Sunday, 31 July 2016

4th Doctor 5.7 - The Pursuit of History

When I was listening to last months release – The Trouble With Drax there was a throwaway line that intrigued me, and then I completely forgot about it. I was reminded of it straight away with this release. Memo to self, pay attention and remember what you are paying attention to because it may well be important. In this case it seems to have been an important plot point involving a Parrot. And The Pursuit of History begins (well not quite but the first TARDIS scene) begins with Romana and K9 in pursuit of said overlooked Parrot. Its a Parrot that the Doctor seems to want to ignore, and it seems to be reciting phrases from The Doctor (albeit in the style of Terry Jones as a Pepper-pot in Monty Python) so at this point I am both intrigued and amused.
 Ladies and gentlemen we are in season finale mode – the little hints and tidbits for the more discerning (or more attentive) listener are all coming together and an old enemy is making a reappearance. The old enemy in this case is Cuthbert (David Warner) head of the Conglomerate, last seen in an alliance of sorts with the Daleks and Cuthbert has a plan to increase the Conglomerates profits involving robbing a train in 1850’s Yorkshire and selling the proceeds of the robbery to the finance minister of Earth’s Oceanic zone 200 years later – so far so Scaroth. But there is something else bubbling in the background a plan that Cuthbert’s machiavellian capitalism may only be a small part of.
 Right from the off you get the feeling that you are listening to something rather epic, the tone whilst still very much of Season 17 is more City of Death than Horns of Nimon and you really do get the feeling of an age old plan coming to fruition and that the Doctor and Romana are completely out of their depth only seeing part of the bigger picture.
 David Warner never ceases to amaze in any parts he plays for Big Finish – he is another of those actors who bring out the best in Tom Baker – their verbal sparring just sparkles and Lalla Ward is at her haughty best when confronting Mr Dorrick (Toby Hadoke) again and explaining that she is the same Romana he has encountered before.
 Nick Briggs has crafted an excellent opening story for the finale, it really does feel like “all bets are off” for the final story because the stakes keep getting higher and higher and then there is the cliffhanger to episode two. Not saying any more apart from the fact that I was driving at the time of listening, actually heading in to Conwy, waiting in a queue of traffic and I got a very odd look from a Dog walker as I was sitting there shouting “NOOOO”. Its one of those sort of cliffhanger.
 So, Parrots, train robberies, economic chicanery and a threat level ramped up to 11 – can’t be bad for an opening gambit and a well deserved 9/10.