In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Tartarus

His only hope of returning home lies with a man known as the Doctor. But can Cicero trust him?

Synopsis: 63BC. Following the overthrow of Catiline, Cicero and his wife retire to the coastal town of Cumae, safe from the threats of Rome.

But when a stranger and his companions arrive at Cicero’s villa, new dangers lie in wait and Cicero finds himself plunged into a realm of gods and monsters.

His only hope of returning home lies with a man known as the Doctor. But can Cicero trust him?

Review: Like Samuel Barnett and Tracy-Ann Oberman, I’ve been waiting for a Doctor Who/Cicero crossover. Doctor Who: Tartarus didn’t disappoint.

Writer David Llewellyn balanced The Doctor and Cicero perfectly, which is remarkable considering the otherworldly plot should’ve tipped the scales in The Doctor’s favor. Indeed, the need for the two of them to find that balance, while they each faced up to huge mistakes was central to the story.

Along the way, the Big Finish team treated listeners to ancient Roman history, and Oberman beautifully unfurled her history geek flag during the Extra Interviews. As someone who first saw I, Claudius at the age of nine, I loved encountering a kindred spirit. I also loved that Llewellyn coupled that history lesson with unapologetic Ray Harryhausen homages.

However, Llewellyn’s best decision wasn’t finding equilibrium between the two leads or between the competing genres. It was finding room for all the characters to shine. Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding had room for Nyssa and Tegan to breathe. They also had room for George Watkins as Marc, who proved himself admirably.

As ever, Peter Davison and Samuel Barnett were marvelous and obviously having a blast. I hope we get another crossover, as soon as is internally logical. I’m also psyched for the next Cicero box set.

Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka)

Samuel Barnett (Cicero), Tracy-Ann Oberman (Tartarus), Laura Riseborough (Terentia)

Joe Shire (Septus), George Watkins (Marc)

Production Credits

Cover Artist Simon Holub

Director Scott Handcock

Executive Producer Jason Haigh-Ellery, Nicholas Briggs

Music Robert Harvey

Producer Scott Handcock

Script Editor Guy Adams

Sound Design Robert Harvey

Written by David Llewellyn

Senior Producer David Richardson

9.7
Big Finish: Doctor Who: Tartarus
  • Story
    9.0
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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