A trio of fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion comes to an end with the Jonathan Morris penned The Kamelion Empire. As the title makes abundantly clear, the central focus is on the shape changing android Kamelion, but not so as to minimise the role of the others.
The setting is the world of the Kamille, where a once noble race sought refuge inside a massive world-computer, the Locus and created the Kamelions to be their proxies in the physical world. It’s to a desolate, ruin strewn world the TARDIS travels and the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough endeavour to understand what happened to the Kamille, just what Kamelion’s purpose actually was and survive the inevitable threats and treacheries.
Jonathan Morris doesn’t avoid the obvious: we suspect there is more to the Kamelion than we’ve known and the story doesn’t disappoint. There’s a desire to get the TARDIS, to change history and forge an everlasting empire. All standard stuff, yet the way this story is told is gripping and clever. In particular (and a mild spoiler at most) there’s a section where other Kamelions (and what else would there be on the planet where they were created?!) take on the form and more importantly the voices of Tegan, Turlough and the Doctor to tell Kamille history. It’s a novel way of both giving the actors variety in studio and giving the listener content without tiresome exposition.
There is a lot going on, but Jon Culshaw’s abundant vocal talents, the normal team of Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson are only supported by one additional actor, Christopher Naylor. The writing is such we soon forget how few are in the cast compared to other main range stories and instead learn about the Kamille, test the relationships within the TARDIS team and enjoy the many deceptions. Director Ken Bentley also deserves credit.
If there’s one thing Jonathan Morris excels at (and there are many) it’s tight plotting and interlocking a story into a greater whole. The four parts of this story are well-balanced and perfectly paced and land the TARDIS team just where they need to be to fit the TV arc. At the time the character of Kamelion hardly featured and ended up half-forgotten in the TARDIS innards; with this story we learn just why this was necessary. Full marks! The sound and music are also spot on – credit to Kelly Ellis of Fool Circle Productions.
The Kamelion Empire is a good story, wraps the trio up nicely and brings plenty to the table. Great stuff!