Big Finish Productions
|Written by||Marc Platt|
|Continuity||Between Resurrection of the Daleks
Planet of Fire
|Starring Peter Davison and Mark Strickson|
|Also featuring Nicky Hensen, Sarah Gale, Eleanor Bron, Jane Burke, Burt Kwouk, David Hankinson, Derek Wright.|
|Synopsis: The Doctor and Turlough arrive in Brazil for the Rio de Janeiro carnival. Wealthy heiress Ileana de Santos is not all she seems - and what sinister ailment afflicts her invalid son, tended by the mysterious Dr Hayashi? And who exactly is Rosa, engaged on a secret quest to fulfil the destiny of her extinct tribe? Time is running out for Rosa, Ileana and the Doctor, as the fearsome shadow of an ancient werewolf moves ever closer...|
A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 17/6/01
Marc Platt`s Ghost Light may have been confusing to say the least, but there are no such problems with Loups-Garoux, which is easily Big Finish`s best offering for Peter Davison`s Fifth Doctor. With strong characterisation for all the cast, but particularly the regulars, Peter Davison sounds like the Fifth Doctor of old, while Mark Strickson`s Turlough is better served than in Phantasmagoria, where his darker side is explored more. The plot is refreshing where there were only vague nods to the werewolf legends previously (notably in The Greatest Show In The Galaxy and Kursaal), here we get an engaging and entertaining script, with great characters to match. Loups-Garoux is a must buy and a great addition to the series.
A Review by Elsa Frohman 29/6/01
I've been listening to Loups-Garoux in my car, while driving to and from work. It works out quite well. A day's driving approximately equals an episode. So in two days, I've finished off the first disc and I'm ready to start the second today.
So far, I've got to say this is head and shoulders better than any of the previous Davison audios. The Doctor is involved in the story, which is moving along at a good clip. The acting is generally good. The story is being told in terms that are easy to visualize, with a minimum of "Oh look Doctor, there's a monster that's 10.7 meters tall with blue and red stripes!"
One thing that's niggling at me though: What is it with these cheesy accents? Every single audio seems to feature at least one badly done, jarringly fake accent. And there doesn't seem to be a good reason for thems. I suspect they're being done to make it easier to tell one character from another, but it really isn't necessary. When you read a book, there are no voices at all. Yet, you can have conversations that go on for pages without a name attribution -- and the reader doesn't have any trouble following who said what -- if the writer is doing his job.
It seems to me that using actors with voices that are different in timber and tone would be more effective than giving one actor an arbitrary accent. And writing the dialog so it's clear who's speaking would be even better.
Just getting a little tired of the very cheesy Fu Manchu accent on the doctor (with a small "d") in Loups-Garoux.
Peter's First Great by Robert Thomas 6/7/01
Don't get me wrong, I really liked Phantasmagoria and really really like Winter - but can see why some people don't. But finally like the other Doctors, Peter has his first true great.
This story is faultless and absolutely brilliant. Davison gives a performance of surprising range - showing how versatile the 5th Doctor is and Turlough is as brilliant as he was on the telly. This is one of the more atmospheric tales - fitting for a werewolf tale. Everything about it makes you think your there and there is a complete atmosphere of doom.
Stubbe is a great villain and gets some really gruesome bits. Rosa played by Sarah Gale has one of the sexiest voices I've heard in my life - worth buying alone for her. The werewolves are great and there interaction with Turlough is their best aspect.
So overall by far Davison's best and a brilliant and surprisingly sexual story.
You'll laugh at the cliffhanger for part 3, Turlough has one of the funniest moments in the show's history and don't be fooled by the approx running time it's another long one!
My First Audio and ITS FAB! by Ed Swatland 5/9/01
Me-the worlds biggest (probably) fan of the New Adventures and here I am reviewing an audio. Loups-Garoux, was my first exposure to the Big Finish Audios. And what exposure! Positive reviews, and sheer inquisitiveness led me to buy this superb CD from my wonderful local Sci-Fi shop Time Trek for the hefty price of £13.95. But hell it was worth it! I’ve always wanted to hear a BF play, and for some reason, simply haven’t bothered to buy one. Until now. I’d been interested in The Fearmonger and The Genocide Machine, but things came together and...OK I didn’t buy them, but Loups-Garoux interested me because of the fact that it was written by Marc Platt, had Werewolves in and had a rather impressive cast line-up. For what more could I ask? Nothing as it turned out. This superior tale shows how good audio Who can be. The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-space were utter shit to be blunt, and my actual only exposure to Who of the audio medium. Not a good start. But don’t let that spoil things…
But enough rambling and short sentences and the ilk. Onto the review proper. The characters were wonderful and of such strange variety. Ileana was a very interesting character, part tragic, but with a dangerous dark side that comes into play at the end of Part Two, in an extremely effective cliff-hanger. Hayashi was interesting, but his personality was rather under-developed, though his motivations and feelings were made clear throughout. Pieter Stubbe was a simply wonderful villain. He got all the best lines and was perfectly voiced by Nicky Henson. Certainly one of the Best Who baddies in the canon, and from what I’ve heard that of Big Finish’s as well. The Doctor and Turlough were very well-served. Peter Davison really gave an excellent performance as a stronger Fifth Doctor, whilst Turlough’s dark side was explored to great effect.
Plot-wise the story was well structured and virtually flawless. The episodes had a kind of structure to them: Part 1, set in Rio. Part 2, set entirely on a train. Part 3, set on train and desert. Part 4, back to Rio. Impressive! The production of Loups-Garoux was superb. The early scenes set at the Carnival in Rio really did sound effective and realistic. The Werewolves themselves were very chillingly created, and maximise the use of the audio format to create this. Despite this, audio is considerably more difficult to review than books, in some ways there is a lot less to review and characters can seem less clear cut. Not in Loups-Garoux though. I really enjoyed this, and am definitely going to buy some more audios soon. Namely Minuet in Hell and Project Twilight. Loups Garoux is hugely recommended! I'm not fully, fully converted but you never know...
Were-wolf? There wolf! by Jamas Enright 25/9/01
It's pretty obvious that if you're going to review something, say an audio for example, you should listen to it properly. Certainly the first time I listened to Loups-Garoux I was only paying half-attention, and it didn't sound too good. However, on the second listening, it's amazing how well this story does.
There is very little plot to Loups-Garoux, but that doesn't matter in the slightest as this is very much a character driven story, and the characters actually matter. Pieter Stubbe's presence starts the story going as everyone tries to either escape him or confront him, and all the characters play off one another in a natural way that Marc Platt has had problems achieving in other stories but gets right here.
Having said that, Turlough isn't the one we have on screen. Here, he and the Doctor must have been travelling a long time and their relationship reflects this by being more mature, as indeed Turlough is now. This may be a side affect of the actors having matured, but if so then this is good as Mark Strickson's voice doesn't fit a cowardly, craven Turlough any more.
Peter Davison slips into the Doctor's role as seamlessly as ever, and has some wonderful moments such as the reminiscing in episode four, and being invited to dance in episode one. But in this story, the Doctor gets a love interest, in much the manner of The Aztecs, in Ileana De Santos, played by Eleanor Bron.
Eleanor Bron is known to Who-philes for her cameo appearance in City of Death, and the role of Kara in Revelation of the Daleks. In Loups-Garoux, she plays the strong role of Ileana, who is in command of every scene she is in, the leader of the were-wolves and yet as much human as she is wolf. This contradiction is played well, as much by the actor as the writing.
Nicky Henson plays the villain of the piece, Pieter Stubbe, and he really, if I may be excused the pun, sinks his teeth into the part. Some of the growls were rather dubious, but there was no denying the menace he portrays.
Rose Caiman reminded me a lot of last month's Becky Lee, playing much the same style of character, were-wolf hunter instead of demon hunter. If Loups-Garoux had been a month or so later like it was supposed to be, this resonance may not have been so strong. Burt Kwouk also deserves mention for his wonderful performance as Doctor Hayashi.
On the production side of things, I thought some scenes were a little bit too crowded with sound, making some of the early scenes hard to make out, but on the whole the voices were clear and understandable. The sound effects worked well, and helped me visualise a lot as to what was happening.
Loups-Garoux is a wonderful character story, and a worthy addition to anyone's collection. A Peter Davison fan or not, everyone would enjoy this.
A Review by Richard Radcliffe 4/10/01
Doctor Who has always been about variety. Never has a format been so open to a vast array of story-telling techniques, and settings. That’s why the programme has lasted as long as it has in all its various formats. Big Finish have taken the Doctor Who Legend better than most, and produced a wide assortment of stories, covering vastly different story-types. It helps that there are so many great, familiar characters on board. We have 4 Doctors – all very different, bringing their own interpretation to the role. There’s also a dozen, or so, companions to help.
Following the McGann season we are back to the earlier Doctors. And I think that is wonderful. McGann is brilliant to have on board, but there are 3 brilliant past Doctors to use too. I look forward to every Big Finish production, regardless of Doctor.
The first thing to note is a return to the original music. This is effective to distinguish the new from the old. McGann, after all, is the current Doctor. The next thing to note is the standard is just as good as ever. The 5th Doctor has, maybe, not been served as well by Big Finish as his alter-egos. Only Phantasmagoria stands as a truly classic story. Here, I believe, he has another classic.
Peter Davison and Mark Strickson are equal to the task. Davison is terrific as always, but it’s Turlough who really comes into his own in this one. Given a lot to do, he throws himself into the fray – revelling in some marvelous scenes. The supporting cast is top notch. 3 stand out – Ileana De Santos, Peter Stubbe and Rosa Caiman.
Ileana is beautifully portrayed by Eleanor Bron – she is a class act in every sense. Peter Stubbe joins that growing list of great villains in Doctor Who. With only the voice to portray character, it is vital in audios to get that right. The regularity Big Finish villains and monsters do get it right, it a testimony to the professionalism and enthusiasm of all concerned. Nicky Henson portrays Stubbe wonderfully. The voice, and its inflections, are top drawer material. Rosa also stands out, with her adventuring spirit. Hayashi is okay, as the other main supporting character, he just doesn’t stand out as top notch, like the others.
The story is a classic Werewolf tale. Not like the silliness of much of the later Hollywood fare, but a tale rich in Character and Interest. The “bigger than usual” cast assembled are used to their fullest. There are plenty of Werewolves in this, all with different agendas, and personalities. A highly unusual community is brought excellently to life.
Big Finish, again, create the settings to full effect. The constant motion of a train is the background to much of the story, creating a claustrophobic effect. It is very effective. The Carnival scenes in Rio De Janiero are sufficiently noisy, confusing and lively. The woodland nights, with Werewolves prowling around, are frightening. The script, by Marc Platt, is rich with fascination and intrigue. There are plenty of Little Red Riding Hood references too, which are never out of place, and always funny.
This is another excellent Big Finish production, with everyone near the top of their game. 9/10
A Review by Jeremy Deline 9/12/01
I've mentioned previously that I attach a certain sentimental value to 5th Doctor stories. when they're good, I feel extremely gratified to be a fan of Who, and when they're bad, I feel especially bummed-out. Mentioning Time-Flight around me, for example, makes me want to go sit in a closet for a few hours, writing bad poetry.
Supernatural Elements in Who have been a tricky thing. they tend to be treated goofily, apologized for (is goofily even a real word?) and build a less-than-compelling atmosphere. (See: The Daemons, Battlefield.) or they come out of nowhere, acting as plot devices, and vanishing as quickly as they appear. (Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Silver Nemisis)
But when they work, as in Curse of Fenric, or City of the Dead... hot damn.
Have I mentioned how GOOD Loups-Garoux is? It follows both the aforementioned stories by the fact that it neither uses the supernatural as a plot device, or as something that has to be apologized for. the werewolves are just THERE. Those who mind that sort of thing can avoid the story (the title and packaging give away the fact that people are going to be growing fur and chewing on the Doctor's ankles), and those who don't mind can dive right in.
And honestly, I know I continually talk about these BF audios in positive terms... but so far, I've been lucky... Spectre was great, Genocide Machine was too.. and this is Davison at his best. His voice is a bit deeper than it was, but his Doctor is still compassionate, inquisitive, moral, proactive, resourceful, and even funny on occasion. Coming just before Planet of Fire, his relationship with Turlough is at its strongest here, and listening to the two actors, one does feel that a genuine friendship has developed through their experiences.
The rest of the cast is excellent as well, portraying characters who are intelligently written and drive the plot of the story, instead of the opposite occurring and the plot pushing them around.......and the atmosphere is well maintained throughout...
Honestly, I don't think I could say anything to disagree with the positive reviews this story has already gotten. if you don't mind werewolves or a mild dose of the supernatural in Dr. Who, then get your hands on this and give it a listen. Anyone else, I can't imagine being dissatisfied with this tale.
A Review by John Seavey 17/1/04
In a sentence, "The script was better." It's still a great script -- a great, great, great, unbelievably great script. But Mark Strickson's forgotten how to play Turlough, and nobody's even trying to do a South American accent ("Jorge" sounds like he came from Oxford, and Rosa sounds like she came from the same generic American location as Peri.) Sarah Gale's performance as Rosa Caiman is awful; tentative, almost scared in places, really taking the tough girl from the script and making her a wimp. It almost sank the whole production for me. OTOH, Nicky Henson is a great Pieter Stubbe.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? by Jacob Licklider 11/4/18
Marc Platt is one of my favorite Doctor Who writers, writing only one television story that is criminally underrated, but writing the final Seventh Doctor Virgin New Adventure and continuing to write to this day for Big Finish Productions. His contributions to the Doctor Who universe has been large, as heÕs outlined Gallifreyean society and nearly always given us great stories to sink our teeth into. His first Big Finish audio drama is no exception to this, as Loups-Garoux is an audio that puts the Doctor for once in a place of near neutrality between the two factions of the story. Now, if you donÕt speak French, you wonÕt get the twist of the title as in French loups-garoux is the word for werewolves. Yes, this is Doctor Who vs. werewolves, which doesnÕt sound like that interesting of a premise. That, combined with the fact itÕs a Fifth Doctor and Turlough story, means there isnÕt much confidence for this story to excel, with the exception of the writerÕs caliber.
The plot instead is something completely different, with the Doctor and Turlough both getting some of their best characterization. The story involves the two arriving in Brazil in 2080 for the Carnival celebration where a rich old woman, Illeana de Santos, is going to transport her son into the countryside as he has fallen ill. It is eventually revealed that de Santos and her son are the leaders of a group of werewolves running away from the immortal Peter Stubbe. There is also a native tribeswoman, Rosa, who is trying to prove herself for her tribe. Oh, and she has a forest in her head. Yeah, Platt is not one for standard stories, and this one can only be described as trippy as hell, as everything is very abnormal in structure. The Doctor is made to help with de SantosÕ son, and de Santos starts to have feelings for the Doctor, who, while never really reciprocating, doesnÕt want her to die, going so far as challenging Stubbe to the death so that he can save her and her son. Platt is giving this plot his all and infuses it with some extremely complex characters to just increase the tension.
Starting with our villain, Peter Stubbe played brilliantly by Niky Henson, who is the weakest character, being power hungry and almost sex crazed. Stubbe is the original werewolf who has had a past relationship with Illeana and wants to get back with her now that her husband is dead. He becomes extremely jealous when the Doctor enters the picture. His character is the most one note, but Henson gives such a chilling performance that the story is much more bearable. I honestly get chills from his voice alone. Next is Dr. Hayashi, played by Burt Kwouk, who is the Japanese doctor Illeana has decided to bring in to help with her son. Hayashi is a scumbag and a racist who wants to cure the werewolves as theyÕre different from normal people. He gets everything he deserves in the end, which is a great allegory. He is working as a double agent, as he is also a very greedy man.
Illeana de Santos is the highlight of the supporting cast. She is played by Eleanor Bron who has cameoed in City of Death. She plays Illeana as a motherly figure who is also looking for love but still wants the best for her son. She becomes smitten with the Doctor, yet also has an extreme dark side that emerges on several occasions as she is a werewolf. Peter Davison and Eleanor Bron share remarkable chemistry through the course of the audio, as the Doctor isnÕt in love but is still sympathetic to their plight and wants to help. The Doctor in this story becomes neutral to the main argument of whether werewolves are good or evil as they are a lot like humanity. DavisonÕs performance in this is on point and makes me love his Doctor more than I ever did on television. Something similar happens to Turlough, who actually gets to return to the character seen in Mawdryn Undead and Terminus as the alien who will do anything to get what he wants. While he doesnÕt try to kill anyone, he is extremely arrogant and actually develops as he is put down once he is shown the darkness inside himself. His arc continues with his interactions with Rosa who teaches him.
The story also has a few problems, as the pacing is a bit off for its cliffhangers. This is the first time Platt has written a four-part story, which is apparent, as the cliffhanger to Part Two is really badly paced. The villain is also weak and the acting from Mark Strickson as Turlough has a few moments that come across as extremely squeaky.
To summarize, Loups-Garoux is hands down an example of how good Marc Platt is as a writer, with some weak characters and a few pacing problems. I can recommend this to anyone who wants to see a Doctor Who story that does something different with an honestly old idea. 87/100