‘The Well-Mannered War’ (Book/Audio)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

War with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9

‘The Well-Mannered War’ is a four-part adventure by Gareth Roberts on two discs. It was adapted by John Dorney and it stars Tom Baker as the Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana and John Leeson as K-9.

After enjoying ‘The Fourth Doctor by Gareth Roberts’ box set, I was looking forward to hearing this deliciously, juicy adventure, written again in the style of the Douglas Adams flavour. I couldn’t wait!!

This was third time that Gareth Roberts wrote for the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9. It was thrilling to listen to and is one epic adventure with riveting characters and interesting plot twists throughout.

At the edges of space in the far distant future, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 end up in the midst of a war between the humans and Chelonians. But something is trying to manipulate the war’s outcome.

I found the idea of a war between two sides with no bloodshed and being friendly to each other so unusual. It’s amusing especially as a big general election on an alien planet goes on at the same time.

Tom Baker, as ever, boldly delivers an eloquent performance as the Doctor. The Doctor’s mostly on his own and I liked it when he has scenes with those Chelonians and makes humorous quips at times.

Lalla Ward is sublime as Romana. She and K-9 get separated from the Doctor for most of this adventure. I liked it when Romana works things out and copes with the situation going on in the war.

But John Leeson as K-9 steals the show for me. K-9 goes into politics as he becomes a candidate for a general election. K-9 as a PM! Interesting! I wonder if K-9 would make a good PM in real life! Ha, ha!

Tim McInnerny guest stars as Admiral Dolne. Fans will know Tim for playing Mr Halpen in the David Tennant story ‘Planet of the Ood’. Admiral Dolne is really funny as this British Empire type-character.

The Chelonians appear in this story. They are a race of reptilian warriors who have been fighting the humans for a long time in this story. The Chelonians are led by General Jafrid, played by Jon Glover.

Hamish Clark guest stars as Fritchoff. Hamish played Duncan in the TV series ‘Monarch of the Glen’ and worked with Tom Baker in that TV series. I was delighted to hear him in this ‘Doctor Who’ story.

Michael Troughton returns as Menlove Stokes. Stokes met the Doctor, Romana and K-9 before in ‘The Romance of Crime’. It was great to hear Stokes again in this, as he’s so funny and full of himself.

David Troughton guest stars as the Black Guardian who returns in this. It was exciting and tense when the Doctor, Romana and K-9 see him gloat at them as they’re about to cause an awful disaster.

This story ends with the Doctor using a switch to escape reality to save the universe. I was shocked by this cliff-hanger ending and I wondered what will happen next to the Doctor, Romana and K-9…

‘The Well-Mannered War’ has been a fantastic adventure to listen to. I’ve greatly enjoyed it with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 and was thrilled by the story’s climax and when the Black Guardian appears.

I wonder whether the cliff-hanger ending will ever get resolved or if Big Finish will ever get to resolve it? Perhaps it never will. Who knows? It’s a cliff-hanger ending that makes you think with the series.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 4 of the limited special edition box set of ‘Novel Adaptations, Volume 2’, there is a suite of incidental music from ‘The Well-Mannered War’ to enjoy!


The cast of ‘The Well-Mannered War’. From left to right: Hamish Clark, Jane Slavin, Tim McInnerny, Tom Baker, Jon Glover and Gunnar Cauthery.

On Disc 5 of the limited special edition box set of ‘Novel Adaptations, Volume 2’, there are behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews on the making of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’.

In the second half of Disc 5, there’s a section that focuses on ‘The Well-Mannered War’. There are interviews with Tom Baker; Lalla Ward and John Leeson. There are also interviews including Tim McInnerny; Michael Troughton and Hamish Clark, who shares his memories of working with Tom in ‘Monarch of the Glen’.

There’s also an interview with adaptor John Dorney. I found it interesting how he details the challenges of adapting ‘The Well-Mannered War’ as a book into an audio drama in this interview. It seems that ‘The Well-Mannered War’ was a more challenging novel to adapt into an audio drama.

If you purchase ‘Novel Adaptations – Volume 2’ with ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’ from Big Finish, you’ll get the extended extras of the interviews. These extras total the ‘Damaged Goods’ interviews for 90 minutes whilst ‘The Well-Mannered War’ interviews total for 30 minutes.

This box set of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’ has been a true delight to listen to. This is a treasure trove of Big Finish audio adaptations of the Virgin novels which I’ve never read at all and I’m really pleased I’ve listened to ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’ on audio.

I would like to read the original novels of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’. I’m very sure that they’ll be very interesting and enjoyable books to read when I go on holiday someday.

‘The Well-Mannered War’ (Audio) rating – 9/10

The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

  • ‘The Pyralis Effect’ (Audio)

For Romana was

  • ‘The Pyralis Effect’ (Audio)

For K-9 MkII was

  • ‘The Pyralis Effect’ (Audio)
The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

  • ‘Luna Romana’ (Audio)

For Romana is

  • ‘Luna Romana’ (Audio)

For K-9 MkII was

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Return to Romana’s Timeline
Return to The Timelines of K-9
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2 thoughts on “‘The Well-Mannered War’ (Book/Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Brilliant adaptation & i truly hope this gets a follow-up because i want to find out what happens next, as ever Tim another phenomenal in depth review that summarizes this story brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Well-Mannered War’. I would like to read the book of this story and review it for my blog to add to my review on the audio drama.

    I’m surprised that there’s been no follow-up to this story by Big Finish, since I expected they would do that in the Season 17-styled season of audio dramas with the Fourth Doctor and Romana in 2016. I get excited by that ending with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 vs. the Black Guardian whenever hear it.

    My review on ‘Damaged Goods’ by Russell T. Davies is also available to read on my blog if you want to check it out.

    Thanks Simon.

    Tim. 🙂



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