The TARDIS lands in between times, in a time where there
is no time, on a world where people live in the shadow of
the Clock Tower. The people work hard, turning their hands
for every tick and every tock of their lives. But they all
wind down in the end, and that is when the Time Keepers come
for them - when their time is up...
the frivolity of Other
the Eighth Doctor's audio adventures return to the kind of
surreal realm that would not have seemed out of place in the
Divergent Universe story arc of recent years. However, there's
one crucial difference here. In the Divergent Universe there
was no time, whereas in this story time is very much of the
the Doctor (Paul McGann), Charley (India Fisher) and C'rizz
(Conrad Westmaas) arrive in the land of Industry, the populace
seem to be frozen in time. When the travellers later emerge
from "between the tick and the tock" and into the time-stream
of the locals, they realise that every waking second of these
people's lives is being strictly scheduled and monitored by
the so-called Time Keepers in their Clock Tower. In this world,
retirement is not something to look forward to - it is a euphemism
for death, as are "cutbacks" and "downsizing".
"cutbacks" are carried out by sinister clockwork men - though
writer Steve Lyons is at pains to make clear, courtesy of
a description provided by the shopkeeper Vannet (Beth Vyse),
that these creatures are not connected with the clock-faced
people of the BBC Eighth Doctor novel Anachrophobia.
Nor are they anything to do with The
who's ever lived in fear of a faceless, inscrutable, time-obsessed
boss (and I don't mean Scaroth from City of Death)
will realise what Lyons is metaphorically driving at with
this story. Maintaining quotas and punctuality are all very
well, but taken to extremes such practices become dehumanising,
not to mention the fact that accounting for every minute of
the working day is in itself an unproductive use of one's
the writer plays around a bit (not too much) with the chronology
of his narrative. Each episode is interspersed by comments
from a different "narrator" - comments that prove to be part
of a conversation that takes place later on in that episode.
should perhaps have made C'rizz a little less familiar with
the concepts of time. After all, despite his recent experiences
in the TARDIS, he comes from a universe where there is no
time, yet the only hint of this here is when he doesn't know
a wristwatch is called.
from that, though, on the whole this story works and is well
worth your time.