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< The Daleks' Master Plan
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The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

Rating Votes
10
20%
11
9
20%
11
8
30%
17
7
18%
10
6
2%
1
5
2%
1
4
9%
5
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.0
Votes
56
Director:
Writer:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 5/17/19 10:34 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Massacre is a quiet little 3 part historical with a 4th episode that serves more as an epilogue and prep for the next serial than a conclusion to this one.

The story itself is well paced and avoids the common plot elements like being captured and escaping or the TARDIS being confiscated. Steven and the Doctor separate to explore but are separated and we spend the story following Steven as he tries to find the Doctor so they can leave. He is thrown into the midst of events as he befriends some of the Protestant Huguenots who have learned of a Catholic assassination plot against their leaders. The Huguenots suspect Steven of being a Catholic spy, a case not helped when they see the Catholic ringleader is an Abbott who is a dead ringer for the Doctor. This isn't the first time a doppelganger features in the plot and is far from the last but the way it is handled is quite interesting. Steven is convinced the Abbott is the Doctor in disguise and is trying to get close enough to him to confirm his identity, dragging the audience along in uncertainty as to whether or not this is the Doctor and, if it is, what he is playing at. It's a good twist and adds a nice layer to the historical intrigue.

Even with no remaining footage or stills this is a solid 8/10 story (using the Loose Cannon reconstruction as a basis).

Then we get to the final episode where the rating is bumped up a notch. Loose ends are wrapped up fairly quickly and The Doctor and Steven prepare to depart. The Doctor sends the Protestant serving girl Anne home and the pair dematerialize in the TARDIS before the Doctor explains the historical context of events and the massacre that would begin hours after they escaped. Up until now this story was business as usual for the duo with no acknowledgement of the traumatic events in the previous serial, The Daleks' Master Plan. I criticize that story for not doing more to explore the fact that the Doctor's actions caused loss of life but here there is no avoiding it. Katarina had made a noble sacrifice and gave her life willingly. Sara had miscalculated and died trying to help the Doctor escape the Daleks. But the Doctor sending poor innocent Anne into the hands of a murderous Catholic mob is inexcusable for Steven. This time he sees the Doctor's casual disregard for individual human life, his ability to shrug off death as an historical footnote despite having the means to save an innocent. It's an explosion that's overdue and well acted. After Steven storms out of the TARDIS the Doctor is left alone for the first time and is forced to think about his situation and his companions. As he reflects on Susan and the rest we get to see some real insight into the Doctor and he, as a character, has room to grow. I called Master Plan a coming of age story for Doctor Who as a series and part 4 of The Massacre is the real final chapter of that arc.

Dodo bumbles into the TARDIS interrupting his reflection and making sure the status quo isn't upset too much. When Steven runs back in the Doctor is back to his old tricks of kidnapping people through space and time (an accident, he claims, but him comparing Dodo to Susan moments after voicing his loneliness feeds more than a drop of suspicion). Steven accepts the tenuous coincidence that Dodo has the same last name as Anne did and has descendents from France as sufficient evidence that the Doctor didn't sign the poor girl's death warrant. No major lessons were learned but for a moment the Doctor (and the program) grew up a little and the seeds of this interaction will come back into play with more TARDIS teams to come.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/21/18 2:23 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Massacre of St. Bartholemew's Eve is a 4 part historical adventure beginning with War of God. It surrounds the build up to the true historical event of the title where a huge amount of Protestants in 16th Century France were massacred by the Catholic rulers of the time.

Such a horrific true event gives this story a very dark but very interesting feel and provides tremendous drama, particularly surrounding Steven's anger at the Doctor's insistence that they cannot interfere with the course of known history.

The writing, Paddy Russell's direction, acting by the regulars and the extremely impressive guest cast is of the highest possible quality and it is no surprise that the story comes from John Lucarotti who provided two of the earlier classic historical adventures. However, the script was actually heavily re-written by script editor Donald Tosh which has only served to further enhance it. Along with producer John Wiles, Tosh oversaw consistently high quality stories before they both resigned (after their wish to replace William Hartnell was overturned) with Tosh leaving part way through this production.

It is such a shame that the pure historical adventures, which in my view were often among the best stories, were disliked by Tosh and Wiles successors Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis so the likes of Lucarotti's all time classic stories would tail off to nothing within a year. I feel that these pure historicals with no sci-fi elements, along with rare pseudo historicals where aliens are attacking in a historical setting, provide the variety of story which makes it easier to sustain interest and quality over a whole series. I genuinely think that if the weaker sci-fi stories throughout all the later series were replaced by occasional pure historical adventures and more of the pseudo-historicals (which were always few and far between) it would have made the series even stronger and certainly in the 6th and 7th Doctor's era could have brought greater success and critical acclaim preventing the decline the show suffered. Anyway it did not happen and the 21st Century series when it eventually returned was re- energised and re-introduced numerous pseudo historical stories if not pure historicals. In fact, when Chris chibnall took over the show in 2018 and brought more frequent pseudo-historical stories in his first series in charge it has brought vocal criticism online from people saying it is not the Doctor Who they know which is ironic as it has more in common with the first 3 seasons ever than any season since! Personally I feel more variety in types of story is the best formula rather than having nearly all adventures in contemporary earth or space. It is a time travel show after all!

This story is a real classic, with top standards in all respects.

My Ratings: Episode 1 - 10/10, Episode 2 - 10/10. Episode 3 - 9.5/10, Episode 4 - 10/10

Overall: 9.88/10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 11/18/15 1:09 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Doctor and Steven's arrival in sixteenth France on the eve of a massacre of the city's Huguenot population is a well-acted piece. The final few minutes of the last episode feature some tense moments as Steven calls the Doctor on the carpet for his decision to leave Anna behind ahead of the Massacre leading the Doctor to a key moment of self-reflection in a key moment for the First Doctor.

As a historical, it's solidly acted throughout but doesn't quite rank up with many grander historicals like Marco Polo and has none of the comedy that characterized stories such as the Myth Makers. It's a well-acted serial chock full of political intrigue but it lacks a big central character. It's very much an ensemble piece where we never form as strong a connection to any of the historic characters as we would in other stories such as the Myth Makers.

Still, the quality of acting throughout and the final few minutes make this is a solid if not spectacular story.

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