Slyvester McCoy was very good as the Doctor, his whole character was well suited to what was going as he always seemed to be the ball with what was going on and at times just a step behind it. McCoy has had some sort of a revival in form recently with a strong line of stories (except for Valhalla) where he can take control of stories. Sophie Aldred was equally as entreating as Ace and her relationship with Hex continued to shine and becoming the best combination now that Peri & Erimem have departed, saying that though if Erimem was still in it Ace & Hex would have been level. I think that as Aldred has matured over the years, so has the character of Ace and Aldred is able to reflect that. Philip Olivier was also good in this story and his enjoyment of marrying Ace was quite enjoyable. Olivier is a very good actor however he is never given a good enough run of episodes to show what the character of Hex can do. He has been in the show since 2004 and I don’t really think he has stood out perhaps like Erimem or Evelyn have.
The star of the story was Danny Webb who appeared in the 2006 two part story The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit. He according to Wikipedia plays three characters (Ori, Irit & Tulin). If that’s true then the voices were superb and helped get me through the story. Its really quite a neat trick to be able to do multiple voices and not sound the same. Hopefully we will get another performance from Webb that just has him playing one role. Katarina Olsson makes an appearance in a Doctor Who play that doesn’t feature Paul McGann in anyway. That somehow seems wrong but at the same time she is playing something that isn’t The Headhunter which can only be a good thing. She plays The Bards along with Sean Connolly and together they create a glorious impression of a monster that you just wouldn’t want to bump into in a dark alley.
Knowing what kind of person David Quantick is (by watching TV of course) I was expecting a slightly different kind of story and that is what we got but the only that let this story down was that there just wasn’t any pace to it. It felt that the story was just dragging and that’s a shame because we have had to wait a long time for a Seventh Doctor/Ace/Hex story and this was ultimately a bit of a let down. I think it’s a brave effort and one that should be applauded for that point alone however from an entertainment standpoint it just didn’t grip me like a normal Doctor Who story should. Nicholas Briggs directed this one amazingly. I say amazingly because in the past he has directed some truly superb stories and this one just seemed flat and uninspiring. I don’t know if Briggs was just having a bad day but this wasn’t Brigg’s finest hour (and a bit!)
It was unfortunate that this story came after the truly stunning The Condemned because its very obvious to the extent of quality here and at the end of the day it isn’t a story I will remember with fondness