The tenth Companion Chronicle of Series 3 was The Magician’s Oath by Scott Handcock. This Third Doctor story was directed by Nigel Fairs and the narration led by Richard Franklin as Mike Yates. The second part, that of the titular magician Diamond Jack, was played by Michael Chance.
Given Nigel’s involvement I assumed that this might well be an emotional story and was looking forward to hearing Richard Franklin reprise the role of Mike (observant viewers will note I have already reviewed Vengeance of the Stones though I did in fact listen to this first). Anyway, what did I think? Stay tuned for spoilers and opinion!
First the synopsis from the Big Finish product page:
“You must never tell. Not a soul. That’s the magician’s oath.”
A heatwave in July and a tube train is discovered buried in twenty inches of snow. A Saturday afternoon in Hyde Park and scores of people are instantly frozen to death where they stand while the sun beats down from the sky. Freak weather conditions in London, and the Doctor and UNIT are called in to find the cause.
Meanwhile, a street magician, who was witnessed at the scene of the tragedy, entertains crowds in Covent Garden. As Jo Grant and Mike Yates disobey orders and investigate alone, they discover an enemy with terrifying powers. And they may not live to share his secrets…
Set entirely in London this story paints a gripping picture of the tragedy of Hyde Park freezing in mid-summer and the tracking down of a magician whose powers are not illusory.
The plot carefully sidetracks The Doctor and allows Jo and Mike to go exploring and chase down the magician; meanwhile The Doctor locates an alien spacecraft and the threads tie together when we learn the connection between Diamond Jack and the alien craft. It all culminates on a confrontation on Tower Bridge during which Diamond Jack shares the secret of Mike’s love for Jo though she ends up forgetting.
The whole tale is wrapped as a flashback told be an older Mike Yates visiting a UNIT office with an artefact that Jo had given him after she accidentally used it to recover her memories of the whole Diamond Jack incident including the reveal of Mike’s unrequited love.
Faultlessly performed and riddled with atmosphere I found this triggered my mental picture of the story superbly. The emotions were well expressed and this I credit to Nigel Fairs.
Nothing critical to say about this – definitely one of the better ones.
What did you think?