blogger_who (blogger_who) wrote,

Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles 4.02 - The Glorious Revolution

Rewritten from material that I originally posted 8/9/13 on another forum.

Blurb: After years as a companion to the Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon was returned to his own world and his own time, and his memories of his travels were erased. Until now.

A visitor from beyond the stars needs to explore Jamie’s past, and discover what went wrong. What happened in the year 1688, when the TARDIS landed in London, and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe were welcomed into the court of King James II.

It was the year of the Glorious Revolution. And the birth of a whole new history…

Format: Limited-cast audio drama, a Companion Chronicle from the point-of-view of Jamie McCrimmon. Published by Big Finish Productions and released August of 2009.

Setting: Earth: London, England, December 10 - December 11, 1688. Jamie narrates this story from somewhere in Scotland in 1786.

Continuity: This story takes place between The Seeds of Death and the Space Pirates. Jamie and Zoe think that the Doctor hasn't taken them anywhere because it's "still raining" meaning that his story happens immediately after Seeds of Death and before any other stories set in this gap. Jamie's visitor refers to the Cybermen and Jamie's trip to the moon (see The Moonbase, Tomb of the Cybermen, The Wheel in Space, and Invasion). He also refers to his encounters with the Daleks (see Evil of the Daleks and Fear of the Daleks), the macra (see The Macra Terror), and the Krotons (see The Krotons). When Jamie's memories are restored he remembers the Ice Warriors (see The Ice Warriors and The Seeds of Death), Quarks (see The Dominators), and the war games (see The War Games). While arguing with the Doctor about the morality of changing history, Jamie brings up Professor Zaroff, Ramon Salamander, and Tobias Vaughn (see The Underwater Menace, The Enemy of the World, and Invasion respectively). Jamie eventually married Kirsty McLaren (see The Highlanders). Jamie's memories are missing because the Time Lords erased everything except his first adventure with the Doctor (see The War Games).

Canonicity Quotient: The Doctor states that he has never taken Jamie into his own past, but the audio Emperor of Eternity has Jamie in the third century BC. 0.99

Discussion: The next-to-last Troughton story that I listened to was the Glorious Revolution. The praise for this story on the internet was high so I was in high anticipation for my chance to settle down and listen to this story that many had praised as the greatest Jamie story.

I was not disappointed. The Glorious Revolution is Jamie's Aztecs. I feel that the Aztecs is one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time. The question of the morality in changing time is so rarely used in classic Who and while it has become more in vogue since the series ended it is really nice to have that theme explored, especially by Jamie. Jamie so often defers to the Doctor and this story gives him a chance to really show Jamie's passion and give him an issue where he may have more specific knowledge than the Doctor did. Showing always that there are two sides to any conflict, Jamie tells the Doctor that just because this time in history was good for the English, doesn't mean that it was for the Irish and Scottish. While Jamie eventually realizes that changing history can in itself have unforseen consequences it's nice for him to be able to break away and show the moral ambiguity of this time. I also like that at the end the Doctor makes sure that Jamie is the one that sets things back on course, taking the paternalistic role with Jamie and having Jamie learn from his mistakes and have Jamie temper his passion by channeling it into a path that will save history and comfort the king.

The sound on this one is excellent. Andrew Fettes does a great job of sounding like two distinct charcters - the CIA agent and King James. As the King he's loud and arrogant and the CIA agent is suitably slimey and deliberate. Hines as always does an excellent job of playing the entire TARDIS cast with his Troughton being a standout performance. Yet I'm also happy that he can recreate young Jamie so easily. It seems effortless. Also, even though I don't normally notice the music and feel that the music is doing its job if I don't notice it, the music in this one was fantastic. I really loved the distorted Doctor Who theme being used to show that time was out of kilter. It just seemed right.

There's also a fair bit of comedy in this story. Hines' reading lends itself to a comedic take with him pausing before delivering the punchline. I also like the reference to it "still raining" placing this story immediately after Seeds of Death. It harkens back to the Season 5 joke where Victoria and Jamie kept accusing the Doctor of taking them up or down the same mountain. There's also the humor of the Doctor and Jamie going in drag although here it makes sense as if carrying the King was heavy for them it would have probably been impossible for Zoe. I also really like the joke that Jamie is always being mistaken for his cousin Hamish, referencing his substitute that appeared in the Mind Robber.

I do have a few small nits. Mainly I strongly dislike the ending. I feel like it was forced and I don't even see the need for this kind of framing sequence. We know at some point the Doctor picked Jamie up again so at the very least he should remember travelling with the old 2nd Doctor. I had always assumed that as part of that his memories were returned to him. Then when this story provided an "out" I'm confused why BF had Jamie make the choice that he did. He's an older man now and wouldn't go gallivanting off across the universe even if he could so it seems that returning his memories would be "safe".

I also agree with others that this story really deserved at least 3 episodes. The resolution in episode 2 happens to quickly. I would have liked to have seen the problem develop more and its this development that drops the story from a 10 to a 9 for me.

On the minor nit side, it was a mistake for them to say that the Doctor has never taken Jamie into his own past. Even when this was made there were novels like The Roundheads that contradicted that but even BF must have realized that they might want to do another Jamie historical at some point and indeed The Emperor of Eternity is set with Victoria and happens before this story. The Doctor's point stands but he should have worded it differently.

Final Rating: 9/10

Recommendation: Fantastic! It's a story that handles the same themes as The Aztecs with the same quality of acting and story but doing it completely differently as the different cast and setting lend itself to a different exploration of these themes. Jamie has rarely been better than this and combined with The Jigsaw War it really creates a reevaluation of his character and how his time with the Doctor expanded his horizons. The scenes where the Doctor and Jamie argue are brilliant and its great that for once Jamie knows more about a situation than the Doctor does. This one is definitely recommended.
Tags: audio drama, aztecs, companion chronicles, doctor who, dominators, emperor of eternity, enemy of the world, evil of the daleks, fear of the daleks, fraser hines, glorious revolution, highlanders, ice warriors, invasion, jamie mccrimmon, jonathan morris, krotons, macra terror, moonbase, season 6, second doctor, seeds of death, space pirates, tomb of the cybermen, underwater menace, war games, wheel in space

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