Audio Review: Doctor Who: Serpent Crest Part 2: The Broken Crown

(AudioGo �10.20)

IT’S taken him almost three years and 12 separate adventures, but writer Paul Magrs has finally achieved what he set out to do all those years ago – he’s written a proper Doctor Who story.

Although past instalments of his Fourth Doctor stories Hornet’s Nest and Demon Quest, as well as this current series of linked tales, brought Tom Baker back to the role which made him a household name, and included elements such as the TARDIS and former UNIT soldier Captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), you could never imagine them being broadcast on a Saturday evening on BBC1.

That has all changed with this second part of the Serpent Crest saga, which not only admirably captures the atmosphere, story-telling practices and feel of a traditional Doctor Who story, but for the first time truly features Baker portraying the Time Lord, rather than an exaggerated version of his own madcap persona.

Following on from the first story, Tsar Wars, it ups the ante immediately with a tale of mysterious goings-on in a quaint English village, a staple of many successful Who stories over the years.


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The Doctor and companion Mrs Wibbsey (Susan Jameson) have been stranded in the Victorian age by some sort of time and space warp, but swiftly discover that all is not as it should be in the sleepy abode of Hexford, where children protect a mysterious hoard in the depths of the forest, and a cantankerous vicar keeps a tight leash over his ward, a boy who disguises his features with a paper mask…

For once, Magrs restricts the anachronistic and flamboyant use of the English language which characterises much of his work, and instead concentrates on doing what he should have strived for all along – telling a decent Doctor Who story.

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With such a remarkable leap in quality for the entire AudioGo Fourth Doctor range, for the first time in a while there is an obvious eagerness to see how things continue in the next instalment – a month will be a very long time to wait.

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