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 The Avenues of Possibility.
The penultimate story in The Legacy of Time really ramps up the connections to the overall story arc and reveals the villains behind all the trouble that various Doctors have had to deal with. Of course anyone who stayed for the post-credit scene of the first instalment may have already have guessed that particular reveal. Has the influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe extended to Big Finish? Whilst I won’t reveal the identity of the villains here, it’s a lovely touch adding a nice circularity.
Six’s time to shine
Showcased in this instalment are the TARDIS team of the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Charlotte Pollard (India Fisher) alongside their sometimes ally – modern day police detective Patricia Menzies (Anna Hope). As has been the case this past 20 years, the Sixth Doctor excels on audio. His pairing with Charley is a great choice for this box-set for multiple reasons. Their time together in the main range was relatively short so it’s great to hear an addition to their adventures. The relationship between Charley and the Sixth Doctor is also very different to her earlier relationship with the Eighth Doctor. (If that sounds confusing then… well it is a little. Just mark it as something to go and check out from Big Finish’s back catalogue. It won’t affect your enjoyment of this story.)
This pairing also fits perfectly for the purposes of this story as basically the whole friendship between Charley and the Sixth Doctor is one big paradox. Holes in time down back alleys of London (yes, there was a reference to 90’s TV time-travel sitcom ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ in there) and alternate possible timelines feature heavily in this plot.
There is some really effective world building of an alternative 1960’s here. A dystopia that you wouldn’t want to find yourself in but one you might be interested in hearing more stories set within. The UKEF is part of that dystopian state. I can’t help thinking that the Doctor’s assumption that UK stood for United Kingdom and is corrected to mean the UNIFIED Kingdom might be a sly nod by writer Jonathan Morris to the modern TV series’ own re-branding of UNIT to stand for UNIFIED Intelligence Taskforce.
The military force of the UKEF is wrapped up in a bootstrap paradox, responsible for the creation of their own timeline. Paradoxes are an interesting concept to include in sci-fi and make for some strong stories. The Commander is a stern woman who is determined that her timeline won’t be wiped out and sends her troops into the past to make sure of it. Understandable to some degree but as the plot progresses and we discover more about her and what has been whispering in her ear any sympathy for the character quickly falls away.
The historical figures in this story, John and Henry Fielding, greet the Doctor as an old friend, having previously met both this incarnation and the First Doctor. To the best of my knowledge we have yet to hear these adventures which means that as well as celebrating the past of Big Finish’s Doctor Who releases, The Legacy of Time is hinting at future ones as well and we may well get to hear of these encounters over the next few years. Richard Hansel and Duncan Wisbey have given life to these two characters in such a warm and engaging way that any future stories with them will certainly be welcomed.
Admittedly this story doesn’t have quite the emotional hit of ‘The Sacrifice of Jo Grant‘ or the fan-pleasing of new character pairings as in ‘Lies in Ruins‘ and ‘Relative Time‘. Jonathan Morris does however given us a fun, action packed plot with a lot of twists and turns.
Of course, it all leads nicely into the big finale of the set with tensions raised and the fate of the universe in the balance.
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)