The Rings of Ikiria

Posted in Audio by - June 03, 2019
The Rings of Ikiria

Released June 2012

While every classic character who has featured in The Companion Chronicles has benefited immensely from the more intimate exploration of their thoughts and motivations, this format is perfectly suited for Mike Yates who underwent some of the most significant and yet under-explored character development preceding both his disloyalty in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ and his ensuing redemption in ‘Planet of the Spiders.’ With Richard Franklin once more returning to his captivating role as UNIT captain, author Richard Dinnick in ‘The Rings of Ikiria’ presents the dangerous tale of an alien artist who comes to Earth bearing gifts.

Franklin quickly and adeptly proves himself to be a thoughtful and contemplative narrator, carefully bringing the emotions of this soldier that are known to exist beneath the brave exterior to the forefront. UNIT has always felt like a home to him filled with people he can trust, none more so than the Brigadier, but he lays the groundwork for the changes that spur his eventual decision here both in more general terms and through the specific hardships he experiences here. This is the first time in his life he has felt liked and like he belongs somewhere, making him all the more tragic in the process, and Dinnick wisely avoids having Yates be the one who succumbs to the alien visitor’s influence to fully allow his thoughts to flourish as everyone around him suddenly turns against him. It’s fittingly the Brigadier’s accusations against Mike that strike him hardest, but his belief in both the Brigadier and the Doctor remains resolute and again accentuates the layers of this dynamic character who must confront the fact that he genuinely has no authority in this organisation when he alone must be the one to take action.

‘The Rings of Ikiria’ manages to perfectly evoke the spirit of its intended era as UNIT awaits the appearance of a sixth pictogram carved into a field that the Doctor is sure is part of the language of a non-hostile and transdimensional alien race. The beauty and heavenliness of Ikiria is well-realised even in the audio medium, and the visuals of UNIT surrounding the craft are again perfectly in line with how the organisation in this time period acts. With her charm and artistic designs able to provide her a means of control over those with who she comes into contact, Ikiria quickly proves herself to be a formidable foe, especially once the face of a deceased member of UNIT is likewise carved into a nearby field. The Doctor, realising his only chance of helping is first to fake his own death so that Ikiria will turn her attention away from him and then to eventually battle her on a psychic level to buy Mike the time needed to sabotage her scheme, only further bolsters this sentiment, and the resulting cliffhanger with the Doctor’s facial facsimile in a field is one of the most visually and emotionally powerful this range has delivered.

Because Mike’s characterisation is so strong throughout, however, it does mean that no other character truly gets any chance to stand out. Paired with the fact that this is a very traditional story that, with the exception of a few incredible visuals and standout moments, has been told in countless franchises before, ‘The Rings of Ikiria’ can’t quite live up to the lofty standards that so many instalments of The Companion Chronicles have set. Still, the end result is very much a beautiful homage to the traditions of the Pertwee era and employs solid direction and sound design to further develop Mike Yates in a most satisfying manner even if Franklin’s attempts to channel his co-stars’ mannerisms are a bit more suspect than most companions’.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.