Please feel free to comment on my review.
A Furio in 1944 France with the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip
This is quite an intense and emotionally gripping drama!
‘Scorched Earth’ is a four-part story by Chris Chapman and it features Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Miranda Raison as Constance and Lisa Greenwood as Flip. Chris Chapman has written for this TARDIS trio before since he wrote ‘The Middle’. I enjoyed that audio adventure very much indeed. 🙂
So, I hoped I would gain the same enjoyment from hearing ‘The Middle’ whilst heading ‘Scorched Earth’. And I certainly did enjoy it since this adventure explores a lot about the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip’s characters and their relationships, since they get to learn some new things about each other. 🙂
The story takes place in July 1944 where the TARDIS lands in a small village near Rouen in France. The Second World War has come to an end as celebrations are in full swing. The Doctor, Constance and Flip join in with the celebrations since there’s a lot of joy among the French people in the village.
The Allied soldiers have also come too. Unfortunately, there’s still unhappiness and hatred as an angry crowd seeks to dish out their brand of justice against a collaborator. Flip is shocked to see how this branded traitor – a woman named Clementine – is treated. Constance has a different opinion. 😐
There is disharmony between Flip and Constance as their friendship gets tested whilst they remain in France 1944. Meanwhile, the Doctor becomes concerned when a new fire-blazing creature emerges. Can the Doctor and his friends solve the mystery as someone is out to justify his revenge?!
This story tackles how people who have collaborated with the Nazis during World War II were treated after the war was over. Many people reacted against those kinds of collaborators with hatred and revenge. They were unable to forgive them for what they had done with good intentions.
Now I’ve seen stories where people who weren’t of the same mindset when fighting in wars were treated harshly by others. Private Godfrey in ‘Dad’s Army’ who was revealed to be a conscientious objector in ‘Branded’ was treated harshly by others before anybody questioned why he felt like that.
Going back to the ‘collaborator’ theme, I have seen episodes of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ like ‘The Collaborator’ and ‘Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night’ where people who were accused of being collaborators weren’t given fair trials. They were assumed to be terrible without good reason.
So I could see how people would behave towards those who had collaborated with the Nazis and treated them unfairly. Clementine committed a ‘crime’ of falling in love with a Nazi, but people like Lucien see that as a ‘disgrace’ (even ‘disgusting’ if he were to say it) and would set out to seek revenge!
I’m not sure how I would react to those kinds of people who collaborated with an enemy like the Nazis, but being of a 21st century mindset like Flip, I wouldn’t have given them the harsh treatment that Clementine received. It would be very horrible to witness rather than reading about it in books.
It was fascinating to hear the conflict between Flip and Constance. Even though the two have been good friends since they began TARDIS travelling, they’re still of two different time zones. Constance would be more understanding of why Clementine is being mistreated as she would’ve accepted it. 😦
Flip on the other hand is appalled by the display of violence led by Lucien and the French mob. She’s upset when Constance is willing to side with Lucien and the mob and refuses to talk to her. As the story progresses, there is clearly more ‘depth’ to why Constance would react the way she did in this.
Colin Baker is excellent as the Sixth Doctor in this audio adventure. I like how the Doctor’s stance is handled between Flip and Constance over this matter regarding Clementine’s mistreatment. He understands why Constance would behave like that of a 1940s viewpoint, but does not agree with it.
He’s also fond of Constance during the adventures they’ve had together as well as being fond of Flip. The Doctor tries to find ways of reconciling the friendship between Constance and Flip, even when Flip is unwilling to forgive Constance at an early stage of the story and when they have an adventure.
I liked it when the Doctor was solving the mystery of the Furio creature and unravels how Lucien is able to control it. The Doctor gets to fly a World War II plane in this adventure – a Tiger Moth in fact. I recently wrote a tale called ‘Fred and the Doctor’ where the Sixth Doctor co-piloted a Spitfire plane. 😀
Miranda Raison delivers an excellent performance as Constance Clarke in this audio adventure. I’ve enjoyed the journey Constance has been on in these ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures. She started off as a WREN missing her husband before finding him again to uncover that he was having a love affair.
She then had her mind transplanted into a duplicate body after her old one crumbled. Throughout this adventure, I forgot Constance’s mind was in another body as I found the drama/conflict between her and Flip really compelling. I can see why Constance would behave in the way she does.
In a way, she’s had some hatred inside her against the Nazis when fighting them during the war at Bletchley Park. I like how she learns to overcome her hatred against the Nazis and get through to Lucien who has a lot of hatred inside him. She does go on a ‘redemption journey’ to better herself. 🙂
Lisa Greenwood is equally good as Flip in this audio adventure. It was fascinating to hear her reaction to ‘Connie’s behaviour in allowing Clementine to be mistreated by the French. She’s always taken Constance to be her best friend. Here, she finds she doesn’t really know her that really well. 😦
It does take a while for Flip to forgive ‘Connie’ and it happens by the end of ‘Part Four’. I like the interaction she has with Clementine when she goes to see her at her home. Flip struggles to understand the behaviours of people in 1940s France, especially when concerning the collaborators!
I liked it when Flip becomes impressed by ‘Connie’ punching Lucien after she was upset for the Doctor letting the Furio loose into Berlin. Flip gets to fly with the Doctor in the Tiger Moth, along with Clementine, and thinks up ‘happy thoughts’ of her ‘hubby’ Jared. Will she go back to him soon?
Philip DeLancy guest stars as Lucien, a proud Frenchman who has a lot of anger in him. She shares a lot of scenes with Constance in this audio adventure and he seeks out to exact revenge on collaborators like Clementine, using the Furio he controls. How long will his control on the Furio last?
As well as playing Lucien, Philip DeLancy also plays Max, a German soldier who gets captured by the French. Christopher Black guest stars as Walter, one of the Allied soldiers who’s keen but ends up late for a fight. Christopher Black also plays Jorgen, another German soldier captured by the French.
James Boswell guest stars as Harris, another Allied soldier who accompanies Walter. He also plays Klaus, a German sergeant in the story. Katarina Olsson guest stars as Clementine, the French ‘collaborator’ who gets mistreated and eventually helps out in destroy the menace of the fiery Furio.
The Furio is an intriguing monster in ‘Doctor Who’ as it’s a fiery-based creature that can put a smile on its face. Essentially the Furio can feed on negative emotions such as hate, fear, anger and guilt. Lucien uses the creatures for his own ends to win the war, but it does go too afterwards in this story.
‘Scorched Earth’ is a very good, dramatic audio adventure in the ‘Doctor Who’ series by Big Finish. I like how Constance and Flip’s friendship gets tested over a sensitive issue. It’s not an ‘Allo, ‘Allo’ scenario concerning France after World War II since the treatment of collaborators was very serious.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Colin Baker, Miranda Raison, Lisa Greenwood, writer Chris Chapman, etc. There’s also a trailer for the next story with the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip called ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Scorched Earth’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras for ‘Scorched Earth’.
‘Scorched Earth’ rating – 8/10
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