|Running Time||60 mins|
With Sylvester McCoy as The Professor, Sophie Aldred as Ace
John Wadmore as Le Compte, Andrew Fettes as Devlin
Bryonie Pritchard as Somerset, Michael Wade as Lambert
George Telfer as Charles XIV, John Ainsworth as Equerry
Post-production, editing and music by Alistair Lock
Directed and Produced by Bill Baggs
Synopsis: The Professor and Ace arrive in present-day
London to find the city strangely changed. England is a republic, ruled
by an elderly Lord Protector more interested in a mysterious comet than
the long-suppressed forces of revolution formenting in his kingdom.
As political factions vie for power, the travellers become embroiled in the plans of King Charles XIV who stands poised to reclaim the throne. Can they discover who is behind the drastic alteration of history or will the Puritan cause triumph throughout eternity?
A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 31/10/98
In the first Audio Adventure, The Professor and Ace arrive in a very different 1998. Kicking off with the death of Oliver Cromwell and a different successor to the throne, it soon becomes pretty obvious that Republica is a parallel universe story. And a highly enjoyable one at that.
Mark Gatiss turns in a workman-like script, giving a little of bit of something for everyone. There`s continuity references abound,as The Professor, when referred to as "Citizen," recalls he hasn`t been called that since The French Revolution. He also states he is 950 years old. And whilst in a museum ,Ace looks for the explosives section.
With characters that are supposed to have nothing to do with Doctor Who, these audio plays seem to get more like it all the time. Republica`s greatest strength is in the characterisation, with every character well-defined and getting a fair slice of the action. The Professor/Ace relationship is particularly interesting being reminiscent of The Doctor/Ace scenes in Dimensions In Time.
Republica also succeeds in making the listener believe the setting is a parallel universe, complete with a cure for cancer and an Atlantic Tunnel. With competent performances to match, Republica is easy listening, if somewhat difficult to actually define in simple terms.
A Review by Richard Radcliffe 14/5/02
There was a time before Big Finish and after TV Doctor Who, that neverland that lasted almost 10 years. The TV series had finished years back, the official audios were not yet on the shelves. But some clever people knew there was a market out there, and produced audio and visual dramas of their own. They couldn't use the Doctor or TARDIS, so instead they went for subtle differences to distinguish the product - The Professor and The Stranger. Make no mistake though, they are the Doctor (even though the Stranger deviated somewhat away near the end), they even look like him! For all intents and purposes this was Doctor Who, the license laws just didn't allow it officially to be.
Republica is one such product of this time - and actually Number 1 on the BBV Audio List. It's an hour long audio drama featuring the Professor and Ace, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred - it's an additional 7th Doctor story for all intents and purposes - and it's probably the best of its kind. The writer is Mark Gatiss, who has entertained us a few times since and previously. He conjures up a Parallel Time-Line story that is as engaging as anything DW has produced before.
The Doctor (sorry, Professor) and Ace arrive in England - but things have shifted. It turns out England is a Republic, the Civil War happened, but Charles 2nd never got made King, the Restoration never occured - and so the Republic continued on for the next 350 years. It is upto the Professor and Ace to see where it went wrong - to put History back on its correct course.
Sylvester McCoy is totally at home in his Professor/Doctor personae. He is excellent thoughout. Sophie Aldred is excellent too. Her recent performances in Big Finish plays have been slated quite a bit - but she is more the Ace from TV here, and it is a better performance. The accompanying players are very good too, especially the scheming Other. The Protector is quite a cheery character, and Charles the 14th sounds very familiar.
Republica benefits from having an involving script, and leads who enjoy the parts they are playing. The production team complement these pluses by recreating Puritan England in both its time periods, 17th Century and alternative 20th Century, vividly too. Whilst not quite up to the excellence of Big Finish, it is pretty close. There is really not much to distinguish this drama from the ones produced later.
Republica should be a Doctor Who story - I like to treat it as such - you should too. I played the drama to my wife, she really likes the audio medium too - I didn't tell her it was a spin-off, and never for one minute (except the music) did she think it was anything other than DW. Labels are for other fans. It's excellent, whichever way you care to look at it. 9/10