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Dr Who Monthly Series: Architects Of History by Steve Lyons

01/05/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Dr Who Monthly Series: Architects Of History in the USA - or Buy Dr Who Monthly Series: Architects Of History in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minutes. Price: CD: 14.99 (UK), Download: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-435-1) cast: Sylvester McCoy, Tracey Childs, Lenora Crichlow, Ian Hayles, Jamie Parker, Lloyd McGuire, Chris Porter, Rachel Laurence and David Dobson.

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Elisabeth Klein likes history. She studies it closely and if she doesn't like the way it goes she can always re-make it in her own faultless image. What a perfect plan, what could possibly go wrong?

Her assistant, Major Richter, is the only other person alive who knows the truth about history, that it has become putty in Klein's skilful hands. They both know about the lives erased and saved changed forever. Individuals don't matter to Klein as long as she can continue to re-shape the Galactic Reich she helped to create. It's been a long time, a lot of missions in the TARDIS. She keeps trying to attend to the detail, missing nothing.

It's never enough there is always something to put right. She can never rest, never know it will all work out on its own. Thought crime is real-crime and there's no time like the present.

Nobody makes bombs anymore. They only think about making them before they are snatched from history, unmade.

Something unthinkable happens. Klein arrives on moonbase and so does an invasion fleet. But she's seen the future and it doesn't involve the Selachian fleet. So who else is messing with the time line?

Maybe it's the unassuming little man in the cell on moonbase. The Doctor, bereft of his blue box, is powerless to prevent the sweeping changes that Klein makes. He doesn't even know they are happening, does he?

There's something else happening. People are dying and one activist, Rachel, and a reluctant recruit, Sam Kirke, are trying to make a difference. They are trying to right Klein's wrongs but they don't know the consequences. They don't know about the web of time and what happens when one loose thread is pulled.

Just who is pulling those loose threads and who can we believe in this final adventure with the Doctor and Elizabeth Klein? It's a chilling story and a fitting end to her travels with the Seventh Doctor. This is the final face-off and it's ghastly. She's human, he isn't and this premise allows us to unpack the threads of the conflict and listen as time itself is unpicked with disastrous consequences. Without countless deaths of untold millions, it does come down to how much we care about individual and in this story it all comes down to Rachel Cooper and what she does to help save the universe.

The lead, Elisabeth Klein, is again played with great conviction by Tracey Childs. I'm amazed she is not in some big-budget TV drama. This woman is very good. Also giving a bravura performance is Leonora Crichlow better known as Annie from 'Being Human' as Rachel, a woman on whom the whole of history might hang.

'Architects Of History' is an exceptional and complex adventure where we can contemplate the nature of evil and find some unexpected answers. It's a disturbing and unsettling story with the figure of the Doctor at the centre of an intricately woven plot. I thoroughly recommend the whole of the three episodes but this one in particular. There's a walk-on part for the TARDIS cloister bell too. A nice touch of continuity in this fractured world.

Sue Davies

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