‘The Church and the Crown’ (Audio)

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‘THE CHURCH AND THE CROWN’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

17th Century Paris with the Doctor, Peri and Erimem

This is a fun, pure historical adventure with the Doctor, Peri and Erimem.

I’ve enjoyed listening to ‘The Church and the Crown’. It’s a light-hearted ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure where the Doctor, by accident, takes Peri and Erimem to Paris in 1626. There they meet King Louis and Queen Anne. It is also an intriguing tale of a conflict between the king and the church.

‘The Church and the Crown’ is the second story in the series of adventures with the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem, which previously started with ‘The Eye of the Scorpion’. Erimem is an Egyptian Pharaoh who joined the TARDIS team with a pet cat at the end of that story, much to the Doctor’s reluctance.

This four-part audio adventure is by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, who I believe make their first contribution to the Fifth Doctor era. They deliver a witty tale that’s echoes ‘The Three Musketeers’ and is also influenced with Dennis Spooner-style humour and a ‘Black Orchid’ doppelganger element.

Writers Mark Wright and Cavan Scott in ‘The Church and the Crown’.

The Doctor, Peri and Erimem arrive in Paris 1626 to enjoy themselves. But they soon get caught up in political intrigue, as the king intends to hold a ball for his queen and a cardinal is against the king’s policies during his reign. Very soon, there’ll be an English invasion about to take place on French soil.

I found this audio adventure very easy and engaging to listen to. It was a refreshing change to listen to a fun-filled adventure compared to the usual bombastic nature of Peter Davison stories in ‘Doctor Who’. It isn’t the best story by any means, but I enjoyed the addition of humour by Cavan and Mark.

Peter Davison is very good as the Doctor in this adventure. I like how he interacts with the historical characters in this. He seems reluctant to allow Erimem as his companion, which is intriguing. There’s a reverse to Peter’s Doctor in this, as he intends on changing history unlike William Hartnell’s Doctor.

Nicola Bryant gets to play two characters in this audio adventure. Not only does she play Peri in this, but she also plays Queen Anne of Austria. This gives Nicola a chance to do what Sarah Sutton did in ‘Black Orchid’. I enjoyed Nicola’s performance as she plays both Peri and Queen Anne superbly well.

Nicola Bryant and Caroline Morris in ‘The Church and the Crown’.

I like how Nicola plays Peri with being captured (when she’s mistaken for Queen Anne) and when she escapes and attracts the attention of the Musketeers, as she tries to find the Doctor. Nicola gets to use her British voice as Queen Anne and also portrays Anne’s bitterness to her husband (the king).

Like ‘Black Orchid’, it never gets explained as to why Peri and Queen Anne look so uncannily similar, which I found interesting. Maybe there’s a connection between the two stories ‘Black Orchid’ and ‘The Church and the Crown’. After all, both Queen Anne and Ann Talbot have similar names (sort of).

Caroline Morris as Erimem is really good in this adventure too. I’m getting to know Erimem through these Big Finish audio adventures and I like the friendship she forms with Peri. Her wonder at being in Paris 1626 compared to Egypt gets played upon pretty well, as well as her warrior skills in a battle.

I did like how Erimem gets to be resourceful in this audio adventure. She likes being a princess when she’s in Paris 1626 and gets to call the Doctor her Vizier. It was interesting how her royal views from Ancient Egypt compare to Paris 1626, especially when King Louis and Queen Anne are arguing in this.

Co-writer Cavan Scott, Caroline Morris, Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and co-writer Mark Wright in ‘The Church and the Crown’.

This audio adventure features a superb guest cast in it. There’s Andrew MacKay as King Louis XIII, Queen Anne’s husband. From this audio adventure, it’s clear that Louis is a pretty selfish character who insists that her wife attends the ball. There’s also this bitter feud between him and the cardinal.

There’s Michael Shallard as the cardinal himself named Richelieu. Richelieu appears as a mysterious character at first, since it’s not clear what his true motives are. He’s clearly against the king and he’s religiously in favour of the church. Richelieu tries to win his way to Queen Anne and talk to the king.

There’s also Marcus Hutton as the English Duke of Buckingham that comes to Paris in 1626. He’s another character with mysterious motives. The Duke may turn out to be the villain of this story. He’s clearly selfish; has his own agenda; and he may/may not be having this affair with Queen Anne.

The guest cast also includes two musketeers in this audio story. There’s Andy Coleman as Rouffet and Peter John as Delmarre. There’s also Robert Curbishley as Captain Morand and Wendy Albiston as Duchesse de Chevreuse (a lady-in-waiting). Do these characters have mysterious motives as well?

Caroline Morris, Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant in ‘The Church and the Crown’.

The story ends with the Doctor, Peri and Erimem returning to the TARDIS. The Doctor comes to accept Erimem as his companion and allows her to continue travelling with him and Peri in the TARDIS. I liked how the Doctor soon comes to like Erimem and have her and Peri as his companions.

There are sadly no CD extras or trailers featured at the end of ‘The Church and the Crown’. This is unusual, as most Big Finish audio CDs in those days featured ‘coming soon’ trailers for new releases.

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‘The Church and the Crown’ has been a worthwhile trip. I’ve enjoyed this ‘Doctor Who’ audio story in Paris 1626 and how the Doctor, Peri and Erimem were written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. I was looking forward to hearing more adventures with this TARDIS trio and on how they developed.

‘The Church and the Crown’ rating – 9/10


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4 thoughts on “‘The Church and the Crown’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Always enjoy this one as i love The Musketeers, Cav & Marks script are always fast paced entertaining adventures & this is a enjoyable four parter that builds up drama & gives a satisfying conclusion.

    Excellent review Tim, you’d definitely be one of my Musketeers.

    P.S i reviewed Subterrnera on Google +.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Church and the Crown’. I have seen a little of the latest BBC TV series of ‘The Musketeers’ and caught a glimpse of Peter Capaldi in some of the episodes he’s in from the first season.

    I greatly enjoyed the fast-paced aspect of this historical adventure that didn’t feel boring and it was good to hear Nicola Bryant play two characters in the same vein as Sarah Sutton did in ‘Black Orchid’.

    Thanks for your comments, Simon. I’ll check out your review on ‘Subterrnera’ later on.

    By the way, I think you’ll enjoy ‘The Victorian Vampires’ with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  3. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I finished listening to this story last night. I have to say that it was absolutely mind-blowing! The action sequences had a lot going for them and the dialogue scenes were great to listen to especially when it involved King Louie and Queen Anne. I enjoyed it as a doppelganger story as well. It’s the second DW doppelganger story that I have experienced after ‘The Enemy of the World’. I will probably get around to watching ‘Black Orchid’ around October. I would like to watch part 1 on the evening of the day that the Bedford Who Charity Con is on.

    As with ‘The Eye of the Scorpion’, I enjoyed the chemistry shared between Peri and Erimem. It’s almost like a sisterly relationship. The final scene where the Doctor accepted Erimem into his little family was quite touching. I love how Erimem named her cat Antranak after her mentor.

    I’m not sure how long it will be before I get around to listening to the rest of this arc but I will be listening to the free full cast short trip ‘No Place Like Home’. I bought that early last year when I was getting into Big Finish and since it’s been placed after this story on your timelines, I shall relisten to it. If you have a Big Finish account and the Big Finish app, you can still get it as a free download.

    A great story and better than ‘The Eye of the Scorpion’.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Church and the Crown’. It’s been a while since I heard this story, but I recall having fond memories of it – enjoying the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem and the double trouble story featuring Nicola Bryant playing two characters just like Sarah Sutton played two characters in ‘Black Orchid’.

      I’m afraid there are some gaps in my listening experience of the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem stories. I’ve yet to check out ‘The Roof of the World’, ‘Three’s a Crowd’ and ‘The Council of Nicaea’. Hopefully I will get to hear them soon. I do have ‘No Place Like Home’ as a download from Big Finish, but I just haven’t got around to hearing it yet. Maybe I should do an Easter review season focusing on the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem stories sometime.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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