Trying to reacquaint Jamie with travel in the TARDIS, the Doctor promises to take his old friend to the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary. But the timeship lands in the cargo hold of a very different ship – the Titanic, on her own maiden voyage. The Doctor realizes that time is running out to return to the TARDIS and leave, but suddenly the cargo hold seems to have vanished, and every door aboard the Titanic opens onto nothing but a steel plate. A man claiming to be Titanic’s first officer believes the Doctor and Jamie to be saboteurs from a rival shipping company, while a bored passenger finds the notion of stowaways exciting – but these two seem to be the only two people aboard. Everything changes suddenly, and the Doctor and Jamie are aboard the doomed steamship Titan. The same two people from the Titanic are also there, but they have very different personas. The Titan’s wreck happens on schedule, leaving the Doctor stranded on an iceberg and Jamie trapped in the hold of the sinking ship. A futuristic submarine rescues Jamie and the Titan’s young lady passenger, and Jamie persuades its captain to rescue the Doctor as well. The Doctor is shocked to discover that he’s been rescued by none other than the legendary (and fictional) Captain Nemo. And then things really get strange.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Alexander Siddig (Captain Nemo), Christopher Fairbank (Professor), Miranda Raison (Tess/Myra), Matt Addis (Teddy/John)
Note: Alexander Siddig will forever be identified with the role of Dr. Julian Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Miranda Raison had previously put her American accent to good use in the David Tennant two-parter, Daleks In Manhattan and Evolution Of The Daleks,
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The second installment in the sixth-Doctor-and-older-Jamie triptych, Wreck Of The Titan almost seems to be trying to one-up the Big Finish classic The Chimes Of Midnight with its abrupt and unsettling changes of setting and characters. The unconventional use of the beginning-of-episode recaps is neat, though: not content to merely replay the last couple of minutes of the previous episode, Titan replays them from a different character’s perspective. It’s almost a narrative cheat – especially at the beginning of part three when the recap becomes an extended replay of events from Jamie’s perspective, rewinding the action quite a bit and not catching up with the cliffhanger until nearly ten minutes in – but it’s still fun.
The two actors with whom Colin Baker and Fraser Hines share the most ear time do a lot to keep the story afloat, though the cast becomes more extensively populated with the bizarre appearance of Captain Nemo (played to the hilt by Alexander Siddig, getting a guest starring role much more worthy of his talents than his previous Big Finish outing) and the crew of the Nautilus. Further hints about the “black water” being mined from Scotland in The City Of Spires are dropped here, and there are enough bread crumbs of What’s Really Going On that I’ll admit to having figured out where the Doctor and Jamie really were long before the Doctor himself sussed it out at the end of part four.
Less time is spent here on “why doesn’t Jamie remember the Doctor,” and the two have settled into something of a comfortable groove, though it’s an interesting dynamic with an older Jamie who’s had additional decades of skepticism that he has to overcome to even begin to understand the Time Lord’s travels. In part two, when the Doctor is certain that Jamie had died – and feels great remorse because the Scotsman would never have been in such a precarious position if the Doctor hadn’t insisted on renewing their friendship and their travels – Colin Baker gets a marvelous scene to eulogize the Doctor’s old friend.
The Wreck Of The Titan is a nifty little mind-bending story that truly reaffirms the sense that the Doctor has reunited with one of his oldest friends… but if my gut feeling is that even that is not as it seems.