Friday, August 9, 2013
The Seventh Doctor and Ace are trapped on board a spaceship fleeing an exploding sun, but why is the Time Lord more interested in the contents of the ship’s vault than escaping certain destruction?
WHILE the attentions of the world have been focused on the identity of the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Time Lord’s past incarnations continues in the truly excellent DotD series, which has now reached Sylvester McCoy’s interpretation of the role.
Manipulative, secretive and Machiavellian, there’s a dark side to this version of the Doctor: the chess-player on a hundred boards, scourge of Fenric and destroyer of Skaro. He is frequently one step ahead of his allies, leaving them struggling to catch up with his latest convoluted scheme after being kept in the dark, or using them as pawns to achieve his objectives with no regard for their feelings.
Arriving on the doomed world of Tarsus 6, the Doctor and companion Ace flee the imminent destruction with a spaceship of evacuees desperate to evade the oncoming shockwave from their exploding sun. But the Doctor has his own agenda for being on board, and it isn’t something as simple as helping the exodus survive.
He is after a divine artefact stored in the ship’s vault, the so-called Voice of Stone, which has called him from across time and space to this precise moment. It gives nothing away to reveal that this is another message from his future self, the Eleventh Doctor, as seen in previous instalments of this series.
Meanwhile, NineJay, a member of the religious cult of The Senders, has her own reasons for escaping on the ship instead of staying behind to die with her peers, and her obsessions may just cost the life of every man, woman and child on board…
One of the defining elements of the relationship between the Doctor and Ace is her overwhelming need to win his approval in the face of constant testing, part of his desire to transform the broken and rebellious teenager into a strong and dynamic woman, and that somewhat fractious bond is explored in further detail here, as Ace’s compassion and loyalty are stretched once again.
Ace actress Sophie Aldred not only does a remarkable job of capturing the tones and delivery of her younger self, but she admirably interprets the Seventh Doctor’s Scottish brogue with style. She is supported on vocal duties by Ian Brooker as the remarkably steadfast Captain OhOne, whose destiny is intrinsically linked to that of the Doctor himself.
There are no monsters in this story, and the challenges the Doctor must overcome are far from straightforward, but this story continues the high standard of previous releases while also hinting further at the overall arc. Once again highly recommended.
Available from www.audiogo.co.uk