The Doctor, Charley and C’rizz continue their search for the TARDIS into another “zone,” where they find themselves on a jungle world where a band of freedom fighters is taking refuge from their pursuers. Led by, and fanatically devoted to, the mysterious Major Koth, the guerillas have strange changes in attitude on very little notice. When the Doctor is captured and taken into a nearby cave where the fighters have set up camp, he becomes aware of a powerful telepathic presence, and he suspects that it is influencing everyone else around him – a suspicion confirmed when Charley betrays him during their attempt to escape, and when C’rizz takes up arms to help the freedom fighters. But is Koth the mind manipulating his army, or is he just the first victim?
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Conrad Westmaas (C’rizz), Michael Keating (Major Koth), Alan Rothwell (Janto), Ann Carus-Wilson (Vayla), Dale Ibbetson (Quillian), Jeremy James (Bryn), Vivien Parry (Tysus), Alison Sterling (Koth’s Wife), Stephen Perring (The Kro’Ka)
Timeline: after The Natural History Of Fear and before Faith Stealer
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The final adventure in this “season” of the eighth Doctor’s adventures seems like fairly standard stuff with a few twists. Michael Keating – best known for his four-year stint as Vila, the only character to appear in all 52 episodes of Blake’s 7 – is deceptively engaging as Major Koth, with a seemingly friendly demeanor hiding something that’s equally sinister and tragic. But in some places Twilight Kingdom‘s story is very familiar stuff: the rebel soldiers here sometimes seem like refugees from The Caves Of Androzani, and there’s a fairly major element of the story that is perhaps a bit too close to a central element of the Babylon 5 two-parter A Voice In The Wilderness – the resemblance is uncanny. There also seems to be a major element similarly borrowed from the Blake’s 7 episode Trial, so Michael Keating probably felt right at home. The character best-served here is C’rizz, as we continue to explore his pacifist nature (though just three stories into his stint as the Doctor’s companion, he’s been mentally taken over twice, so it’s difficult to tell if he’s acting out of character until someone verbally points this out to the listener). The biggest complaint I can lodge against Twilight Kingdom is that all of these borrowed elements do not a new story make… though it could also be that this story is, in and of itself, just fine, and perhaps I have become too accustomed to higher-concept eighth Doctor stories like Scherzo and The Chimes Of Midnight.
The real meat to be gleaned from Twilight, however, is a handful of revelations about the universe the Doctor is in – right down to the “season finale” zinger at the end of this story. It’s an interesting listen, but it’s nothing that inspires me to go back and put the CDs in the player again.