Wednesday 30 March 2016

Washington Burns

As season 25 rolled into season 26 which rolled in to the New Adventures we saw a change of dynamic in the relationship between The Doctor and companion. No longer was the companion there to get captured/rescued/ask questions – Ace (and later Bernice) were modern resourceful women and an integral part of the Doctor’s increasingly tangled plans. We also saw a shift from The Doctor just blundering in to an adventure to being a “fixer”, using his almost omnipotence to fight evil in the universe.
Washington Burns follows the New Adventures pattern, it has a manipulative Doctor and a resourceful Ace and a very interesting “New Adventures” style villain in the guise of Cerebra. Cerebra is an entity that can inhabit any information, written, printed, electronic and take over the minds of those who read this information. In a far future Washington DC the Doctor and Ace seemingly defeat Cerebra only to discover it has travelled back in time to Washington DC in 1814 and has infected the Library of Congress, local newspapers and the books of a presidential aide – its influence is growing again and it is up to the Doctor and Ace to stop it.
On an almost monthly basis I say that these are short stories on a grand scale – and this is no exception. Running at only 33 minutes and 45 seconds this story takes in a future war and the advance and burning of Washington DC by the British army.  As always the production values are excellent and Sophie Aldred gives a lovely performance as narrator imbuing Ace, the Doctor and the supporting characters with distinct personalities and instilling a sense of urgency to the proceedings. Although it is a short story, it really does not feel like an interlude, more of a prequel and I have a feeling that we will be hearing more of Cerebra in coming main ranges. A clever use of an established historical event to tell a story spanning the ages. 8/10.

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