Saturday, April 23, 2016

Jubilee by: Robert Shearman directed by: Nicholas Briggs and Robert Shearman: Lovely Red Bunting Flowing from the Windows

WARNING: As Jubilee is a story written by Robert Shearman, this review is going to contain massive spoilers.  You have been warned in advance so there can be no complaints about me giving too much away.


Jubilee stars Colin Baker as the Doctor with Martin Jarvis as Nigel Rochester, Roseland Ayres as Miriam Rochester and Maggie Stables as Evelyn.  It was written by Robert Shearman, directed by Nicholas Briggs and Robert Shearman and released in January 2003 by Big Finish Productions.


This is kind of an interesting one in that it is one of few Big Finish stories to actually have its overall plot adapted into a story for the revived series, that episode being the fifth story of the revived series, Dalek.  This of course is a shoe in for adapting because it is a story by Robert Shearman who is an author who has the Midas touch with Doctor Who as all his stories bar two are perfect.  Jubilee is a story that sees the Doctor and Evelyn land in an alternate timeline where subverting the what if Nazi’s one World War II, Shearman writes a story about in between World Wars the Second World Was breaks out with a Dalek invasion and they basically become what the Nazis became after World War II.  The Daleks have become a joke as they have all been wiped out bar one which is being held captive.  The story opens with a trailer for Daleks: The Ultimate Adventure where the Doctor, a muscle bound hero, and Evelyn “Hot Lips” Smythe, his sexy assistant, are there to save the British Empire from the evils of the pepper pot Dalek invasion.  Shearman knows how to set the scene giving off so much information in so little.  After this scene which leads into the opening credits, we know that the Doctor and Evelyn have come to save the day from a Dalek invasion, they have become celebrities which brings skewed facts and the world is something not quite right as the end of the trailer it is noted that this film is mandatory propaganda.  Writers could really take note of how much Shearman gives away here as this allows the two hour and twenty minute runtime of the story to be filled to the brim.


The story proper actually begins with the Doctor and Evelyn arriving in London on the eve of the 100 Year Jubilee of the Doctor and Evelyn saving the Earth from the Daleks.  They promptly get themselves arrested by the government for breaking curfew and contracting words and are sent to the dictator of the world and his docile wife Nigel and Miriam Rochester who have a Dalek being kept in a locked room which they are going to blow up as part of the Jubilee.  This is only about ten minutes into the story when we start to really get weird as Shearman paints this alternate timeline which is an even tenser version of the 1950s with Britain in control, men being the strong workers while women are meant to be weak and beautiful and the human race has pretty much become Daleks as the leaders of the worlds obey Rochester without question or they will easily be killed or sent off to camps.  The story seems to be the Doctor and Evelyn wanting to fix the world which intensifies when there are reveals that there is Dalek mind control forcing Rochester to be evil, the Doctor has had his legs cut off and stuck in a wheelchair in the tower while Evelyn has died, and the fact that Miriam wants to revolt and Rochester is just plain insane.  This all intensifies with the climax being that Miriam is deposing her husband and is going to marry the Dalek when all hell breaks loose and the Dalek escapes, more appear and start killing people.


The plot is really just a rollercoaster from start to finish as the tension increases tremendously right after the credits an only ends once the story is over and the Doctor is comforting Evelyn about all the death she’s had to face over the course of this story.  Shearman is a master of characters especially the Doctor who is just trying to figure this out and Colin Baker is great as the detective and the deranged Doctor seen in the middle of the story.  The Doctor in the tower was driven insane and has lost any real will to live which is just a heartbreaking thing to imagine because of the implications for the universe.  Maggie Stables’ Evelyn Smythe’s reactions to this and the rest of this story are also great as this is the first time since Bloodtide and Project: Twilight where she has seen so much death and has trouble dealing with it.  This is a great lead in for Doctor Who and the Pirates as she really feels like she may end travelling with the Doctor even though that isn’t yet the case, thank goodness.  There are three main supporting characters in this story.  First is Nigel Rochester played brilliantly by Martin Jarvis whose Doctor Who performances has ranged from a Menoptera in The Web Planet to the Governor in Vengeance on Varos which gives him a great range.  His parts in Jubilee are also great at showcasing the actor’s range as he has to be the cruel dictator, the tortured soul, completely homicidal and insane, and even near the end a loving husband.  My favorite bits with Rochester are his reactions to the Americans as they are absolutely hilarious and kind of true.  His wife Miriam is also fascinating as for Part One she seems to be the stereotypical stay at home mother from the 1950s always doing what her man tells her to.  It’s a bit sexist maybe but that is made up for in the reveal of just how power hungry this woman is as she will do anything to gain power.  She’s also a masochist as she loves it when her husband beats her but hates when it doesn’t hurt.  Finally there is the actual Dalek which just like Dalek becomes sympathetic which I have to say is great.


To summarize, Jubilee is a perfect story much like the other Robert Shearman stories which just needs to be experienced.  100/100

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