The seventh Doctor is drawn to a jungle world, where he rescues a hapless bystander and discovers an elderly couple nearby. The couple have a unique relationship based on a mutual loathing that seems like it could become murderous at any moment – and they both have very dark secrets to hide. The fifth Doctor, meanwhile, finds himself locked out of the TARDIS, which has materialized aboard a doomed British ship in the North Atlantic. The ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat, and the TARDIS is lost at sea. The Doctor, along with an Irish woman from the British vessel, drifts along with the debris until taken aboard the German sub as a spy. Elsewhere, on the starliner Edifice, the sixth Doctor’s TARDIS arrives, coinciding with an experiment being performed on a time-sensitive creature known as the Temperon. But shortly after the experiment fails, the entire crew – with the exception of its android helmsman and a waitress who appears to have survived through pure luck – is killed, and the Doctor must find out why. Each incarnation of the Doctor is unaware that he is facing the same threat, but in different places and times. And each Doctor has a piece of the puzzle that could save their besieged home planet of Gallifrey.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Andrew Fettes (Commander Raldeth / Schmidt), Anthony Keetch (Coordinator Vansell), Michael Wade (The President), Sarah Mowat (Elenya / Helen / Ellie / Knight Commander Lyena), Maggie Stables (Ruthley), Colin McIntyre (Sancroff), John Wadmore (Commandant / Lt. Zentner / Pilot Azimendah / Subcommander Solanec), Mark Gatiss (Captain Schwieger / Edifice Captain / Knight 2), Nicholas Briggs (The Temperon), Nicholas Pegg (Delegate)
Timeline: part one takes place in an unspecified time frame while the seventh Doctor is traveling alone; part two takes place while Tegan and Turlough are traveling with the Doctor, but since he makes no reference to being Lord President of Gallifrey, this may place it between Terminus and The Five Doctors. Part three takes place between Trial Of A Time Lord and Time And The Rani, since the sixth Doctor is traveling alone.
LogBook entry and review by Earl Green
Review: This first entry in a new series of BBC-authorized audio dramas is simultaneously a lot of fun, and a bit of a letdown. All three of the lead actors are in fine form, with Colin Baker being particularly Doctorish, while Peter Davison’s voice reveals a little bit of age. Most of the supporting cast were more than adequate, though I found part two to be the best of the four “episodes” spread across the two CDs, with part one running a close second. Many of the Gallifrey sequences brought back, with crystal clarity, the overused Gallifrey of seasons 20 and 23. I almost wish that element of the story had been left out. But on the other hand, if Gallifrey isn’t involved, how else can three Doctors team up? The story almost comes across as a bit muddled, but its non-linear nature necessitates this: each episode tells its own different story, complete from beginning to end, and each episode must also drop in hints about the antagonist, as well as leave the Doctor hanging at the end of that part of the story to tie in to part four, where the three Doctors finally reunite on Gallifrey.
I have great faith in the people assembling the Audio Adventures. They are some of the best fan and pro writers and producers in the Doctor Who universe, and the actors can, of course, be counted upon to deliver their best performances. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a great fan of these latter three Doctors, particularly McCoy and Davison, though Big Finish is said to be in ongoing negotiations with Paul McGann and Tom Baker to star in future Audio Adventures.
Any misgivings I may have about The Sirens Of Time may be due to its unique structural requirements. All of the televisied multiple-Doctor stories in Doctor Who’s history left more than the usual number of dangling plot threads, simply because plotting was secondary to engineering the reunion of the present and previous cast members. The Sirens Of Time is no different, and will probably be well-regarded by most fans of the TV series. If the acting and production exhibited in The Sirens Of Time can be coupled with the storytelling standards of Virgin’s New Adventures novels (rather than the storytelling standards of the television series itself), the Audio Adventures will probably win the hearts of quite a few fans.
Maybe in a few years, the BBC will let Nick Briggs and company do a real live Doctor Who revival, with the original actors in their original characters, on video. Until then, welcome to the Audio Adventures.