THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
AND THE TV STORY
"THE RIBOS OPERATION."
Sepulchre' AUDIO CD
RELEASED IN DECEMBER
WHO AWAITS THE
DOCTOR AND MIKE
The final chapter in Paul Magrs’ Demon Quest saga, Sepulchre, is a much quieter and more intimate release than the four that it follows, yet it boasts every bit as much horror and spectacle. For the first time in the series, we pick up the adventure without any sort of overture as the defeated Doctor and Mike receive an intergalactic telephone call from the captured Mrs Wibbsey, luring them to Sepulchre, where a showdown with the eponymous Demon and his mysterious paymasters awaits.
As the Demon has been the focal point of every story in this quest, I was both surprised by and impressed with the revelations about ‘him’ here. Despite his lofty billing, the Demon is essentially a lackey from some “dimensional backwater”; a mercenary hired to deliver the Doctor to a foe that the Time Lord thought he’d defeated this time last year – the Hornets. But the Demon’s not quite as wicked as he might first appear, and here actor Nigel Anthony vests him with an urbane duality that keeps the listener guessing right until the production’s closing scream.
As the Hornets are revealed to be the real villains of piece, inevitably Sepulchre rehearses some of their most impressive moments from last year, such as Mrs Wibbsey’s possession. However, such moments are complemented by some new and mind-bogglingly impressive notions. The Hornets’ plan, for instance, is to use the Doctor’s mind to extrapolate the history of the universe. By extracting and recording everywhere that he’s ever been or ever will, they intend to create an “Atlas of All Time” and use it to find the lost Hornet Queen – and then to conquer all time and space. It’s a colossal conceit, particularly when presented in such close quarters as what Wibbs laconically labels “an old haunted house”.
Above: The Doctor's in serious trouble - tonight at 6.40pm.
Turning to the cast, Tom Baker is
as commanding as ever, barking
and even crooning his way through
2010’s final performance, and Su-san Jameson delivers possibly her most striking turn yet as the tortured and compromised housekeeper, Mrs Wibbsey. Richard Franklin is
even more extraordinary still, not only carrying the adventure through his bouts of narration but through his character’s actions. I love Mike’s blasé, old soldier’s reaction to the wonders of the Atlas, amongst other things. Even when bombarded with the history of everything that has ever happened or ever will, Mike’s only thought is for his comrades, and for the enemy that they must trounce.
On the whole, I think that Demon Quest has been a much better series than Hornets’ Nest was. Both the writer and his star performers have really hit their stride now, and everything has felt a little bit livelier than it did last year. Of course, like everyone, I’m hopeful that Baker will get that “Big Finish in his twilight years” that he recently quipped about a few months ago, but if he does, I hope that it doesn’t tread on the toes of this inimitable annual series - though if this episode’s cliffhanger ending is anything to go by, we won’t have seen the last of Nest Cottage, Mike and Wibbs…
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2011
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.
‘Doctor Who’ is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.