Taren Capel Review
by Luke Parker
As suggested by the title of the latest Kaldor City play, the man himself at last makes an appearance in the series. Magic Bullet have managed quite a coup to get David Bailie to reprise the role that he played way back in the mid-1970s, and he joins the impressive cast for what is probably the most exciting of the series so far. I will not reveal here exactly how Taren Capel returns to the story, but I will say that we are witness to a much more personal view of him than we ever saw on television. The passage of time does not appear to have altered Bailie's vocal intonations at all and he slips back into the role effortlessly. Most of the principal actors from that particular adventure have now appeared in this series, and all of the writers involved have successfully and cleverly continued an excellent story that appeared to be firmly finished when the Doctor and Leela left the Storm Mine. It is debatable whether or not many other Doctor Who stories could be spun-off in such an interesting and successful way as "The Robots of Death".
Alan Stevens' clever script uses the device of chess to show a "society in miniature." In his game with V31, psychostrategist Carnell uses the theme of chess to play out the unfolding events in the story. It is in this story that we finally learn some of the answers to the questions posed in previous instalments, casting earlier events in a very different light indeed. V31 plays quite a large role here, and finely follows in the footsteps of SV7. It is great to hear more from the Robots in this play and, as V31, Robert Lock is a worthy successor to Miles Fothergill, bringing the character to life with similar plummy tones to those used by his predecessor.
In this instalment, Iago turns detective. Carnell in particular is well-served by the script and his scenes with V31 are some of the best in the entire sixty minutes. The scheming Landerchild too is given a number of meaty scenes here and is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing people in the series. Peter Miles is really excellent as Landerchild and it is impossible to imagine anybody else playing the part. All of the other regular characters return, and there is more from "Hidden Persuaders" newcomers Danl Packard (Nicholas Courtney), Zala Vance (Jasmine Breaks), and rebel leader Paullus (David Collings).
The story arc steps up another gear with "Taren Capel", and things move along at a rattling pace. Everybody appears to be being manipulated by somebody, terrorism is on the increase, and a secret is revealed which could prove to be devastating for Kaldor City and its inhabitants. Every time a new chapter of the series appears, it always leaves the listener eager to know just what is going to happen next.