After a five year absence the Sixth Doctor is reunited with his longtime companion Peri on audio for Big Finish. In Doctor Who: Memories of a Tyrant the two travellers visit a space station which can recapture memories. But can memories reveal our true identity?
With the exception of a few Short Trips, Nicola Bryant has been away from Big Finish for a little while. Memories of a Tyrant sees Bryant reunited with Colin Baker on audio for the first time since December 2014’s The Rani Elite. That may be nearly five years ago now but the two actors fall straight back into their respective characters effortlessly. Their chemistry is sharp as always, despite the time apart. It’s like Season 22 all over again.
In a classic Who setup for the era, the duo visit the Memory Farm. A futuristic facility where memories can be recovered, which allows for the exploration of the theme of identity. As the bodies begin to pile up, the quest for a specific individual’s identity becomes a race against time. With twists and turns along the way, Memories of a Tyrant provides a riveting listen.
Memories and Identity
The central theme of the piece is memory. As human beings our memories are precious. Many argue that much of our identity is based on our life experiences and therefore our memory. So what if our memories can reveal our identity even when we have forgotten who we are? Whilst there is no doubt that the villain they seek deserves punishment for crimes committed, the question is if the individual before them is that same person. Uncovering his memories could reveal his true identity. But what if those memories are false?
The identity of the Doctor is always open for reinterpretation following a regeneration. However, what if this reinterpretation occurred during a well established incarnation? The script allows Colin Baker to explore a variation of his Sixth Doctor, seeing him admirably stretching his considerable acting chops. Memories of a Tyrant sees Big Finish go all ‘Inception‘, the highly regarded Christopher Nolan film. Like that movie, the concepts presented are bold. Unlike that movie, it is a little easier to get your head around. The final result is hugely impressive.
Memories of a Tyrant presents an interesting and thought-provoking story. Although possibly a tad too long, the themes presented are fascinating. Science fiction is an ideal medium for exploring bold concepts. Thematic exploration of memory, identity and the accuracy of the two, work well in the context of a futuristic environment. With a strong story and equally impressive performances from the cast this is high brow Big Finish stuff. It is also great to hear Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant back together once again, rekindling memories of 1985. A further two adventures are still to come in this main range trilogy, with Memories of a Tyrant serving as an enjoyable reintroduction to their partnership.
Next time, they battle the Daleks!
This title was released in July 2019. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until August 31st 2019, and on general sale after this date.
What if you’d committed a truly dreadful crime but couldn’t remember?
The Doctor takes Peri to the Memory Farm – a state of the art space station where hidden memories can be harvested and analysed. To their surprise, they find the station in lock-down and all its resources dedicated to probing the memories of an elderly man. Garius Moro may, or may not, have been responsible for the deaths of billions of people many years ago, but he simply can’t remember.
The assembled representatives of two opposing factions, each with their own agenda, anxiously wait for the truth to be unlocked from Moro’s mind. But when a memory does eventually surface, everyone is surprised to learn that it is of Peri…
- Colin Baker (The Doctor)
- Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown)
- Sean Connolly (Kennedy)
- Caleb Frederick (Offram)
- John Green (Otwoe)
- Diane Keen (Varish)
- Joseph Mydell (Garius Moro)
- Charlotte Strevens (Naras)
- Steven Wickham (Grisk / Venorg)