Following their escape from the Forge, the Sixth Doctor and
Evelyn have things to discuss. She is unhappy with the Time
Lord's attitude towards death, and feels that they should
spend some time apart. Landing on the supposedly safe world
of Vilįg, the Doctor's actions land him in the middle of a
dangerous liaison - one that could alter the planet's future...
It seems like ages since we last heard from Dr Evelyn Smythe
(Maggie Stables), and indeed it has been almost a year. Therefore
a brief recap of events in Project: Lazarus, conveyed
in dialogue at the beginning of this audio drama, is not merely
useful but essential, since the events in that story (and
also, one presumes, Doctor Who and the Pirates) directly
affect the interaction of the TARDIS travellers in this one.
first I thought that the writer, newcomer Paul Sutton, and
the performers were laying on the Doctor (Colin Baker) and
Evelyn's emotional strife a little too thick. With all their
talk of relationships, feelings and spending time apart, they
come across like an estranged married couple. It becomes apparent
later on that such a comparison is deliberate, when the local
Governor Rossiter (Gabriel Woolf) makes a wry comment to Dr
Smythe about the similarity. Rest assured, however, that there
remains no evidence of any "hanky panky" going on in the TARDIS,
though the Doctor makes it plain that Evelyn, as someone older
and wiser than the majority of his travelling companions,
is very special to him.
further plot strands in this romantic tale also concern loving
relationships, in particular the one between a soldier (Lewis
Rae) and a princess (Katarina Olsson), who is destined for
a loveless marriage of political convenience. Passionate performances
by Rae and especially Olsson make this a truly moving production
and also ensure that the Doctor's role as go-between never
seems amoral (even though he is, in fact, encouraging adultery).
couple of things distract the ear slightly along the way.
The first concerns telephones, the sound effects for which
are those of ordinary Earthbound ring tones, dialling tones
and keypads, which seem somewhat out of place on an alien
other distracting factor is the voice of Gabriel Woolf, who
is better known to Doctor Who fans as Sutekh in the
Tom Baker serial Pyramids of Mars. Whenever the gentle
Rossiter speaks of death and destruction, I couldn't help
thinking of Sutekh the Destroyer, the Lord of Death! That
is not to say Woolf doesn't give a splendid performance, though,
because he does.
Sutton and director Gary Russell have done well to arrange
this finely crafted character-based play.
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