The Doctor and Romana’s holiday in Budapest isn’t going quite to plan. The historic city is great, but the vampires, vampire hunters and ongoing violent attacks don’t lend themselves to a relaxing city break.
Will they help Celia find Dracula? What does the nearby labyrinth of caves hide? And what is the dastardly scheme of the maniacal Zoltan Frid?
Well it’s a vampire story with a difference – and I’m happy to say that I found the Doctor and Romana’s pairing much better this time. I’m not sure why they didn’t quite click last time (might just have been me not being used to Lalla after so long with Louise Jameson) but they have a sparkling interaction here. The story runs the gauntlet of being another monster story, but it’s interesting how it manipulates and subverts the Vampire genre.
It’s not a complex tale but it’s a great cast – and while Mark Bonnar veers towards being over the top he manages to just avoid crossing the line, leaving a fun and engaging performance. It’s an unexpected joy to hear Kate Bracken’s Scottish tones as well (she was a real gem in the final series of ‘Being Human’ and she plays an interesting character here with an enjoyable twist.
It’s a solid tale, beautifully directed by Nicholas Brigg’s, which evokes the feel of the old hammer horror inspired episodes like Pyramids or Fang Rock, while mixing in the international flavour of City of Death: and indeed, it’s nice to have the setting feature as more than just the usual backdrop. I’m starting to warm to this season and I’m curious if it will be as good as the previous one (which was a belter).
Written By: Eddie Robson
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Kate Bracken (Celia Soames), Mark Bonnar (Zoltán Frid), Peter Barrett (Guard-Major Priskin), John Dorney (Ensign Kanta), Anjella Mackintosh (Anita Kereki)
Other parts played by members of the cast
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs