Doctor Who – ‘Time In Office’ reviewed

­­❉ Eddie Robson cracks open Season 21 and inserts a Gallifreyan ‘Yes, Minister’ mini-season of stories!

The Doctor forced to fulfill his The Five Doctors promise to be Gallifrey’s next President and Tegan and Leela meeting for the first time ever? Say no more, say no more! *Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, buys CD*

Eddie Robson (who has written some of the best Eighth Doctor audios for Big Finish) has turned his attention to the Fifth Doctor and penned this rather lovely and distinct chapter in the Time Lord’s life.

Nestled in the Frontios gap, the Doctor and Tegan are pulled off course from picking Turlough back up by the Time Lords. On Gallifrey, they team up with the Doctor’s former companion Leela and together they handle all manner of incidents in the Capitol. With overzealous time travelling political cleanup crews, assassination attempts and Time Lord conspiracies, ‘Time in Office’ keeps the group very busy as the Doctor tries to figure to get out of his duties.

Interestingly, each part of the story is an almost separate chapter. They’re all connected with a fourth episode that concludes the story and the running threads in the previous 3 episodes, but each section is a self-contained adventure. It’s like someone’s cracked open Season 21 and inserted a mini-season of stories that acts as a Gallifreyan ‘Yes, Minister’.

The audio is filled to the brim with wonderful continuity nods like the air-punching fact that Leela took out the Raston Warrior Robot herself, and the confirmation of a long-held fan theory on the Doctor’s biology. All wrapped up with a tight tongue-in-cheek script that serves casual and longtime fans alike. ‘The Water Features of Rassilon’, indeed.

I know I’ve gushed about them before, but the cast is simply perfection as they slip back into these roles. Janet Fielding and Louise Jameson as Tegan and Leela, in particular, are a joy to listen to. Janet nails the best features of Tegan as she runs rampant on Gallifrey, proving she’s not just a ‘Mouth on Wheels’. Louise Jameson once again pulls Leela from the ether, recapturing her years before the events of the ‘Gallifrey’ series. Here the more innocent Leela is still learning the Time Lord ways but not quite the impressionable young warrior she was when she first met the Doctor. Surprisingly, but pleasingly, the two companions get along rather well and become quite a force to be reckoned with for the high-collared society. Peter Davison brings his years of experience to the role that recreates a bit wearier Fifth Doctor that is perfectly suited here. In fact, this incarnation is probably the only one that I can really see having a good handle on being Gallifrey’s President. Together the cast bounce off each other presenting time-tested and new chemistries that make this story an absolute joy to listen to. After all these years it’s nice to see that there are new things for these characters to do. As always the story goes on…

Helen Goldwyn, a long time voice actor for Big Finish Productions, has beautifully directed this. Considering that this is only the third ‘Doctor Who’ story she has helmed I am duly impressed. More of her work please.

With its truly unique storyline, structure and amazing cast, ‘Time in Office’ delivers a ‘Doctor Who’ adventure that you’ve never seen the likes of before. One could easily have listened to a whole season of audios set during the Doctor’s tenure as the President of Gallifrey, though if this is the only two hours of it, it’s mighty damn satisfactory.

Find a comfortable spot, put your headphones on, and simply enjoy this wonderful piece of storytelling. After all, it was made for you.

­­❉  This title was released on 12 September 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until October 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date.

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