‘THE EYE OF THE SCORPION’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Doctor and Peri meet Erimem in Ancient Egypt
This is an intriguing, historical adventure in ‘Doctor Who’.
‘The Eye of the Scorpion’ is a special audio adventure with Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. It is the first adventure to feature a new companion in ‘Doctor Who’. In this adventure, the Doctor and Peri meet Caroline Morris as Erimem, who is a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
This is an interesting if unusual way to depict the adventures of the Fifth Doctor and Peri, joined by a new companion. I’d hoped these adventures to feature just the Doctor and Peri together. But it adds this unique layer of ‘Doctor Who’ history set in between ‘Planet of Fire’ and ‘The Caves of Androzani’.
This is a four-part story by Iain McLaughlin, who makes his first contribution to the ‘Doctor Who’ series. Iain delivers a fascinating historical adventure set in Ancient Egypt, full of twists and turns. There’s a lot to absorb from this audio tale and it’s a very serious historical than a comical adventure.
The Doctor and Peri arrive in Ancient Egypt after the TARDIS mysteriously lands there unintentionally. They rescue an Egyptian Pharaoh named Erimem, who the Doctor has never heard of before. Someone is trying to assassinate Erimem and the Doctor and Peri investigate why that is.
I like the idea of the Doctor meeting an Egyptian Pharaoh he has never heard of before, and a female one at that. Usually the Pharaohs are male and female ones are rare in Egyptian history with the exception of Cleopatra. It creates tension between the male characters during the audio adventure.
Ian McLaughlin’s historical adventure echoes the spirit of the early William Hartnell historical adventures in a Peter Davison story. This is a brave move by the writer, as historical adventures weren’t considered popular or too boring. It was interesting how it gets done in the audio medium.
Peter Davison is engaging as ever as the Doctor. He’s absent for ‘Part Two’ of the story, which echoes the spirit of William Hartnell’s absences in ‘Doctor Who’ during many TV stories in the 1960s. This was rather odd and I sometimes wonder what Peter would have done if this was made as a TV story.
I like how Peter’s Doctor reacts to the mystery of the TARDIS being drawn off course and arriving in Egypt mysteriously. I also enjoyed Peter’s Doctor meeting Erimem and his bewilderment in not knowing her from the history books. He works things out in order to solve this mystery with Erimem.
Nicola Bryant is delightful as Peri. I enjoy her relationship with the Doctor and the banter they share. I also like how she quickly becomes friends with Erimem and both share an adventure together. It was interesting how Peri coped handling things without the Doctor when he’s absent from the story.
I was startled when the Doctor revealed at the end of ‘Part Three’ that Peri turned out to be a spy. This time, Peri is the one who gets possessed rather than Nyssa in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. Nicola gets to use her British voice in those possession scenes and she sounds pretty terrifying here.
Of course this audio story features the debut of Caroline Morris as Erimem. I think this was a good story to introduce Erimem as a new companion for the Fifth Doctor and Peri. Caroline plays Erimem very well, as she plays her like a modern girl about to take her rightful place as an Egyptian Pharaoh.
It was fascinating learning about Erimem as an Egyptian Pharaoh, in terms of her history and background and why there were those trying to assassinate her. It was interesting to hear Erimem’s turmoil; being torn from her sense of duty and whether she really wants to be Pharoah at all in this.
There were a few surprises and twists about what were actually the true natures of some of the characters featured in the story. There was also a sci-fi twist that I did not expect to find in this historical tale. I won’t reveal this in case of spoilers, but it does have something to do with a Sphinx.
A number of scorpions do appear in this audio adventure and they come out to terrify Peri and Erimem in a dark tunnel. I was hoping that more would be developed on the scorpion front in this historical story. But sadly I could not pick it up from this audio, as they seemed fleeting appearances.
At the end, the Doctor and Peri solve the mystery and Egypt is safe. But Erimem believes her duty as a Pharaoh is over. Eventually, the Doctor and Peri agree to let Erimem join them in their travels together in the TARDIS. Erimem also brings a pet cat with her. This makes the Doctor feel so uneasy.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Colditz’ with Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace with David Tennant.
I enjoyed listening to ‘The Eye of the Scorpion’ as an audio adventure. I don’t consider it one of my favourites and there’s a lot to take in. But it’s an enjoyable adventure in Ancient Egypt with the Doctor and Peri meeting Erimem for the first time. I wonder where their travels will take them next!
‘The Eye of the Scorpion’ rating – 7/10
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