A powerful coalition of time-traveling races monitors access to history, stopping newly-emergent time travelers and redirecting them to the planet Gryben for “processing” – though that process often strands them there permanently. That logjam of stranded time travelers has given rise to a new movement – Free Time – seeking to force these temporal superpowers to allow free access to the timeways.
Several delegates from the time-traveling powers, including a Time Lord and a Monan (a symbiotic race consisting of noncorporeal intelligences, and human “thralls” whose bodies they inhabit), arrive to investigate what appears to be the emergence of another sophisticated time-traveling race – but one of the delegates turns out to be a member of Free Time, and soon she has her hands on a timeonic fusion device – a weapon of temporal mass destruction banned by the coalition of time-traveling superpowers. Torvald, the Time Lord operative assigned to this delegation, is recalled to his home planet of Gallifrey.
There, President Romana of the Time Lords’ High Council assigns Torvald to go undercover to retrieve the forbidden weapon. To this end, she also assigns Leela – a mere human primitive who stayed behind on Gallifrey years ago to marry another Gallifreyan – to go with him, and to take her loyal robotic dog K9 with her. Romana, too, has a K9 unit, capable of linking with its counterpart through time and space. Leela, Torvald, and Leela’s K9 travel to Gryben to find the Free Time operative and retrieve the weapon – but while there, they discover that other members of the coalition are willing to overstep their bounds to obtain the weapon, even if it means risking war with Gallifrey. And when she tries to defuse the situation at home, Romana meets a challenge from the ambitious Coordinator Narvin – ambitious enough to set her impeachment in motion.
written by Alan Barnes
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington
Cast: Lalla Ward (President Romana), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Miles Richardson (Cardinal Braxiatel), Sean Carlsen (Coordinator Narvin), Andy Coleman (Commander Torvald), Lynda Bellingham (Inquisitor Darkel), Hugo Myatt (Arkadian), Helen Goldwyn (Nepenthe), Daniel Hogarth (Ba’aruk), Stephen Mansfield (Scragbite), Trevor Littledale (Outsider)
Notes: The Gallifrey audio miniseries is a fascinating mixture of elements from televised Doctor Who and professional fiction postdating the original TV series. Leela, Romana and K9 appeared in the original TV series. At the end of her tenure on TV, Romana was left stranded in a dimension called E-Space with the Doctor’s second K9 unit; in the Missing Adventures novels printed by Virgin Publishing, Romana and K9 escaped E-Space, after which she returned to Gallifrey and successfully ran for the Presidency. With that acknowledgement of the novels’ continuity in mind, it’s curious that the Gallifrey audios and their immediate antecedent, the 2003 Doctor Who audio Zagreus establish that Romana and Leela have only just met; the penultimate Virgin New Adventures novel establishes a different first meeting for Romana and Leela. Braxiatel was established in throwaway dialogue in City Of Death (1979), but was later fleshed out in Virgin’s New Adventures novels, including those which postdate Virgin’s loss of the Doctor Who print fiction license, and has also appeared in Big Finish’s Bernice Summerfield audios; Braxiatel was established in print and in audio as the owner of the Braxiatel Collection for which Bernice is a curator. Inquisitor Darkel also appeared in the TV series, presiding over The Trial Of A Time Lord, though she was known only as the Inquisitor during her television appearances.
Timeline: all of the Gallifrey audios take place sometime after the Doctor Who audio Zagreus.
LogBook entry by Earl Green