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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.
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on 9 September 2015
The Church and the Crown is a pure historical and was written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, and directed by Gary Russell. It features original Musketeers, not those created by Alexandre Dumas. Russell Stone’s 17th century lute music mixed with fairly modern synths is a bit dated sounding but this was recorded on 5 and 6 September 2002 at The Moat Studios. The atmosphere is created more from the dialogue and effects.
Davison is always capable and Nicola always gives a good performance but gets to play Queen Anne Lake as well. I can’t say that I am particularly sold on the idea of Erimem and Caroline Morris strikes me as distinctly average and Michael Shallard voiced Cardinal Richelieu with a silly nasal quality

This a pretty average affair with competent acting and writing, but the dialogue is a little average and the music is a bit dated, there are also occasional dashes of humour. How people can mistake Queen Anne for Peri when she starts sounding like a Gangster’s Moll I don’t know. The Doctor tries to warn Peri that it may not be safe to go off but she brushes off his warnings. Does that sound like Peri to you? Apparently in Big Finish’s book ‘the Inside Story’ Davison was asked if he want a comedy outing like ‘the One Doctor’ or ‘Bang-Bang-Aboom!’ and his response was unenthusiastic. Personally I think humour arising from the drama always a better option than comedy for the sake of it.
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on 28 October 2012
Highly enjoyable historical romp with Peter Davison's doctor and Peri. The BF DW Audio's vary in success and this one, although purely historical with homage to the Dumas novels still manages to remain entertaining despite lacking the usual science fiction element. Not all the audio scripts are in this league and Davison still shows what memorable and versatile Doctor he portrayed.
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on 5 September 2007
Historicals are great in Doctor Who. The Massacre and The Aztecs are two gleaming examples of history. And even pseudo historicals like The Time Warrior and The Visitation are very well designed with enjoyable characters. And yet from the Highlanders the total historical faded from our screens, which is a real pity. And im still waiting for a historical to appear on screen as yet in the otherwise brilliant new series...

But ah big finish seem at least to know that historicals are good! And The Church and the Crown is a good play to highlight entertaining history. A real swashbuckling romp with good characters. Set in Paris, this audio also sounds very good too. Good solid direction and sound make this a fine story. Well cool! I dare you to listen to this story and not think its brilliant....
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on 17 October 2006
"A nation divided

"A Queen's life at risk

"A net of conspiracy closing in...

"Sometimes being a time travelling adventurer just isn't easy...

"For a start there's a temperamental TARDIS that lands a few thousand years off course in 17th Century Paris. But why shouldn't the Doctor, Peri and their travelling guest Erimem take a look around the city on the morning of King Louis' annual State Ball?

"As Peri becomes embroiled in a plot to kill Queen Anne and smash the unity of the Church and the Crown, the Doctor finds himself duelling Musketeers on the streets.

"With Peri missing, Erimem catching King Louis' eye and a Musketeer's sword at your throat, could things get any worse?

"Probably..."

"The Church and the Crown", by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright, is an engaging historical adventure, somewhat more apocryphal than the historicals of the Hartnell years but much in the same vein - there is no sci-fi on offer here despite the Doctor, his companions and their arrival in the TARDIS.

As such new companion Erimem, as opposed to falling into the clichéd "bewildered new companion" role, instead gets to show her strength of character by bluffing her way ino the guise of "Princess Erimem of Carnak", and actively helps the Doctor as events become more chaotic, gaining his respect to the extent that he feels able to leave her keeping an eye on things back at King Louis' palace whilst he goes off to set the world to rights, and in the process earning a permanent role in the TARDIS crew. "The Church and the Crown" is a good showing for Caroline Morris' character.

"The Church and the Crown" contains a supporting cast largely of unknowns, with no particular "special guest star". However, there's not a bad performance among them. Andrew Mackay sounds a lot like Simon Pegg in the role of the arrogant and petulant King Louis, and Michael Shallard puts in an excellent performance as the sneering Cardinal Richelieu. Nicola Bryant also deserves a special mention for her double role as Peri and Queen Anne, and in the case of the latter Bryant gets to perform in something closer to her natural accent for once, which is very refreshing.

The script is strong and features a good mixture of humour and adventure. "The Church and the Crown" is best described as a romp rather than an emotional masterpiece, but it's a very well-written romp and is most definitely above average.
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an audio story for peter davisons doctor who, on this occasion accompanied by nicola bryant as his companion peri [familiar from tv] and caroline morris as erimem [a companion created especially for audio, who first appeared in earlier story eye of the scorpion].

The story runs for four episodes each of roughly twenty five minutes and is spread over two discs.

In this story the tardis lands in medieval france, and the tardis crew get caught up in a plot that could have come from the works of alexander dumas [there's a funny reference to him] and old historical doctor who tales from the 60's, as the old plot device of one companion looking exactly like an important person is used.

There's no science fiction in this story aside from the tardis. the history isn't entirely accurate. but none of this matters. Because it's fun! It's a hugely entertaining swashbuckling romp, and well worth a listen
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