‘Flames Of Cadiz’ is an adventure of the First Doctor with his original companions, granddaughter Susan and her teachers, Barbara and Ian. A classic story, this is a historical adventure which were popular during the period of the first two doctors but were abandoned when the series took another direction.
The year is 1687 and the travellers have arrived in Spain where it’s not a good time to be English or any kind of alien for that matter. All strangers are potential spies and even heretics. Relationships between Elizabeth of England and Phillip of Spain are at an all time low. Catholic Europe is still keen to convert the protestant country back to the true religion.
Whilst Ian is a chemistry teacher, he prides himself on an all-round education and is eager to immerse himself in living history. This, as it turns out, is not the best thing to do. Before we know it, Ian has come to the aid of Estaban, who is being arrested by the Inquisition and then it’s a dungeon for them both. The Spanish Inquisition is notorious for its torture of those it believed to be heretical. Its desire was to bring orthodoxy and ensure the populace toed the line, not so very different to what Elizabeth’s government was doing in England in the cause of Protestantism.
The Doctor, Susan and Barbara flee into hiding. They must come up with a plan to rescue Ian and save the day, but the fires are being lit and the heretics will die.
The action moves quickly and this is quite a detailed plot and the two hours flies by as we are totally immersed in the historical period with nothing more than the wit and ingenuity of the Doctor and his companions and not a sonic screwdriver in sight. The ‘Flames Of Cadiz’ is an excellent example of how Marc Platt’s research and a feel for the First Doctor comes together to form a believable adventure for time travellers. Although it’s not a full cast play, having two narrators and a guest actor really fills out the story especially as the First Doctor’s voice comes through courtesy of William Russell.
By the way, it’s not true that nobody expected the Spanish Inquisitors, they usually made an appointment and if your kids aren’t interested in history then maybe you need a Doctor.
(pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: £12.99 (UK), Download: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-061-9)
cast: William Russell, Carole Ann Ford and Nabil Elouahabi
check out website: www.bigfinish.com