Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Prisoner of the Sun

I like Prisoner of the Sun, which was released in January 2011 and is written by Eddie Robson. [Don't say I never give you facts in this blog. All the rest will probably be opinion.]

This story picks up after the Doctor has been imprisoned for six years by The Consensus (which I almost feel should be written in big capital letters: THE CONSENSUS). Wisely they've used the Doctor's morality against him by putting him charge of stopping a dodgy sun taking out two nearby planets and killing two billion people. The Doctor's trying to keep things together long enough to find a permanent solution.

He's been given an android companion over the six years, which we learn in a rather nicely written scene that info-dumps the entire previous six years of the Doctor's life without sounding too much like an info-dump. He's on his fourth. The third just tried to kill him. For reasons of his own he's given the androids Lucie Miller's voice, which gives Sheridan Smith fun as she gets to play Android Chloe and Android Daphne.

He's guarded by three Mercurials, a race of people made of a substance not unlike mercury that farm themselves out to worlds to do unpleasant work that other races cannot do. They're not in it for anything but the money, which makes a nice refreshing change. Their played by Richenda Carey (Gliss), Pandora Collins (Fash) and Beth Chalmers (Shill). Indeed it is a surprisingly female cast for a Doctor Who story. With the exception of the Doctor there's only one other and that's Anthony Costa's Hagan.

Hagan is one of a pair of rebels sent to release the Doctor. Or something. The other one is Jelena, played by Jeany Spark. The Doctor is a legend amongst the rebels and they want to make sure he stays that way.

Stuff then happens.

Interesting stuff. There are deaths. All of which are actually genuinely quite shocking and cold. The first in particular, which comes out of the blue, is real surprise. There's a game of who do you believe, who's betrayed who and what is the truth plus The Doctor gets to be refreshingly immodest about his ability to escape prisons should he so desire, which he may or may not get a chance to prove depending on whether he isn't killed or not.

It's another nice performance from McGann who has become an expert at getting the Doctor's self-confidence across without sounding tediously arrogant. This is man you believe can bring down a galaxy wide organisation like the Consensus. Either directly or as an external consultant. If Sherlock was the world's first consulting detective then the Doctor appears to have become the Universe's first consulting revolutionary. Or at least this version has.

This story ends of a cliffhanger leading into the next story, Lucie Miller, so I'd best get on a give that a listen. Well, not immediately. I do have what passes for a life outside Doctor Who.

Well, sort of.

1 comment:

  1. Again, I loved this. To answer my own question on Facebook, this was a story that I thought pushed the envelope, for all the reasons you mentioned. I know certain people hate "Orbis," but I did kind of like the fact it was bold enough to posit that the Doctor had been on a planet for hundreds of years before Lucie stepped back in. With this, too, there is an ambitious sense of scale that I like.