The Doctor and Romana II arrive in Paris in 1979, which as it turns out is the City of Death. They meet some thugs, a private detective and a count, who is not what he seems. More shenanigans ensue as the fate of the earth hangs in the balance while Count Scarlioni counts down to ending the rule of the human race by making sure it never started.
‘City Of Death’ is a frothy adventure and it is a lot of fun. It has a time-travel plot with enormous holes which form the backbone of classic ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not even going to mention that the effective but presumably manufactured human mask worn by the Count seems to have manifested itself throughout history even before humans had been invented. It’s all been said already and probably in many different languages.
The production team used up the budget running around Paris to no great effect, the best work was done in the studio and I would have happily pasted over a miniature Eiffel Tower over it to avoid the grimacing pair as they run round like the 11th and Rose. Happily, all this is invisible on the audio. Again, the head and hands of Douglas Adams who had to rewrite the script are fairly obvious and many of the themes are those he came back to again and again.
There is a lot going on here and having an alien fractured in time with the potential to destroy the Earth is quite an ambitious plot. There are no shortage of guest actors including Julian Glover and Catherine Snell as the Count and Countess Scaroth. Eleanor Bron and John Cleese appear as the art critics who are impressed by the TARDIS’ disappearing act. The dialogue is often witty and there is never a dull moment. Happily, apart from hand holding, apparently necessary as Tom moved much faster than Lalla, there is no annoying lovey-dovey stuff in the script. It does get on and do the job. The private detective Duggan (Tom Chadbon) provides the human counterpoint of incredulity and the mad scientist Kerensky is David Graham.
Lalla Ward is interviewed by producer David Darlington and this is a fascinating section of memories about this shoot. David Darlington also wrote the linking script. The original TV script is included as a PDF file on the second CD.
(pub: Audio Go/BBC. 2 CD2 118 minute story. Price: CD: £ 6.62 (UK), Download: £ 3.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-47130-148-3)
narrator: Lalla Ward with the full cast
check out website: www.audiogo.co.uk