The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells
Reviewed by Nic Ford
Doctor Who - The Book of Kells

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! This review is going to be pretty short – largely because I want you to stop wasting time reading this, and go straight out and buy the Book of Kells. I really think it’s worth it. So, let’s get the basics out of the way.

The story revolves around, as you could probably be expected to guess, the Book of Kells, a medieval illuminated manuscript written by the monks of Kells Abbey. Saying much more than that would probably give the game away – but I’ll just say that it involves meeting with an old acquaintance, a use of medieval illustrative techniques that doesn’t bear terribly close examination, and a cess pit.

And it’s good. Funny, well-acted, well-written by Barnaby Edwards. It sounds lovely. It’s educational. (I now know more about twelfth-century Irish royalty and politics than I ever did before. So, hardly anything then. But it’s still 1000% more than I knew before.) And it has a twist.

The eager student will remember that I’ve been waiting for the episode that gives Tamsin a chance to really shine. I’m not sure that this is it, but it’s a lot closer than we’ve had before. Tamsin is turning into a wonderful mix of klutz, genius and innocent abroad, with a healthy dose of cynicism about her travelling companion. This makes for a great comedic character, not to mention some lovely jibes at McGann’s Doctor (who is, despite being my Top of the Docs, a bit bloody smug sometimes) and Niky Wardley plays that side of it to the full. Looking forward to more from her.

The rest of the cast are very fine too, with Terrence Hardiman providing an appropriately melancholic interpretation of the Norse King trying to forge peace from warring clans. Special mention should go to Graeme Garden, who puts in an assured comedy performance, without sounding hugely like Graeme Garden. Not that that would be a problem , he’s fantastic – but his interpretation here works lovelily.

And Lucianus is… but wait! Didn’t I say this needed to be a short review? I’ve already spent too much of your valuable time, when you could be out buying it. Go!

Are you still here? Why are you still reading? It’s great, go out and buy it. Even if nothing I’ve said here whets your appetite, buy it anyway.

And don’t listen to the extras till you’ve heard the play.

And make sure you listen all the way through the closing title music.

And then wait. It’s worth it. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

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Updated: June 14, 2014 — 10:03 pm

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