The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler are back! David Tennant returns to helm another three stories for Big Finish, this time with Billie Piper as Rose by his side. Today, I’ll be reviewing the second of the three new stories, The Sword of The Chevalier by Guy Adams.
1791 and the Doctor and Rose get to meet one of the most enigmatic, thrilling and important people in history: The Chevalier d’Eon. She used to be known as a spy, but then she used to be known as a lot of things. If there’s one thing the Doctor knows it’s that identity is what you make it. Choose a life for yourself and be proud. Mind you, if the Consortium of the Obsidian Asp get their way, all lives may soon be over…
Let’s go back in time, to somewhere extremely exciting. We’ve just been to Norwich in Infamy of The Zaross, now it’s time to go somewhere brand new, somewhere revolutionary, somewhere where the UK version of The Office was based. Let’s go to Slough! Yeah, that’s right. All of time and space, let’s go to Norwich and Slough. You’re rocking this “anywhere” thing, Doctor.
Guy gives us a great little history lesson in the Chevalier d’Eon, a genuine character from history, who, until this point, I had no idea existed. I know that normally I criticise the exposition dumps in any story, but in this case, it was extremely relevant to the story, mainly as it also informed Rose of who the Chevalier was too.
After a brief fencing match between the Doctor and the Chevalier, it seems that the two hit it off almost instantly, and the chemistry between David Tennant and Nickolas Grace is electric, which is aided by Guy’s wonderful script. The Chevalier could easily have been portrayed as a caricature of herself, but she’s handled with tact and dignity throughout.
I have to admit that I love the amount of humour that is in The Sword of The Chevalier, as it really harkens back to the first half of Series 2; the Doctor and Rose are galavanting around the cosmos, having fun and getting into rather humorous scrapes. Around halfway through the story, the Doctor falls victim to a case of mistaken identity, and is believed to be someone from a rather different circle than Time Lord society.
The alien threat in The Sword of The Chevalier is yet again an original concept from a Big Finish writer, although the threat in this story couldn’t be more different than the Zaross. This time, there’s something incredibly sinister afoot… and the term two-faced has never been more relevant.
Rose gets a great scene with the alien menace, and Billie Piper plays her as feisty as ever. If you compared the Rose Tyler in this story to the one we first met in Rose, it would seem like two different people; it’s times like these that you really can appreciate the character development of the Doctor’s companions. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
There are elements of this story that reminds me somewhat of The Family of Blood, or even Shada, and I absolutely adore it. The alien gets a great surprise though from the Chevalier, whose confidence borderlines arrogance and ends with one of the most action packed finales in recent memory from Big Finish. Nothing like a traditional fencing match on an audio platform, eh?
The conclusion of The Sword of The Chevalier is actually somewhat of a fairytale ending, which, if you’re familiar with Guy Adams’ other work, is rather surprising. Then again, sometimes the good guys have to win, have a laugh and go forth to find a Raspberry Ripple.
If I had one criticism of this release, it’s that it’s too quick; we don’t really get time to invest in the villain too much, and they’re kinda just evil because they can be. There’s a revelation about them, which I felt could have been expanded on, which I won’t talk about for fear of spoiling the story for you; but I feel like an extra scene of the villain talking to themselves could have added some gravitas to them and made them a more memorable foe.
Overall, The Sword of The Chevalier is another strong release that fits perfectly within the era of the Tenth Doctor and Rose; there’s some slight social commentary I feel in the way that the Chevalier is perceived by other characters in the story, and I feel like Doctor Who is always at its best when commentating on events that are relevant today. Guy Adams provided another strong script, which was an enjoyable listen, as well as being educational regarding a fascinating woman from history.
Should you want to purchase The Sword of The Chevalier, it’s currently available as a single release from Big Finish for £10.99 on CD or an £8.99 download which you can purchase here.
Alternatively, you could buy The Tenth Doctor Adventures Series 2 Box Set featuring all three stories for £35 on CD or £25 on download which you can purchase here.