Lawrence Ahlemeyer who had us all in stitches with his comic performance as the High Priest.

Newcomers to Fine Line, though not to Doctor Who audio, made up the rest of the cast. Paul Ebbs plays the twitchy, unpleasant soldier Jones. His long list of credits include producing, acting in and writing the Season 27 Doctor Who series, whose latest opus The Stockbridge Terror I'll come to later. Not to mention writing "Zygons:Absolution", co-writing "Auton 3" and directing "Root of All Evil" all for BBV. Plus writing a couple of stories for the US Doctor Who audios. And I haven't even covered playing the marching feet of the Grell. You may have seen some of Steve Johnson's great artwork in DWM adorning the BBV adverts. In addition to painting he has also sound engineered the Season 27 stories and Root of All Evil for BBV. But it is for his acting skills we've employed in and he turns in a neat appearance as the eccentric Professor Harris. Finally Kevin Hiley takes time off from his own audios for JM&KH and Claudia Productions to make a big impression as the dotty Brother Baldwin. He has also created the artwork for Trick of the Light and the new CD cover of Ultimate Soldier.

Thanks to this group's dedication, the recording went very smoothly. In fact I might not be able to provide any out-takes this time :) Unfortunately we couldn't quite fit it all in and a follow up session has been planned for next month to record the remaining scenes. I only wished I'd taped the readthrough. Now there was real comedy.

With luck, Second Chance will be ready for January 2000. Ed Pugh will once more be providing the incidental music. Adrian's script is really, really good. Very funny and thoughtful at the same time. It plays to Doctor Who's strengths and there are a few surprises along the way. Amy described it as one of the best scripts she's read and it has certainly given her most complex character yet.

Coming Next

Season One comes to a fine conclusion with Lawrence Ahlemeyer's second contribution, a top secret story which ties up most of the threads in this season. I wish I could tell you more because Lawrence's ideas are really exciting. But that'll have to wait for a later issue.

Season Two is now in the early planning stages with several stories being developed. At the moment all I can guarantee is that I'll be writing at least one of the stories, probably the first one which introduces a new companion into the TARDIS. All I can say now is that they are female and that she'll have a much more affectionate relationship with the Doctor than Raman has, although that wouldn't be hard would it? More news when it's been confirmed.

Out There

Last time I commented on the crowded world of Doctor Who audios and now the pace has increased if anything. Big Finish are planning to go monthly with their Doctor Who series and have just announced their big event for 2000 a trilogy called Dalek Empie. BBV are also girding up their loins on the audio and the video front. I was lucky enough to see a rough cut of Auton 3 and it looks pretty darn spectacular and once again raises the bar, not just for spin-offs but British SF TV in general. Meanwhile even more online audio stories have appeared from Australia. At the moment there are no plans to do download able Fine Line stories because of the size of the files but I'm keeping an eye on the matter. If we did one I'd like to make it an exclusive story specially made for the internet, in Slipback style episodes.

A few personal thoughts on recent audios:
The Massacre is well worth tracking down, an excellent story for both Steven and the Doctor, as well as strong support from a colourful cast of historical characters. A reminder of how good the historicals could be. Forget about the mistakes of the first Missing Story audios, this has been lovingly restored to full quality sound and narrated effectively by Peter Purves. Season 27's new story The Stockbridge Terror is marvellous stuff. The production is first class and the story is an exciting monster mash, with plenty of wry comedy and breathless action. The aforementioned Paul and Steve appear in it, along with the likes of Tim Saward, Mark Donovan, Alistair Lock along with a small contribution from er me!

Tim Saward has recently written Zygons:Homeland my favourite BBV audio yet. I'm probably not the best person to review this because I loved Terror of the Zygons and this story perfectly recreates the aliens but expands upon their background, making them even more formidable. The dialogue is great and the story comes across as a big budget Doctor Who story of the right kind.

Well that's all for now. Look out for more news soon and thanks for your support.

Gareth Preston
6 October 1999

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