01/05/2012. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story. Price: CD: GBP10.99 (UK), Download: GBP 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-614-0). cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Ella Kenion, Nia Roberts, Michael Rouse and Daniel Hawksford.
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For Leela, warrior, daughter of a warrior, everything is clear cut and her blade is always sharp. She can kill a man one hundred ways but the Doctor is keen to explain her education and learn how civilisations developed.
They arrive in the muddy fields of what will be England and find it is the time of the Roman occupation. After a bloody encounter, the Doctor is disturbed to find that Leela rapidly idolises the Queen of the Britains, Boudica (Ella Kenion). For Leela, it is simple, Boudica is the rightful Queen of the Britains, she has been ‘grievously wronged’ and Leela is quick to declare her loyalty.
For the Doctor, life and royalty have never been simple. Life is more complicated than the clear-eyed Leela believes and, although the Doctor is in charge of her education, he also has to let her make her own mistakes.
As the Doctor becomes the enemy, Leela is faced with reality. Can she change history, abandon her friend and become a killing machine or will the wise fool, the Doctor, be able to pull her back from this choice?
This is a very moving and emotional drama with no sign of any aliens, cuddly or otherwise. All the fear and blood comes from the setting of Roman occupied Britain. The research sits lightly in the text but this is a balanced look at who Boudica was and what effect the choices she made had on the development of civilisation in Britain and the world. That sounds pretty heavy for a Science Fiction jaunt but, in the best tradition of ‘Doctor Who’, this is an adventure first and foremost.
Once again, Tom Baker enters into the plot with usual gusto and Louise Jameson slips easily back into the leather bikini. I hope she wore a shawl as well, it’s a bit parky out. There are some good character actors here as usual including a couple of Roman soldiers, ably and bravely played by Michael Rouse and Daniel Hawksford, they also double up as additional cast. Bragnor, is part of the Iceni tribe (Nia Roberts) who is forced to contemplate her possible death in the coming massacre of Boudica’s warriors.
All this is done with a cast of six and neatly wrapped up in two episodes and no scenery to shift.
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