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Big Finishing Move: ‘Doctor Who: The Peterloo Massacre’

Greetings one and all to Big Finishing Move! This lovely little chucnk of the internet is where I get to give the various releases from the one and only Big Finish and give you my thoughts on whether you should put down some cash to give a listen or you should save that money so you can pick up whatever the new flavor of potato chip is (they come out with new ones every other week these days) the next time you hit up the supermarket.

For today’s handy installment we are once again running with the Fifth Doctor as he gets hip deep in another historical mess. Let’s take a deeper look and see what makes this story tick.

TARDIS Team: The Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan

The TARDIS is doing what it does best with the Fifth Doctor at the helm, malfunction. Seriously, Peter Davison’s version of the character is one of the worst drivers of all the Doctor’s regenerations. Crash landing in Manchester in the early 1800’s the TARDIS crew will have to wait until the auto-repairs have completed before getting back to their regularly scheduled adventuring. Being taken in by the people at Hurley Hall all seems to be going well enough until the Doctor is made aware that is August of 1819. The Peterloo Massacre is about to happen and Tegan and Nyssa are going to be right in the middle of it. Can the Doctor get them to safety or is it all too late.

Doctor Who doesn’t normally do straight historicals that often. Usually there is some interplanetary/inter-dimensional threat to be dealt with but you aren’t going to find any of that here. Instead we get a look at at all the tragic missteps that pushed the class divides  so far apart as the story marches toward the massacre. It also looks at the promise as well as the pitfalls of industrialization. As an American I wasn’t familiar with the Peterloo Massacre at all and for anyone interested the story does lay out the basics of what happened and why nicely.

The downside here is the characters get preachy. Doctor Who as series gets away with preaching whatever point it is trying to make more than any other genre property save Star Trek, but even then writers can push things too hard. Paul Magrs has our leads, especially Tegan and in the later half Nyssa speak at length about the mistreatment of the common people and how unfair it all is, and while I don’t disagree with with what they are saying I wish it wasn’t said with all the subtly of a jackhammer. Also the character of Cathy felt like a sacrificial lamb instead of a full fledged person. Again, I have no issue with the points these characters are making, only that things at times felt forced where a little more finessed approach in some of the interactions these people would  strengthen the work and get the point across better.

This is a good story, but it is one with obvious flaws. It tells an important story in an imperfect way. It is understandable given the seriousness of the subject matter so while I do bring it up I don’t think it should deter anyone from giving this story a try. The story covers a bloody bit of history that is worth being talked about and remembered and I would recommend this for anyone like me who didn’t know this story beforehand.

Purchase Doctor Who: The Peterloo Massacre Here:


Hey, thanks again for popping by. Since your still here I’ll let you in on a little something, I think you might like to check out the rest of One Of Us for all the other great stuff we have available. We got all kinds of articles, reviews, podcasts, and even some audio dramas available, including a nifty new sci-fi survival series called The Orphans.

Next time:

Check out my previous reviews:

Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite,  Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction, The Labyrinth of Buda Castle, The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices, Doom Coalition 2, The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death, The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 1, Gallery of Ghouls, The Trouble with Drax, The Pursuit of History And Casualties of Time (dual review), Aquitaine

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