fredag den 13. marts 2009

Who Review #13 - the Romans

Everyone decides to take a rest, so they go back to Nero's Rome for a month's holiday. The Doctor and Vicki set off for Rome, leaving Barbara and Ian at the villa they are "borrowing" whilst its owner is away in Gaul. However, Ian and Barbara are taken captive by slave traders; Ian is sold as a galley slave whilst Barbara is taken to Rome, where she is bought as a slave for Empress Poppea. On their way, the Doctor discovers the body of a murdered lyre player, Maximus Pettulion. The Doctor is mistaken for Maximus by a centurion (who wanted Pettulion dead) and he and Vicki are escorted to Nero's court. The galley sinks in a storm and Ian escapes, only to be recaptured and sent to Rome as a gladiator. The centurion that escorted the Doctor and Vicki is murdered; there is a conspiracy which the Doctor must uncover, and he must also figure out a way to get out of playing the lyre in the arena as Nero wants to set the lions on him! Ian sees Barbara when Nero orders a gladiatorial battle. It turns out that Maximus had planned to murder Nero. Ian rescues Barbara, whilst the Doctor and Vicki slip away in the chaos when Nero sets fire to Rome - inspired when the Doctor's glasses catch the sun and set light to a map.

The companions meet up again at the villa, with the Doctor/Vicki and Barbara /Ian knowing nothing of the other's adventures, until later.

Dennis Spooner returns (after the Reign of Terror) with some great characters and a comic script, full of lovely dialogue. Naturally, it is jam packed with all the cliches about Rome.

Derek Francis is wonderful as Nero. The scenes where he is after Barbara (he is smitten with her) are fun - rather similar in a way to say Frankie Howard in the later "Up Pompeii". But he is also insanely cruel; he stabs a guard for not fighting hard enough. There is a wonderful piece of dialogue between the Doctor and Nero

Nero : "I have a little surprise for you. Guess what it is."

The Doctor : "Now, let me think. You want me to play in the arena?"

Nero : "You guessed."

The Doctor : "It's no problem at all. After all, you want to do your very best for your fellow artists: why not the arena?"

Nero : "Yes, yes, of course. That is exactly right."

The Doctor: "Well, I promise you, I will try to make it a roaring success."

Nero: "You'll have to play something special, you know."

The Doctor:"Of course, of course. Something serious, yes. Something they can really get their teeth into."

Nero:[Muttering] "You can't know, you can't. I've told no-one."

The Doctor :"Caesar Nero. I've always wanted to put on a good show; to give a great performance. After all, who knows, if I go down well, I might even make it my farewell performance. You see, I've always wanted to be considered as an artist of some taste, generally considered as palatable, hmm?"

Tavius, who bought Barbara, secretly holds a cross and wishes her luck in his last scene. A little touch about the development of christianity.

The Romans is a great story.

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