Monday, February 27, 2012

Old Soldiers

Old Soldiers

Much as I love Nick Courtney (and The Scarifyers proved he could do a good Brigadier-ish character on audio; he was definitely the best part of those plays), I wasn’t too sure about this play going into it. There is no “device” as such; the Brigadier has just grabbed you, the privileged listener, for a chat and a drink (it sounds like whiskey J ). It’s that much more poignant to listen to this story, written by James Swallow, after Courtney’s death when you realize it’s more of an elegy to the Brigadier than a Companion Chronicle in the strictest sense. Certainly the Third Doctor is involved, from his flashy entrance to his rigging up of some logic-defying gadgety-device, but it’s much more the Brigadier’s story. It’s set directly after “The Silurians” (which is diplomatically referred to as “the incident at Wenley Moor”) which helps it achieve some gravity which fits well with the theme. In tone the story reminded me a bit of The Spectre of Lanyon Moor and some elements of the plot echoed “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”! Nevertheless, it was quite a nice notion to think that, in the spirit of UNIT cooperation of the (1970s? 1980s?) the Brigadier could have struck up so strong a friendship with the German Konrad.

Toby Longworth did well, playing both German roles, and it was impressive that the two actors managed to carry off a cast of literally hundreds, aided in large part by the precise sound design.

This audio underlines the fact that in losing Courtney, we have lost not only the Brigadier, but an excellent actor, who can weave a gripping spell with his voice alone.

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