Tom Baker’s Doctor meets Toulouse-Lautrec


Written by Paul Magrs, starring Tom Baker

RETURNING from their adventures in Roman Britain, the Doctor (Tom Baker) and his housekeeper Mrs Wibbsey (Susan Jameson) discover the Time Lord’s likeness has been painted into a famous poster by French artist and raconteur Henri Toulouse-Lautrec…

Travelling back in time to Paris of the 1890s, they discover a murderer is at large, killing the muses who inspire the city’s artists, and Lautrec is under suspicion for the homicidal crimes. With women vanishing from the streets, the time travellers become immersed in the delights of the Moulin Rouge and the shadows of Montmartre Cemetery, only to discover they have been expected…

Breaking from the style of previous instalments in this series and its predecessor Hornet’s Nest, the narration here is not by the Doctor, but Mrs Wibbsey, who offers her own insights into proceedings, although unfortunately through the perspective of an unwilling companion who fails to appreciate the honour of accompanying the Doctor in his adventures.

Once again there is no overall resolution to the events of the big picture, and Magrs gives little away as to how everything will ultimately slot together. Some of the French accents here are plucked straight from ‘Allo ‘Allo, although the sound effects and music admirably capture the atmosphere of 19th century Paris.

Baker is on usual good form, booming out his lines with gusto and slipping comfortably back into the persona of his version of the Time Lord, and Magrs fills his script with the usual rich vocabulary and rhythmic dialogue which serves him so well.

An interesting addition to the Demon Quest narrative, but an adventure which might have worked better free of the shackles of an ongoing plotline and given room to breathe.