‘THE WIDOW’S ASSASSIN’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Sixth Doctor reunites with Peri post-‘Mindwarp’
Whatever did happen to Peri after ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’?
When I first met Nicola Bryant at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014, I recall saying to her that I didn’t like Peri’s demise during ‘Mindwarp’ but was looking forward to hearing how the upcoming Big Finish audios resolved that. Nicola responded warmly once I said this.
Years after that convention, I’ve finally had a chance to hear the first story of the 2014 Sixth Doctor/Peri trilogy called ‘The Widow’s Assassin’ by Nev Fountain. I was looking forward to find out what happened to Peri after ‘Mindwarp’ as well as find out what happened to another companion. 🙂
Nev Fountain has written quite a number of Sixth Doctor/Peri audios over the years. This includes ‘Trouble In Paradise’, ‘The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time’ and ‘Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories’. It helps that Nev happens to be in a relationship with Nicola Bryant. Jealous!
I’ve had a chance to meet Nev Fountain at a ‘Doctor Who’ convention – ‘Dimensions 2015’ in Newcastle actually. Sometimes Nev’s stories can be hit or miss – ‘The Kingmaker’ comes to mind as being a miss. But he always entertains and is certainly into the Sixth Doctor and Peri’s relationship. 🙂
Once again, Nev delivers a gripping audio adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor back with Peri after the events of ‘Mindwarp’. He has written a post-‘Mindwarp’ story with Peri before in ‘Peri and the Piscon Paradox’. It’s so fascinating how he does it again in this story but with a slight different angle.
It’s established from ‘Peri and the Piscon Paradox’ that there are five Peris caused by the Time Lords following the events of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. Whether the Peri in ‘The Widow’s Assassin’ is one of them, I’m not entirely sure. But I still enjoyed the interaction between the Sixth Doctor and Peri. 🙂
In ‘The Widow’s Assassin’, the Doctor tries to reconnect with Peri on the planet Krontep where she happens to be Queen and the wife of King Ycarnos. Brain Blessed doesn’t make an appearance here by the way. In fact, he gets killed off. But instead of being happy, Peri throws the Doctor in prison. 😦
The Doctor spends five years in prison until he’s released by Peri to help out with a crisis on the planet Hurn. Very soon, the circumstances of Peri being Queen of Krontep are far more than they seem. Soon, the Doctor has to save Peri’s life and kill the mind parasite that’s killing her in this story.
There are a lot of mind-boggling concepts to get your head around when it concerns the Doctor saving Peri’s life from a mind parasite due to the events of ‘Mindwarp’. But what saves this story for me is how Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant delivered their performances as the Sixth Doctor and Peri. 🙂
I loved hearing how Colin and Nicola interacted with each other as their characters. Sometimes they’re bitter with each other; sometimes they’re happy to see each other. Sometimes they get to swap each other’s bodies. This was amusing and fascinating to listen to when hearing this audio tale.
I did think it was a bit strange that Colin should’ve played Peri-inside-the-Doctor’s body with an American accent whilst Nicola played the Doctor-inside-Peri’s-body with her British accent. Wouldn’t it make sense for the Doctor-in-Peri to sound American and for Peri-in-the-Doctor to sound British?!
Regardless, it was fun to hear Nicola being the Doctor for a while and she had voiced the Sixth Doctor before in other audiobooks like ‘Trouble In Paradise’. It was quite a surprise when it turned out by the end of the second episode that Peri was not Peri at all. She had ‘Lord Kiv’ inside her brain!
But then it turned out it wasn’t Lord Kiv inside Peri’s brain at all! It was an old imaginary enemy from the Doctor’s mind that got into Peri after all called Mandrake. I would have to hear this story again in order to understand clearer, but the twists and turns were very satisfying to listen to when I heard it.
Colin Baker’s Doctor does go on a fascinating journey. He learns about what happened to Peri and how he tries to remedy for his past actions for abandoning her against his free will. It’s also intriguing how he tries to heal the hurt he’s experiencing after losing Flip, which I’ll get onto later on.
I like how Colin’s Doctor’s focus is on Peri in this adventure. It shows how much he truly cares for her and how he’s willing to go to great lengths to protect her. It also shows in the relationship between Colin and Nicola as they work well together as a Doctor and companion behind-the-scenes and on-screen. 🙂
Nicola Bryant is brilliant in this audio adventure. It was amazing to uncover fascinating truths about Peri’s fate following the end of ‘Mindwarp’. You think for one moment that she did marry King Ycarnos, but then it turns out not to be true. I also like how experience Peri inside the Doctor’s mind.
When Peri’s trying to work out where she is with a rather selfish, abrasive and rude version of the Sixth Doctor’s subconscious, she’s very resourceful and picks up on everything she’s learnt about being with the Doctor. She also seems very fond of her sixth Doctor as well as him being fond of her.
The story’s guest cast are very good too. As well as Colin and Nicola, there’s Tim Chipping who plays a sheep-like police constable called Wolsey from the planet Krontep. I like Wolsey as a sheep-like Odo from ‘Star Trek: DS9’. 😀 Tim Chipping also plays Mandrake who fights the Doctor in Peri’s mind.
John Banks plays a variety of characters in this audio adventure. This includes Baron Pteratrark, who has war-like intentions on marrying Princess Dirani of Hurn; Guard Two (I like John Banks’ Welsh accent for him) and Prince Most-Deepest-All-Yellow who wants to acquire the Mandrake parasite. 😐
Andrew Dickens plays Reverend Flitamus, who has religious intentions on marrying Princess Dirani of Hurn and is in conflict with Baron Pteratrak. He also plays Guard One. I like how Andrew Dickens and John Banks play the overly friendly Welsh accented Guards One and Two, making a good double act.
Fiona Sheehan guest stars as Princess Dirani of Hurn, who has to choose a man of her choice to wed. In many ways, Dirani is a parallel version of Peri in terms of getting married to someone. I found it amusing when Dirani was being rescued by Harcross the Ever-Patient and she chooses him to marry.
This leads me onto Glynn Sweet as Harcross the Ever-Patient, who becomes obsessed being in love with Peri the Queen. He’s disappointed when he ends up marrying Princess Dirani instead. I’m sure Dirani is pretty as Peri and she seems nice enough. 😀 Glynn Sweet also plays Pheen-Tu and Flunkey.
Going back to what I said about Flip, apparently the Doctor did save her from the events of ‘Scavenger’. The Doctor shares to Peri what happened to Flip and it turns out that’s she going to get married to Jared Ramon. The Doctor has been invited to her wedding, but Peri doesn’t want to go to it. 😐
I hope the Doctor will get to go back to Flip someday and catch up with her. In the meantime, it seems the Doctor and Peri are continuing to have more adventures together in time and space. I wonder what will happen to the Doctor and Peri after this audio story. Where will the two go next?!
Overall, ‘The Widow’s Assassin’ has been an enjoyable and satisfying audio adventure to listen to. This story might require more than one listen, but I’m very happy with how the Doctor and Peri reunited following ‘Mindwarp’, thanks to Nev Fountain as well as to Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. 🙂
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 cast and crew interviews with director Ken Bentley, Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, writer Nev Fountain, etc. Apparently, in order to fit all of ‘Parts Three and Four’ of this four-part story onto a single CD, Big Finish had to cut the CD extras to just 2 minutes. If you purchased the story via Big Finish, you can download the original 10 minute version of the CD extras as-it-should-have-been-on-the-CD. There’s also a trailer for the next story with the Sixth Doctor and Peri called ‘Masters of Earth’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Widow’s Assassin’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Widow’s Assassin’.
‘The Widow’s Assassin’ rating – 9/10
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