Tsar Wars: A New Hope?

Before I start I have to admit to disliking more of Paul Magrs work than I like – I didn’t like Hornet’s Nest if that helps you peg where my thoughts lie. I picked this first volume – Tsar Wars – of a new Fourth Doctor series – Serpent Crest –  up with trepidation – would it be a hit or a miss?

Read on to find out…


Despite the tremendous title of Tsar Wars, this tale of robots / look-alikes / housekeepers / rebellion failed to work for me on several levels:

1) Tom Baker was so far OTT in places as to sound disconnected (roll on the Big Finish adventures in 2012)
2) The Mrs Wibbsey housekeeper in space unmoved by what is happening fell flat as an idea. Maybe this is a deliberately style element to Paul Magrs work if so it failed for this listener
3) The look-alike of the Doctor is the arch villain (or is he!) but dies quickly before it gets too complicated
4) A general sense of drifting around focussed on dialogue rather than coherent plot. Almost pantomime ‘we’ve just teleported in to capture you at useful moments in the plot both as a set-up and as a rescue

This all feels rather harsh – there were some good points and good performances (mostly from the background characters i.e. the humans and robots).

In conclusion

Others may feel I am being unfair – for me on this evidence I wouldn’t buy this series. More No Hope than New Hope I’m afraid [Star Wars joke]

3 Comments Add yours

  1. kenyawoodstock says:

    At some point I plan on listening to this story, but, like you, I was underwhelmed by “The Hornets Nest”. Tom Baker seemed to be playing himself, not The Doctor. I look forward to hearing what Big Finish does with him.


    1. HelmStone says:

      I think you sum it up well – yes Tom plays himself rather than the Doctor


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