For Ace and Hex,
this story takes
place between the
Big Finish audios
and "THE SETTLING."
IAIN McLAUGHLIN &
Monte Carlo, 1966.
Four time travellers.
One costumed ball.
The Doctor has sent
Peri and Erimem to
prevent A fabulous
diamond from being
stolen. Which is odd,
seeing as the Doctor
has sent Ace and Hex
to steal the diamond.
How will the two
teams cope with this
Will Peri's asp slip?
Why does Ace have
to pretend to be a
French maid? How
will Erimem cope
with AN IMITATION
Pharaoh? And can
Hex "do posh"?
The Veiled Leopard
Now here is a curiosity. The Veiled Leopard. A Doctor Who Magazine ‘giveaway’
CD; in effect, an extended advert for Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio adventures… but with no Doctor. Well, two Doctors. Two Doctors that aren’t in it, that is. Two Doctors that stand
off stage pulling the strings of their four very interesting companions, two of them created
in-house by Big Finish, who both take full opportunity of their chance to shine…
Part 1 of the story features Peri and Erimem in Monte Carlo, 1966. After watching the fifth Doctor argue with an “odd little man in a strange pullover,” the two young ladies are sent to prevent the Veiled Leopard – a famous diamond which once belonged to Erimem’s father – from being stolen. The episode is very entertaining to say that the plot is necessarily thin. After all Peri and Erimem have been through in recent stories, it’s great to see the two of them having fun together in such an evocative setting, mingling with the likes of the Lady Lillian (Lizzie Hopley) and Peter Mathis (Ian Ruscoe), both of whom are compelling in their own right.
This second episode is slightly more
serious than the first, but still bags of
fun. Ace and Hex are also in Monte
Carlo. The seventh Doctor has sent
them to steal the Veiled Leopard, and
replace it with a forgery. As was the
case with Peri and Erimem in Part 1,
it’s great to see two mates having a
laugh together. I especially enjoyed
seeing Ace letting her hair down. The character will go through so much and become so ruthless and so hard, it’s great to see
her as she is in this story – a young woman enjoying herself. She is clearly loving being “in charge” and playing the part of the Doctor, even impersonating his slight Scots accent and saying things like “don’t interrupt!” to Hex when she’s explaining things to him. For his part, Hex is given more than his fair share of action, finally managing to complete the Doctor’s mission and steal the Veiled Leopard, which is revealed to be no ordinary diamond, but a data storage device containing all the history, culture and DNA of a dead alien species.
The second episode reminded me a little bit of Flip-Flop, as in my head I had to try and cobble together what Peri and Erimem were doing contemporaneously and how it fitted
in with what Ace and Hex were doing. Luckily though, the plot is relatively simple so that much head-scratching wasn’t required; in fact, it all fits together rather neatly.
In all The Veiled Leopard is a wonderful showcase for not only the Big Finish range as a whole, but also for Philip Oliver’s Hex and Caroline Morris’ Erimem - who might both be unfamiliar to many fans - as well as Nicola Bryant’s Peri and Sophie Aldred’s Ace. In fact,
I would say that this Doctor-less story tops all four of the previous DWM ‘giveaway’ CDs,
all of which actually featured the Time Lord himself! I can’t think of a greater compliment
that I could pay to these four wonderful companions…
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.
No propositional guidance accompanied the release of this Doctor Who Magazine freebie. However, given
that Peri and Erimem have been sent on a mission of their own, it is likely that, for them, these events take place while the Doctor is involved in the events of The Gathering and Cuddlesome.
There are no significant clues to help determine a placement for Ace and Hex beyond that they are both in buoyant moods. We have therefore elected to place their involvement in this story between Night Thoughts and The Settling, which it was released between.
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