The Flames of Cadiz (#7.07)

Big Finish, Companion Chronicles

There are two parts to this story – saving Ian from being burned by the Spanish Inquisition and retrieving Ian after the British fleet attacks Cadiz. The saving Ian part of the story is very tense and a nail-biter to the extreme. Despite knowing the “ultimate” fate of the companions, I never get the idea that this couldn’t change for them with the First Doctor. Most of the stories include a plot line of either trying escape from whatever trouble they’ve landed into or exploring the timeline and having bizarre things happen. This story covers both sides but the second part is more of a letdown.

Ian gets to meet Sir Francis Drake, his hero, and discovers that history takes more of a kind light on people than anticipated. Barbara spends the time worried about Ian, Ian spends his time wondering why he bothered, and everyone else is doing something wrong (the Doctor got it WRONG for once? GASP) or just being there. It’s a bit mystifying why the “side” characters keep allowing the group to tag along when they keep “betraying” them to the British. And delivered from the flames of the Inquisition, Ian immediately runs off to meet Drake? Really. From sheer terror to the stress of wandering off, it goes from a 5 jelloid story down to a 3 jelloid tale, though I could be argued up to a 4. It just seemed like a historical story designed to tell the story of the troubles surrounding this attack and the Doctor and his companions are really incidental to the whole thing. Much different atmosphere from later Doctors, to be sure!

William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Nabil Elouahabi (Estaban)

Writer: Marc Platt

Director: Lisa Bowerman

Release: January 2013

Laura Vilensky 2019