Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Danny Horn (Kazran Sardick), Alistair Petrie (Julius Caesar), Laura Rogers (Queen Tristahna), Nicholas Briggs (The Dalek). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Finally given the chance to travel in the TARDIS, Winston Churchill cannot resist the opportunity of meeting Julius Caesar. But the trip does not go quite as planned. With the TARDIS gone, and Churchill stranded in ancient Britain with a young man he barely knows and who comes from the future, it seems things can hardly get any worse.
Until he is captured by the invading Romans.
Still, at least that means Churchill will meet Julius Caesar after all. But then Churchill learns of the Bronze God, feared and worshipped by the Ancient Britons. A god that he recognises as anything but divine when he meets it.
An ageing Winston Churchill is delighted to be invited on his first ever trip in the TARDIS by the Doctor. After agreeing to the adventure, Winston notices that he is not the only guest. Kazran Sardick, a friend of the Doctor’s, is also on-board. Due to it being Winston’s first adventure in the TARDIS, the Doctor and Kazran both allow him the honour of choosing their destination. Winston, inspired by the novel on Julius Caesar that he was currently writing, asked to travel to Ancient Rome – citing that it would be excellent research for his book. Both the Doctor and Kazran found the idea thrilling and agreed, with Kazran stating that after the trip he and the Doctor would need to continue their yearly tradition of meeting with Abigail on Christmas Eve. The Doctor revealed that his true intentions for inviting Winston along was due to the fact that Kazran prepared to step up his and Abigail’s relationship on their next meeting – with the Doctor knowing how taken the ladies were with Winston he assumed that he’d be able to give Kazran some pointers.
Landing in a tunnel two-thousand years in the past, Winston eagerly rushes out first with Kazran following straight after. As the two men surveyed the scene the TARDIS’ doors snap shut, separating them from the Doctor. The Doctor assures them that they were stuck in a time lock but the TARDIS should only be out of phase for a few moments. However, the TARDIS then takes off leaving Winston and Kazran deserted.
Kazran proves himself to be very capable in dealing with the situation, revealing a number of different futuristic devices; a scientific diary which was connected to a wrist watch, and the pair decide to explore their surroundings while they wait for the Doctor’s return. Emerging from the tunnel they find themselves in the middle of a wood, journeying on they discover a Roman camp and a dying man. The man was mortally wounded, and despite knowing that there was nothing they could do to save him – both Winston and Kazran decided to at least make him comfortable. While moving the man, they discover a device that looked like some kind of circuit. Questioning the man in his dying breaths, they discover that it had been given to him as a gift. A gift from the Bronze God.
Suddenly, Winston and Kazran were approached by a large group of Romans. Winston acknowledges that his days of running were long since passed and insists that Kazran must leave him – pointing out that at least one of them would need to wait around until the Doctor returns. Kazran heads back off into the woods as Winston is surrounded. Despite his dire situation, Winston begins to charm his Roman captors by marveling at their war strategies. The Romans decide to take Winston to their leader, Julius Caesar.
In the woods, Kazran is chased by a small batch of Romans which had broken off from the main group. With nowhere to go, Kazran decided to give himself up and allows himself to be captured. However, he soon discovers that he hasn’t been captured by the Romans. He’d actually been captured by a new group of tribesmen and was now being taken to the Queen of another camp, Tristahna.
Initially Tristahna ignores Kazran as she questions her guards about who he was, but she is eventually inspired by his spirit and allows him to talk. Kazran asks Tristahna about the wind-turners that he’d noticed surrounding the camp and the scientific circuit that he and Winston had found in possession of the dying man. Kazran concludes that they were creating power, but Tristahna insists that she has no knowledge of the purpose of the devices and even less knowledge of how they work.
Entering the tent of Julius Caesar, Winston tries to charm the powerful leader just as he had charmed the Romans. Seeing that his charm was not working, as Julius viewed Winston as an English spy, Winston decided to go for a different approach and gave his sincere condolences to Caesar for the recent death of his daughter. Understanding that Winston was a man of much knowledge, Caesar announces that he cannot allow Winston to leave the camp as he is preparing for war against a nearby camp – Queen Tristahna’s – and Winston’s knowledge of the Romans, in the wrong hands, could ensure their failure in battle.
Kazran follows Tristahna into her tent where she questions him about his knowledge of the wind-turners and circuits. After Kazran begins to explain the devices in words she cannot understand, Tristahna asks Kazran if he was a God. Kazran finds the suggestion laughable, much to the pity of Tristahna who believed he’d been sent to free them from the rule of the Bronze God. Tristahna explains that the Bronze God had instructed them to work and build, and that if they did not work fast enough he would emerge from his temple and take sacrifices. After discovering that Julius Caesar’s army was marching toward their camp, Tristahna insists that she must prepare her tribe for battle. Kazran is horrified and questions her if she truly believes that her tribe could stand against the might of Rome. Tristahna reveals that while the Bronze God was cruel, he was also powerful and would help them in battle.
Tristahna hands out futuristic broaches, amulets and jewels to her tribesmen as they prepared themselves for battle. She tells Kazran that they are charms to bring them luck, but Kazran is unconvinced and suggests that it is these pieces of jewelry that are allowing the Bronze God to see everything they were doing. Tristahna informs Kazran that the Bronze God is always watching, and that when she wears her crown she can hear the God’s voice inside her head telling her which battle strategies to perform. Kazran insists that the crown is actually a communicator headset, and that the Bronze God is actually talking to Tristahna through the radio.
As the battle commences, the Bronze God begins to give out orders to Tristahna who would then get the information to the men on the battlefield at once. As the battle raged on, Winston and Caesar watch the chaos unfold from atop a hill. Caesar is astonished to see his troops being defeated and drawn back, and tries to change his side’s techniques. However, no matter what techniques they try the tribesmen continue to defeat them. Winston Churchill discovers that the leader of the opposition are the ones receiving information straight away, yet it still took a short amount of time to relay the information back to the troops fighting on the field. To this Winston suggested that Caesar created a false move. He would order half his troops to attack the opposition towards the left and as soon as the tribesmen were ordered to defend themselves, they would order the other half of Caesar’s army would be ordered to go right – with most of the tribesmen fighting towards the left there would be little to defend the right allowing the Romans to break though.
Tristahna was horrified to see the Roman army gain the upper hand, and she was even more horrified to hear the Bronze God’s next suggestion. Due to the intelligence they’d shown in the battle the Bronze God ordered for the commander of the Roman army to be captured – so that he could take Tristahna’s place in commanding the tribe to build whatever the Bronze God wished. Tristahna was unable to work out how she’d be able to capture Julius Caesar, but Kazran knew there was someone else commanding the fleet – Winston.
As the battle concluded a group of tribesmen broke away and headed up the hill to where Caesar and Winston watched. In a moment they were ambushed, Caesar and his guards managed to escape but Winston himself was captured. Fearing for his life he ordered for a swift death, but the tribesmen instead took him as their prisoner. Having being reunited with Kazran, Winston was taken to see Queen Tristahna. She explained that the Bronze God had ordered for him to be taken straight to him along with Kazran.
Leading them deep underground Tristahna told the men that they should fear the Bronze God – because every time he emerged from his temple a death would follow. Arriving, Kazran saw that this was no temple but an alien spacecraft. As the temple opened, Winston was shocked to see that the Bronze God was actually a Dalek, a species he had previously encountered back in the days of World War II. Kazran too was terrified, having heard stories about the Daleks.
Tristahna explained that the Dalek had fallen from space many years ago in a ball of fire, it had been her that had found him. Damaged, but alive. The Dalek had made Tristahna Queen and exterminated anyone who opposed her rule. The tribesmen built wind-turners and circuits for the Dalek, who wanted to use them in order to rebuild his spaceship. Discovering that Winston and Kazran were not from this time period the Dalek insisted that they finished the work that his spacecraft required. Both Winston and Kazran explained that they had no expertise with fixing alien crafts and were unable to help. However, the Dalek revealed that one of Kazran’s devices (the diary given to him by the Doctor) was enough to power the craft. When Kazran originally refused the Dalek explained that the tribesmen would being to be exterminated if he did not co-operate.
While they were deep underground, Caesar’s troops marched towards the camp in order to release Winston. Kazran used his diary to fix the Dalek’s ship and all the spacecraft’s systems began to be repaired – including the weapon systems. Kazran told the Dalek that the saucer would be prepared faster if the power flowing to the weapons systems, which were unneeded, was diverted. The Dalek explained that the weapon systems were needed as it was planning to launch a series of missiles as the humans after departing. Winston, Kazran and Tristahna both move to stop the Dalek but the Dalek, deciding that they are now useless, beings to exterminate. Luckily, some of the other tribesmen arrive just in time to warn Tristahna about the arriving Roman army. As the Dalek begins to exterminate the tribesmen, the three escape.
Believing that everyone would have to join together in order to battle the Daleks, Winston allowed the group to be captured by the Roman army – ordering the troops to bring them to Caesar. At first, Caesar was unwilling to join forces with the English tribesmen. However, trusting his new adviser Winston he agreed to help.
Combining their armies, the Romans and the English tribesmen decide to lure the Dalek from its cave – keeping to the woods in order to hide behind the trees from the Dalek’s laser beams – while Winston and Kazran sneak into the Dalek’s craft to disable it. During the battle, the English tribesmen became enraged. Finally fighting back against the Dalek, they pushed it back towards its cave. When inside the cave it sealed the entrance, causing the rock wall to crumble with its lasers, leaving Winston and Kazran trapped within.
As the Dalek prepared the ship for lift-off, Kazran noticed his wrist watch was counting down. Remembering that his watch had been linked to his diary, the very diary that the Dalek had used to power the ship, Kazran was confident that he could stop the launch. Kazran acknowledge that he could overload the diary, sending the ship into meltdown. However, he knew that this would mean the ship would explode.
Running, to get as far away from the ship as possible, Kazran and Winston discovered that they were in the same tunnel that the TARDIS hand landed in when they first arrived. Unfortunately, the exit they’d used earlier had too been sealed. Knowing their deaths were close, Kazran and Winston accepted that at least they’d saved the lives of many others. The next second the TARDIS returned into view. It had not moved, but had been out of phase this whole time. As the Doctor stepped out, Kazran and Winston pushed inside and slammed the door. It was clear to them that for the Doctor only a few moments had passed since the TARDIS doors had slammed shut all those hours ago, yet for them it had felt like a lifetime.
Kazran’s watch finished the countdown and the Dalek ship exploded, much to the relief of both the English tribesmen and Roman army. Believing that Winston and Kazran had died, Tristahna and Caesar decided to make a truce between their two camps. Caesar informed Tristahna that he had never come to conquer in the first place, only to explore. Caesar announced he was leaving, but may return. Tristahna told him that if he was ever to return that they should talk first, as that could prevent other battles. Caesar agreed, and left.
The Doctor concluded that the Dalek’s damaged ship was the cause of the time lock. After leaving Rome, the Doctor took Kazran to his Christmas Eve date with Abigail. Winston told him that he’d at least have an interesting story to tell her, which Kazran agreed and suggested that the trip would have given Winston some inspiration to finish his novel. Winston explained that his story would seem “a bit dry” compared to their adventure, but accepted that he was grateful for his meeting with Julius Caesar. Winston explained that there was something invigorating about meeting such an iconic historical figure, to which Kazran agreed. Winston soon realised that he was the iconic figure that Kazran was referring to.
Living History was the third story in The Churchill Years: Volume One. It featured Kazran Sardick.
Churchill is working on books on British history, specifically about the English-speaking peoples.
Churchill says that he is religious.
Kazran has a diary.
This story was recorded on 27-28 July & 30 July-31 July 2015.
For the Doctor and Kazran, the story takes place during the events of the 2010 Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol.
The main plot – in which aliens crash land and become stranded on Earth – is similar to both the beginning of The Dalek Project and Plague Of The Cybermen, other Eleventh Doctor stories which Justin Richards also wrote.
Winston Churchill recognises the Daleks, having been introduced to them (The Beast Below) through the Ironside Project. (Victory Of The Daleks)
In his youth, Kazran Sardick travelled with the Eleventh Doctor alongside Abigail Pettigrew. A Christmas Carol.
Churchill attempts to address a Roman soldier in Latin, only for the soldier to interpret his speech as Celtic, similar to Donna Noble’s experience in Pompeii in August 79. (The Fires of Pompeii)
The Roman Empire would eventually succeed in conquering Britain in 43. The Roman occupation of Britain lasted until the early 5th century. (The Wrath of the Iceni)
‘… intoxicating, rip roaring… Exquisitely written and featuring a perfect blend of pace and plot… a scene stealing, star performance by Ian McNeice… Tally ho!’ Tim Mass Movement
‘Overall, The Churchill Years was a brilliant surprise… The quality of the story writing was superb… the performances were incredibly solid, most particularly from Ian McNeice who is still the go to man for playing a credible Churchill. If there are many more of these kinds of adventures to come, then Churchill can KBO through Big Finish for as long as he wants. 9/10.’ Starburst