Review: The Minister of Chance, episode 3 – “Paludin Fields”

Click for the MoC site!

I’ve been a fan of the Minister of Chance since his initial outing in the Doctor Who: Death Comes to Time audio drama, so of course I’ve loved his continuing adventures in his own audio series by the character’s creator Dan Freeman (Interviewed by me here). Freeman’s newly-developed and highly unique world for the Minister, played exquisitely here by Julian Wadham, has been a joy to hear and that joy continues into the newly released third episode, “Paludin Fields.”

In this third installment, the Minister of Chance, a de-frocked Time Lord, and his companion Kitty are on the run from the coming threat of the Horseman, a mysterious and deadly foe from the Minister’s past. Simultaneously, the politics and public opinion of the larger world around the Minister has begun to shift and change, with a new movement of believers in science threatening a world steeped in blind faith and magic (it’s a bit more complex than I’m letting on here, but you’ll have to listen for more). “Paludin Fields” moves the action along with more of an action bent this time, with revolts beginning and threats closer than before. There’s a great tone of mysticism built into the show that befits what was first set up in Death Comes to Time and the world is a very interesting one.

Once you get through the opening minute of nothing but footsteps tromping through mud, the sound design is excellent and you’d be hard-pressed to find an opening title sequence – MoC’s is simply made up of the actors stoically reading their own names – that gives you more of a chill down the spine with excitement. The scenes explode vividly in your imagination, with all of the details you need (size of the room, weather, background action, and perfectly balanced background music) filled in by the hands – perhaps “ears” in this case – of master craftsmen.

Wadham and the cast, including new addition Tamsin Grieg as the mysterious and delightfully snarky Sage of the Waves, give fantastic performances. A personal joy each episode is hearing former Doctors Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy turning in sinister turns as Durian and the Witch Prime respectively. I could go on forever about the amazing casting work done by Freeman and his team, but my hands might fall off from all of the typing.

In case you can’t tell, I love the show and can’t wait for more. If you’re a passing Who fan, or a lover of fantasy, or just someone looking out for something damned cool, give the Minister a listen.

You can find The Minister of Chance at its website or on iTunes. Huge thanks to Dan Freeman and Clare Eden for my preview copy.

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