A trip to Amsterdam’s famous Rijkmuseum to see a new exhibition of Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpieces surprises both the Doctor and Tegan with unexpected drawings of ‘Vessels of the Stars’ and old flames respectively. Will the events of Tegan’s life during her year away from the Doctor prevent them from dealing with the strange creatures in the canals and the mysterious Countess? Or Tegan’s life catching up with her no mere coincidence? Someone is playing a very long game and the world may never be the same again.
Tegan’s tale is central to this main range release. At first it feels like some continuity being shoehorned in for a cheap forced back story but thankfully there is much more going on. It takes a while for all the layers of this tale to be built up, but it’s nice to see something so intricate being built on the brief break Tegan took while travelling with the 5th Doctor. It’s also nice to see a companion having to deal with her past life’s little mundanities for a change. In contrast to characters like Turlough, whose past is an epic sweeping mystery, this is more a more ordinary failed affair. This creates a nice counterpoint for Tegan, who’s found she can’t quite give up her relationship with the Doctor (well not yet) but is resentful of someone who is equally unable to give up on his relationship with her.
The rest of the tale has some nice twists and turns, and there is a good mix of characters, including a world-weary Rembrandt and the enigmatic Countess. Tim Delap does a fine job of playing Tegan’s ex: he may annoy at first but he builds the role up and the character goes through a lot of development in a short space of time. The story isn’t an epic but it’s an entertaining romp that gives Tegan a great stage, with the Doctor being prominent but not as central as usual.
Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Jamie Anderson
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Tim Delap (Kyle), Richard James (Rembrandt Van Rijn), Elizabeth Morton (Teldak), Robbie Stevens (Polsbroek/Nix), Wayne Forester (Glauber). Other parts played by the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs