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< 2.1 - Infamy of the Zaross
2.3 - Cold Vengeance >

2.2 - The Sword of the Chevalier

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Reviewed By: KamelionReview 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
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Reviewed By: komodoReview Date: 2/22/18 11:13 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I got the feeling that someone was a fan of the historical figure Chevalier D’Eon, and went to the trouble of writing a story for them. This often ends badly.

Ten is a good choice to do this story, but it is mostly silly. Ten's lines and mannerisms are written correctly, but Rose feels kind of lost and as an audio companion, she now plays second fiddle to the legendary Lucie Miller. Perhaps it was the writing, but I did not feel Billie Piper was given much to do.

Everything in this story has been done before and done better.
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Reviewed By: YorickReview Date: 11/30/17 6:55 pm
1 out of 7 found this review helpful.

This is not a good story, there is a massive absence of tension and drama and an abundance of jokes that don't quite hit the mark. The performances, other than Tennant and Grace sounded like they were bored stiff. Billie Piper is just there for the cheque and not up to Tates level last year.
If the aliens had to obey a superior life form then just tell them to turn the bombs off. No need for a sword fight and sticking a sword in a computer. Just not a very well thought out story at all
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 11/30/17 4:57 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The second story in this set takes us backwards in time to the English town of Slough in 1791. The Doctor and Rose in their travels meet the famous Chevalier d'Eon, a uniquely androgynous French diplomat, ex-spy, and soldier who fought in the Seven Years War. An enigma of sorts that even gives the Doctor a run for his money, she fascinates everyone around her and as the Doctor and Rose interact and are somewhat forced upon her, a mysterious spaceship lands nearby with a dark purpose for the people of the area. The Consortium of the Obsidian Asp have arrived and they have plans to kill.....Honestly I had never really heard of the Chevalier before now and so didn't really have any idea on what to expect going into this story and it's premise / characters. Thankfully, the story and the Doctor himself gives us some very nice exposition at the beginning of the audio which I normally disapprove but here felt it to be necessary and extremely interesting. It's a figure that I think deserves more attention especially in our modern times and changing attitude and I'm glad to have been introduced to her through this audio. The Chevalier herself is played by Nickolas Grace in a civilized and yet powerfully electric performance with subtle nuances here and there that surprised me for a story such as this. Her chemistry with Ten and Rose is wonderful and brings me back to earlier stories and their interactions with other figures such as Queen Victoria. Speaking of which, Tennant and Piper remain good although their attitudes in this one did start to bring back memories of annoyance at times reminiscent of their earlier stories. Piper in particular becomes a tour de force against the aliens in a scene and it really sells her place as a companion and where she's comes from her store days with Nine. The plot to this story however has problems and feels a little bit less tangible and strong than 'Infamy'. The connection between the historical figure / time period and the villain is somewhat tenuous at best and the Consortium aren't very memorable either falling more into the standard alien mafia menace compared to the rather more interesting Zaross from the previous story. The side cast and voices also really grated on me at times and the aristocratic nonsense that takes up a good chunk of the middle of the story didn't work as well as it should've. What really sells this one and keeps it good is thankfully the Chevalier herself who proves to be a fighter and essential to the climax in a fencing match that is one of the most action-packed I've heard from Big Finish in a long while. There are also a ton of references all around that made me giggle especially the specific mention of Blackadder that gave my ears a little jolt that I loved. In short, I did enjoy this story especially on how it touches and commentates on a historical figure that has an immense amount of levity and significance today. But it definitely feels like the middle child of this second set and a step down from 'Zaross' in terms of quality.  

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