‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’ (TCY) (Audio)

 

‘THE CHARTWELL METAMORPHOSIS’ (TCY)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

At Chartwell with Winston Churchill, Lily and the Eleventh Doctor

This is the first time I’ve come across a ‘Doctor Who’-related story by Ken Bentley. Usually, Ken Bentley directs the ‘Doctor Who’ stories that he does. Here, he’s given a chance to write an episode.

I enjoyed ‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’ when I heard it in ‘The Churchill Years’ Volume 1 box set. It was fun to hear Ken Bentley’s take on writing a story, though I personally prefer him as a director.

Maybe because I was hoping for more Eleventh Doctor in this one like with ‘Living History’, but I didn’t find ‘Chartwell Metamorphosis’ inspiring. Though Ken clearly liked the period side of this tale!

The story takes places in the 1960s where Churchill has comfortably retired to his home at Chartwell. I am disappointed that Blenheim Palace hasn’t been mentioned in these episodes as I’ve been there.

Maybe Blenheim Palace gets mentioned in one of the stories for the Volume 2 box set. Anyway, Churchill plans to live out his days in peace, in the company of his butterflies…and to be left alone. 😐

Churchill gets attended to by his new nurse, Holly Earl as Lily Arwell from ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’. It was pretty fascinating to hear an older Lily Arwell in this certain episode here.

Very soon, the butterflies that breed in Churchill’s garden are more sinister than they seem. They are about to emerge from their cocoons. Can Churchill with Lily and the Doctor’s help stop this menace?

Once again, Ian McNeice delivers his full-on energy into his performance as Churchill in this adventure. It was interesting to hear a story about Churchill in his dotage before he’s on his way out.

Churchill does go a bit mad in this episode and in front of Lily when they’re in the midst of such extraordinary Lepidoptera. I’m not really sure what brought that on whilst I was listening to this tale.

He soon confronts the alien-like butterflies in the form of their queen, Mrs. Whitaker, and comes out of his reverie, defying them. He meets the Doctor one more time when he comes in to save the day.

Again, I was disappointed there wasn’t enough Eleventh Doctor in this episode. I know these are ‘The Churchill Years’, but compared to the Ninth and the Tenth, the Eleventh Doctor’s been fleeting.

Holly Earl returns as Lily Arwell in this audio episode. It was nice the connection was made between her and the Eleventh Doctor when she was seeking for his help whilst attending after dear Churchill.

I don’t think Lily and the Eleventh Doctor spend enough time reuniting in the episode. Though again, that’s mostly due to the Eleventh Doctor showing up in the episode’s final act! Very disappointing! 😦

It was tense when Lily was being pursued by Danvers who has turned against Churchill in this episode. I found Lily’s interaction with Churchill fascinating and she must have been in awe of him. 🙂

Carolyn Seymour guest stars in this episode as Mrs. Whittaker, who is Winston Churchill’s housekeeper in the episode. Carolyn Seymour has done many things in TV and audio over the years.

This includes guest starring in ‘Star Trek’ episodes and appearing in Big Finish audios like ‘Ghost Walk’ with the Fifth Doctor and ‘Only the Monstrous’ with War Doctor. She’s been superb in those. 🙂

I wish I got a chance to chat to her in Folkestone though. 😦 I was disappointed when Mrs. Whittaker metamorphosed into a strange butterfly creature and became the queen, when we barely knew her.

The episode also features Stewart Scudamore as Danvers, who was Churchill’s servant in ‘Hounded’, but has now become a bad guy in this. I’m not certain what Danvers’ motivations are in this episode.

There’s also John Banks, who’s been in plenty of Big Finish audios, as Mr. Rogers. He’s the gardener at Chartwell, who becomes a victim too easily at the story’s beginning but becomes an unlikely hero.

At the end of the story, Churchill asks the Doctor if he can travel in the TARDIS one last time. Lily comes along for the ride too. I wonder if there’s going to be Eleventh Doctor, Churchill and Lily tales.

Carolyn Seymour, Holly Earl, Stewart Scudamore, Ian McNeice and John Banks in ‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’.

‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’ wasn’t that inspiring a story for me. I enjoyed Ken Bentley’s take on writing it as well as directing it, but like ‘Living History’, there should’ve been more Eleventh Doctor.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES

Ian McNeice and Holly Earl in ‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’.

Disc 5 of ‘The Churchill Years’ Volume 1 CD box set features a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary focusing on the creation of the spin-off series and how its first four episodes were made. I did enjoy this behind-the-scenes documentary since it featured many insightful interviews. 🙂

The documentary begins with an introduction by producer David Richardson and script editor Matt Fitton as well as Ian McNeice who plays Winston Churchill in these audios. I’m surprised director Ken Bentley wasn’t interviewed. He directed all four episodes and wrote ‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’.

It’s then a look into each of the four episodes of the Volume 1 CD box set. First we look into ‘The Oncoming Storm’, featuring interviews with writer/actor Phil Mulryne, Emily Atack, Michael Gould and Derek Riddell. It was nice to hear Emily Atack share her memories of the ‘Dad’s Army’ 2016 film.

There’s then a look into the episode ‘Hounded’, featuring interviews with writer Alan Barnes, Jo Stone-Fewings, Amerijit Deu and Stewart Scudamore. I was surprised to learn that Jo Stone-Fewings had been in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV show, being Davitch Pavale in ‘Bad Wolf’/’The Parting of the Ways’.

After that, there’s a look into the episode ‘Living History’, featuring interviews with Danny Horn, Alistair Petrie and Laura Rogers. A shame writer Justin Richards and Dalek voice artist Nicholas Briggs weren’t interviewed. Laura Rogers was also in the ‘A Christmas Carol’ TV episode with Danny Horn. 🙂

Eventually, the documentary concludes with a look into the episode ‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’, featuring interviews with Holly Earl, Carolyn Seymour and John Banks. The documentary concludes with some thoughts on the future of ‘The Churchill Years’ tales, including a titbit from Ian McNeice. 🙂

‘The Churchill Years’ have been an enjoyable set of audios, starring Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill. I wish these stories were full-cast dramas, featuring Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith as the Doctors. I also wish there was more of the Eleventh Doctor in the audio tales.

But I have found these stories of Churchill meeting up with the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors very intriguing and the performances of Ian McNeice, Danny Horn, Holly Earl, Emily Atack and many more have been great. I wonder if I should pen a Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy ‘Churchill’ adventure.

‘The Chartwell Metamorphosis’ (TCY) rating – 6/10

‘The Churchill Years’ – Volume 1 CD box set rating – 8/10


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