Reviewed By: Kamelion
Review Date: 2/8/19 8:58 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.
The Sword of the Chevalier d’Eon
Slough, England 1791
When Doctor Who returned to TV after a 16 year break from broadcast in 2005, most of us were elated and beyond belief. There was a fear that BBC was no longer capable of producing 'Real' Doctor Who due to a generational gap. Some of us like myself were able to watch it a week early due to some Internet 'leak' and there began the new Doctor Who for the next generation of families and viewers.
Rose was not only the title of the first episode to be broadcast since 1989 yet she (Billie Piper) was the new companion to Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor (and the first actor to portray the Doctor whom was born after the series began in 1963) for a total of 13 episodes before the first 21st century Earth regeneration into the Tenth Doctor player by David Tennant. Rose remained.
As Doctor Who was reaping in new and old viewers alike we had a show producer known as Russell T. Davies, an openly gay man whom had worked on shows such as Queer as Folk. Mr. Davies was active in injecting other than heterosexual influences into Doctor Who - a historically childrens' program. While there are no credits to Russell T. Davies listed on 'The Sword of the Chevalier' he would certainly be proud of the decision by author Guy Adams to touch on one of the most historical cross dressers in British History, The Chevalier d’Eon (Born in France 1728, Died in the UK, London 1810).
When Big Finish released "The Tenth Doctor Adventures" in November of 2017 they brought back David Tennent and Billie Piper in what would be the most extreme example of recent full circle in the history of Big Finish. The most recently famous actor and actress back again in full audio drama. The Sword of the Chevalier was the middle story of the box set, preceded by Infamy of the Zaross and followed by Cold Vengeance. The trio of stories do not form a story line together and can be enjoyed on their own.
Let us address Rose as portrayed by Billie Piper. How did she come across on audio only after a decade away from being the companion on TV? She sounds a little bit older of course yet her portrayal of Rose was refined and engaging. I was very pleased with her performance and after being one of the Big Finish subscribers whom might have had "raised eyebrows" in regards to the return of Ten, it didn't take me past the first three minutes of The Sword of the Chevalier to be back in 2003-04 again when Doctor Who by BBC was surprising and pleasing again.
David Tennant? Seems he is a natural for radio / audio drama as his character portrayal of The Doctor whom he lasted acted as seven years earlier was as fresh and typical of his fast and loud speaking style as it ever was. Even more and better choppy sentences expound during his cerebral revelations as ever than before.
The story starts out with the TARDIS materializing in Slough, England in 1791, a place with a name that sounded surprisingly boring to Rose. They step out in the shadow of William Herschel's 40 foot telescope. After a brief obligatory sword fight with The Lady Chevalier d’Eon they take a peek at the Doctors main interest of the telescope. And as luck would have it he catches the view of a Fanged Logo on a ship approaching Earth by none other than the Consortium of the Obsidian Asp.
While the portrayal of a cross dresser in 1791 may at first seem to be the author's tribute to Russell T. Davies and his agenda for preaching from the rooftops when given the ability, this historical story manages to capture and convey what feels like it could be an authentic account for the Chevalier d’Eon and how she / he manipulated the times and views of gender neutrality hundreds of years ago. Yet unlike the agendas of Russell T. Davies this does not distract from nor overpower the story or characters with a personal objective yet relies on historical account. Author Guy Adams most certainly did spend some evenings reviewing the historical legacy of the Chevalier d’Eon.
I personally love the historical stories of Doctor Who and this was an enjoyable journey for all of it's just under 1 hour in length. If you enjoyed Rose and Doctor #10, 'back in the days' of their TV broadcasts - you will most certainly enjoy the Sword of the Chevalier d’Eon.
Notable line: "Who cares about gender anyway it's an archaic concept." - The Tenth Doctor