Like many Doctor Who fans, I’m finding ways to while away the hours until Peter Capaldi returns as the Twelfth Doctor. I have two related diversions during the hiatus — Big Finish Doctor Who audios and the BBC’s latest adaptation of The Musketeers in which Peter Capaldi plays Cardinal Richelieu. Fans of both the Time Lord’s travels and Capaldi’s literary foray into 17th century France have been clamoring for the Doctor to meet the Cardinal. Big Finish partially sated that desire with a tale entitled “The Church and the Crown.”
Synopsis: A nation divided. A Queen’s life at risk. A net of conspiracy closing in… Sometimes being a time travelling adventurer just isn’t easy…
For a start there’s a temperamental TARDIS that lands a few thousand years off course in 17th Century Paris. But why shouldn’t the Doctor, Peri and their travelling guest Erimem take a look around the city on the morning of King Louis’s annual State Ball???As Peri becomes embroiled in a plot to kill Queen Anne and smash the unity of the Church and the Crown, the Doctor finds himself duelling Musketeers on the streets.??With Peri missing, Erimem catching King Louis’ eye and a Musketeer’s sword at your throat, could things get any worse???Probably…
The Meeting: Big Finish substituted the Fifth Doctor for the Twelfth and Companions Peri and uncrowned female pharaoh Erimem for Clara Oswald. They did an exact doppelgänger story with Peri and Queen Anne, which allowed the lovely Nicola Bryant to showcase two accents. As in Dumas’ novel, Cardinal Richelieu carried an unrequited torch for Queen Anne. For her part, Big Finish’s Queen Anne barely tolerated the cardinal, fought with the king, and kept her former lover, the Duke of Buckingham at arms length. The Doctor and his friends couldn’t keep anyone at arms length, however, as they crossed words and swords with the king, the Musketeers, the Cardinal, and Buckingham in order to foil the latter’s invasion plot.
Michael Shallard did a splendid turn as Cardinal Richelieu. His interpretation was as nuanced and as snarky as Capaldi’s. Like Capaldi, Shallard strove to portray a three-dimensional man in a heightened narrative, and he succeeded admirably. I highly recommend this audio and hope the Doctor meets the Cardinal on television in due course.
- You can buy “The Church and the Crown” at www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-church-and-the-crown-204
Written By: Cavan Scott and Mark Wright?Directed By: Gary Russell
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown/Queen Anne); Caroline Morris (Erimem); Andrew McKay (King Louis/Blind Maurice); Michael Shallard (Cardinal Richelieu); Marcus Hutton (The Duke of Buckingham); Peter John (Delmarre); Andy Coleman (Rouffet); Robert Curbishley (Captain Morand); Wendy Albiston (Madame de Chevreuse); Mark Wright (Crow); Gary Russell (Pierre); Mark Wyman (Passerby)
Written By: Raissa Devereux