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The Settling - Warts and all, this stands up as one of the great Dr adventures
on 12 February 2013
This is the eighty second release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs. My copy came in a digipack with a third disc of adverts for other Big Finish audios.
The Doctor lands the TARDIS at random, in an attempt to train new companion Hex how to determine when and where they are - essential skills for a traveller in time and space. Unfortunately the where is Drogheda, and the when is September 1649, a place and date of infamy when Oliver Cromwell's army massacred the town folk of Drogheda in an act that added the darkest and bloodiest stain to his already bloody record.
It's a purely historical Who, with the standard theme of a new companion learning the inevitability of history, and the inability of the TARDIS crew to ever change things really. In stark contrast to the Kingmaker, the comedic release that preceded this, this is a dark tale full of the worst of humanity, and the best. The sound production for the battles, and the ruin of battle, are superb, and little touches really made my flesh crawl as they vividly drew an image in my mind of the aftermath of a battle. It's well scripted, giving the Doctor, Ace and Hex plenty to do and lots of moral dilemmas. Cromwell himself is superbly played by Clive Mantle, he and the scriptwriters take a balanced view of the Man of Conscience and paint a charismatic and believable character. At 1 hour 40 min it is pretty snappy compared to some of the lengthier contemporary releases, and all the better for it.
I love this drama. It entertains, it makes me think a little. It's brilliantly produced. It's everything a Doctor Who historical should be. 5 stars.