The Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey find themselves locked into a room with vast amounts of treasure, and not nearly enough air to breathe – a tomb fit for a king. A young boy, who identifies himself as Aladdin, manages to find a way into the room and leads his two new friends out of the tomb to safety. The Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey know “Aladdin” as Alexander, heir to the throne of the Robotov Empire, but the Doctor thinks it best not to reveal the boy’s true identity to him. As the time travelers follow their guide through an increasingly improbable series of adventures, including an encounter with a serpentine creature which is actually his scarf, the Doctor realizes that this isn’t reality, but is instead the illusory world inside the Skishtari egg. He sets about trying to deconstruct that illusion, but he must ensure that he, Alexander and Mrs. Wibbsey can escape it before it collapses.
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Guy Harvey (Aladdin), Sophie Ward (Storyteller), Terrence Hardiman (Gryphon), Andrew Sachs (Scarf), Simon Shepherd (Magician), Su Douglas (Toad)
Timeline: after The Broken Crown and before The Hexford Invasion; prior to The Ribos Operation
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The Serpent Crest cycle takes its obligatory sidestep into the surreal (almost a prerequisite with Paul Magrs’ BBC Audio pentalogies), but it’s hard – if not impossible – to dismiss Aladdin Time as inconsequential fluff. Now yes, this is the one where the Doctor’s scarf suddenly turns into a multicolored, knitted serpent and begins speaking to him, but there are also unexpectedly poignant moments, such as the storyteller questioning whether she will continue to exist after the Doctor deconstructs the fantasy world (and gets an answer from him).
There’s also the completely unexpected conclusion, in which the problem is solved, the guest stars need to be returned to their proper place in time and space, and the Doctor walks into this TARDIS and leaves. Mrs. Wibbsey, haven gotten accustomed to all of this time travel nonsense, is crestfallen, and the listener is left completely off guard, because that’s not supposed to happen until the fifth installment… right?
I went into Aladdin Time thinking to myself, “Ah, right, this’ll be the silly one this time around,” only to be brought up short.