Saturday 25 November 2017

30 Discs Hath November #25: The Sword of the Chevalier

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures 2.1:
The Sword of the Chevalier
written by Guy Adams

I was nervous going in to this one. I mean, its a story featuring an actual, historical nonbinary person. That's pretty untested territory for Big Finish even with as good as they've been getting actually representing LGBTQ+ people every now and again.

First, a word on language. Whenever I've heard of the Chevalier D'Eon they've been discussed in terms of being nonbinary, hency my use of the term above. In this play the Chevalier is treated as a trans woman. Its a legitimate matter of debate and so I'm going to simply refer to “the Chevalier” through out rather than use gendered terms or even the singular they (recent events in US politics having taught me how gender neutral language used to refer to trans people is often meant as an act of aggression). Given the period the Chevalier lived in its not like the contemporary language is any help, either, so I am respectfully bowing out of adjudicating on this one and leaving it for other, wiser and more educated voices not belonging to a cis man.

Anyway, the Doctor has brought Rose to Slough in the year “half past Blackadder series three” or, in other words, the Regency to see William Herschel's 40-foot telescope. Rose, unimpressed, wanders off and discovers a fencing match going on involving the legendary Chevalier D'Eon.

Now, I rather like the portrayal of the Chevalier here especially in the fact that the Chevalier is... well, a bit boorish: constantly telling tall tales about people met and battles fought in. Rose, of course, finds the Doctor's exasperation with this hilarious. Being a celebrity historical, of course, the Chevalier gets some wonderful moments including a couple of sword fights which might not be that impressive on audio but you could hardly expect the story to do without them. On a more audio-friendly note, the Chevalier is getting on in years here and wondering if there's anything left to do.

The alien baddies (sorry, folks, we're still lacking a New Series pure historical) are a bunch of slavers from Consortium Of The Black Asp, a sort of loose confederation of alien gangsters. They're an interesting idea, not only in this specific case but as an idea and I hope they get used somewhere else. Doctor Who is oddly light on alien organised crime, now I think about it.

Also, not to spoil anything but this story has absolutely the best take on the psychic paper I've ever heard even if Guy Adams does slightly wuss out on the punchline. 

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