The penultimate series of Gallifrey has finally arrived. It’s been two years since the last series which I found very enjoyable. I came to the series quite late and found the early releases to be quite tough at times but as the stories have progressed I think that they have become easier to follow. The feeling that this first story brings is one that manages to mix the style of the first three series with the freedom that the last series had. The plot sees Leela to secure rights for the Outsiders but there are forces that are trying to get in the way of that and as the story progresses it feels like the old Gallifrey. It takes a while to get into it as I have to remember how the series ended as I decided not to listen to the previous series beforehand and thankfully the story spends a bit of time setting things up which gave me the opportunity to remember. The whole pace of the story is quite slow but not crushingly so, steady is the word that I would use. The whole thing ran to just under 75 minutes but it didn’t drag and I found the pacing to be just right.
The Romana that we get in this story seems more like the one that we got in the first three series. She is in a position of power and whilst revels in the good aspects of it she unfortunately has to endure the downsides which include the fact that she cant be as close with Leela as she would like. I think that this is a good performance from Lalla Ward who gives a conflicted showing for the character that has always seemed like someone who was in control of things. Louise Jameson has been in fine form for the last eighteen months as Leela as she has been in the thick of it during the Jago and Litefoot series and the Fourth Doctor adventures. In this story Jameson reverts to the traditional version of Leela and I didn’t realise until now that I actually prefer this version to the Jago and Litefoot version. Another performance worthy of mention is that of Narvin. Sean Carlsen was on fine form and has really become part of the Gallifrey clique. Another plus point, there is no K9. The rest of the supporting performances were all really good and everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.
This is a good start to the penultimate series and I am looking forward to the rest. There are things throughout this story that hark back to the early releases of the series including the old theme tune’s appearance in the little news segments. Some people have been rather sniffy about the fourth series but I really liked it and thought that this story continued that trend and not gone down the easy road of hitting reset and going back to the old Gallifrey. Good stuff.
Rating – 7/10