Doctor Who: The Eye of the Scorpion - Review

The battle of the sexes has never been more literal than in the opening minutes when the Doctor and Peri land in Ancient Egypt and save a woman being chased by armoured warriors. This turns out to be Erimemushinteperem - Erimem for short and next in line for the name of Pharaoh of Egypt, following on from the mysterious deaths of her father and brothers. While female Pharaoh's weren't unheard of, the Doctor is uncomfortably aware that he has never heard of this particular one. Her prospects are looking grim, priests are delaying her coronation, she has had multiple assassination attempts, an army of mercenaries are waiting to destroy her little empire and there is even a strange suicide in the harem where her mother lives. So she has little choice to rely on these two strangers that it seems the gods have sent.

What she doesn't know is that the man who wants the throne is in possession of a strange box, that grants him odd and terrible powers.

The Eye of the Scorpion is a serviceable enough little tale, filled with enough twists and turns to keep you interested. But it isn't so complex that it makes it incoherent. What you should appreciate is that this isn't another 'aliens mucking around with history' story. Most of the adventure is centred on political intrigue, with only a garnish of science fiction to keep things along the lines of Doctor Who. It is also a story where, for first time listeners, there is an air of menace as it seems that poor Erimem doesn't stand a chance, mainly because the Doctor doesn't even know her name. For fans who have been following the work from Big Finish, we know that she became a companion with the Fifth Doctor and Peri and The Eye of the Scorpion serves as her introduction and backbone.

There are of course so fumbles with this story. It mainly doesn't ring true with me that someone who was brought up raised as the child of a living god would be so bluntly atheistic - let alone run off with two strangers and not do anything about her claim to the throne. There are parts of the story that are so strained to allow Peri and Erimem more time to bond. But that bonding is one of the stronger points of this adventure and Peri fans will be pleased to know that she propels much of this plot as she urges Erimem to investigate the assassination attempts.

Now, overtime they grow to become a fabulous team and the chemistry between Caroline Morris and Nicola Bryant is unmistakable from the moment their characters meets...