The Prints of Denmark

Posted in Audio by - May 01, 2022
The Prints of Denmark

Released April 2022


Looking to brush up on her cultural knowledge to complement her immense book knowledge and mathematical prowess, Zoe Heriot comes across none other than the Meddling Monk in Paul Morris’s ‘The Prints of Denmark.’ Unfortunately, she has no idea who this man truly is, and his offer to- in a controlled manner- take her to experience the realities of what she has read about is far too tempting for her to pass up.

Zoe’s intelligence has always been her defining characteristic, yet her desire to learn more and willingness to take to heart the Doctor’s desire to make her a more well-rounded individual are perfectly in line with her enthusiastic and dedicated personality. While it is odd that she would not check with the Doctor before taking the Monk up on his offer and though it does seem to be an oversight for her not to become at least mildly suspicious when the Monk begins openly mentioning Time Lords and TARDISes and speaking with a great familiarity about the Doctor’s stylings, the end result is a brilliant sequence of journeys through time that show how precarious the web of time truly is and why the Doctor so frequently warns about acting so cautiously. To his credit, the Monk points out that all the Doctor does is change time whenever he steps out of his TARDIS and into a moment, and his charisma and confidence along with his ability to fully operate his own vessel make him a logical and tempting figure with whom to glean further insights into the past. Rufus Hound is once more spectacular as this rogue figure who subtly shows how the smallest nudges can have the biggest influences, and a seemingly throwaway line from the Monk’s first appearance about having Shakespeare’s Hamlet premiere on television becomes a motivating force here as he manipulates thought processes and thus technological advancement in a few key moments just enough so that the Tudor Broadcasting Corporation can do just that in 1601.

The fact that the Monk adeptly proves just how easily he can achieve his stated aims and distort all of established history adds a tremendous amount of genuine menace to this character who is so often used as more of a comedic foil, and that makes Zoe’s steadfast determination to beat the Monk at his own game with fewer calculated moves throughout time in order to reassert the established timeline all the more dramatic and effective. She understands precisely what it is she is looking for and is able to freely adapt as the resulting timeline necessitates following her actions, using all available resources and an extreme cunning that rivals and at times surpasses even the Monk’s. This is Zoe in a much more practical environment than she is often shown, and Wendy Padbury is magnificent as she emphasizes Zoe’s incredible resolve and incisiveness. With the Doctor absent from the entirety of this affair except as Zoe recounts her afternoon with the Monk, this is a companion chronicle to the fullest extent, and Hound and Padbury make a magnificent duo that perfectly highlight two very different approaches to the sanctity of time.

Indeed, aside from a slight mischaracterization of Zoe that overemphasizes her naivety to set this boldly distinct alternate timeline into motion, ‘The Prints of Denmark’ is a perfect piece of storytelling that highlights how incredible the Doctor’s companions are with the stakes at their highest and the possibility of creating a walking paradox seemingly inevitable. Filled with genuine drama, humour, and emotion as the an understated battle for two realities begins, Morris has crafted a masterpiece that the incredible performances, direction, and sound design fully realize to continue a strong volume for The Companion Chronicles range that has thus far been well worth the extended wait.

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