Audiobook Review: Doctor Who: Out Of Time 1 by Matt Fitton

Released by Big Finish Productions

Big Finish Productions and their numerous audio releases across multiple ranges: Sherlock Holmes, Space 1999, The Avengers (Mrs Peel, we’re needed), their own original work such as Cicero which I have reviewed previously and the work they are most famous for…their practically infinite Doctor Who releases.

One of Big Finish’s main claims to fame especially when it comes to their Doctor Who work and certain other ranges such as Dark Shadows – a 1960s cult American gothic style soap opera series involving classic monster archetypes – is the use wherever possible of the original actors. Be it the original classic Doctors such as Tom Baker, Peter Davidson etc or their travelling companions or outside of Doctor Who the use of multiple members of the original cast in their Blake’s 7 audio releases.

This as you may be able to guess allows Big Finish to successfully get away with some rather interesting combinations either for special anniversaries such as The Light At The End – their contribution to Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in 2013 – or as in today’s review just because they can!

Out Of Time 1 (henceforth simply Out of Time) by Matt Fitton– a consistent and talented contributor to Big Finish since 2011 – is one of their special crossover stories which happen occasionally. In this case staring Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor alongside David Tennant’s Tenth battling Daleks of all sorts. It is the first of three planned releases with the Tenth Doctor also planned to encounter the Fifth and Sixth Doctors in future instalments.

The story is as follows:

The Cathedral Of Contemplation is an enigma across all reality. Existing outside of time itself it moves throughout history opening its many doors throughout the universe to offer solace to those in great need. Occasionally The Doctor pops in – whenever he hides from that which must be done, it can be a helpful place to regain perspective. Only this time around The Doctor is already there from several lifetimes previously, floppy scarf and all. So when the dimensional barriers are breaking down past and present collide. Therefore when the Daleks invade the Cathedral as part of their great plans both forms of The Doctor must work together to prevent their plan or be exterminated twice over! Laws of time be damned!

Out Of Time is quite the fun experience! Both Doctors bounce off each other well with lots of entertaining banter and bickering both with several references for the long time Doctor Who fan and simply to make your average listener smile. They clearly both have quite the enthusiasm for the idea. The storyline by Fitton for this particular adventure is not especially complex or deep but in this case that’s not what the story is going for. The story itself is just trying to be something fun and a little on the silly side to some degree which it achieves wonderfully with simultaneously charming dialogue and some appropriately serious moments when it’s needed.

The small guest cast aids this sense of amusement well. The character of Captain Zenna as played by Nicholas Asbury is a perfectly played archetypal stuck up army commander and he proves expertly hateable. His daughter Jora on the other hand courtesy of Kathryn Drysdale proves to be an endearing companion style character since both Baker and Tennant are technically companionless in this particular adventure. I would be quite partial to seeing her return should they decide to bring her back. Asbury and Drysdale manage to either act as the figurative straight man to some of the humour or bring in the slightly more serious moments as required. Claire Rushbrook also appears as the Abbess of the Cathedral of Contemplation and another role later on and performs her part well.

The last guest performance – as may be guessed by the involvement of The Daleks – is courtesy of Nicholas Briggs who has been having a lot of fun as the murderous pepper pots in audio since 2000 and on TV since the 2005 relaunch. Speaking of the Daleks I have to make special mention of them this time around. The inclusion of multiple different styles of Dalek voices throughout the hour long audio drama allows for an extension of the crossover. The use of classic 1970s style Daleks for the average normal Daleks and the modern style DEEP BOOMING VOICES for the Dalek Supreme is an interesting blend and it actually aided my ability to lose myself in the story and just have fun. Lastly I will also mention something I usually don’t bring up in my reviews. In this case the excellent use of sound courtesy of Howard Carter. The music and sound effects throughout the release, be it the traditional echoing footsteps, the devastating effects of Dalek firepower, the excellent Tenth Doctor era style, Murray Gold inspired music and the use of seabirds and lapping waves, feel very appropriate and very much in the spirit of Doctor Who and the spirit of Out Of Time.

As I mentioned above, Mr Fitton has let himself just have fun with the idea of Baker and Tennant meeting up. There’s no big long multi-part arc, no weird mysteries that have to be explained later, just traditional Doctor Who adventuring craziness. And it is that which allows this audio adventure to work. In that way it shares a lot of its DNA with the classic multi-Doctor stories of the past. If the story had been overly complicated or over the top in general it wouldn’t have worked. As such because I went into it simply wanting a good time I got exactly what I was hoping for. If you go in either as a casual Who fan or a long time one hoping to smile you’ll get a five star experience. If you want more than that, Big Finish has plenty of other adventures to offer. Out of Time is available on Big Finish’s own website complete with trailer as is their practically endless back catalog.

In conclusion as you can no doubt tell I really had a good time with this one. My review this time around has been much more casual and down to earth so to speak than my usual reviews.

Sayonara! Nephrite

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