What links a disintegrating spaceship adrift in the Time
Vortex with a posh garden party on the planet Earth, where
a wealthy couple are celebrating their love for each other
in style? Why are the partygoers experiencing such a strange
and powerful sense of déjà vu? Gatecrashers the Doctor and
Lucie think they know the answers - but they're not the only
uninvited guests. The Tar-Modowk, ferocious time-sensitive
alien warriors riding pterodactyl-like Vortisaurs, are about
to make their entrance...
When I originally listened to this episode on the radio, I'm
afraid didn't enjoy it very much. Paul Sutton's script is
a complex affair, which throws us straight into the middle
of the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie's (Sheridan Smith) latest
adventure and then proceeds to cut between two spatiotemporal
locations. In order to fully grasp it, I needed to rewind
a few bits of dialogue and hear then again. I can't do that
with my radio. Even with BBC 7's "listen again" online service
this is a bit tricky, owing to the imprecision of navigating
the progress bar.
Now that I have heard No More Lies again on CD, I appreciate
all its subtleties - in particular the poignant relationship
that exists between Nick Zimmerman (Nigel Havers) and his
wife Rachel (Julia McKenzie). The two main guest stars give
truly moving performances, which are right up there with the
best tearjerkers of recent television shows.
But it's not all heartache and angst. There's humour here
too - for example, in the Doctor and Lucie's discussion of
her gluteus maximus (that's bum to you and me), while Tom
Chadbon (as Rachel's brother Gordon) gets the funniest line
in the entire episode.
That said, Chadbon's role has more in common with the honourable
character of Will Sullivan in the second series of Big Finish's
Sarah Jane Smith audios than with the loutish buffoonery
of Duggan in City
By sheer coincidence, there are some remarkable similarities
between this, the third to last instalment of the BBC 7 series,
and Utopia, the third to last instalment of the most
recent television series. Both stories end on a cliffhanger,
which leads into the concluding two-parter, and both feature
a villain who has abandoned his former ways and is now living
as a human being (a story idea originally used in the Seventh
Doctor audio drama Master).
Among the 22 minutes of extra features at the end of the CD,
Havers commends the structure of Sutton's story; McKenzie
sings the praises of the soundproof booths Big Finish use
when recording these productions; and Chadbon remarks upon
how much the company's facilities have improved in the short
space of time since he recorded his appearances in Sarah
Jane Smith. Havers reveals that he has been following
Doctor Who since its very first episode, though he
has rarely taken it very seriously; McKenzie confesses she
has never seen or heard the programme before; and Chadbon
talks about the fan mail he still receives for his roles in
City of Death and The Trial of a Time Lord.
We also get to hear a bit more of Tim Sutton's beautiful incidental
No More Lies might not have been great on the radio,
but it makes a magnificent CD. No word of a lie.
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