Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 4/26/16 7:53 pm
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.
The latest Fifth Doctor trilogy ends with a pure historical episode. In it, the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan find themselves on the eve of the Peterloo Massacre, and must find a way to get out unscathed.
I was a little worried about The Peterloo Massacre for two reasons. The first is that it's coming after the excellent Aquitaine and the second is that it's a pure historical. Big Finish tends to be very hit-or-miss with their historical stories. However, I needn't have worried. The Peterloo Massacre is an excellent story, and a great historical episode.
In a different move, Peter Davison actually takes a back seat here, more than the other two stories of this trilogy. He does get some great moments, like his barely contained fury at Mr. Hurley in the final part. But this story focuses on Nyssa and Tegan, making them the main main characters here. Tegan gets some great moments here, acted well by Janet Fielding, but it's really Sarah Sutton as Nyssa who takes the cake. Throughout the story, both have an anger at the conditions of Mr. Hurley's factory and the treatment of the commoners, but it's really the lashing that Nyssa gives at the end that showcases just how good Sutton is. There's a righteous fury in her voice; she's seen a lot of violence and genocide and massacres throughout her life; here, her anger at that comes bubbling to the surface. It's an excellent performance, and a nice change in pace for the character.
The story is a standard "it's a fixed point in time" story, but as I said above, it greatly benefits from the extra emotion that Nyssa and Tegan bring to the story. They did a really good job building up the soundscape; the factory has that clamorous sound and the city sounds like it's bustling with visitors in for a protest. And while the ending felt a bit rushed and unsatisfying, especially as none of the militia truly had anything bad happen, it doesn't detract too much from the story. While I'm on it, I have a feeling that Mr. Hurley, not his son William, was the father of Peter. I feel it fits a bit better with his reaction to Cathy's death.
Overall, I feel that this trilogy was one of the strongest ones the Fifth Doctor has had in a while. The ending really drives it home, with a solid historical, elevated by an emotional performance by Sarah Sutton. The few small quibbles I have with the story don't outweigh the positives of this excellent story.