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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.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 21 October 2013
This story came out in 2006 and features Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace, and Philip Olivier as Hex travelling with the Doctor. This is a straight Earth historical story, which has the Tardis and her crew landing in what turns out to be seventeenth century Ireland just as Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army are rolling over the countryside to teach the Irish `rebels' who their masters are. The English Parliament has sent Oliver to Ireland to get him out of their way (and probably hoping slightly that he may fail in Ireland, as so many have before him) but Oliver Cromwell is not just any man. He has a job to do and is called upon to do it by God, so he will not fail. Unfortunately, Ace and Hex don't listen to the Doctor (there's a surprise) and find themselves mixed up in the mayhem, death and destruction. This is one of those stories where Hex, the naïve companion, believes that he will be able to change things for the better and has to learn the hard (and painful) way that that's not so, and if anything can be changed, is it necessarily for the better?

I found the story a little dull, to be honest. Hex's struggle with `Fate', if you like, was a little prosaic. For me the highlight of the story was Clive Mantle's portrayal of Oliver Cromwell. The writing of this character was very insightful and empathetic, and the characterisation by Mantle was done very well. You could really believe it was Oliver Cromwell talking. The rest of the cast do a sterling job, but I found the story overall was not one of the great ones that you remember as a classic Doctor Who story.
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2006
The 7th Doctor, Ace and Hex get caught up in Oliver Cromwell's Irish campaign in this pure Doctor Who historical. A fairly slow and sombre piece, the story is told in extended flashbacks, with Hex's bitter lesson of the inevitability of history being the main thrust. Unfortunately however, while it may all be new for Hex, for long-time Doctor Who fans the whole `history cannot be rewritten' lesson is a very old one, and despite a charismatic performance from Clive Mantle as Oliver Cromwell `The Settling' never really breaks enough new ground to be particularly interesting. Make no mistake, `The Settling' is by no means a bad play: it's a fairly decent solid historical outing, but it just lacks the vital inspiration to raise it beyond the average Doctor Who story. Reasonable enough for fans of the genre, but not exactly essential.
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on 7 October 2007
Doctor Who is better when its historical. Sylvester Mccoy leads a brilliant cast in this cracker of a story. Phillip Olivier is great as Hex, one of his best audios so far.

One question...why is it no one ever listens to the wise advice of the good Doctor?! Dont get involved...whenever anyone says this you know no one is gonna listen and that means itll all end in horror and tears.

And this is indeed a harrowing story. Very well directed, presenting horrible images through the audio is tough, but it is done so well on this story.

The Doctor has to deliver a baby! Ha ha! Isnt it great how many new and fresh ideas one can find in doctor who still now fourty years after it first graced our screens in sixty three! And like the Hartnell historicals, this is brilliant and very entertaining. Clive Mantle is great as the deluded and clearly mixed up Oliver Cromwell.

All these ingredients add up to make this another great story from big finish.
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on 3 April 2009
Another Big Finish audio featuring Sylvester McCoy's Seventh incarnation of the nomadic Timelord and his young travelling companions Ace and Hex. The Settling is a historical drama that takes place in Seventeenth Century Ireland during the siege of Drogheda and features Oliver Cromwell, just as he is about to conquer the country in his role as Lord Protector.
The story really focuses on the inevitability of history and it is Hex's turn to learn this bitter lesson. Philip Olivier excels as Hex whilst Sylvester McCoy produces one of his best ever performances as the Timelord.
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on 25 March 2009
True historical Doctor Who stories are rare, and those featuring Sylvester McCoy far rarer. How fantastic then to have this example of historical Who at its best. The interplay between Hex and Ace has truly refreshed the character of the latter. Oliver Cromwell is a very interesting three dimensional character of the type rarely seen on tv. And the Doctor gets to be a Doctor! One of the best audioplays from this period of Big Finish, presented in a lovely digipack.
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When the tardis is in history and a companion says 'I think I can change things' you know it's going to end in tears. And it does. For the right reasons.

A superb historical, set against the backdrop of cromwell's irish campaign, with great acting from clive mantle as oliver. The story is quite distressing to listen to at points as it doesn't shy away from depicting death and destruction and the aftermath of war.

All the tardis crew are forced to confront the issues at hand, and all develop as a result of the experience. Particularly the companions. big finish have tried to grow ace up a bit, and it finally pays off here, as she leaves her youthful attitudes behind.

A superb audio and highly recommended
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