On a brisk winter’s morning in 1850s Yorkshire, Cuthbert, head of the intergalactic business known as ‘The Conglomerate’ prepares to hijack a very special train. In the far future, his assistant, Mr Dorrick is awoken by howling alarms. There is a problem with the Quantum Gateway. In the TARDIS, the Doctor, Romana and K9 detect strange distortions in the Vortex, an energy stream coming from a strange creature called a Laan. The threads of a plan centuries in the making are coming together. But who is behind this plan? And can anyone possibly escape when history is against them?
Here we are greeted with the welcome return of the Big Finish original villainous duo of ultimate bad guy boss Cuthbert and evil lackey Mr Dorrick played respectively by the wonderful David Warner and Toby Hadoke. We haven’t heard from these two since back in 2013 when they teamed up with the Daleks and faced up to the TARDIS team of the Fourth Doctor and Romana I.
It’s a true testament to the now 18 years of tenure for Big Finish that they have created enough new material, characters and races that they can revisit their own creations; this acts to lend the audio giant an even greater feeling of legitimacy than it already possesses.
Writer and director Nicholas Briggs continues to deliver with these wonderful characters of his own creation, we also get the return of the race of time sensitive space whales, the Laan and the introduction of two new races: the Oortag and the Ecidien Cerebus Bird. The story feels like a mash-up of Nick Briggs own style and the Douglas-Adams-form viewers loved back in 1979.
It’s a unique possibility that this story line is able to continue; only with Doctor Who. The story originally began with Tom Baker’s Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana I; with her passing one may think this particular plot could go no further, but with this current series with Lalla Ward returning as Romana II we can finally learn of the conclusion or least continuation of this narrative. With this in mind it’s a tall order to establish the first part of a two-parter whilst simultaneously reincorporating the plot threads of a story from 4 years ago. The Pursuit of History acts to remind, reestablish and sets up an exciting climax.
The cast assembled are second to none, the chemistry between Tom Baker and Lalla Ward is really regaining strength after a season of working together. David Warner’s performance is, as always, a triumph. David Troughton (son of Patrick Troughton) is fantastic and one has to recognise Jez Fielder for playing six different characters with true skill and variation.
The story continues in Casualties of Time and personally I can’t wait…
BLOGTOR WHO RATING 9/10
Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr Dorrick), David Troughton (Mr Edge), John Dorney (David Goddard/Oceanic Airforce Commander), Lisa Bowerman (Conglom-Net Computer/Oceanic Airforce Pilot) Jez Fielder (Neville Sanders/Drudger/Ecidien Cerebus Bird/Albert Chatterton/Salonu Prime), Jane Slavin (The Laan/Salonu). Other parts played by members of the cast.