‘KINGDOM OF LIES’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Kingdom of Cardeneas on the planet Cicero Prime
Oh my! The Doctor becomes the Scorpion and Nyssa becomes the Destroyer! Terrifying! 😀
May 2018 was a pretty exciting time for me. Not only did I see ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ at the cinema and get the Target novelizations on four new series ‘Doctor Who’ stories, but I also got to hear three ‘Doctor Who’ audios for my birthday. This was the 2018 Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric trilogy.
I was about to go to the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ that May too. It was good timing that I had the 2018 Big Finish audio trilogy of Fifth Doctor stories set during Season 19 of the classic series to listen to before I saw Sarah Sutton; Peter Davison and Janet Fielding at the very special comic con.
I enjoyed listening to the three audio adventures for birthday in that week leading up to the Folkestone comic con. My birthday was on a Tuesday, so I listened to ‘Kingdom of Lies’ on that day. Then I heard ‘Ghost Walk’ on the Wednesday; then I heard ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’ on Thursday.
I was lucky to get the 2018 Fifth Doctor audio trilogy from Big Finish on my birthday in that May. In fact, I was lucky to have three birthdays in a row in three years to see Sarah Sutton at a convention. I enjoyed the latest audio adventures with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric, who are amazing!
The stories star Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse as their characters. The three stories have each been entertaining in unique style. I wanted to hear these stories for my birthday so that I can tell Peter, Sarah and Janet at Folkestone what I thought of them.
I might not have been able to say everything to Peter; Sarah and Janet about what I thought of the audios, especially on my initial listens of them, but I definitely told them I heard them and enjoyed listening to them. I especially wanted to share with Sarah on how much I enjoyed these audio tales.
The three stories of the 2018 Fifth Doctor trilogy are all directed by Barnaby Edwards, who has also directed many Fifth Doctor audios in the past. ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ (‘Castle of Fear’; ‘The Eternal Summer’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’) and ‘The Emerald Tiger’ still remain favourites of mine.
‘Kingdom of Lies’, the first of the 2018 Fifth Doctor trilogy, is a four-part adventure by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky. This is the first time these two writers contribute for the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team from Season 19 of classic ‘Doctor Who’. I found their approach in writing for this TARDIS team good.
In the story, the TARDIS ends up on the planet Cicero Prime where our four heroes walk out and step into the kingdom of Cardenas. But there is division among the people of Cardenas as people follow either the Duke or the Duchess who are at loggerheads with each other for their positions of power.
When the Doctor and Nyssa get mistaken for assassins on the Duke’s side and when Tegan and Adric get mistaken for assassins on the Duchess’ side, things get problematic. Soon a conspiracy occurs and the Doctor and his friends have to find out what’s going on and to restore peace to the kingdom.
I feel that ‘Kingdom of Lies’ is my favourite out of the three stories in this trilogy featuring the Fifth Doctor and friends. There’s a lot going on; it’s a fast-paced and exciting adventure and I liked it when the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa worked for the Duke and Tegan and Adric worked for the Duchess in the tale.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this adventure. I found there was a combination of wit and style to this adventure with a mixture of political intrigue and family squabbling among the supporting characters which the Fifth Doctor TARDIS heroes witness and have to sort out eventually.
I had the CD covers of ‘Kingdom of Lies’, ‘Ghost Walk’ and ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’ signed by Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding at the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in May 2018. Janet wished me a “Happy Birthday” on all three of the CD covers. That was very sweet of her.
Sarah also wished me a “Happy Birthday” too as she signed a photograph of Nyssa, Tegan and the Fifth Doctor in ‘Snakedance’ for me as a birthday gift. I shared with Sarah how much I enjoyed these latest audios she’d done. She asked me which one was my favourite and I told her ‘Kingdom of Lies’.
I told Sarah how much I enjoyed her performance as Nyssa the Destroyer. I admitted I did laugh when she did her over-the-top performance as Nyssa the Destroyer and Sarah found that amusing. I was enjoying Sarah as Nyssa very much in the story and told her while I chatted to her in Folkestone.
It’s Nyssa who tries to make out that she and the Doctor are the assassins the Duke is looking for, completely outfoxing the Doctor. It was so enjoyable to hear Sarah play Nyssa as someone who wasn’t good at playacting in an assassin’s role and it was fun to hear her interaction with the Doctor.
Peter Davison is brilliant as the Doctor in this story. He takes on the role of the Scorpion assassin role rather reluctantly and didn’t expect Nyssa to play along to the pretence when the Duke assumed they were assassins. As the story progresses, the Doctor learns more on what’s going on in the story.
I mentioned to Peter how much I enjoyed ‘Kingdom of Lies’ as a story and clearly Peter’s getting into the Doctor being uncomfortable with playing the assassin role whilst trying to solve the mystery. His scenes with the actual Scorpion as well as with the supporting characters in Cardenas were so mesmerising.
There’s the scene where the Doctor uses his gun to shoot on the Scorpion before she shoots Nyssa in cold blood. That was quite a shock to listen to and yet it’s a pretty defining moment for Peter’s Doctor. You think the Doctor shot someone to kill, but it turns out he didn’t and it was pretty clever.
Janet Fielding is very good as Tegan in this adventure. Admittedly, she doesn’t have a strong role compared to previous stories she’s been in and it’s the Doctor and Nyssa who stand out for me. But she still has a voice in this and I enjoyed how she reacts to everything that goes on within Cardenas.
Tegan shares a lot of scenes with Adric and is often quite argumentative with him. I enjoyed how they sparked off each other when they try to work as assassins for the Duchess in this story. I also enjoyed it when Tegan gets to defy the real Scorpion in order to save her friends and foils her plans.
Matthew Waterhouse is equally good as Adric in this story. Like with Tegan, Adric doesn’t have a strong outing compared to how I see the Doctor and Nyssa portrayed. But it was fun to hear Adric often being bossy with Tegan when they were trying to work out ways on serving the Duchess here.
I’ve forgotten Matthew has done quite a number of audio adventures in ‘Doctor Who’ with Big Finish lately as he sounds so comfortable playing the role of Adric after so long since the TV series. Adric also sounds confident, especially when he assists in distracting the Scorpion as part of the Doctor’s plan.
The guest cast for ‘Kingdom of Lies’ is pretty good. Jonathan Firth guest stars as Sebastian, the Duke of Cardenas. I’ve seen Jonathan Firth before as he was in a BBC TV production of ‘Middlemarch’ from 1994 and was in ‘Victoria & Albert’ in 2001. He also happens to be the younger brother of Colin Firth.
It was pretty surreal to hear Jonathan Firth in this audio adventure of ‘Doctor Who’ after having seen him in TV period dramas. He’s also done a number of other Big Finish audios in ‘Doctor Who’ too. He’s very good as Sebastian, who is a pretty egotistical; self-important Duke of Cardenas in the story.
There’s also Charlotte Lucas as the Duchess Miranda, Sebastian’s wife. Miranda is no better than the Duke of Cardenas, as she too is pretty egoistical and self-important. She considers herself better than the Duke, and the two are at loggerheads which is why this division happened in the first place.
I like how the Doctor and Nyssa interact with the Duke and how Tegan and Adric interact with the Duchess separately before coming together as our heroes try to make the pair resolve their differences. Most of the stuff between Sebastian and Miranda is for comedic effect as well as drama.
Harriet Thorpe guest stars as Amelia, the Duke’s advisor in the story. I was delighted to find Harriet Thorpe in this audio drama. I’ve seen Harriet before as Carole in the BBC sitcom series ‘The Brittas Empire’. I also saw Harriet once on stage when she starred in a London production of ‘Mamma Mia’.
One of the characters’ actors in this audio drama is an anagram of someone else. And it happens to be…Harriet Thorpe, as her anagram ‘Piotr Hatherer’ (clever) is playing the Duchess’ advisor, Tomek, who is male. That means Harriet plays two characters in this. I was thrilled when I found out about it.
There’s also Patsy Kensit as the mercenary Scorpion in the adventure. Patsy’s character doesn’t appear for a while as she turns up by the end of ‘Part Three’ before making her impressive appearance in ‘Part Four’. I liked Patsy’s performance as the villain Scorpion as she clearly relishes it.
The Scorpion is determined to see that the Duchess is assassinated under Sebastian’s contract when he initially hired her. It also turns out the Scorpion is a cyborg as you can hear the mechanics whirring noisily in the background. I like the balance of humour and menace in Patsy’s performance.
The story also features Tim Bentinck as Lord Crozion, Miranda’s father. I was delighted to hear Tim Bentinck in this and I’ve met him in real-life at the ‘MCM Birmingham Comic Con’ in November 2017. Tim has been in a number of Fifth Doctor stories such as ‘The Contingency Club’ and ‘Moonflesh’.
There’s also Richenda Carey as Lady Crozion, Miranda’s mother and Lord Crozion’s wife. I’ve seen Richenda Carey in ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ and ‘Monarch of the Glen’ as well as heard her in ‘Plague of the Daleks’. I enjoyed her as Lady Crozion and she’s so good in scenes with Tim Bentinck’s character.
‘Kingdom of Lies’ is definitely a very good audio drama featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. I enjoyed hearing this on my birthday in May 2018 before going to see ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ at the cinema. The performances of Peter, Sarah, Janet and Matthew are pretty superb throughout.
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric called ‘Ghost Walk’. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, writers Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky, Jonathan Firth, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Kingdom of Lies’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Kingdom of Lies’.
‘Kingdom of Lies’ rating – 9/10
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