Audio Club: The Stones of Venice

It’s time to listen to and discuss The Stones of Venice

Buy it online using the link above, or listen for free - you’ll find links where to listen free on the story page!

Once you’ve listened, talk about it below! Even if you listened to it before and just want to discuss it - dive right in! Just please use spoiler tags where appropriate.

Everyone who participates will get a coveted Audio Club badge! :medal_military:

Just for fun, add your rating here:

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3 Likes

I remember enjoying this one more than the last Charley and Eight outing but I have to be honest, very little of this one has stuck with me. Time for a relisten I think!

6 Likes

I liked this one, but wasn’t blown away by it. The plot, for me, doesn’t have a lot of meat on the bone, but it is enjoyable. A main element is one I called from the beginning, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment. India Fisher is my MVP for this one. I gave it 3.5/5 (7/10)

5 Likes

WHOO STONES OF VENICE TIME!

Long post incoming, sorry :wink:

The first time I listened to this story I didn’t like it very much at all—but then I visited Venice in real life, and so on my second listen I already had the rickety, strange city living there in my head. Maybe that let fall in love with on every subsequent listen. I adore this story—it’s probably the Big Finish story I’ve listened to the most. I find it such a joy!!

I love, love, love setting and atmosphere in audio drama, and the atmosphere of the decaying, sinking city with its bizarre and larger-than-life inhabitants is like catnip to me. Venice itself is a character in this story, and that’s wonderful.

That atmosphere is buoyed by the language and dialogue, too. I’m a big fan of Paul Magrs and his wonderful way with words—he over-eggs his dialogue with nouns and adjectives until it’s sumptuously rich and tasty. Last week I listened to this story again and added some quotes to tardis.guide:

“I’ll get some peace! I’ll find myself some opulent ballroom, and watch the chandeliers grow extravagant beards of lichen and weed, and the monstrous fish take up residence in the sepulchre boudoirs of ancient princesses.”

So delicious. Every other line is like that—three times as long as it needs to be and all the better for it.

When I see complaints about this story I often see them directed at the plot—that it’s too predictable or fantastical. (There is an sci-fi explanation to the magical goings-on, but it may as well be magic at the end of the day!) I get those complaints, but on a personal level I don’t really mind if a story is predictable, so long as I’m enjoying it, and oh, do I enjoy it! I love the web of ancient mystique and curses, I love the catacombs and alien paintings… I love that the day is saved, in the end, by two old lovers forgiving and embracing one another. I find it all so delightful.

That’s the essence of this story to me—it’s just delightful. I fall in love with it again, every time. I wouldn’t claim it’s up there with Scherzo or Chimes… but on a personal level I love it every bit as much as those stories. Gorgeous!

And the bells ring out for the death of Venice…

11 Likes

I remember so little about this story but your review has just made me want to go and listen to it again!

7 Likes

I enjoy it, i will say it’s an improvement over the last one for me (sorry sword of orion fans), but yeah this one is excellent. Would I say it’s a favorite? Not sure, but if we are talking about the first run of 8 and Charley, it might very well be.
The Setting is really nice and the Performances, as well as the banter between our leads, is pretty entertaining to listen to.
As Nyssa already pointed it out in great detail, the dialogue is delicious fun. While it may end up not being the most original story, it still offers a lot of great moments and is overall a superb outing for this very likeable Tardis Team.

6 Likes

I have lots of feelings about Stones of Venice - it was the first story I adapted for my DWRPG campaign, so I will re-listen and return with a big chunky post once I’ve finished up The Sensorites.

5 Likes

I really like it. It’s incredibly funny, everyone is ridiculously hammy and camp, and it has a pretty emotional ending to boot. Certainly no masterpiece but it’s just so so charming. 8ths audios just keep getting better.

4 Likes

After listening to this a second time, I can say that I quite like this one. The first time I thought it was quite boring but after my second listen it is quite obvious that this was only because I missed a fair amount of what happened because I wasn’t focused on it enough (I’m pretty sure I remember there being some kind of train trouble when I was first listening to it and having to figure out how I would get home)
When listening to this this time the first thing I had to think about was that the beginning was a situation very typical for the Doctor. And of course the Doctors traveling to a specific place and time doesn’t go quite the way he expected it to.
I loved how Charley got in trouble quite well without the Doctor being involved.
I always loved the setting of Venice a lot (beginning with the movie to a children’s book I loved as a child) so going to the end of the city and adding aliens and other sci-fi elements to it makes the whole thing even better.
I love the two storylines one following Charley and one following the Doctor running parallel to each other and being completely intertwined without the two encountering each other.

8 Likes

Listened to the first two parts so far. It continues the trend of this first season of Eighth Doctor stories being just Good Solid Who :tm:. No out-and-out classics but solid all the same.

6 Likes

Not one of my favourites and a letdown after the first couple of great Eight Doctor adventures! It’s a 4/10 for me!

So, the Doctor and Charley decide to take a holiday in Venice to escape constant danger. In Part 1, the main conflict is set up, involving a cult attempting to resurrect a dead bride. This part sees the Doctor paired with the annoying Churchwell while Charley falls into the typical companion role of getting into trouble. By the end of Part 2, the narrative has barely progressed, resulting in a lack of excitement and tension, making the story somewhat forgettable. However, the story concludes satisfyingly in an emotional Part 4, revealing a deeper love story behind the adventure.

Among the cast, Michael Sheard stands out as Count Orsino, while Mark Gatiss’s role is less memorable compared to his performance in “Phantasmagoria.”

The soundscape is strange, failing to capture the essence of Venice and featuring an odd echo in the dialogue, which detracts from the overall experience.

4 Likes

7 Likes

Listening to Part 1 and just realized that Duke Orcino shouldn’t be referred to as Duke but as the Doge (yes that word means Duke, but it would so much more authentic if they used the Venetian word here).

4 Likes

I remember not caring that much for this story on my first listen, but on subsequent listens, I’ve found it to be excellent. The atmosphere is great, McGann and Fisher are great in this and sound like they’ve been in the roles forwever, despite this being the first audio McGann recorded for Big Finish. The guest cast is excellent. Michael Sheard as the Duke, Mark Gatiss in one of his best performances ever, and Elaine Ives-Cameron (who played Martha in The Stones of Blood) as possibly the best of the lot. It’s a shame this is the only Big Finish story she did before her passing in 2006. An excellent outing. It’s a shame Tom Baker turned this down, but then we wouldn’t have gotten McGann’s brilliant performance in this.

6 Likes

It’s weird because they definitely do use Doge at least once in the first episode then basically revert back to using Duke for the rest.

2 Likes

Then I must’ve missed it. I suppose the arguement could be made for the TARDIS translation curcuits.

1 Like

I could also be misremembering - as I said upthread, I used this story as the basis for a DWRPG adventure, so I could well be conflating the research I did over whether it’s Doge or Duke into someone actually saying Doge in the story.

FWIW, I went with Duke too.

3 Likes

Finished this this morning. And it really is lovely. When Big Finish shines, it really shines. Something I didn’t mention previously is the music. I love the music playing in the Doge’s Palace, it’s so fun. Anyway, I’m skipping the next one, not that I won’t have things to say, so next will be Loups-Garoux in a week.

5 Likes

It’s a decent enough story and very much in keeping with the more romantic tone of the adventures of the 8th Doctor.
It just kind of failed to really grip my attention, and several times I had to go back a couple of minutes, but then again very few “love stories” manage to keep me engaged and entertained.

I am kind of dreading starting Minuet in Hell, I remember the mental hospital scenes being really difficult to get through.

4 Likes