THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
AUDIO DRAMAS "THE
RELICS OF TIME" AND
"A SHARD OF ICE."
THE DEMON OF PARIS'
AUDIO CD (ISBN 1-408-
46668-1) RELEASED IN
A MURDERER STALKS
MONMATRE, AND THE
DOCTOR AND MRS
WIBBSEY VISIT THE
MOULIN ROUGE. BUT
WHO IS BEHIND A MOST
CURIOUS WORK OF ART?
The Demon of Paris
The second stage of the Doctor’s Demon Quest brings him to Montmartre in the
late 19th century, where a murderous shape-shifter has been preying upon the population of artists and demi-reps, including a certain chanson réaliste cabaret singer immortalised in a poster by beleaguered painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who just happens to look exactly like the Doctor...
In an interesting departure from previous releases in the BBC Audio range, The Demon of Paris is principally narrated by Susan Jameson’s Mrs Wibbsey, who finds herself charged with filling most of the gaps between the story’s fully-dramatised scenes. It’s fascinating to experience the Doctor’s most curmudgeonly companion’s take on her runaway adventure, just as it is to hear Paul Magrs’ words flowing through a receptacle who’s far less florid than Tom Baker’s baroque Doctor, but every bit as sharp. This shift in emphasis also seems to allow Baker to focus his efforts more on the dialogue and the drama borne of it, which I think is particularly evident in his scenes with Toulouse-Lautrec (Mark Meadows) and especially ‘La Charlotte’ (Finty Williams).
Above: Aristide Bruant, or the Doctor? The Demon of Paris reveals all...
The plot has clearly been inspired
by Toulouse-Lautrec’s celebrated
Aristide Bruant poster, which looks
uncannily like the Doctor’s fourth
incarnation, but I suspect that the
prospect of having the most bohe-
mian of Doctors track down a killer in the middle of “gay Paree” would have been on Magrs’ ‘to do’ list in any event. Spellbinding as it was, the fourth Doctor’s televised trip to the French capital lacked the gothic grandeur of this decidedly deathly tale, which fits him like a glove.
What’s more, The Demon of Paris really pushes the ongoing Demon Quest storyline into first gear. The nature, if not the intentions of, the eponymous Demon is finally revealed; and after making only a fleeting and remote appearance in The Relics of Time, Captain Yates that was finally enters the fray, joining the Doctor in the TARDIS right at the death as he sets the controls for the Murgin Pass in 1847, and a prophesised encounter with a Queen of Ice…
Much more macabre and even a little more risqué than the opening chapter, The Demon of Paris is another little Magrstian jewel. Those with a fondness for Baker or Magrs are sure to lap up the delicious fusion of humour and horror on offer, and those who champion both are in for an even greater treat.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010
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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