The Doctor, Romana and K9 arrive in the middle of a war zone. Nothing too unusual there, nor the fact that it’s a civil war. But it’s the nature of the conflict that is rather different – a planet at war with its own past…
Although normally I’ve reviewed this range as single discs, whether they form part of an ongoing story or not, this particular tale really needs to be looked at as a whole (as much as anything else because a certain element of The Paradox Planet niggled, and would have dominated a review of that release on its own!). Johnny Morris is extremely good at this sort of paradoxical and Ouroborousian (if that’s a word) tale, and he’s penned a story that involves a great deal of back and forward motion – from the 14th age to the 24th age – for the Doctor and his companions, with the climax to the second episode dependent on things that have to be set up in the fourth. It also makes some valid points about our own civilisation.
Ken Bentley’s pulled together a really great cast for this, among them Tom Chadbon a long way from his recent BF work as Del Grant, and Simon Rouse returning to Doctor Who with a character who, as Morris points out in the extras, is doing the wrong things with the best of motives. Jamie Robertson has also done excellent work on the sound design and music with it often clear just from the ambient sound which time zone we’re in.
That niggling aspect? The end of episode 1/start of part 2, which pulls a trick that the TV series did from time to time (and was no less annoying then). Admittedly, without using a flashback, I can’t see any way that the information that needed to be imparted for episode 2 could have been got to the audience, but I still felt slightly cheated.
Verdict: Reservations aside, another enjoyable tale for the Series 17 crew. 8/10