Doctor Who - The Veiled LeopardIt’s Monte Carlo, 1966, and Peri and Erimem are on an assignment: the Doctor has sent them to steal the Veiled Leopard, a spectacular diamond with unusual markings at its center. But this time, the TARDIS travelers are on their own, and the Doctor isn’t there to help them deal with someone else who’s there for the same reason, to say nothing of the other shady characters populating the casino. Two of the other guests in particular stick out like a sore thumb, which is an odd coincidence, because their names are Hex and Ace – and they’ve been sent by the Doctor to make sure that nobody steals the Veiled Leopard.

written by Iain McLaughlin & Claire Bartlett
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Nicola Bryant (Peri), Caroline Morris (Erimem), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Lizzie Hopley (Lady Lillian Hawthorne), Alan Ruscoe (Peter Mathis), Steven Wickham (Gavin Walker), Stephen Mansfield (Jean, the Commisionaire)

Notes: Alan Ruscoe appeared in almost half of the episodes of the first season of the revived Doctor Who, playing heavily-costumed parts such as Autons, Slitheen and assorted androids; he also appeared in the first two movies of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Steven Wickham was Lister’s blushing GELF bride in the Red Dwarf episode Emohawk: Polymorph II. If you’re trying to fit written and audio Doctor Who into the same continuity, the fifth and seventh incarnations of the Doctor met up again both before and after this story; the Missing Adventures novel “Cold Fusion” takes place further back in the fifth Doctor’s life (when he’s traveling with Tegan, Nyssa and Adric), and much later in the seventh Doctor’s (when he’s no longer traveling with Ace or Hex, but instead shares the TARDIS with Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester).

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: A fun little adventure in two parts – each “episode” focusing on one pair of companions – The Veiled Leopard is the most recent Doctor Who Magazine exclusive produced by Big Finish Productions, and it’s an interesting experiment; if it weren’t for the fact that so many Doctor-less audio adventures have already taken place in the Doctor Who universe during Big Finish’s reign, one could almost say this is the audio equivalent to Love & Monsters.

The Veiled Leopard could probably be considered a throwaway story, save for the appeal of the interaction of the two dynamic duos. Well, at least one of them, anyway; the Peri/Erimem side of the story is far more interesting (possibly because the two actresses have had more time to hone their characters and build the relationship that’s portrayed), while the Ace/Hex episode is just a bit odd, for lack of a better description, what with Ace apparently talking to herself over a wireless radio (or at least that’s the impression the sound design gives). When Hex tells Ace she’s being a surrogate Doctor (and then she starts to do a vocal impersonation of Sylvester McCoy), it’s almost stepping right out of the story. But that may be too much analysis for a single-CD bit of fun, which is what the DWM discs tend to be.