|The Widow's Assassin
2014 concludes with a trilogy of stories for the Sixth
Doctor and Peri, that promised the return of two old foes – one of which is making their debut at Big Finish…
"The Widow's Assassin", by Nev Fountain, is the first of this trilogy of stories starring Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant in which The Doctor and Peri are reunited after some years apart.
This story has been directed by Ken Bentley and also stars: Tim Chipping, John Banks, Andrew Dickens, Fiona Sheehan and Glynn Sweet.
Following the cliffhanger on which his travels with Flip ended earlier this year, the Sixth Doctor is reuniting with an old friend. 'We don't know what's happened to Flip, but The Doctor does come across as someone who's bereft, and a bit lonely', writer Nev Fountain has explained. 'He feels like he's trying to assuage his guilt over something that's happened, by visiting another companion he should feel rather guilty about. So I think it's probably a bit of compensation'.
The companion in question is Peri Brown, who left The Doctor and became queen to Brian Blessed's King Yrcanos. 'Peri's ending really bothered me, so I wanted to reconcile that before I went any further. I wanted to know why Peri had walked off with this guy she barely knew, without saying goodbye to The Doctor'. But wasn't Peri abandoned by The Doctor when he was taken out of time? She didn't actually choose to leave him, did she?
'There is nothing to stop The Doctor returning, apart from what he was told, which he believes to be true - and I hope he checked! - that Peri had already decided to become King Ycarnos' Queen. Therefore, she did not wait for him to return, and time, and her fate, has now been written'.
"The Widows Assassin"takes both The Doctor and Peri in surprising directions. 'Well, I always like to stretch the actors', Nev Fountain has explained 'The Doctor and Peri assume lots of different roles, metaphorically and literally, in this story. Peri is very different in this story because it's five years later, and she's a queen, and The Doctor is playing something very different to what he is for a lot of the time. He's on the back foot, he's nervous, he's wary of his own companion, and he wants to investigate, but he can't'.
It also delves into The Doctor's past. 'It fed into the themes of the story - the themes of loneliness, the themes of The Doctor at his most vulnerable. He is quite vulnerable when he visits Peri, because he doesn't know what he's going to get. I do think loneliness is The Doctor's Achilles heel, and for it to manifest itself quite so graphically is very satisfying for me...'.
- Featuring the Sixth
Doctor and Peri.
- Number of Episodes: 4
- Cover Length: 120 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 31'55", 2 = 33'32", 3 = 33'25", 4 = 41'04"
- Total Length: 139'56"
- Also features 13 minutes of trailers, music
and special behind-the-scenes interviews with
cast and producers.
- Cover Illustration: Anthony Lamb
- Recorded: TBA
- Recording Location: Moat Studios
- Released: October 2014
- ISBN: 978-1-78178333-7
On the Back Cover:
Once, long ago, in a land of monsters and corridors, a fair maiden was captured, and placed in a deep sleep. She was used to being captured, and she had a hero who rescued her on just such occasions. But this time the hero never came. And the fair maiden slept on.
Eventually, a King rescued the maiden, and made her his bride, which many wise old women might tell you is just another way of capturing fair maidens.
And still the fair maiden slept on.
Then, the hero had another stab at rescuing the maiden from her prison, but he was too late. And, more importantly, he had forgotten the rules of fairy tales.
He didn’t slay the dragon.
|On the Inside Cover:
From archetypes to aliens, one reason Doctor Who has endured must be because of the seemingly infinite number of characters that can be invented and explored. It's certainly one of the things that makes it a joy to work on time and time again.
Nev Fountain can always be relied upon to bring something entertaining to the table, but for me it's seeing actors bring these characters to life that gives the most satisfaction. I've said it before and I'll say it again, actors are amazing. Seeing Tim, John, Andrew and Glynn work so well, not just individually in giving each role a unique voice, but together, bouncing their choices off each other to create a living and breathing storytelling world, was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had working at Big Finish. It's easy for a writer to invent a talking sponge, but it takes great skill to bring that character to life in a truthful and endearing way so the audience embrace the world that's being created.
The Widow's Assassin is probably the most characterful story I'll ever work on. But then this is Doctor Who, so you never know.
To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come...
Hamlet, you had it so right. Dying seems so easy on the face of it. But what if death wasn't the end? What if there were terrible dreams waiting for us?
Take poor Peri. Left happily dead at the end of Mindwarp, then interrupted from her sepulchral rest and plagued with dreams; dreams of being married to a shouty War-King with a scratchy beard and an interesting taste in hats. Not the kind of thing you expect to find in the afterlife.
When I put in a timey-wimey handwave to reconcile all of her futures in Peri and the Piscon Paradox, I knew that really didn't explain anything. It doesn't explain people. Take the Peri who left with Ycarnos. It doesn't really explain why, um... she left with Ycarnos.
Everyone thinks the question is 'Why did the Doctor Leave Peri behind?' That makes perfect sense to me. As far as the Doctor was concerned, history had happened. The Web of Time ™ had turned her into a warrior queen, and there was no nipping back to Thoros Beta and dashing back with Peri into the TARDIS, while Ycarnos shouts, pulls furiously on his scratchy beard and stamps on his interesting hat.
No, what bothered me was why Peri had left the Doctor. Why didn't she wait for him to return, if only to say goodbye? Why run off with a man she barely knew? And don't give me that guff about being tortured and betrayed and let down by the Doctor; in Peri's time in the TARDIS, that just means it's Wednesday.
I hope this little play is some kind of an explanation, an insight into just what was in Peri's mind that took her off to Krontep. Because that seemed SO not Peri's taste in life; the girl who wanted to take off with some British guys and go to Morocco on the way back to college (granted there are a lot of beards and shouting and interesting hats in Morocco, but you kind of got the sense she wasn't planning to settle down with King Hassan II and fight Algerians).
I hope this is a springboard to allow the Sixth Doctor and Peri to have more adventures, because I love their schtick. The adventures of this intelligent, feisty brave-to-the-stupid Earth girl and this brilliant, petulant fallible Time Lord, and their increasingly complicated relationship, is just irresistible to me, and I hope to revisit their timey-wimey argy-bargy again sometime soon.
| Full Cast List:
|Baron Pteratrark/Guard Two
|Reverand Flitamus/Guard One
|Harcross The Ever-Patient/Pheen-Tu/Flunkey
The Production Team:
|Steve Foxon and Howard Carter
|Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery