This story takes place during the Fourth Doctor and Romana I's search for the Key to Time. In this instance, the tracer has sent them to the estate of Lady Ferril, widow of Lord Ferril. Lady Ferril was a celebrated astronaut who, due to injuries, has been retired from any duties with NASA. But what happened on her last mission? And why does she have so many statues and suits of armour on her estate?
This is a companion chronicle, narrated by Mary Tamm mainly, but also in parts by Madeleine Potter as Lady Ferril. I found the over the top nasty villainess screeching voice a bit wearing, but Mary Tamm as Romana was on top form. While her voicing of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor is a bit off, she narrates and performs well enough to capture the nuances of the script - the Fourth Doctor's humour and eccentricity, Romana's naivety regarding earth customs, the horror of the carnage being let loose in the local village, and Lady Ferril's plans for the Earth. Purists might wonder at the use of the Key to Time in this `missing' story, as it quite clearly had a story arc which incorporated all its component pieces at the time of the original Fourth Doctor tv screening, but that is neatly developed and deal with in the course of the story.
Highly recommended for any Doctor Who fan.
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are talking books which feature an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new story for their character.
They do all the voices save one which is read by a guest actor.
And the story runs for two episodes of thirty minutes [approx] each, and is complete on a single cd.
This one sees Mary Tamm return to the role of the first Romana, whom she played opposite Tom Baker's Doctor on tv back in 1978. In a season of the show when the Doctor was trying to find the segments of the fabled key to time.
This story takes place between the third and fourth stories of that particular season. It fits itself in in a rather clever way, which is revealed at the very end. And it sees the TARDIS arrive in a small village in Norfolk. The lady of the local manor, who is a former astronaut, has set up an observatory in order to track a particular meteorite. She encountered this object once before. And it had an effect on her. Which has made her more than human.
A deadly threat to the human race results. And her ladyship has a power that makes everyday objects very dangerous. Can the Doctor save the day? And find the segment?
Mary Tamm has a great voice, which makes this a very pleasing listen. And the guest actress gets a little more to do than some of them as she gets to narrate entire sections of the story herself. You might get distracted by how much she sounds like Peri, but she does turn out to be an excellent villainess.
The triumph of this one though is how well it fits into the era. Romana is slightly naive, and there are funny moments as the Doctor has to explain certain bits of Earth culture to her. There are great scenes with him interacting with the locals in the village pub. The villainess has a hapless scientific assistant. And the whole thing uses the audio medium to the full by creating some strong visual scenes in part two, as the villainess uses her power to the full. These being entirely narrated mean you do need to concentrate, but they are well worth the effort.
A pleasant reminder of a long gone era of the show, this is a delightful and entertaining listen and a well above average entry in this range.
A trailer for the next companion chronicle can be found at the end of part two. And roughly eight minutes of entertaining chat with cast and crew on the two tracks after that.
on 19 January 2016
After collecting the third segment of the Key to Time, the tracer leads the Tardis to a village in Norfolk where the local manor house has fallen into the (metallic) hands of former astronaut Millicent Ferril who has converted it into an observatory and filled the grounds with bizarre metal sculptures.
‘Ferril’s Folly’ is set during the Doctor and Roman’s search for the Key to Time. However, it is not an interlude where they take a break for no apparent reason. Instead it forms part of their search for the fourth segment and fits in nicely to what is seen onscreen.
Although the Doctor (voiced by Mary Tamm as this is a Companion Chronicle) is around for a considerable period of the action, the main characters of the piece are Romana and Ferril. K-9 is conspicuously absent even though he does have a minor, but important, role and there are few other significant characters apart from Ferril’s scientific assistant Erpic (no idea on the spelling) who often seems a tad superfluous. Ferril is a decent foe for Romana. Both attempt to intellectually outdo each other and, rare for Romana, there is even a physical fight between them.
Ferril is an odd take on the concept of a cyborg, albeit an interesting one, who seems to possess powers akin to X-Men’s Magneto. Her name is also oddly conveniently suited to her considering her abilities and what has happened to her. It would be a strong case of nominative determination if it had been her maiden rather than married name.
The Cronquist as some form of alien entities really are non-entities. Although obviously an essential element of the plot they fail to make an appearance and we learn very little about them. Instead they are little more than a threat that lingers in the background, leaving Ferril as the undisputed villain of the piece.
There is some fun to be had when everyday objects found upon a village green or in the local pub can be converted into weapons or tools for spying. There is also some joking around about Romana’s footwear which echoes her recent predicament during the search for the third segment in ‘The Stones of Blood’.