The Architects of History (2010)

After two stories that have been enjoyable it was important that this story ends this series of in style. After the great cliffhanger in Survival of the Fittest I was really looking forward to this story which just from the cover looked like it was going to be something special. Written by Steve Lyons (Toms Tardis Award Winner in 2007 for Best Writer) has been given the task of finding an ending that will satisfy everyone (or at least the majority). Its 2044 and Klein arrives on a Moonbase (some 30 years before the Cybermen arrive) and at the same time the base becomes involved in an invasion by shark looking creatures called the Selachians.

Klein has been going back to try and change history to how she wants it but every time she does this she is effecting another reality and this is causing problems with all the time strands. What she has managed to do is create a golden age where Fascism is running wild. It takes a while to get things straight in my mind as to what was going on in terms of timelines. The moment where the interior of the TARDIS has disappeared reminded me of the 2005 story Fathers Day. It does have quite a dramatic weight to what is going on because it basically strands Klein on the Moon where she doesn’t really want to be.

The Doctor that we have in this story is apparently not the same one that we had in Survival of the Fittest. He has appeared in a cell at the beginning of the story which is quite confusing. But to be honest in Klein’s story we learnt that the Eighth Doctor was always going to be Paul McGann no matter what reality they are in. There are quite a few things that are a bit strange. The first is that the Doctor went back in time to bring the Selachians to the Moonbase. I think that the Doctor’s plan was brilliant. There was a lot of planning that seemed to have gone into it. He gave them the things they needed to mount an invasion. Another thing that we learn in that Rachel Cooper has become a companion to the Seventh Doctor but mysteriously does remember her. The character of Cooper was a very strong character and well played. She has had adventures that we are not aware of yet the feeling that I got was that she has had countless adventures. It was a really sad moment when the Doctor left without her as the Doctor had abandoned her.

Lenora Crichlow is the big name in this story joining an elite group of actors who have appeared on both TV and audio Doctor Who. Crichlow appeared in the 2007 story Gridlock and has recently appeared in the BBC3 comedy Being Human as well as the BBC1 drama Material Girl. She gives the character a sort of normality whilst having some grit and determination about her. She would be a good addition to Doctor Who on a more permanent basis. Sylvester McCoy is very good in this story but does seem slightly in the background at times. He is held prisoner on the base and its only towards the end that he really seems to be involved more in the action. Tracey Childs is brilliant in this story as she has been in all three adventures. I think that she challenges the Doctor in ways that no other companion has done before. There were some moments in this story that really showed what a great actress Childs is. She manages to play a hard nosed Nazi and also a nice normal person at the end with equal enthusiasm. There were other characters that were very good in this story. Major Richter was quite an unpleasant character. Almost like Nyder from Genesis of the Daleks. Played by Jamie Parker, this character was one that would do whatever it takes to survive and that would involve killing people.

The Selachians are a wonderful creation. Admittedly they might look a bit silly on TV but I think that they would be a match for the Daleks. They sound really distinctive, quite like the Viyrans. Their willingness to listen to people reminded me of the Daleks and when the Selachians threatened to kill six people every half hour I thought even the Daleks wouldn’t be that brutal. I think that like the Viyrans they have potential and future stories would be good to know more about them because not enough was known about them. They have apparently been used in novels but seen as I have an allergic reaction to reading novels I don’t really know about them. The story is all about the Doctor’s actions. His actions in getting Klein trying to change things back to how they should be led to resentment on Klein’s part.

The destruction of the Moonbase effectively destroys the Galactic Reich which giving the amount of messing about that Klein did with the timelines was ineffivitable. But the ending is like Survival of the Fittest it’s the last five minutes or so that is what I will remember. The thing that I have really enjoyed over the last three stories are the scenes that the Doctor and Klein have had where they discuss the moralities of changing history have been good and they been quite thought provoking which is quite unusual for a Doctor Who story. The Doctor isn’t the sort that will murder someone so the idea that Klein turns up at UNIT and its not made clear whether her memory has been wiped and she has been placed on Earth to live out a life without knowing what she knew before or whether she is in a part of the TARDIS where this reality has been created outside of time. Normally this sort of confusion would be irritating to me however I think whichever version it is I think that to kill her would have been a waste of time in bringing her back and would have betrayed the Doctor’s core morals.

The Architects of History is a fitting end to the series. Steve Lyons has done a brilliant job in creating characters and a setting that works very well on radio. John Ainsworth should also be praised for directing a story that had a lot of pace and kept me enthralled from start to finish. Elizabeth Klein has been used brilliantly in this series and whilst the ending was the right one it does mean that we probably wont be treated to further Klein stories in the future. Though we might be able to have a Klein Companion Chronicle.

Oh, and as this story shows. Don’t live or work on the Moon as it will be blown up or invaded by the Cybermen or even abandoned due to the Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150.

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