‘THE WATERS OF AMSTERDAM’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Return to Amsterdam with the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan
Welcome back Tegan!
‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ was a joy to listen to! It stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor; Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and Janet Fielding as Tegan. This four-part story by Jonathan Morris is set after ‘Arc of Infinity’. It takes place in Amsterdam 1983 and in the 17th century with artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ signed by Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton at the ‘Science of the Time Lords’ convention in Leicester, January 2016. I’m so pleased that I heard this story before seeing Peter and Sarah at the convention. It geared me up with having chats with them.
It was interesting to hear this story where Nyssa and the Doctor reunite with Tegan directly after ‘Arc of Infinity’. It was also interesting to find the TARDIS trio getting to spend more time in Amsterdam compared to how they spent time in ‘Arc of Infinity’. There’s a ‘City of Death’ air to this audio drama.
The story begins with Nyssa asking Tegan how she came to have got the sack from her job. We find out more about Tegan’s back-story and discover what happened to her in the interim between ‘Time-Flight’ and ‘Arc of Infinity’. We also get to met Tegan’s ex, as he turns up to find her in the tale.
In this story, the Doctor discovers a mystery as an art exhibition in Amsterdam’s Rijkmuseum contains paintings by Rembrandt Van Rijn of spaceships. The Doctor and his friends travel back in time to 17th century Amsterdam to solve the mystery and encounter the water-like Nix on the way.
I like that this is a Tegan-focused story, as we never got a proper explanation as to why Tegan would readily agree to re-join the Doctor and Nyssa or found out what actually happened to her when she got the sack. It was also nice to find that she’d been dating someone before she broke up with him.
Tegan’s ex-boyfriend is Tim Delap as Kyle. Tegan actually met Kyle on one of her Air Australia flights as an air-stewardess before she got the sack. They saw more of each other and dated more later on. But by the time we come to this story, Tegan broke up with Kyle and wants nothing to do with him.
I’m pleased that Jonny Morris has taken time to delve further into Tegan’s back-story as a character, as he’s very good with plot and character development in the stories he does for ‘Doctor Who’ in Big Finish. It doesn’t deviate from the main part of the story and it helps to progress the story forward.
This story is directed by Jamie Anderson, son of Gerry Anderson, the creator of ‘Thunderbirds’. It’s clear that Jamie is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan and enjoyed working with Peter, Sarah and Janet in this story. I’m pleased with how Jamie has directed this story in keeping with the characters and the story too.
Janet Fielding stands out as Tegan in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. I really like that Janet gets to have a bigger bite of the cherry with Tegan’s character and express emotions that we rarely see justified. Tegan’s clearly not happy when Kyle turns up, but it is clear she is able to fall in love with someone.
I enjoyed the flashback scenes where Tegan is telling her story to Nyssa about how she met Kyle during the interim between ‘Time-Flight’ and ‘Arc of Infinity’. I also like how Tegan discovers who Kyle really is and how she reacts to it. She’s clearly made her mind up about travelling in the TARDIS.
Sarah Sutton is lovely as Nyssa in this story. Nyssa isn’t the focus of this story, but Jonny Morris still writes well for her character as well as Tegan and the Doctor. I’m pleased Sarah enjoyed recording this story as Nyssa. She jokingly remarked that she didn’t get to go to Amsterdam to record this tale.
The standout moment for me with Nyssa is that lovely scene she has with Rembrandt in ‘Part Three’. Rembrandt reflects on the loss of his wife who died rather tragically. Nyssa empathises with him as she’s also lost loved ones too. It’s a lovely performed scene with Nyssa and Rembrandt in the story.
Peter Davison is great as the Doctor in this adventure. The Doctor is adjusting to Tegan’s return following ‘Arc of Infinity’. I found it funny when the Doctor corrects Tegan on Leonardo Da Vinci’s name and she’s annoyed by it. It was interesting to see his interest in Rembrandt’s paintings in this story.
I like how the Doctor tackles with the menace of the Nix and how he solves the mystery of Rembrandt’s paintings of spaceships with Tegan and Nyssa’s help. It was interesting how the Doctor doesn’t tell Nyssa that Kyle isn’t actually a human when he conducted a scan of him in the TARDIS.
Tim Delap guest stars as Kyle, Tegan’s ex-boyfriend. I liked Kyle in this story and sometimes felt sorry for him when he was being rejected by Tegan. It’s easy to see why Tegan would fall for him, as he’s rather charming and pleasant out on the outside. But on the inside, there’s a surprising mystery.
Richard James guest stars as Rembrandt Van Rijn. I must admit, I’ve never heard of Rembrandt as an artist before listening to this story. It was an interesting story to listen to with him in it and I enjoyed Richard James’ interpretation of the character. He can get very cranky when people knock at his door.
Elizabeth Morton guest stars as the Countess Mach-Teldak. For me, Elizabeth played Madeline Bassett in the third and fourth seasons of ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ and she’s also Peter Davison’s wife. It was very nice to hear her in this ‘Doctor Who’ story, as she plays a mysterious alien character in this.
‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ is so-called because of the alien Nix, voiced by Robbie Stevens. The Nix are aliens inside the ‘waters of Amsterdam’ that manifest themselves when the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan are around. The Nix seem to be hunting the TARDIS trio, but there’s more than it first seems.
Before the release of ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’, I saw a photo of Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and director Jamie Anderson from the making of the story by Big Finish. They were all wearing amusing T-Shirts. Janet is now a ‘cultural icon’ and I liked Peter and Sarah’s reactions to this.
‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ has been a lovely follow-up to ‘Arc of Infinity’. I greatly enjoyed the character development of Tegan in this story as well as the Doctor and Nyssa. Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding deliver great performances in a well-written story by Mr. Jonathan Morris.
At the end of the story, the Doctor in the TARDIS leaves Nyssa and Tegan behind in Amsterdam. Tegan shouts and demands the Doctor to come back. He eventually does return and pops his head out. He apologises to Nyssa and Tegan, saying that he was on an ‘errand’ for the Time Lords. Where did he go then?!
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 ‘Aquitaine’ with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’.
‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ rating – 9/10
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