Big Finish Has A Big Story To Tell And Several Doctors On Hand

“The Legacy of Time” is a Doctor Who audio boxset that is a celebration of twenty years for Big Finish Production’s contributions to the travels of the maverick Time Lord.  There are six individual stories with a very powerful threat linking them together.  Temporal disturbances are plaguing the universe and several Doctors and his companions have to repair the damage and find the source of the maelstrom.  This is a chance for the writers to play and they go for maximum indulgence.  This is a great addition for Doctor Who collectors.  I won’t give away too much, but I can give a brief breakdown of the episodes here.

James Goss starts off with “Lies in Ruins” which has the anticipated meeting between Professor River Song and Professor Bernice Summerfield, plays by Alex Kingson and Lisa Bowerman.  Long past time for this little encounter.  They are on a ruined world unearthing an ancient tomb when a familiar police box appears.  Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor arrives with a new companion named Ria.  The Doctor appears to be quite different, and the devastated planet starts to look quite familiar.  There is great chemistry among the lead cast, but that’s not too surprising.  It’s a very promising start to this compilation.

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred return to their roles as the Seventh Doctor and Ace in John Dorney’s “The Split Infinitive”.  Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, and Karen Gledhill return as the Counter-Measures team.  These were the people the Doctor first encountered in “Remembrance of the Daleks”. This time, Ace and the Doctor have to accomplish a mission in two different decades at the same time.  It’s a pretty complicated story in many ways, but it’s pretty good.  Counter-Measures have their own spin-off series with Big Finish, so I am not that familiar with them.  Dorney is a prolific and consistent writer for Big Finish and continues to demonstrate a penchant for creative conflicts.  It’s a pretty fun adventure which peels off another layer leading to the heart of the more important mystery.

Guy Adams continues the galactic journey with “The Sacrifice of Jo Grant” in which Jo and the present day leaders of UNIT are transported back in time where they encounter the Third Doctor.  Tim Treloar once again is on hand to give a very uncanny impression of the late Jon Pertwee.  Jemma Redgrave returns as Kate Stewart, the offspring of another iconic figure in the series.  Ingrid Oliver also steps up to the mic as Osgood, the new scientific adviser and the Doctor’s biggest fan.  Nicholas Briggs also joins the cast as a soldier named Wallace.  This is probably the most moving story in the set.  At the end, Kate makes a rather special call that I am sure brought a misty eye to many of the listeners.

“Relative Time” is written by Matt Fitton and reunites father and daughter.  This touches on the new series episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”.  This is quite the family affair. Georgia Tennant returns as Jenny and reunites with an earlier incarnation of the Doctor’s.  Peter Davison is a bit taken aback to meet this strange woman claiming to be his Doctor.  Of course, they are father and daughter in real life.  John Heffernan plays the deranged Time Lord known as the Nine.  The Nine is the earlier version of the Eleven.  Once again, it’s a pretty good episode and is probably long overdue to have Jenny meet earlier versions of her father.

Jonathan Morris pens the penultimate episode entitled “The Avenues of Possibility” in which Colin Baker and India Fisher slip into the welcome and familiar roles of the Sixth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard.  Anna Hope joins the chaos as Detective Inspector Patricia Menzies. At this point, all kinds of time portals are creating havoc.  The twenty-first century has intersected with the eighteenth century, and brothers John and Henry Fielding are pulled into the temporal pandemonium.  They are both English magistrates of repute.  Henry is credited with the founding of London’s first police force.  Anyway, the time distortions have gotten way out of hand, and the Doctor does discover the force behind it.  A force that is very familiar to the Big Finish listeners who have been around since the beginning.  This is one of most complicated relationships between the Doctor and his companion since Charlotte first traveled with the Eighth Doctor and cannot reveal that to his past incarnation.  Anyway, it’s a wonderfully twisted addition to the collection.  Every story has plenty of good points, but this is a pretty strong one.

Finally, we come to “Collision Course” by Guy Adams.  Former companions Romana and Leela, played by Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson, remember a visit to the same world when they traveled with Fourth Doctor at different times.  Tom Baker is back at it and sounds great as usual.  A TARDIS has been constructed and needs a test flight.  This is the first TARDIS, and the Doctor returns to the beginning of the legend of his people.  In order to undo the damage created by the time distortions, the flight needs to happen and this time all sorts of Doctors have arrived to help reset the timelines.  I won’t spoil too much here, but some Doctors show up that are unexpected.  I should have known that they would be there.  This is the extravaganza we all expect for a celebration of this sort. It doesn’t make much sense plot wise, but it’s damn good fun regardless.

This is probably one of the best constructed multi-Doctor collections I have experienced in some time.  There were plenty of moments to pull at the heartstrings a little without sacrificing the humor or the adventure.  Each Doctor was showcased quite effectively.  The performances were all solid, and I could believe how hard everyone worked to make this happen.  A limited number was released so that the physical set has apparently been sold out, however any Doctor Who fan should definitely figure out a way to listen to this saga.

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