(ISBN 1-84435-104-1)





 Self-exiled to a new

 universe AND CUT OFF

 from his TARDIS, the

 WEARY Doctor has

 been struggling to

 work out the nature

 of the cosmic game in

 which he's BECOME AN

 unwilling pawn. Now,

 at last, he HAS THE

 chance to find the

 answer and regain

 the TARDIS.


 will THE DOCTOR lose

 HIS way in the maze

 of the strange world

 In which HE ARRIVES?

 A world in which a

 clock HAS a cuckoo

 but no hands, a laby-

 rinth CAN imprison

 a paradox, and a

 Garden of Curiosities

 CAN reveal something

 THAT HE's never seen



 As the Doctor faces

 these challenges,

 Charley and C'rizz

 provide valuable

 help. But with the

 TARDIS itself at

 stake, the Doctor 

 reaches deep inside

 himself to find some

 surprising new



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Caerdroia is, in many ways, the type of story that I thought we’d have seen more

of in this pocket universe. Lloyd Rose’s tale is very surreal and very imaginative; stylistically it’s probably half-way between Scherzo and a traditional Doctor Who story. Often reminding me of Graham Duffs first-class season opener Faith Stealer, the popular novelist’s script is very flippant at times and very tense at others, and this works particularly well with regard

to its three Doctors. Unlike the essentially stand-alone Natural History of Fear and Twilight Kingdom, this story is, in any event, vital to the multi-season story arc for the reasons that I’ll detail below, but having three distinctly different versions of the same Doctor running about the place only serves to heighten this one’s ‘can’t miss’ feel.


You know Doctor, I admire you

You have courage and integrity; you fight evil fiercely but are capable of mercy.

To save a universe you chose permanent exile from everything you knew

at the cost of one of your senses. You are truly heroic.


However, it’s Stephen Perring’s rousing performance as Kroka that really stands out above all else here. Ever since The Creed of the Kromon, Kroka has manipulated the Doctor and his companions, leading them where he wanted them to go for his own reasons as to which we were left clueless. But within just a few minutes of this story’s opening, the Doctor is able to trap Kroka within his own mind and interrogate him. The resultant sparring between Paul McGann and Stpehen Perring is an absolute delight to listen to; each character pushes the other almost to breaking point, and after all Kroka has put the Doctor through recently you find yourself audibly cheering when the Doctor finally takes the upper hand.


What I love about Caerdroia is its almost cruel sense of cleverness. For instance, when it becomes clear to the Doctor that Kroka has not been as competent or even as loyal to his employer as his employer would’ve liked, the security of Krokas position rests solely on

his belief that he doesn’t think that the Doctor is nasty enough to betray him to them and therein lies the rub. Normally, Kro’ka would be right. But what if, say, the Doctor happened

to be split into three, and each new Doctor were to inherit only some of his characteristics…


As the Doctor, Charley

and Crizz pass through

the interzone portal to

Caerdroia, the Doctor

is indeed split up into three separate beings.

The three Doctors are

physically identical and each is fabulously portrayed by McGann but somehow his personality has been divided up between them.

A grumpy and hard-nosed Doctor accompanies Charley for most of the story (much to her chagrin); a fairly “normal” Doctor goes off on his own; and a pensive, naïve, Doctor in an abstracted mood” accompanies Crizz. This inspired move allows the hard-nosed Doctor

to put his morality conveniently aside and give Kroka a taste of his own medicinea taste that leaves him running back to his employer (whose identity is finally revealed) with his tail between his legs, and the Doctor back inside his beloved TARDIS.


Replete with outrageous dialogue, splendid acting, and even the odd self-deprecating jibe, Caerdroia is an immensely enjoyable affair from start to finish. Rose’s three Doctors aren’t some contrived gimmick, but a clever and intriguing storytelling device that really gives this dawdling story arc the kick up the backside that it needs. It seems that the impending return of Doctor Who to our television screens has pushed Big Finish into wrapping up this story arc much sooner than they had originally envisaged - after crawling along at a snails pace for seven stories, in the space of four episodes it’s all but over.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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