In Review Big Finish: Highlander – The Lesson

Of all the sword fights Duncan MacLeod has fought over the centuries, the toughest have been against an Immortal named Pieter Gatlan.

Synopsis: Of all the sword fights Duncan MacLeod has fought over the centuries, the toughest have been against an Immortal named Pieter Gatlan. Every ten years, Gatlan searches Duncan out – and every ten years, Duncan is defeated… but not beheaded. What is Gatlan’s grand plan? And this time, will the Highlander triumph?

Review: I have been aware that Big Finish did a short run of Highlander stories for awhile now, but only really recently got around to checking one out. So like most I started at the beginning with ‘The Lesson,’ which is a story that takes place after events seen in the 2000 film ‘Highlander Endgame’ which saw Duncan MacLeod given no choice but to take Connor MacLeod’s head in order to defeat an old enemy.

These Big Finish stories are narrated by Adrian Paul who does a pretty good job of giving the story life, but his take on Joe Dawson was a little iffy, but not so bad as it took away from the story.

The story takes advantage of many European locations and starts off in 1868 where MacLeod meets Pieter Gatlan who challenges him to a duel and subsequently repeats the challenge every 10 years.

The purpose is so that Gatlan can train McLeod up to defeat the mightiest immortals out there, but then challenge and take McLeods head and his quickening gaining all his strength as well as that of the other immortals he has killed. It is a risky plan and one which ultimately backfires.

As a character Gatlan is really well written and sort of annoying in that he thinks he is so much better and smarter and has an incredibly high opinion of himself.

The parts in the story where McLeod is telling Joe Dawson about his past duels with Gatlan are well written and performed fairly well by Adrian Paul, but sadly Paul cannot do a very good impersonation of Joe Dawson in order to fully sell it to us.

I loved the fact that writer Trevor Baxendale was able to fit some nice bits of mythology from the movies into this story and tips his hat to Connor McLeod’s meetings with the immortal Ramirez from the first movie.

I also enjoyed that the story was set after ‘Highlander Endgame’ because it gave us a chance to know a Duncan McLeod after having to have killed his closest living relative in Connor, which was something that Gatlan was more than happy to use against Duncan in the final duel at the close of the story.

Unfortunately because of licensing reasons Big Finish were unable to use any of the music from the television series or movies, but the music that they put together for this was pretty well produced and proved a fairly worthy substitute. Although personally I would have liked more electric guitars, but that’s just a personal taste thing.

‘The Lesson’ is a great introduction to the world of Highlander for fans of audio drama and is a worthy continuation of events from ‘Highlander The Series’ and ‘Highlander End Game’ and for a mere five quid for a download its a bloody bargain.

Big Finish: Highlander - The Lesson
  • Fantastic Story and a Fun Villain
  • Shame that Big Finish could not use Highlander soundtrack
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
One Comment
  • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
    12 January 2015 at 6:20 pm -

    This was like grilled cheese and cocoa for me. It just put a smile on my face, and it was very well written by someone who obviously loves this universe. In Adrian Paul’s defense, Jim Byrnes has a really distinctive voice and cadence. I was expecting him to botch it worse than he did, frankly.

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