Angel of Scutari (#122)

Big Finish Main Range

This audio was actually pretty difficult to listen to. The timeline craziness wasn’t off the scale confusing but the way it was presented put me off. There are some clever ideas in here, with Hex and Ace doing their own things while the Doctor is off trying to be clever with Czar Nicholas I but overall, the story started out intriguingly enough. Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse, is talking to her superiors about her life and what her plans are for the Crimean War, which I know nothing about. Apparently Russia and England fought for awhile.

I’ve heard of the Crimean War but that’s about as far as my knowledge goes. I had no idea the Florence Nightingale was made famous by that war either. I have an abysmal understanding of European history, I’ll admit, with most of what I know being rooted in Dr. Who historical audios by Big Finish anymore! There are a few good cliffhangers where the Doctor is dead and Ace is running around the countryside with broken ribs with Lev Nokolayevich Tolstoy, a count of the time and soon to be writer. Pretty coincidental the amount of famous people they can throw into one story! Plus a well known traitor during the war, who betrays the British troops to Russia – Brigadier-General Bartholomew “Barly” Kitchen. At least that’s my guess as they say his name as if I should know. A British version of Benedict Arnold, basically, though he was technically British on US soil before there was a USA. Argh! My head hurts and that’s just history, not Doctor Who history.

So this story has the individual members of the TARDIS crew wandering about, separated by time and war, doing the things they normally do. Ace just trying to get her own way in a foreign country, Hex trying to do good, and the Doctor coming up with a plan that he knows fits into the history he’s now a part of. Good thing he didn’t hear about that being killed bit or he might’ve given up on his escape attempts.

But overall, it’s just a vehicle for the characters to follow their character in individual stories, coming together at the end in aid of Hex, who is having his own dilemma of mind and soul. We are put off from a real conclusion of this story until the next story involving Hex but that could bode well for his character after all! Rumors have it that he’s leaving the companion fold but he’s definitely had a run of some of the spookier stories BF has done in awhile – the classic Nocturne and Enemy of the Daleks where everything’s turned on its head by that title. Good stuff! But this one’s just well done without really furthering the story between the characters without them being separate. Separate is okay but for the whole story? No so much.

Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Philip Olivier

Writer: Paul Sutton

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: June 2009

Laura Vilensky 2019