The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Lucie to Paris for a night on the town, but turbulence in the time vortex alters the date of their arrival, and the two time travelers beome separated in Nazi-occupied wartime Paris. The Doctor draws the attention of the Gestapo patrols, while Lucie is forced to begin her career on the theatre stage run by the eccentric – and very, very non-human – family Baroque. These goatlike creatures have the technology to disguise themselves as humans, but why hide at the epicenter of one of human history’s most violent conflicts? And why must their grotesque show go on each night, climaxing with the grisly death of one of their own? In the meantime, the Doctor is accused by the Nazis of being an enemy spy with a top-secret aircraft capable of disguising itself. The Doctor finds this notion amusing, until he realizes that he can’t locate the TARDIS either…
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Samantha Bond (Mother Baroque), Clifford Rose (Major Treptow), Christopher Fairbank (Doc Baroque), Paul Rhys (Max Paul), Thorston Manderlay (Lieutenant), Beth Chalmers (Helene)
Notes: Another Sarah Jane Adventures actor appears here; Samantha Bond has appeared several times as one of Sarah’s arch enemies, Mrs. Wormwood, in the series pilot Invasion Of The Bane and Enemy Of The Bane.
Timeline: after Wirrn Dawn and before The Cannibalists
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: With moments that range from goofy (Lucie fantasizing about Ewan McGregor) to incredibly dark (the realization of how Max Paul is being kept alive), The Scapegoat is an unusual audio adventure for the eighth Doctor. In many ways, it hearkens back to one of Big Finish’s earliest stories, The Shadow Of The Scourge, which dramatized the concept of depression by giving it a corporeal form. The Scapegoat does much the same thing, giving a sci-fi twist to victimization and abuse by bullies.
Even if the Doctor-vs.-the-Nazis trope is a bit overused in Doctor Who (though it’s nice to have Lucie’s horrified reaction to that instead of Ace complaining about running into Nazis again), this gives the story more edge and originality than if the concept had played out in a schoolyard. The story is very straightforward about where the listener’s sympathies should lie, but even then there’s still the mystery about why the situation exists to begin with.
Again, with Nazis being a recurring feature of Doctor Who (whether you’re talking about the literal variety or the more symbolic kind, i.e. Daleks), it takes some real effort to make them interesting, and fortunately The Scapegoat has a cast of supporting characters that can do that. It’s a terribly interesting take on a concept that could’ve been handled in a much more literal (and less engrossing) manner, and it doesn’t even wrap the story up in a pat way, so The Scapegoat gets a hearty recommendation.