The Book of Kells

It’s very rare for Doctor Who to visit Ireland – the only other story set there of which I am aware is Simon Guerrier’s Seventh Doctor audio, The Settling, which took a measured look at Cromwell’s campaign. So I was looking forward to The Book of Kells as another Whovian take on my home territory, not worrying too much about whether it was any good.

The setting is Kells, Co Meath, in the year 1006; the plot is basically people running around after the famous Book, trying alternately to steal it and to prevent its theft, which gets a little pointless by the end – though in fact the real point of the play is two big reveals, one at the end of each episode, the first of which I should really have seen coming, and the second of which I might have spotted if I’d looked more carefully at the CD cover.

The Irish setting is not developed in huge detail, and I doubt if it would pass muster with anyone who knows more than I do about the period. King Sitric of Dublin apparently has jurisdiction over the Kells monastery, which I suspect is not really accurate. Terence Hardiman and Graeme Garden are rather delightful as King Sitric and the abbot. The new companion, alas, really doesn’t gel for me as yet. Though the ending of the story hints that she may be supplanted before long. Let’s hope.

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