Kingdom Of Silver / Keepsake

Doctor Who: Kingdom Of Silver / KeepsakeThe Doctor arrives on the planet Tasak, a pre-nuclear industrial civilization struggling to recover from years of civil war. The nation of Argentia helped to bring the fighting to an end by sharing medical and technological advances based on alien technology discovered on a remote island. Having arrived just before a grand summit meeting of all of Tasak’s nations, the Doctor is scrutinized, especially since he’s providing cover for the first person he met on Tasak, an android agent named Temeter. Scouting reports of Cyberman technology that have survived the Orion War, Temeter thinks he knows where the Argentia are getting their unusually advanced technology…and he doesn’t entrust the Doctor with this fact until it’s too late to escape the truth: the island is the site of a Cyberman tomb, and the technology used and distributed by Argentia is helping to prime the entire planet for a Cyberman takeover.

Order this CDwritten by James Swallow
directed by Ken Bentley and Nicholas Briggs
music by David Darlington

Kingdom Of Silver Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Neil Roberts (Temeter), Kate Terence (Sara), Terry Molloy (Magus Riga), James George (Merel), Bunny Reed (Ardith), Holly King (Etin), Nicholas Briggs (Cybermen)

Keepsake Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Neil Roberts (Temeter), Kate Terence (Sara), Terry Molloy (Examiner 2), James George (Corvus), Nicholas Briggs (Examiner 1)

Timeline: between The Death Collectors and…

Notes: The audio Cybermen have suddenly developed a clanking mechanical march – obviously inspired by the sound of the new TV series Cybermen, whose voices are also provided by Big Finish producer Nicholas Briggs.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: A refreshing change of pace, Kingdom Of Silver fits neatly into the Sylvester McCoy era with its pacey three-part story. I’ve also got to say that there’s something equally refreshing about this story involving a Cyberman threat to a planet other than Earth. Even in the history of televised Cyber-stories, it seems like the handle-eared menaces really have it in for the homeworld of humanity. Here, it just happens to be another lost Cyber-tomb (which in itself brings back all kinds of memories), on a world that has nothing to do with Earth. But there’s a catch to this three-piece meal of Cyberman fun.

The catch is that it’s a tie-in/foreshadowing story for the upcoming second Cyberman audio miniseries. I wasn’t truly that jazzed by the first such series, and I can’t say that the second series is at the top of my anticipation list. Even though the second series, like Kingdom Of Silver, is being written by James Swallow rather than Nick Briggs, he’ll be following Briggs’ sleeve notes closely. Kingdom is fine on its own, though I would’ve been happy without the Cyberman miniseries/Sword Of Orion references that seem to load down every other Big Finish Cyber-story. The one-part story Keepsake, on the other hand, appears to be there solely to provide a more in-depth tie-in to the second Cyberman series, and it’s a slightly dreary exercise in background-building for that upcoming series.

One nice surprise about both stories is that they feature actor Terry Molloy essaying roles other than the one for which he is most famous. When not ranting and raving on behalf of classic series Davros, Molloy’s kindly voice is a great one for audio, and unless you actually know his normal speaking voice, you probably wouldn’t suspect it’s him. He plays a central character in Kingdom Of Silver and does a great job of it. Neil Roberts, who has appeared in such series as Charmed, Sliders and even Babylon 5 (as the junior monk in the stopgap fourth season finale The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars), gives the character of Temeter – one of the very few characters to inhabit both stories) some weight and credibility; I expect his performance will probably be one of the high points of the upcoming Cyberman miniseries.