The Reign of Terror – Story #008


Jael’s Judgment:

Another audio, woohoo for me! Even though there is no video, I feel as though I have a good image of the story playing in my head. I know what the main characters look like and I have been not only to Paris, but specifically to the Conciergerie. I remember my first visit with my French “mother” and her daughter (my pen pal and host,) Capucine.

(Well that was fun! I just took a short break from writing this to rummage through my treasure box to find my first letter from Capucine over a decade ago. I have long since lost touch, but it makes me want to try to make contact again before my next trip there this March.)

I also took Tony to the Conciergerie several years ago when he came to travel and site-see in Northwestern France with me for a couple of weeks  after I finished studying over there. I fondly recall a woman holding me “otage” at a small cafe nearby while my non-french speaking husband went searching for an ATM. What lovely and fun memories this all brings up!

Anyway despite having some personal knowledge himself of the setting, I do not think Tony is a huge fan of this Doctor Who story. Yet the writers must have some affinity for France in this period. After all, as Susan points out, they make  la Terreur the Doctor’s favorite time in history. What does this say about the Doctor?

Personally I find the setting quite interesting, but the story did run a little long. A couple of times I found myself day dreaming and having to really concentrate on following the plot line. I wonder if this one may have actually been more captivating with the visual in addition to the audio. The good news is that the story picked up a little near the end. And while i do not remember the exact details of history, throughout the entire story I feel the environment of many different factions, ideals, and conspiracies was demonstrated fairly well. It was also nice that they touched on the idea of the “right” and “wrong” sides.

The bad news is that I get the impression my partner was even more bored than I…

  • Story Grade: C+


Tony’s Take:

Bored?!  BORED?!  Bored would be putting it lightly.  I was lucky to stay with the story because my interest was at a new low.  Sure, it was cool that I had been to a place where The Doctor was, but beyond that, nothing.  The story was meandering and with such a weak plot, so why did they stretch this out to 6 epsidoes?!

The good news?  Well, we finished our first full season of Doctor Who!  I have little more to say, because I couldn’t care less about this story.  Why couldn’t The Doctor be visiting Minneapolis on, say, October 26th and 27th, 1991?  This is history that I would LOVE to revisit if the story has to have no plot line.  (For those of you not well versed in Minnesota sports, this is game 6 and 7 of the 1991 World Series.  I was 7 and would love to revisit the greatest moment in local sport history.)

If you want further detail, here are my notes:

Great, another historical piece. Oh yay!
The Doctor is still crabby at Ian for disrespecting him and The TARDIS.
Ian gets The Doctor to say goodbye over a drink.  Way to go Ian, you got him to go with you to make sure you are in the right time and place.
Close, they’re in France.
Well, it sounds like Ian and Barbara still wish to stay, based on their dialogue.
It’s probably best that the gang didn’t choose a side.
Oh no! A fire at the farmhouse!  Ian and Susan are worried, and so am I!
OK, Madame Guillotine does sound cool.  Add that to the gang getting trapped in jail, they almost sound like thugs.
At least the splitting up is not on purpose.
Find Jack Sterling – says dying man to Ian.
And the mouth on The Doctor gets him forced into working a chain gang.
And The Doctor gets out of a jam by shenanigans at about the same time Barbara and Susan start their escape. (Poor Doctor, a whole 5k away!) …Too bad the girls got caught.
Glad the jailer left the keys in the lock, lucky Ian!
Oh to see The Doctor in his new wardrobe.
Uh oh, the tailor turned on The Doctor!
Yes!  Ian meets up with Barbara and Susan and of course the Frenchman offers wine.  He is one step closer to finding James Sterling, Webster told him of the man who took in Barbara and Susan, said he’d know James.
Glad that Susan and Barbara were caught and The Doctor is the highest ranking man on charge (2nd Officer).
Ian was set up when trying to search for Susan and Barbara, now he is being questioned by the soldiers.
Track 32 of the 2nd CD has a faint recording of the Doctor Who theme in the background while Barbara is talking… I thought I was hearing things!  (Through at least track 34)
If only The Doctor would meet up, then the gang could get on the road!!
The Doctor is forced to cut a deal in order to stay free and see Susan, the jailer is playing hardball.
Glad they are escaping under war.  Scary times, for sure.
“Our destiny is in the stars!”
  • Story Grade: D-
  • This historical piece was nothing more than a story with no plot and running in circles.  I don’t know what it would take to give a story an F, but this came close.  I tried to make sure that the medium in which I took this story in did not detract from my view of said story, again, this is why it was not a total F.  Maybe when the story comes out on DVD I can review it in a better context?


Thank you to one of the few cool parts of the entire story, the name Madame Guillotine.  That name just sounds intense; I would not like to meet her.  Also, thank you to the writer who gave The Doctor the line, “Our destiny is in the stars!”  That line sums up The Doctor and can be spoken by every Doctor.


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