The Doctor, Peri and Erimem arrive in 15th-century Romania,
in the middle of a conflict between two brothers, Radu cel
Frumos and Prince Vlad III, sons of Vlad the Great. Prince
Vlad is the sovereign and ruler of Ungro-Walachia and the
duchies of Amlas and Fagaras, but he is better known to Peri
by other names. He is Vlad the Impaler. He is Dracula...
Perhaps with new listeners in mind, Big Finish has until now
avoided using any non-television companions in its Doctor
Who audio dramas since it revamped the series with new-style
covers. Now at last Erimem (Caroline Morris) returns, for
the first time since The
Kingmaker, well over a year ago. And what a
return it is. This historical story suits her character down
to the ground. The decisions she is forced to make and the
hardships she is prepared to endure are entirely in keeping
with a former Pharaoh who is well acquainted with political
expediencies and marriages of convenience. Furthermore, because
she isnt a companion from the television series, there
is a very real possibility that she might not rejoin the Doctor
(Peter Davison) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) at the end of the
Before I get too carried away with singing the praises of
Son of the Dragon, I should point out that in many
respects the plot is typical of its author, Steve Lyons. Once
again (as in the novel The Witch Hunters and the audio
drama The Fires of Vulcan), the Doctor and his friends
are ensnared by the circumstances of recorded history. Is
one of his companions doomed to suffer a tragic fate, or will
the Doctor be able to defy history and the Laws of Time? So
far, so familiar.
However, Lyons also gives a fascinating and educational insight
into the real-life Dracula (which means son of the dragon),
Prince Vlad III, exploring how some of the mythology built
up around him. The author cannot deny the existence of vampires
in the Doctor Who universe, because the creatures have
appeared in State of Decay and numerous pieces of licensed
fiction, so the Doctor briefly alludes to them while explaining
how Bram Stoker took the name, but very little else, from
Prince Dracula when he created his seminal character.
The warring brothers are brought vividly to life by a couple
of star players, James Purefoy (as Prince Vlad) and Douglas
Hodge (as Radu cel Frumos, Radu the Handsome). Hodge recently
appeared in Urban
Myths, together with his Son of the Dragon
co-stars Steven Wickham and Nicola Lloyd, recorded as part
of the same studio block.
The story structure is unusual. Each episode is prefaced by
a pre-credits sequence, akin to those of the new series, but
without recaps from previous episodes. There is a distinct
passage of time between each instalment, creating an overall
sense of duration reminiscent of the historical stories of
the early Hartnell era.
Extra features on this double CD include interviews (the ones
at the end of Disc One are very general and spoiler-free)
and a couple of deleted scenes involving Peri and Vlads
trusted aide John Dobrin (Barry McCarthy).
Though Dracula proves not to be a vampire, this audio drama
certainly doesnt lack bite.
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