Doctor Who Audio Review: It’s All Of Fun And Games Until The Queen Catches You

The Queen of Time is a Doctor Who audio play released in 2012 by Big Finish Productions.  It is an episode from a range known as The Lost Stories, which were initially written for television but ended up not being produced for one reason or another.  Catherine Harvey is the scriptwriter who adapted a pitch conceived initially by Brian Hayles in the 1960’s.  Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury share narration duties as well as reprise their roles as Jamie and Zoe, respectively.  Hines once again shares his impression of the late Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor.  Lisa Bowerman is the director of this episode.  Caroline Faber is the guest performer who plays an immortal, all-powerful being known as Hebuca who also dubs herself as the Queen of Time. She has an unusual fondness for clocks and various sorts of timepieces. She also has a similar taste for games and puzzles much like another entity in which long-time fans would recognize.

The Doctor and his two companions find themselves trapped in the Queen’s realm and forced to endure her cruel challenges.  Jamie and Zoe are separated from the Doctor, who is held prisoner by Hebuca as he is forced to watch their plight.

It would be pretty easy to dismiss this episode as something that has already been explored, however the performances of all of the cast keeps one pretty riveted.  I was waiting for that moment for the connection to a previous First Doctor story to be fully revealed even though I knew there was no real mystery in that.  Faber pitches the seductive nastiness just right in her vocal performance.  Padbury and Hines are typically very engaging in this one.  They have worked together on enough of these episodes to no longer be astonished by their efficiency and effectiveness.  Hines continues to honor his deceased friend and costar with an affectionate impression of how Troughton would likely have read the lines.

Yes, this episode is a bit of a retread in many ways, and I wouldn’t say there are any great twists or surprises, although there is a dinner scene which is rather more gruesome than what I would have thought one would see on the telly during Troughton’s era.

Harvey’s creative choices to extend the story into something that could stretch to two hours are actually quite good.  She didn’t have much to work with since Hayles never actually wrote a script, but she made great use of what she did have.