Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Companion Chronicles: The Glorious Revolution

Since this is Jamie’s story, it begins with bagpipes, of course. Forty years after his travels with the Doctor, Jamie doesn’t remember anything except the events of The Highlanders. But a representative of the Celestial Intervention Agency reverses the memory wipe to hear about a Second Doctor/Jamie/Zoe adventure in London, 1688. It’s the year of the Glorious Revolution, when King James VII gives up his claim to the throne, a decision Jamie says will lead to decades of bloodshed in Scotland. In this two-episode story, Jamie tries to change the course of his country’s history by persuading the king to stay and fight, much to the Doctor’s dismay. It’s all quite serious, but of course there’s still time for Jamie and the Doctor to dress up as washer-women.

Like dozens of Doctor Who stories before it, this introduced me to historical events of which I’d been unaware, while threading an exciting story through that history. Best of all, this sees another run-out for Frazer Hines’ frighteningly good Patrick Troughton. While I thoroughly respect Big Finish’s reasons for not recasting the early Doctors for new full-cast dramas, Hines’ performance as the Second Doctor makes a powerful, respectful argument for reconsidering that stance.

My only criticism is that the story’s epilogue doesn’t quite ring true, though it’s perhaps necessary to restore the status quo. The running time includes about ten minutes of entertaining extras.

The Companion Chronicles: The Glorious Revolution, Jonathan Morris, read by Frazer Hines, Big Finish, 1xCD, 1hr8.

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