Monday, November 19, 2012

No More Lies [8th Doctor + Lucie Miller]

I adored this.

It started off as one thing before twisting into something different.

A Doctor Who romp entwined with an story about love and letting go.

I was listening to this on the tube and I have to admit that Paul Sutton's script had me blinking away tears at the end. [Yes, despite being an Englishman of a certain age I'm afraid I'm easily led to tears. I can't help it. I don't know whether I was overdosed with sentimentality as a child or I'm just pre-disposed to a good cry but the lamest things can get set me off. And when, like this, they aren't lame at all I can't help myself.]

There's an excellent cast here to backstop the good writing,

Nigel Havers is Nick Zimmerman. I've never been the biggest fan of Nigel Havers. He always struck me as a little one note - 'The Chancer': a bounder and a cad - but that might be less his fault than the fault of those doing the casting. After all if you've got a niche, why not exploit it. He's excellent here. Taking a character and shaping him. His character having a lot more grey shading to him. Zimmerman can be misjudged, which makes him very dangerous indeed.

Havers is ably supported by Julia McKenzie (as Rachel) who not only acts her part with some style but also gets to do a bit of singing. In Hungarian. It's a rather sad sounding tune. In fact the music in this story really helps with the atmosphere. It's lovely work from McKenzie who gets her best scenes with Sheridan Smith and Nigel Havers late into the story when everything starts to come together properly.

There's also a nice turn from Tom Chadbon (formerly of 'City of Death' and 'Mysterious Planet') as Gordon, the wounded, sorry for himself CID officer dragged into the chaos.

Add some timey-wimey stuff, Vortisaurs (the scene where the Doctor and Gordon capture one and decide to call her Margaret is both funny and a nice little throwback to the 8th Doctor's adventures with Charley) and the vortex* dwelling, time-eating Tar-Madowk and you've got a fine Doctor Who romp with the bonus of real emotional punch.

My only quibble being that what was going on seemed and who was behind things seemed pretty obvious to me but I really am quibbling there.

McGann and Smith are up to their usual standards. I was particularly amused by the Doctor blaming Lucie for a mistake that was entirely his fault for ignoring her in the first place. Their banter is slightly - just slightly - more affectionate than it was at the beginning with less acidity.

This isn't a dark story. This isn't packed full of jeopardy for our TARDIS crew until right at the end when Lucie is [SPOILER].

In fact it isn't too dissimilar to Phobos in that sense but somehow it works much, much better. The emotion feels real and you feel involved. Willing on our heroes as the adventure rolls along. That perhaps is the real difference between this and Phobos. Phobos made the action seem rather cold - sorry - and distant.

Good stuff.

*The Big Finish vortex seems to teem with life compared with the television version.

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