“There’s just something…Doctorish about him.”
Another crossed timeline brings Stephen (Peter Purves) and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) into the (strangely companion-bereft) Peter Davison Tardis for a trip to Ancient Rome, where they are mistaken for Goths and the Doctor winds up imprisoned as a spy.
With Vicki propositioned by the Byzantine Emperor and Stephen pulling a Ben Hur at the chariot races, the Doctor and the era’s historian of record Procopius of Caesarea (Tony Millan) must stop the scheming Sophia (Dark Shadows 1991 and Krull’s Lysette Anthony) from pulling a Zardoz on the Emperor Justinian with a pair of giant flying Medusa heads…and did I mention there’s an outbreak of the plague?
Seems like there’s a whole lot of Meddling going on…
“You’re a lot more fretful than my Doctor, you know.”
Davison delivers his typically lively yet huffy, furrowed brow take on the role, and Vicki makes for a far more eubellient foil than the decidedly emotionally modulated (and oft-possessed) Nyssa. Stephen offers a tad more masculinity than this particular Doctor is used to (for all their respective merits, Turlough and Adric weren’t exactly the most physical of companions), and guest stars Millan and Anthony enliven the proceedings despite their comparatively brief background roles.
The tale is reasonably lively for a historical, and manages to work as both a standalone and an explanatory conclusion to the past three month’s Doctor/companion swaps.
There’s not much more you can expect from the historical, given all the strictures of record prospective authors have to build their fantastic tales within, but The Secret History is palatable (if light and fluffy) enough to work as a Who story per se…and not just grading on the curve of the standard Who historical.