End Of The Line

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and his companion, Constance Clarke, arrive at a train station that seems to be in a strange limbo. A train car full of passengers finds nothing amiss with this situation, but when it becomes obvious that something out of the ordinary is happening, their reactions range from the kind of indignation reserved for an everyday traffic delay to something far worse. The Doctor and Constance quickly discover that not everyone aboard the train is what or who they seem to be. Neither is the train station, which serves as a nexus between multiple realities. Someone aboard the train is here to break down the barriers that keep those realities separated, unless the Doctor can stop them.

written by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Anthony Howell (Tim Hope), Chris Finney (Keith Potter), Ony Uhiara (Alice Lloyd), Hamish Clark (Norman), Maggie Service (Hilary Ratchett)

Notes: Maggie Service can be heard in nearly episode of the BBC2 sci-fi sitcom Hyperspace, as the inordinately cheerful voice of the ship’s PA system.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: An appropriately surreal opener to a multi-part story, End Of The Line is a story that would’ve sagged under the weight of a four-part structure, but is ideal as a single-disc one-shot. The cast keeps the premise afloat for that time, though the plot is secondary to the pressure-cooker in which the characters find themselves. Oddly, this is the audience’s first exposure to Constance Clarke, whose introduction wouldn’t come until the later sixth Doctor monthly audio Criss-Cross, so envisioning her is an interesting Rorshach test of sorts: if you know nothing of the character’s 1940s background, how do you picture her? Throwback or thoroughly modern? In any case, in her first appearance, Constance seems comfortable in her new time traveling career, in the company of a man in a decidedly unusual outfit.

The return of an old enemy – not necessarily the one pictured on the cover of The Last Adventure‘s lavish book-style box set – is a clever twist, as is that character’s (not unprecedented) use of an “avatar”, neatly sidestepping the fact that the actor associated with that character during Baker’s reign on TV is no longer with us.