Prog. 2 review: 'Original Artwork' (2:42)
Combined with the rather Funky Geoff Love version of the Doctor Who theme a pleasant tour through the (uncredited)artpix for the original storybook of this adventure. Short & simple and just-right with the music.
Prog. 1: 'Doctor Who And The Invasion From Space' (72:44)
A first-time appearance of the original 'Doctor Who' tv opening-sfx on A.V. and a splendid piece of facial-artwork* for '1Doc' by Stuart.
[* which sometimes gets quite frightening in later scenes, with a steely-eyed aspect that hints more effectively at the
Power & Alieness of The Doctor than pretty-much any other portrayal i can think of! ]
The delicious tones of Jonathan Redwood launch us on a very well told (in spoken-word terms) story which delightfully performs better out-loud than read. It is also a surprisingly good tale – the dated elements giving that 'Historical' feel (like watching early b&w soundflix) which aids the more-than-ever necessary act of Suspension-of-Disbelief required by Fantasy&SF. And here the 'Pantomime' level of the narrative is combined with writing of sufficient quality to qualify as a completely satisfactory children's story.
Properly taking it as such, its hour+12m playing-time passes enjoyably and, as far as the text goes, does not generate frustration or get boring.
However, the same cannot be said of Jonathan's voice-performance this time!
I don't mind the conceit (if i'm reading the intention correctly) of '4Doc' narrating the story, given that it's not written in the first-person and thus the narrator can't be '1Doc' himself, but to work it requires that the two voices be fully separate in their distinctness. Unlike his performance of (1Doc)WilliamHartnell in 'Desert Island Discs' (AV16) which was a marvel of both tonal & expressive mimicry*, Jonathan woefully fails to keep the 4Doc-ness out of his W.H.voice from the very first dialogue!
[* successfully sustained over an even greater length than his equally impressive A.V.debut imitating 4Doc/TomBaker ]
The feat of doing a (huge)Read as multiple voices (presumably 'live' – i.e. how much Editing i don't know) is prodigious to be sure, i've done such myself* and to his great credit Jonathan has little apparent difficulty in pulling off this trick.
[* and even Peter Sellers had difficulty shifting between too many voices on those sad Sundays when Spike was too
unwell to perform ]
But "William Hartnell" is central here, and even without the given example the problem of not fully separating the two voices remains.
If not for being able to hear something of Jonathan Redwood's natural voice in the latter stages of the reading, i might have considered that he normally sounds a bit T.B.ish and was trading on that advantage in his 4Doc-imitation(s) and that this aspect of his speech was an unavoidable intrusion in any Doctor he might venture to perform. But it is readily apparent that he has a (professionally? – or damn near to it) developed vocal talent and a wide range of 'voices' to express it with. And he is Not limited to sounding like Baker at all (which further credits his 4Doc act!).
This then must qualify as a Production-flaw, with insufficient Direction or Critique being given to the actor in order to fine-tune a crucial role.
Jonathan's act as 4Doc in the Abslom Daak 'Daakumentary' (AV11) only barely reached any 'listenability-strainingpoint' towards its very end. His astounding W.H. performance on 'Desert Island Discs' remained fresh, vital and even poignant all through. Here, sadly, the unsullied WilliamHartnell/1Doc-ness of this performance occurs only now & then, showing that it could have been consistent if worked-on or Produced differently (for example, a separate readthrough recorded as passages performed as 1Doc-only containing all his lines imbedded within the narrative flow and thus editable into the original).
Even though this is a 'quickie' work (in comparison to the general A.V.corpus) and successfully comprised of simplified elements – and Jonathan Redwood's overall performance for this is a Gem (and his talents a real A.V.s "find") – this one aspect is too important and it would possibly even have been better for the narrator to be Jonathan's own voice.
Speaking of "simplified elements", Stuart's method for this one is just right. It is still a set of still-pictures like the book, and often repeated and Pan&CU-motion animated, but with lots of them plus occasional animated elements & sequences*.
[* rather like an 'LC-Recon'! ]
It is the detailed narrative of a shortstory (rather than comicstrip-text) that holds our attention while the pictures drift by to keep the eyes from getting bored. Once again it is Jonathan's splendid vocal(&recording)talents that makes such a long exposition a continuous pleasure.
Assisting superbly in the background, Stuart's beautiful dramatic arrangements of Tristram Cary's original authentic DW-soundscapes gently & unobtrusively fills the "space behind the voice" providing an effective, even hypnotic, atmosphere.
No mere side-project this, regardless of its inspiration, 'Doctor Who And The Invasion From Space' is a surprise treat that would be, i suspect, an entirely successful commercial venture were it licensable. Better still, as a freebie, it deserves a wider exposure in Whodom than any Altered Vistas Production before it! A great gift for Youngsters.
A final note of recognition for "Redders"Redfern, one of the very greatest cgi Dalek-illustrators on the web, getting into the A.V."stable" with the contribution of his TARDIS-console model to the visuals. At this rate Mr.Palmer is going to end up a nexus for creative-talent of many kinds coming together on various projects until something truly astounding and Major emerges from his Pen*!
[* and Mr.Palmer can be found on display in his Pen most workdays & public holidays – entrance free ]