It is 1917 and the Doctor, Ace and Hex find themselves
in a military hospital in northern France. But the terrifying,
relentless brutality of the Great War that wages just a few
miles away is the least of their concerns. The travellers
become metaphysical detectives when the Doctor receives orders
to investigate a murder - a murder that has yet to be committed.
Who will be the victim? Who will be the murderer? What is
the real purpose of the Hate Room? Can they solve the mystery
before the simmering hate and anger at Charnage hospital erupts
into a frenzy of violence...?
Who has previously touched upon the horrors of the trenches
of World War I in, for example, The War Games and (metaphorically
at least) Genesis
of the Daleks. The same "could you kill that
child" debate as we heard in Genesis is aired again
here. However, the series has never devoted an entire full-length
story to the subject and setting of the so-called War to End
All Wars - until now.
Day's tale of man's inhumanity to man isn't what Who
fans would call a "purely historical" (meaning sci-fi free)
narrative, though it comes close. The writer teases us with
the possibilities presented by a Sapphire & Steel style
metaphysical murder mystery, with the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy),
Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Hex (Philip Olivier) forced to stand
in for the temporal detectives; with the presence of Orwellian
hate sessions ahead of their time; and keeps us guessing as
to who might be behind it all. Is it the aliens from The
War Games? Could it even be the Players from Terrance
Dicks' trilogy of novels (Players, Endgame
Game)? Keep guessing... Day's conclusion does
not disgrace or trivialise the suffering of those who lost
their lives - to both enemy and "friendly" fire - in the conflict.
Cochrane, who has previously portrayed English toffs of days
gone by in the Who serials Black Orchid and
Light, is as stiff-upper-lipped as ever in
his starring role as the rather more sinister Lieutenant-Colonel
Brook. Indeed, this story is uniformly well acted, by both
the regular and guest cast.
a bit of a pity that the Seventh Doctor/Ace/Hex team have
to endure another grim historical narrative straight after
the similarly bleak The
Settling. However, that's my only real criticism
of this drama, a fitting tale to release so soon after Remembrance
this item online
compare prices online so you get the cheapest
deal! Click on the logo of the desired store
below to purchase this item.
All prices correct at time of going to press.