The Web of Time has been stretched to breaking point, and
the Doctor holds the Time Lords' only hope for repairing the
damage. Must he sacrifice the life of his companion for the
greater good? And can an old nursery rhyme about a monster
called Zagreus really be coming true...?
I was a child, just old enough to understand what was happening
on the telly, each season of Doctor Who would comprise
six stories, the last of which would always be a six-part
epic. This was during the middle part of the Tom Baker era,
and the epics in question were the likes of The Seeds of
Doom, The Talons of Weng-Chiang and The Invasion of
Time. In my young eyes, this pattern seemed like an immutable
law! Imagine my confusion when Season Seventeen, and each
subsequent series, failed to follow such a trend...
therefore found something reassuringly familiar about the
structure of Paul McGann's second "season" of adventures with
Big Finish. Like those Tom Baker seasons years ago, it has
comprised six stories in total, and now reaches its conclusion
with the sensational Neverland. Though not actually
a six-parter, I believe this to be the longest single Doctor
Who adventure that Big Finish has yet produced, weighing
in at a whopping 145 minutes. They apparently had to drop
two sets of episode endings and recaps in order to cram the
whole thing on to two CDs.
marks the culmination of a story arc that has been developing
over ten stories, ever since the Eighth Doctor defied the
Laws of Time by rescuing Charley (India Fisher) from the doomed
airship R101 in Storm Warning. However, the
ongoing narrative isn't entirely brought to a close, because
this season ends on a bombshell - a bombshell to rival the
climax of Star Trek: The Next Generation's third series,
or the final pages of BBC Books' The Ancestor Cell.
I can't wait for Season Three...!
you would expect with a return visit to Gallifrey, there are
a number of continuity references. These range from the ancient
tales of Rassilon discussed in The Deadly Assassin,
through the Intuitive Revelation described in the New Adventures
novel, Time's Crucible, to the war TARDISes that saw
action in both the comic strip The Stockbridge Horror and
The Ancestor Cell. (Indeed, several aspects of the
plot bear a passing resemblance to events in The Ancestor
Cell.) However, this background information is unobtrusive
chatter that merely embellishes Alan Barnes' intelligent and
witty script, and should not deter casual listeners. So long
as you know your Rassilon from your Romana, then you should
well as enjoying pleasantries with President Romana (another
welcome guest appearance by Lalla Ward), the Doctor exchanges
some particularly caustic banter with the ruthless Co-ordinator
Vansell (Anthony Keetch once again). Meanwhile, India Fisher
extends her range as both Charley and another creature in
her image. I take back what I implied about this other "Charley"
in my review of Seasons of Fear - she is in fact markedly
different to the "Dark Sam" who featured in a couple of BBC
story could have done with being a little less long-winded,
but nevertheless exudes an epic quality.