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“You don’t understand, Hurley. We’re on the eve of the darkest day in this city’s history. No-one is safe here! No-one!”

Wait… What’s this? A straight Doctor Who historical?! No ghosts? No aliens? No Robots? The only anachronisms being the Doctor, the TARDIS, and his companions? When was the last time you saw one of those! Well in March we got a good one!According to the Big Finish Solicit:

“They say there’ll be thousands pouring into Manchester tomorrow. From all over the county, north and south. It’ll be a piece of history. People will remember this!”

Lost in the smog of the Industrial Revolution, the TARDIS crashes four miles south of Manchester, in the grounds of Hurley Hall – a grand mansion belonging to a local factory owner, a proudly self-made man. But while Hurley dreams of growing richer still on the wealth of secret knowledge locked up in the Doctor’s time and space machine, his servants hope only for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. His young maid Cathy, for instance, whom Nyssa learns is looking forward to joining the working people’s march to St Peter’s Field, in the heart of the city. There’ll be speeches and banners and music. It’ll be like one big jamboree…

Or so she thinks. For the city’s establishment have called in their own private militia, to control the crowd. One of the darkest days in Manchester’s history is about to unfold – and the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan are right in the thick of it.

You know what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder? Well I didn’t always love straight historicals and most of the time Doctor Who seems to be more fun with the monsters aliens or mysteries but sometimes time travel is just Dangerous. In the Tradition of epic William Hartnell stories like Marco Polo or The Reign of Terror this month’s story is completely reliant on EARTH HISTORY and it manages to be very dramatic and compelling. The real monsters in this story are the people and the circumstances. Kudos to Paul Magrs and Jamie Anderson for writing and directing a Doctor Who that pulls us in and weaves a tale so good it doesn’t even need the fancy smancy Doctor Who core villains to carry it.

A Few of my Favorite Things From This Month’s Release:

  • The Doctor, the Fifth Doctor for all of his insistence that history had fixed points in time was prone to fits of spontaneous heroics… non-interference be damned! In this he attempts to save a child regardless of what that change might mean to the timeline because he’s not going to watch as a sweatshop child worker gets crushed in a machine. Of course not! He’s the Doctor!
  • The depiction of the class divide and how it’s depicted. It’s a classic trope to split the TARDIS crew up so they can all get in trouble but it was used to incredible effect to show many sides of the social and political unrest of the setting. We got to see an amazing amount of different views that were present and some of the stubborn whitewashing of history that was perpetuated by the press of that time.
  • Straight Historical done right. Yeah, it’s so good it bears repeating. We just don’t see straight historicals anymore, instead we see Werewolves attacking Queen Elizabeth, or Witches using William Shakespeare, or Daleks trying to take over in World War 2. None of that was present here and it worked.

I’m really impressed by this story. Even the things I thought I was predicting had a twist. I mentioned two classic Hartnell Historicals and I really think this one is as good a historical as I’ve seen, heard, or read. I didn’t even know I was hankering for a Historical but I’d be very keen to hear more like these I’m also interested in hearing more Doctor Who written by Paul Magrs I’m so impressed I’m giving this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Do you have a favorite historical? Or do you prefer your historicals embellished with Monsters? If so let me know in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.

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