For the majority of people in the world who have heard of Doctor Who, I would be prepared to bet that the first actor they think of connected with the role is Tom Baker.
I think it is fair to say that he inhabited the role in a way no actor before or since has done, so it was delightful when, a few years ago, he decided to embrace the role one again, and perform in both these audio adventures by AudioGo and a new series from Big Finish.
This particular story is the first in a new story arc written by Paul Magrs, who Who fans will be familiar with from his many contributions to Who Lore, not least the creation of the wonderful IrisWildthyme.
Fan’s of Robbie Morrison’s 2000AD series Nicholi Dante will no doubt see something familiar about the title of this story, as well as being equally familiar with the setting.
Here, the Doctor and his faithful housekeeper Mrs Wibbsey are swept from their peaceful cottage into a world of court intrigue in a far future modelled very much on late 19th Century Russia.
The story unfolds cleverly, with a number of nods towards Imperial Russia, and there is some amusement to be had in seeing Baker having an absolute ball playing dual roles, one of which is a not-so-sly nod at one of the parts, apart from the Doctor, that he is most famous for.
As well as being a good self contained adventure, this also sets up an interesting story arc for the rest of the series and has an ending that insists the listener comes back from the next instalment.