Doctor Who: The Behemoth Review

DW The Behemoth

The Main Range loops back round to the Sixth Doctor, and a new dose of his adventures with both Constance and the returning Flip. The Behemoth is an odd story, in that it’s pretty much an old fashioned First Doctor historical, with literally no aliens or sci-fi/fantasy things in general present, beyond The Doctor and his time travelling ways, obviously. This leads to an interesting tale about the slave trade, but it does take it’s time getting there… Let’s take a closer look!

Official Synopsis:

Bath, 1756 – and a very dashing gentleman known only as the Doctor is newly arrived in town, accompanied by his lady friends Mrs Clarke and Mrs Ramon. He’s created a stir among the gentlefolk of Georgian high society – and a stir in the heart of merry widow Mrs Theodosia Middlemint, rumour has it.

They are not the only strangers from abroad causing tongues to wag, however. The mysterious Lady Clara, come from Amsterdam in the company of the noble Captain Van Der Meer, has the whole of Bath agog. Who is she, really? What is she, really?

But there’s something terrible beneath the veneer of Georgian gentility. As awful a horror as the Doctor has ever exposed, hidden inside Balsam’s Brassworks. Something that needs to be brought to light, for the sake of all humanity.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (Colin Baker) – The colourful-coated Doctor would seem to be at home with posh, obnoxious people being more wordy than necessary, but thankfully the Sixth Doctor is still The Doctor, and he has no time for those in power…

Constance Clarke (Miranda Raison) – Coming from the hell that was WWII, Constance is still shocked at the past of her country and the way they treated those who are different…

Flip (Lisa Greenwood) – The recently married Flip is caught up in a strange love plot and a rhino kidnapping scheme… so, sort of the comic relief of the story, though when you actually breakdown what’s happening, not really…

Sir Geoffrey Balsam (Glynn Sweet) – A member of the upper-class who isn’t afraid to do unpleasant things if it means keeping his position… in other words, a member of the upperclass…

Mrs Middlemint (Georgina Moon)The sister of Sir Geoffrey whose husband died mysteriously in Africa, and yet she hasn’t really been curious about why she received no money…

Titus Craven (Liam McKenna)Desperate to make his mark in society now he has inherited some money, Titus is looking for a good deal… and a good wife! (He also has one of the most comic book villain-y names ever, by the way…)

Sarah and Gorembe (Diveen Henry and Ben Arogundade)A pair of slaves wishing to be free from under the boot of Sir Geoffrey, and the secret they both know could be their ticket…

Captain Douwemout Van Der Meer (Giles New) – Dutch travelling showman and his trusty pet rhino Lady Clara. So in other words, nothing to do with Jenna Coleman!

Plus more!

The Good:

DW The Behemoth cover

A good cover, though Colin Baker’s head just too obviously doesn’t fit the body it’s been pasted on…

While I’m not a fan of the setting (as you’ll see below!) I will say that at least a lot of the characters were well realised, and the trio of regulars were on fine form, so it’s a well acted play, no doubt. It deals with the slave trade and all the horrors that entails, and also adds in a bit of comedy with the Dutchman and his travelling rhino (though that often brings up animal slavery / cruelty issues, really…) The Doctor and his friendship with Mrs. Middlemint was almost touching, really, and Flip’s antics with both the rhino and her would-be new husband was often entertaining as well. Constance did very little in comparison, but she was a good voice of reason here and there…

Actually there isn’t much else to add here, the plot and characters were good, and it lead to a satisfying, if not easily foreseeable, conclusion (the slave married couple and others from their tribe get to be free working for Van Der Meer, but you know… slavery still continued, so…)

The Bad:

This just wasn’t going to be a good play for me personally because I just find the whole upper-class British business men and their tiresome speaking manor off-putting and inherently boring, and the same goes for the females, who all speak like the chubby, diamond-necklace wearing older women from 60s cartoons. It just … I don’t know, gets on my nerves, and it always has.

Whether you can get on with the time period or not, the first hour is REALLY slow going. The first episode especially was dull as hell, so… look out for that!

I wonder if they had to name the rhino “Lady Clara”, or whether they wanted endless speculation on internet forums right up until the story’s release by just listing “Lady Clara” in the description like she’s a person? If they didn’t, then they sure as hell got it anyway!

The Continuity:

Not much to go on, beyond following on from “Quicksilver” in that both Constance and the now married Mrs. Ramon are travelling with old Sixie.

Overall Thoughts:

A good example of a pure historical, and tells a good, if not a little clichéd, story about the horrors of the slave trade and those few lucky slaves who managed to be free. Sadly, I still found it quite dull, mostly due to the setting and characters being extremely irritating to me personally. Your mileage may very there, mind you! If you don’t mind the tiresome upper-class “what-what?” Brits then you can move this up to a four, but for me personally…

3 Star Listen

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