The TARDIS brings The Fifth Doctor, Steven and Vicki to the Italian city of Ravenna in the year 540 – besieged by Byzantine army. Caught up in the fighting, Steven ends up on a boat bound for Constantinople, the heart of the Roman Empire. Rescuing Steven, however, is the least of the Time Lord’s problems – because he shouldn’t be mixed up in this particular adventure at all. Someone has sabotaged his own personal timeline, putting him in the place of his First incarnation…, but who, and why? The truth is about to be revealed.
The Secret History marks the third and final part of a special trilogy to mark the release of the 200th story in Big Finish’s monthly Doctor Who audio series where Doctors 5 thru 7 are matched up with companions from Doctors 1 thru 3. It’s another fantastic idea from Big Finish; previously old companions have caught up with later Doctors, but later Doctors falling into adventures from their previous incarnations is an entirely original idea.
Previously, in The Defectors and Last of The Cybermen, it has remained a mystery as to why the wrong Doctor is present in his previous selves’ adventures. Was he brought here by a friend or foe? In this instalment we finally learn and the truth and it was worth the wait. I don’t want to spoil this reveal for listeners, but someone from The Doctor’s past is involved and his actions are not exactly magnanimous; there are also some stone creatures that resemble statues…
Writer Eddie Robson has hit a home run here, he plays with he listeners expectations beautifully and the story stands alone even without the “wrong Doctor” twist. Robson has gone from strength to strength with his recent writing projects earning the right to write Big Finish’s 200th story.
It’s wonderful to have a part historical story which feels in-keeping with both Hartnell and Davison era Doctors, and the climax of The Doctor’s displacement in time in the third cliffhanger is truly daunting and manages to give the listener that all too infrequent feeling of true imminent peril for the titular Time Lord.
And what a real treat is to hear Peter Davison working with Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves as Steven and Vicki, who both so beautifully recreate their roles; and the surprise turn by [NAME REDACTED – Ed.] is a real joy.
The Secret History brings this trilogy to a very satisfying end. It’s well worth a listen and only leaves one with the question what will Big Finish do next?
BLOGTOR RATING 9/10
Thanks to Big Finish