As the Doctor is trying to show Peri how to find her way around the TARDIS, something yanks the timeship violently off-course. By the time they reach the console room, however, the TARDIS has landed, depositing them in the sands of Egypt around 1400 B.C. Worse yet, as soon as they step outside the doors, they spot a young woman in a chariot being chased by the driver of another chariot. At Peri’s urging, the Doctor lends his assistance, saving the girl’s life – and earning both of the time travelers the favor of Erimem, the Pharaoh-in-waiting. But the Doctor is concerned – he can’t remember a female Pharaoh from this time period, and the other chariot’s driver was trying to kill her. Erimem asks the Doctor and Peri to accompany her to Thebes, where she plans to honor their heroics with a banquet, but only more court intrigue awaits them, including an assassination attempt thwarted by the Doctor, and the presence of an alien mind who can take humans – willing or unwilling – as hosts.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Caroline Morris (Erimem), Jonathan Owen (Antranak), Stephen Perring (Horemshep), Harry Myers (Yanis), Jack Galagher (Fayum), Daniel Brennan (Kishik), Mark Wright (Slave)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: I seem to be alone in having been slightly put off by Loups-Garoux, but whatever your opinion of that earlier story, you’ll find something to like about Eye Of The Scorpion. Writer Iain McNaughton’s author’s notes are absolutely right – a visit to ancient Egypt for the TARDIS crew is long overdue, and this four-parter not only redresses the balance by using that setting, but it uses it well. Now, forgiving for a moment that all of these ancient Egyptians are speaking English with British accents (actually somewhat less alarming than finding a horde of menacing aliens doing the same, if you think about it), the guest cast is superb, and Caroline Morris, as Erimem, manages to exude authority, uncertainty and inquisitiveness with her voice alone. Kudos must also go to the writer and actors for suggesting visual asides without telegraphing them to the listener with lame dialogue “signposting” – in at least one case, it actually results in a big (and intentional) laugh. Very skillful radio writing there. This story may also feature Peri’s sexiest costume ever; probably for the best that it’s not on television!
Certainly the biggest surprise of the entire story is that the Doctor and Peri take Erimem with them at the end of the story, and it’s a brilliant idea. Her character is fleshed out very nicely, and I look forward to seeing how she deals with the more fantastic adventures into which the TARDIS has a habit of throwing its occupants.