Chapter Eleven - Warfare

Starring: Lalla Ward, Louise Jameson, John Leeson and Mary Tamm
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN 1 84435 205 6
Available 11 June 2006

The dark days have come again. Gallifrey, the most learned civilisation in the universe, has come to war. The Capitol is in ruins; pitched battles are an everyday occurrence; futures are being changed. War demands sacrifice, and Romana will have to make a very great one if she is to rid Gallifrey of Pandora. That is, if she can remember which Romana she actually is...

With the recent departures of characters such as Braxiatel (Miles Richardson), Andred (Andy Coleman) and one of the K-9 units (John Leeson), and the increased presence of political players such as Inquisitor-prime Darkel (Lynda Bellingham) and Imperiatrix Pandora (Mary Tamm), not to mention the ever-present Romana (Lalla Ward) and Leela (Louise Jameson), this series has become a veritable showcase for strongly written and powerfully performed female characters.

This instalment resolves the "two Romanas" arc, so the sexual balance of power looks set to shift once again. The maverick Surgeon-master Elbon (Paul Grunert), who was introduced in the previous instalment, Fractures, as an apparently one-off character, now seems to be lined up as a regular. Hmmm... a doctor who bucks against authority - where have I heard that one before? He even sounds like the Doctor (specifically Patrick Troughton in The Three Doctors) when he uses the phrase "mayn't I".

Meanwhile, the loyalties of another devious new character, Lord Matthias (Stephen Perring), become ever more uncertain. Listeners might recognise Perring's voice as that of the Kro'ka in several Eighth Doctor audio adventures - which certainly makes it hard for me to trust him!

Also featuring memorable performances by Ward, Jameson and Tamm - all of whom play characters facing a debilitating injury of some kind, be it mental or physical - Warfare fares rather well.

Richard McGinlay

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