July 2019 brought the Sixth Doctor and Peri back to the main range with Memories of a Tyrant. It’s been a while since Nicola graced the monthly releases but time has not diminished her ability to bring Peri back on audio. Roland Moore’s story takes the listener in one direction then switches tack. Let’s chat…
Memories of a companion
Here’s the synopsis:
What if you’d committed a truly dreadful crime but couldn’t remember?
The Doctor takes Peri to the Memory Farm – a state of the art space station where hidden memories can be harvested and analysed. To their surprise, they find the station in lock-down and all its resources dedicated to probing the memories of an elderly man. Garius Moro may, or may not, have been responsible for the deaths of billions of people many years ago, but he simply can’t remember.
The assembled representatives of two opposing factions, each with their own agenda, anxiously wait for the truth to be unlocked from Moro’s mind. But when a memory does eventually surface, everyone is surprised to learn that it is of Peri…
Not only does a patient on Memory Farm have memories of Peri she doesn’t have, but Peri herself also gets to explore memory technology by going back into her own past. It’s a good way to cover exposition given the context.
For a long time this seems to be a story about time travel (we assume Peri and the Doctor will go back in time to carry out the actions Garius witnessed) then a murder happens. Cue a classic isolated group detective story.
There’s a lot more going on, and things take a turn for the challenging when the Doctor ends up in prison.
The difficult third part
In many main stories there’s a mid-point twist and for the main range this mean part three has to take the listener somewhere new and give a new perspective on events. Alternatively we get a filler before the action starts again in part four.
In Memories of a Tyrant the third part is filler in a lot of ways, yet does give Colin Baker a real chance to do something much different on microphone. Peri also has time to try to solve the mysteries on the Memory Farm and it’s a good way to remind us just who Peri is when the Doctor isn’t around.
There’s a level on which the plot with memory technology is inevitable, but that doesn’t diminish what is mostly a pacy outing for this TARDIS team.
It even manages to touch a few ethical nerves as well, never a bad thing!