THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
AND THE BIG FINISH
AUDIO "RETURN OF
KEN BENTLEY &
BIG FINISH CD#112
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
of his. Where
the story of
Sifting through the
technological junk of
the Doctor discovers
evidence of a
friends of his. Where
will the story of
their fate lead?
Keepsake is without a doubt my favourite bonus one-part adventure that Big Finish have produced to date. In a nutshell, hundreds of objective years after his adventure on Tasak, the Doctor stumbles upon a maintenance robot that contains all that is left of his old friend Sara. After the Tasak incident and a subsequent, failed attempt to apprehend a Cybrid agent, the android Adjudicators ruled that Temeter and Sara had let their emotions get the better of their judgment and so condemned Sara to a fate worse than death. They “evicted” her from her body, “downgraded” her consciousness, and turned her into a basic maintenance robot. A basic maintenance robot haunted by memories of a life and a love now lost.
“Those holographic recordings are all she has left of her old life.
She hid them in her deep memory. Fragments of a past she can’t understand.”
Kate Terence’s narration is beautiful. She has a lovely voice in any event, but in Keepsake she does a remarkable job of filling the flashback scenes with as much emotion and desperation as she can muster, yet keeping the narration as flat and as beaten as possible. It’s a terrific performance, offset very elegantly by Sylvester McCoy’s customary melancholy.
“To be ‘onest my grip on ancient ‘istory is a bit shaky.
Androids and Earthers blowin’ each other up.
Then the Cybermen arrive in the middle of it… Big losses on all sides, I think it was.
The Cybermen… they were beaten weren’t they? Or were they the ones who won?
Didn’t they end up being the good guys in the end?”
There’s so much more to like about this little episode though, even given the limited running time. Deft little touches such as the androids having Adjudicators, mirroring the society of the humans that they fight, are just the tip of the iceberg. There are some wonderfully humorous exchanges between the Doctor and Two’Mark, for instance where they discuss Two’Mark’s knowledge of the Orion Wars (gleaned entirely from old films and thus wholly contradictory!) which were made all the funnier for me as I have a friend universally known as ‘Mark Two’ (two friends called Mark… you get the idea) who likes war films.
And so what could have been little more than a glorified trailer for Big Finish’s forthcoming Cyberman 2 series is actually a little silver nugget. It shows us how the Orion androids have become “more human than human” and, although it may lack the rich splendour of Kingdom of Silver, it is definitely a far more painful and emotive story, and in my view a much more compelling one.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
to be identified as the author of this work.
According to writer James Swallow, the Cybrid agent who Temeter and Sara were sent to apprehend after the events of Kingdom of Silver was Chessman from Cyberman 2, under another name (and apparently another voice!)
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