Doctor Who: 1963: The Assassination Games by John Dorney (CD review).

November 30, 2013 | By | Reply More

It’s November 1963 and a familiar figure appears in the London underground and saves ‘Chunky’ Gilmore’s life. It’s the Umbrellas Man himself, the Seventh Doctor. The new Counter-Measures team and, that’s a loosely used word here, are attempting to get to the bottom of a curious assassination of a soon to be disgraced government minister. There is certainly a resonance with the era as both the Profumo scandal and the killing of President Kennedy come to mind.


Group Captain Ian Gilmore (Simon Williams) is struggling to get his team together and funded, even with Sir Toby Kinsella in charge and even following their own close encounter with the Daleks on Earth. But if anyone knows his way round Whitehall cheque books, it’s that man, Kinsella.

As the story unfolds and it’s a corker as we start to see how the Counter-Measures team will operate when unleashed. We get the team of scientist Allison Williams (Karen Gledhill) and reluctant conscript Cambridge researcher Rachel Jensen (Pamela Salem) and this story introduces Sir Toby Kinsella (Hugh Ross) as the head of the fledgling unit of off the government books investigators. The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) are at the centre of the action and there are some suitably creepy characters that form the conspiracy. This is a very British story and captures the feel of the era very well.

This is such a cool story and a missed opportunity in televisual terms as it is has a perfect retro-feel to it and would translate into a superb show. Alas for TV viewers but great for audio, ‘The Assassination Games’ helps explain the roots of Counter-Measures, first seen in ‘Remembrance Of The Daleks’ and now heard in two series from Big Finish.

Writer John Dorney captures the hypocrisy, lies and paranoia of the era and firmly places it in the beginning of the ‘Doctor Who’ era which makes you realise just how much the world has changed and how much stays the same. It’s also a gripping story which has the freshness of Ace and the Doctor and their sometimes annoying TV partnership with a good, intelligent script that has payback. As its part of Big Finish’s anniversary output, ‘The Assassination Games’ has some nice references to previous adventures and it makes a good bridge between ‘Remembrance’ and the new audio adventures of both the Seventh Doctor and the Counter-Measures team.

Sue Davies

November 2013

(pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: £14.99 (UK), Download: £12.99 (UK). ISBN:

cast: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, Karen Gledhill, Hugh Ross, Oliver Cotton, Gemma Saunders, Gerald Kyd and Alisdair Simpson

check out website: www.bigfinish.com

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Category: Doctor Who, Music/Audio

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