The Children of Seth (2011)

The Children of Seth is the third story to come from Christopher Bailey. Bailey had written twice for Doctor Who on TV with ‘Kinda’ in 1982 and ‘Snakedance’ the following year. The thing that those two stories have in common as well as having the Mara in them is that they are very experimental adventures, especially for their time. I’m more of a fan of Kinda than Snakedance but I was curious to see how this one would pan out. Marc Platt has taken responsibility of adapting Bailey’s story and bringing the Fifth Doctor series of Lost Stories to a close. The story takes place on the Archipelago of Sirius after receiving a message containing the word Idra. When they arrive they discover that all is not well as the society is on the verge of breaking down. It appears to be quite a strict society where people who are bothersome are sent to ‘Level 14’.

It’s not an easy story to follow and to be honest I did lose my patience with it at times. I’m not against stories that test the listeners patience so I’m not going to be totally harsh to it because there were things in it that were quite good. The casting was mainly it and there were two that stood out for me. The first being Honor Blackman. The former Bond Girl who had previously appeared in ‘The Trial of a Timelord’ back in 1986 appears as Anahita and her character is well written and fits in well with the whole tone of the story. Another fine piece of casting was that of David Warner who quite frankly could play anything and be magnificent. He was the only good thing in ‘Circular Time’ back in 2007 and as Siris he continues to impress but could have done with being in it a bit more. Another good performance was from Adrian Lukis as Byzan, it was a clever little performance which like Blackman’s fitted in well with the tone of the story.

Of the regular performances, Sarah Sutton is poorly treated yet again in these stories. She starts the story off by her experiment being the reason why the TARDIS goes to where it does but besides that she does very little. Janet Fielding is on the other hand is given far more of the story. Considering she was the emotional force of ‘Hexagora’, it would have been fairer to give Nyssa the dramatic parts instead of Tegan. Peter Davison’s performance is perhaps the oddest. It does seem for large chunks of this story like he’s just going through the motions and its only when he starts seeing numbers that he steps up a gear.

It sad to say that this story is the weakest of the Lost Stories for the Fifth Doctor. It didn’t grip me in the way that I hoped it would. Out of the three stories we have had its easy to say that ‘The Elite’ was the best and ‘Hexagora’ is second. It’s nice that these stories have been made and this story probably would have gotten a better result on TV.

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