The Roof of the World (2004)

The last two stories to feature the Fifth Doctor, Erimem and Peri have been very poor. I don’t know what’s going on but The Eye of the Scorpion seems like a lifetime ago. I think out of all the combinations this is one of the weakest, especially in terms of quality. The Roof of the World was coincidentally the title of the first episode of Marco Polo (1964), though that is where the coincidence ends. Adrian Rigelsford has written his first story and as with everything the first impression is important.

I could tell instantly that this story was going to be better than Axis of Insanity. The story slowly builds up as the Doctor and co are on a train in Tibet for a game of cricket. As the story progresses through this cricket game there are some wonderful scenes with Erimem who is starting to develop into a very good companion. There is a slight blip in part two but this is very slight which stops as Lord Davey tries to convince Erimem that she is in fact dead. This isn’t a quick thing but is done slowly which is good.

This is Erimem’s story. In fact this is her best story since her debut which is a relieve because due to the poor quality of the stories recently (bar the Church and the Crown) was in danger of rendering the character as a poor companion. Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant are still just as good together as they were for those two stories towards the end of Davison’s tenure. In fact the best story featuring these two was Red Dawn (2000). Edward de Souza was a particularly good as Lord Davey, William Franklyn served a great purpose as Pharaoh Amenhotep II. Both these actors were vital to the enjoyment of this story.

Thankfully The Roof of the World has done a little bit to restore my faith in this combination. It needs a couple more stories like this to get it to Seventh/Ace or Sixth/Evelyn levels of enjoyment. What it does manage to do is to make up for Nekromanteia.

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