Sunday, June 2, 2013

Big Finish - The Lady of Mercia

The Lady of Mercia by Paul Magrs, directed by Ken Bentley.


The Fifth Doctor is on the trail of a temporal anomaly and brings the Tardis crew to a university campus in 1983. There are budgets cuts, student protesters, visiting lecturers for a history conference, and of course, there is something strange going on in the physics department. Before long Tegan has been hurled back in time to the 10th century and finds herself caught up in the legend of Ã†thelfrid, the Lady of Mercia herself.

A completely historical adventure for the Doctor with the only science fiction elements being time travel itself. No aliens. no bug eyed monsters, and no super-villains. Just some good clean timeslip fun for The Doctor, Nyyssa, Tegan and Turlough to sort out. Tegan gets the most to do and, unusually, is not possessed by anything. She does what she does because she thinks it is the right thing to do, and this is a pretty good Tegan story. The downside is that everyone else just get the minor roles, Nyssa is merely there to ask the Doctor questions, and Turlough is back in his sarcastic, surly mode. I thought we were done with the unhelpful Turlough but apparently not.

I enjoyed Peter Davison's performance quite a lot. It's nice to have a more classic Doctor who doesn't have to run and shout all the while. Although it might help if this incarnation did stop and explain things every now and then. It would clear up a lot of misunderstandings but would probably reduce the running time by at least a quarter. Janet Fielding has a (pun intended) field day with her meaty role and manages to produce one of the least irritating attempts at a regional accent I have heard for some time.

The music, sound design and artwork are all top notch and really this was one of the best Big Finish Doctor Who stories I have listened to in a while. 4 out of 5 golden swords and now it's time to jump tracks and head back to Mega City One and more Judge Dredd.

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