Companion of the Eleventh Doctor, husband of Amy Pond, and guardian of the Pandorica for nearly two thousand years, Arthur Darvill returns today as Rory in his own full-cast audio series from Big Finish Productions.
“The Lone Centurion – Volume One: Rome” is are now available as collector’s edition, three-disc box sets or downloads from www.bigfinish.com.
This first volume (of at least two) features three thrilling tales of the time-travelling centurion, taking him from the gladiatorial ring to the heart of conspiracies and plots – all while trying to find the Pandorica, which he happens to have lost…
Legend tells of the Lone Centurion – a mysterious figure dressed as a Roman soldier who stood guard over the Pandorica, warning off those who would attempt to open it; a constant warrior whose story appeared in the folk history of a dozen civilizations.
Only… he seems to have misplaced it.
Travelling to Rome in search of the Pandorica, Rory finds himself forced to perform as a gladiator in the Colosseum… where he attracts the attention of the Imperial household.
Darvill, also known as Time Master Rip Hunter in TV’s Legends of Tomorrow, reprises the Doctor Who character he first played on television in the 2010 “The Eleventh Hour” in a new series of adventures taking Rory all over the world.
“It seemed like an offer I couldn’t refuse,” the actor said when the project was announced last year. “As soon as I read the scripts, I was like, ‘Oh well, they totally get it, they’ve really nailed his voice’.
“It’s been a lovely way to revisit it in a very different way to what it was, but to do something more with this character. It’s funny but also quite epic, which is so lovely with what you can do on audio: to have these huge stories which in another medium would break the budget!”
Darvill added recently: “On audio, it’s so much fun to be able to play things with such variety, and just go for something – it feels like playing because there’s no pressure. You get to do the spectrum, from hammed-up, silly things to really heartfelt, tender stuff, and it’s always working with really nice people.
“And Rory’s such a fun character to play in the way he questions the world, and I think that works really well with these stories.”
Director and producer Scott Handcock said: “The episodes are fantastically silly. They’ve been a joy to record, and an even greater joy to listen to in the edits. That’s the wonderful thing about working with someone like Arthur – even in the most ridiculous of situations, he finds the emotional truth.
“Our first volume opens with Rory in the gladiatorial ring, and events spiral out from there. It’s actually a perfect place to set a series like this. It’s a world populated with so many larger-than-life characters – emperors and assassins and soothsayers – that plunging Rory (with all his memories of the 21st century) into the thick of it proves a really enjoyable clash.
“I’ve worked with Arthur on a few Big Finish projects before now, so I know first-hand how much he loves the audio medium. It’s one of the reasons we ended up doing Frankenstein together, where he gives an electric performance as Victor! It’s lovely when an actor wants to do more, but I knew he was nervous about revisiting Rory and upsetting established story arcs, which is how ‘The Lone Centurion’ came about.
“Set during the centuries he waits for the Pandorica to reopen, these stories allow us to explore new sides to the character while remaining true to his on-screen journey. As soon I started suggesting it to Arthur, I knew we were onto a winner…”
“The Lone Centurion’s” first volume contains three stories:
- “Gladiator” by David Llewellyn — Kidnapped, Rory is taken to Rome and thrown into the arena, where his hapless inability to die brings him to the attention of the Emperor.
- “The Unwilling Assassin” by Sarah Ward — The Roman Empire has a new official assassin. Lethal, cunning, and utterly unsuited to the job. Can Rory Williams succeed at assassination without actually killing anyone?
- “I, Rorius” by Jacqueline Rayner — Drowning in a sea of plots and conspiracies, Rory just wants his life back. But in Ancient Rome, people don’t retire, they die. And that’s a bit difficult when you’re immortal.