The TARDIS lands several thousand years off course, bringing
the Doctor, Peri and Erimem to 17th-century Paris. As Peri
gets entangled in a plot to kill Queen Anne, the Doctor finds
himself duelling with Musketeers...
plenty of swashbuckling swordsmanship and verbal ripostes
as writers Cavan Scott and Mark Wright pay homage to Richard
Lester's movie version of The Three Musketeers. The
story therefore falls into the "genre pastiche" category of
historical Who, like The Reign of Terror or
The Gunfighters, rather than the more educational type
that takes fewer liberties with its depiction of setting,
like Marco Polo or The Aztecs. Thankfully, as
in The Massacre, no attempt is made by the British
cast to adopt phoney French accents.
addition to the derring-do that is done by the Musketeers
(Andy Coleman, Robert Curbishley and Peter John), there's
an element of Monty Python humour in the guise of an
entrepreneurial "blind" beggar. Meanwhile, the uneasy relationship
betwixt Church and Crown is epitomised by the bickering that
goes on between the pious Cardinal Richelieu (Michael Shallard)
and the hot-headed Louis XIII (Andrew Mackay), who seem to
take it in turns impersonating Alan Rickman.
tale is also notable for being Erimem's (Caroline Morris)
first trip in the TARDIS, after she boarded the ship at the
end of last year's The Eye of the Scorpion. It seems
only fitting that the Fifth Doctor should gain a new companion
from Big Finish, since the Sixth Doctor was joined by Evelyn
Smythe, the Seventh Doctor's literary companion Bernice Summerfield
was brought to life by Lisa Bowerman, and the Eighth Doctor
made the acquaintance of Charley Pollard. Erimem certainly
does not seem like a crewmember too far, as Peri (Nicola Bryant)
spends much of the story away from the Doctor's company, having
Plot-wise, it is patently obvious what the cliffhanger to
Part One will be long before the episode reaches its conclusion.
A rather overused narrative device nevertheless grants Bryant
an excellent opportunity to stretch her acting range.
the story is a little slight, but it passes an enjoyable hundred-odd