Big Finish Productions have been creating new Doctor Who stories for 20 years. Doctor Who: The Legacy of Time is an epic, six part adventure celebrating this 20th anniversary. The story continues with Relative Time.
Relative Time continues The Legacy of Time’s mission to weave together the strands of Big Finish history. In this case it unites one of the earliest members of the Big Finish family with one of the newest. And, in beautifully appropriate fashion, it also unites two members of the same family on audio at last.
Peter Davison was one of the first actors to sign up with Big Finish to revisit his time as the Doctor. Since 1999, he’s been performing a note perfect (if slightly more gravelly) encore for the Fifth Doctor that’s far outstripped his actual time on television. Meanwhile, Georgia Tennant is the star of Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter – a new range of adventures which only launched itself across the audio universe last year. Plus, of course Georgia Tennant used to be known as Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Moffett – known professionally as Peter Davison (this was of course before she married David Tennant, who was originally born David McDonald. Following so far?). A little stagey wagey, namey wamey it may be but the upshot is that Relative Time not only reunites the Doctor and his daughter, but actual father and daughter.
It’s no surprise that teaming up Davison and Tennant works so well, but the result is no less pleasing for that connection.
The Legacy of Time is allowed to continue its other, slightly more subtle, celebration of Big Finish’s own legacy by happily engaging in some of its most cozy and familiar tropes and storytelling philosophies. In this case their long history of not letting continuity get in the way of a cracking story (or, alternatively, sticking a band aid over any continuity concerns and getting on with the fun). Relative Time illustrates just how well justified that approach often is.
Pairing Davison and Tennant is not only an irresistible notion but one which winds up working incredibly well. Even leaving aside their personal connection, the Fifth Doctor was always the most Dad-like of Doctors. After all, his grumpy tolerance of the demanding and trouble-prone young crew always smacked of the weary sighs of a man apologizing to his neighbour about the window Adric’s football had just gone through. Playing the curious mixture of pride at Jenny’s accomplishments and talent, and finger wagging at her excesses and slightly off-hand attitude to the law is right up Davison’s alley.
Though it’s fun to imagine that both he and Tennant brought personal experience to the scene of Jenny getting her first driving lesson in the vortex. The mix of the Doctor’s tightly controlled near-panic (complete with “Mind the clutch!“) and Jenny’s slight irritation with his over-instruction is just one of the many delights of the story.
The script smartly avoids leaning too heavily on the mystery of Jenny’s existence, and instead gives the concept room to be as fun and witty as it deserves.
While the Doctor is sceptical of Jenny’s story, and Jenny is keen to prove herself to him, Matt Fitton’s script smartly doesn’t linger on it. The Doctor is quickly satisfied that either she’s his daughter from the future or she’s not, but that either way she’s a capable and much needed ally. While on Jenny’s part she never lets the yearning for his acceptance overwhelm the thrill of getting to meet him at all.
The plot in which the two find themselves is effectively a disaster movie in the vortex. Something has exploded and the blastwave is passing through five dimensions and swept into the time vortex itself. A cruise liner of time-tourists are caught in it and the passengers and crew must now fight to stay alive while the Doctor and Jenny struggle to find a way to get everyone safely back into normal space-time.
But like all the best disaster movies, not all of the survivors of the initial disaster have totally pure motives. One of the Doctor’s most lethal enemies is aboard too, in the midst of planning an elaborate heist. Self-preservation is the order of the day, obviously, but how far can the Doctor and Jenny trust their new ally? The popular and longstanding villain in question is an original Big Finish creation, emphasising how good The Legacy of Time has been at fusing not just classic and modern elements to each other, but also to Big Finish’s own worlds.
Georgia Tennant’s performance as Jenny underlines just how deserving the character is of life after TV.
The familiarity of the setup all works to Relative Time‘s favour, as it allows the character relationships (both familial and adversarial) to shine with the relatively straight forward resolution to not feel like a cheat.
As is becoming standard for these The Legacy of Time episodes, it succeeds in making the listener want to check out more from the Big Finish ranges which overlap here. Tennant’s performance in particular so perfectly pitches Jenny’s personality as an earnest adrenaline junkie (she’s not a character given to hiding her feelings or putting up with the nonsense of others) that it should put Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter in the online shopping baskets of many.
An epic six-part adventure celebrating 20 years of Doctor Who at Big Finish!
Time is collapsing. Incidents of temporal chaos and devastation are appearing throughout the many lives of the Doctor and his friends – fallout from one terrible disaster.
The Doctor must save history itself – and he will need all the help he can get.
1. Lies in Ruins by James Goss
2. The Split Infinitive by John Dorney
3. The Sacrifice of Jo Grant by Guy Adams
4. Relative Time by Matt Fitton
5. The Avenues of Possibility by Jonathan Morris
6. Collision Course by Guy Adams
- Tom Baker (The Doctor)
- Peter Davison (The Doctor)
- Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)
- Colin Baker (The Doctor)
- Paul McGann (The Doctor)
- Tim Treloar (The Doctor)
- Sophie Aldred (Ace)
- Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield)
- India Fisher (Charlotte Pollard)
- Karen Gledhill (Allison Williams)
- John Heffernan (The Nine)
- Anna Hope (DI Patricia Menzies)
- Louise Jameson (Leela)
- Alex Kingston (River Song)
- Katy Manning (Jo Jones)
- Ingrid Oliver (Osgood)
- Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart)
- Hugh Ross (Sir Toby Kinsella)
- Pamela Salem (Rachel Jensen)
- Georgia Tennant (Jenny)
- Lalla Ward (Romana)
- Simon Williams (Group Captain Gilmore)