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The Church and The Crown - All for one!
on 4 July 2012
This is the thirty eighth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five, Nicola Bryant as Peri and Caroline Morris as Erimem. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
Five, Peri and Erimem are on their way to drop Erimem off at a noted university where she can have a new life of study and scholarship but the TARDIS has other ideas, going as little bit off course and landing in 17th century France. A France riven by strife with the Church and the crown at each other's throats, played out in the streets as a constant battle between Cardinal Richelieu's guards and the King's Musketeers. It doesn't help that the King isn't talking to his wife, and the constant bickering between all parties leaves a political vacuum that an ambitious outsider is eager to exploit.
Riffing off the three Musketeers and several other Dumas stories the Man in the Iron Mask and Count of Monte Christo all get a nod), Five and his companions are thrust into a merry tale of political intrigue and revolution. Erimem is given a strong story in which we are given time to get to know her a bit better; on the strength of this she will be a great companion. The piece is peopled with great characters - the wily Richelieu devoted to the good of the people, the self adsorbed King, the politically savvy queen, and two brave Musketeers who'll do anything for a Lady. Well written and well played by a talented cast, it really comes to life. The plot and political machinations are intriguing, even if they do play a little fast and loose with History as we know it today. Peter Davison is in form, with that sense of rising panic as things get further and further out of control that he does so well. Nicola Bryant is given a strong story as Peri, and she really makes the most of it. And Caroline Morris is excellent as the ex Pharaoh. There is an excellent sound production, and all in all this is a classic story that deserves 5 stars.