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BIG FINISH: The Fifth Doctor Goes It Alone in ‘Doctor Who: Time Apart’ – Out Today

Doctor Who: Time Apart - Cover art by Tom Webster (c) Big Finish Productions

The Fifth Doctor puts some social distance between himself and his companions in brand new audio drama anthology Time Apart, available from Big Finish from today

Today (31st July) marks the release of Doctor Who: Time Apart, a new four-part anthology from Big Finish, which sees the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) embark on adventures across Earth’s history, this time without his companions.

Although his usual TARDIS team might be absent, Time Apart features several guest stars across these four new stories. Peter Davison stars alongside Kate Harbour (Bob the Builder, Shaun the Sheep), Laura Aikman (Gavin & Stacey, Casualty) plus Wayne Forester (Captain Scarlet, Space Precinct) and Tim Blore.

Big Finish - Doctor Who: Time Apart - Laura Aikman, Wayne Forester, Kate Harbour, Jamie Anderson, and Peter Davison
Big Finish – Doctor Who: Time Apart – Laura Aikman, Wayne Forester, Kate Harbour, Jamie Anderson, and Peter Davison

This anthology contains four half-hour adventures, written by Steve Lyons, Jacqueline Rayner, Tommy Donbavand, and Kate Thorman:

Ghost Station by Steve Lyons

Deep beneath the streets of East Berlin, Peter Meier patrols the border in an old underground station. But when the TARDIS materialises nearby, Peter realises he is far from alone.

Writer Stephen Lyons has said, “Scott [Handcock] wanted a story for the Fifth Doctor who is travelling solo because he feels his friends are better off without him. I made a few suggestions, and Ghost Station was both Scott’s favourite and mine.

“It’s a ghost story set in an abandoned underground train station beneath East Berlin in 1975. It feels odd to call it a ‘historical’ story, when it’s set in a year that I remember! The story is a two-hander between the Doctor and an East German border guard called Peter – whose partner has just been killed by something lurking in the shadows.”

The Bridge Master by Jacqueline Rayner

When the Doctor’s shadow is sacrificed by villagers, he brushes it off as medieval superstition — until he begins to grow weak. Can he uncover the truth behind the bridge master’s curse before it’s too late?

Writer Jacqueline Rayner has said, “It’s got a slight folk-ish, fairy tale-ish vibe. Bridges feature in a lot of myths and legends and this is inspired by some of those.

“I was quite nervous, actually. I’d only written for the Doctor once before, for a River Song box set, and here he is all on his own, in the spotlight! I was worried I wouldn’t get him right. People talk about the Second Doctor being hard to write for because of the physicality of Patrick Troughton’s performance, but I think that goes for Peter Davison too – there’s so much restless energy in his portrayal. I think I did him justice, though.”

What Lurks Down Under by Tommy Donbavand

On the waves of the Indian Ocean, all the prisoners aboard the Lady Juliana have fallen into a trance… except a single girl. Mary Wade desperately needs a doctor – and only one will help her.

What Lurks Down Under is written by the late Tommy Donbavand, who sadly passed away in 2019.

Producer Scott Handcock paid tribute to the writer: “It was my first, and regrettably only, time working with Tommy Donbavand, who passed away shortly after delivering an early draft.

“Tommy was aware of his illness and very keen to fulfil his ambition of writing a Doctor Who audio but wasn’t sure how much he could commit to, so an episode in this anthology was ideal. It was obviously hugely upsetting to see Tommy’s condition deteriorate as quickly as it did, and I’m sad he won’t hear his words brought to life, but I hope we brought him some positivity at an extremely difficult time. The story serves as a fitting tribute to a brilliant author.”

The Dancing Plague by Kate Thorman

Arriving in Strasbourg at the height of the Dancing Plague, the Doctor finds himself thrust into a world of paranoia. Can he bring peace to a city at odds with its own people?

Writer Kate Thorman has said, “My title gives away a bit of what it’s about: the mysterious dancing plague of 1518 – Strasbourg, in Alsace. Determined to find the alien source of the long unsolved plague that’s wiping out the medieval city, the Fifth Doctor misses the very human threats around him.

“I was also interested in writing a story where the Doctor didn’t have all the answers, and where we played with the way humans respond to crisis (ha!), so that was cool to get to do. It’s still very escapist, though, I promise!”

Big Finish – Doctor Who: Time Apart – Laura Aikman and Peter Davison

Actor Peter Davison has said, “These are four different takes on the Doctor in the four different stories of this collection. In one I’m quite jaunty and jolly and in another one I’m slightly more baffled.

“But I’ve enjoyed all the four stories. They’re very different. I’ve always been rather fond of the stories in which the Doctor fiddles in history. But of course it’s also nice to meet the odd alien.”

Doctor Who: Time Apart is available to purchase now as a collector’s edition CD box set (priced at £14.99), or as a digital download (priced at £12.99) exclusively from the Big Finish website.

Separated from his companions, the Doctor attempts to find solace in the history of his favourite planet – Earth – but instead discovers new threats lying in wait.

Travelling from twentieth-century East Berlin to sixteenth-century Strasbourg, the Doctor encounters creatures from other realities: monsters beneath the waves, and human beings determined to exploit their fellow man.

But how long can he survive without a friend?

Big Finish – Doctor Who: Time Apart – Cover

Duration: 120 minutes approx.
Released: 31 July 2020, exclusively from the Big Finish website.

Producers: Alfie Shaw, Scott Handcock
Senior Producer: David Richardson
Written by: Steve Lyons, Jacqueline Rayner, Tommy Donbavand, Kate Thorman.
Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery

Further to the recent announcement regarding the relaunch of Doctor Who audio drama ranges at Big Finish, listeners keen to complete their collection of Monthly Adventures should read the following: 

  • a 3-release CD / download subscription is now available, starting from #271, #272 or #273, which should enable the majority of subscribers to extend their subscription to the end of the range. Three-release subscriptions are priced at £32.50 for collector’s edition CDs and £27.50 for downloads.
  • any existing subscribers who find themselves unable to purchase #274 or #275 via a combination of the 12/6/3-release options should contact sales@bigfinish.com, who will be able to process their orders offline.

Please note that Big Finish has now re-opened its warehouse and commenced the shipping of back orders. The mailout of collector’s edition CDs will still be delayed, but all purchases of these CD titles unlock a digital copy that can be downloaded or played on the Big Finish app immediately upon release.



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