Ferril’s Folly (2011)

The penultimate release of season five of the companion chronicles is one that I have heard about for a long time. According to the author (Peter Anghelides) it was one of the first stories that was commissioned by David Richardson and for various reasons it didn’t get made. I wondering if there were any production problems with the writing of this story and that was mentioned in the preview of this story in Doctor Who Magazine but on listening to this story I don’t think it was the case. This is the second Companion Chronicle to feature Romana I, her previous story was Stealers from Saiph in 2009 which I really liked. The biggest different between the stories is that in SFS there was just Mary Tamm and no one else. In this story Tamm is joined by Madeline Potter who has appeared in Assassin in the Limelight (2008) and The Cradle of the Snake (2010). She plays Lady Ferril who is not a well liked woman in the town of Norfolk. Ferril’s Folly is set between the Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara but I didn’t know this until after listening to the story. Now we know that they collect all six segments of the Key to Time and how they get them so I was wondering what the logic was for setting this story during this time. But in the grand scheme of things its not the most important thing in the world.

The story itself is an ok one. The Doctor and Romana encounter this woman with a nickname of (rather amusingly) Metal Minnie. This is due to her having a metal hand after an accident during her days as an astronaut. There is a nice little back story which helps make the character seem a bit more real and someone that I should and do care about. The story plods along at a reasonable pace and there are some wonderful images created in my mind with spider statues and people being impaled by the statues. I did think it was sailing to close to the idea of the Weaping Angels but that just could be me. I thought at first that pretending that the Doctor and Romana could mistaken something for a segment of the Key to Time would be ridiciculos and in a way it is but its done in such a good way that its almost impossible to actually get annoyed by the fact they are doing it in the first place.

After a disappointing run of Companion Chronicles, its good that we get a entertaining story. After listening to Mary Tamm in the second and third series of Gallifrey my appreciation of her has gone up in recent times. Her impression of Tom Baker isnt very good but then again she’s not an impressionist and its not really the reason why we listen to these stories but its always good when they get close to the Doctor’s voice. Overall, Mary Tamm is very good and she should appear in more Big Finish plays. Hopefully with Tom Baker now doing plays for Big Finish she might get her chance. Madeleine Potter is also very good as Lady Ferril. She is believable as a baddy and puts some enthusasim into her dialogue. In the interview in the ‘CD’ extras at the end this story its stated that because there were a lot of female villains in the Key to Time series that it would be quite nice to continue that in this story and I agree with that. It’s refreshing that they have done this.

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of Peter Anghelides. I’m not 100% keen on The Chaos Pool or The Four Doctors as I think that they are fairly standard and don’t have anything huge about them. So in that respect I think that this is his best story so far. I think that after a displeasing The Forbidden Time and Sentinels of the New Dawn it was a welcomed return to form.

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