“I will tell the truth as best I can…inasmuch as I am allowed.”
“What does that mean?”
“…It may be that I am obliged to compromise.”
The Doctor solves the class war in post-Industrial Age Britain.
“More bowing and scraping…I just don’t like to see people treated like slaves.”
When the Tardis finds itself dispositionally averse to industrial runoff and man-made pollutants, the Full Tardis crew of the Peter Davison Doctor, Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Tegan (Janet Fielding) find themselves in Northern England…smack dab in the middle of an Upstairs, Downstairs (or for the younger crowd, Downton Abbey) scenario.
“They seem happy enough in their work…”
“They’ve got no choice.”
While Tegan speaks for the rest of us, a more naive (and it should be recognized, raised privileged) Nyssa effectively starts rattling off the lyrics to Rush’s “the Trees”.
“Well. Hoorah for the trees…”
But when the “commoners” rally for a protest march, the powers that be decide to crack down…violently. Can The Doctor and company set matters aright?
Whew! Pertinent much? Hello, 2016 election…
“This city is about to go to war against its own people!”
A welcome (and especially timely) take on the will of the populace and the right of all men to be treated as free and equal individuals of worth vs. the militarism and iron hand of the entrenched “elites” and powers that be, author Paul Magrs has drafted another powerful politicosocial manifesto ala Big Finish, melding pertinent present-day commentary with classic Who-style sci fi.
“You’ve been warned before about talking to your betters…”
Janet Fielding’s Tegan gets a decided moment in the sun here, serving as the (rightfully enraged) surrogate voice of the general public in the face of obvious malfeasance, while Sarah Sutton’s brings a believable naivete to her Nyssa, gradually clueing in to the gravity of the situation through her dialogues with members of the “servant class” and those of the “ruling class” (many of whom, such as Mrs. Hurley, are “commoners” themselves, who “married up”).
“He’s all about the profits. They all are. They don’t care for the likes of us.”
Peter Davison’s Doctor continues to provide the surprisingly compassionate and likeable iteration of The Doctor he’s been given to since the earliest days of Big Finish, soft spoken yet driven and always seeking to bring both sides to an understanding even in the most impossible of scenarios to reconcile.
“Yes, I’d say it was planned.”
“Who would plan misery and bloodshed on a scale like this?”
“What was it for? What was all that in aid of?”
“Protecting our wealth and our safety, man. Can’t let our own beloved land fall into the hands of radicals and revolutionaries.”
“Was that revolution? A march for loaves and votes?”
“Manchester has sent out a message to the country at large – we will not be bullied by the hoi polloi.”
While regular readers of Third Eye are well aware that the historicals, generally speaking, aren’t exactly my cup of tea, The Peterloo Massacre stands up there with the best of them, hearkening back to Davison’s own Visitation, if not the powerful class politics of Big Finish’s own A Thousand Tiny Wings.