The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance reviewed

The_Fragile_Yellow_Arc_of_FragranceMoris Farhi produced the script for The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance as a calling card. He was in discussions with the producers of Doctor Who and used this to get approval to pitch his script for Farewell Great Macedon. Never intended to be filmed, Big Finish has nonetheless produced an audio version which they incorporated into the First Doctor Box Set in their Lost Stories range. This was, like the other title, adapted by Nigel Robinson.

Is it just a curio or is there more to it?

The Story

Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance is a short story turned into a one CD performance. The synopsis from the product page is:

Fragrance is a paradise world – a utopia that the travellers are loathe to leave after a relaxing stay. But the way of life is different here. And so is the way of love – as Barbara discovers when the Fragile Yellow Arc is broken…

The TARDIS crew have been spending time on the world of Fragrance  and made friends with the locals. The locals are an advanced race who believe that life is lived in two arc and the second of these is the yellow arc of the title where everyone spends life as part of a couple. As the TARDIS crew prepare to leave one of the locals asks Barbara to stay as he is in love. Flattered she refuses letting him down gently, or so she thinks. Susan learns that inhabitants of Fragrance only love once and if rejected commit suicide. She tries to get Barbara to stay but in the end the Doctor makes the choice for Barbara and they leave in the TARDIS.

The Storytelling

Apart from usual great production this is a fascinating story and in many ways presages Susan’s departure in Dalek Invasion of Earth. An entirely reasonable tale in its own right it is interesting to hear a version of the show that would have taken a somewhat different path.

[pullquote]Susan is a mirror of her future self[/pullquote]

At this point any relationship between Ian and Barbara is nascent at best and there is no conflict between Ian and  Barbara’s local suitor – something that might have been used as a plot device by a more modern writer. Susan is also a mirror of her future self believing that Barbara should stay for reasons other than love. The Doctor also forces Barbara to stay by de-materialising when she is still on-board. Yet again this is the opposite of how he forced Susan to leave so that she could find love.

This is then a story well worth listening to and complements the main story in this boxset well. If only Moris Farhi had written more!

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