Recorded Time: The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Peri to the court of King Henry VIII, and the moment he lays eyes on Peri, the King begins making plans to rid himself of Anne Boleyn (and, as soon as he proves to be even slightly argumentative, the Doctor as well). But King Henry has another secret, one that could rearrange history at his whim – one which the Doctor must put to an end.
Paradoxicide: The Doctor and Peri receive a distress call in Peri’s voice; when the TARDIS takes them to the source to investigate, they are captured by an entirely female team of marauders who intend to break into one of the galaxy’s most impressive arsenals of weapons, which also happens to be one of the most impenetrable. Unless, of course, a time machine can take them back to the moment it was constructed.
A Most Excellent Match The Doctor and Peri are taking part in a total immersion interactive game based on the works of Jane Austen, but the Time Lord worries when his young companion stays “in character” so long that she can’t seem to fight her way back to reality. Worse yet, “Mr. Darcy” isn’t part of the simulation, but a noncorporeal being who lurks within the game, waiting for a mind and a body capable of giving it passage back into corporeal space, and a time traveler would suits its needs nicely.
Question Marks: The crew of what appears to be a spacecraft awakens, including a man in a rather colorful outfit (complete with question marks on his lapels) and a young woman who isn’t wearing the uniform that the rest of the crew wears. The assumptions that they’re aboard a space vessel soon prove to be unfounded: they’re inside a volcano, in a man-made structure that’s giving way quickly. If only any of them could remember how to escape… or why one of them is already dead…
Recorded Time written by Catherine Harvey
Paradoxicide written by Richard Dinnick
A Most Excellent Match written by Matt Fitton
Question Marks written by Philip Lawrence
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason
Recorded Time Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Paul Shearer (Henry VIII), Laura Molyneux (Anne Boleyn), Philip Bretherton (Scrivener), Rosanna Miles (Marjorie)
Paradoxicide Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Raquel Cassidy (Inquisa), Joan Walker (Centuria/Ship), James George (Barond), Laura Molyneux, Rosanna Miles (Volsci)
A Most Excellent Match Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Rosanna Miles (Tilly), Philip Bretherton (Darcy / D’Urberville / Heathcliff), Paul Shearer (Cranton)
Question Marks Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Raquel Cassidy (Destiny Gray), James George (Greg Stone), Joe Jameson (Arnie McAllister)
Timeline: after Timelash and before Revelation Of The Daleks
Notes: Due to Henry VIII’s prolific record of womanizing and marriages, his short-lived engagement to Peri does not preclude his apparent marriage to Amy Pond (The Power Of Three). In Paradoxicide, the Doctor boasts of having survived the Death Zone on Gallifrey, the Cybermen’s tombs on Telos, and the Exxilon city; these are all references to prior TV stories, respectively: The Five Doctors, Tomb Of The Cybermen and Death To The Daleks.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Ever since the tradition began, Big Finish’s annual anthology-style Doctor Who release has been a real treat – four one-episode wonders clustered together, often from writers new to the Big Finish stable or to Doctor Who, forcing a bit of storytelling discipline and economy since the format is somewhere between the original series’ 25-minute episodic structure and the 45-minute format of the new TV series. There are no cliffhangers (unless they take place within the single-episode stories as a zinger before a scene change), the cast usually isn’t huge, and it’s a great sandbox for story ideas that might not necessarily sustain expansion into a four-episode story. Recorded Time upholds that tradition nicely.
Recorded Time boasts a diverse series of settings, from the far future to various points in Earth’s history, though it’s the Earth-based segments that land the most solid punch here (though one of the Earth stories is actually a future story in disguise). However, one of the “future” stories is very intriguing. Question Marks bears a striking resemblance to the concept of the Flesh clones seen in The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People – a TV two-parter which aired not long after Recorded Time was, well, recorded. Clones with limited life spans and the intellects and personalities of their “host” originals, sent in to perform hazardous tasks? It’s left vague enough that you can decide for yourself if this is another instance of the Flesh or not.
Paradoxicide feels like it needed more breathing room, perhaps as half of an anthology release consisting of a pair two-part stories; in the single-episode format, it feels a bit overstuffed. The runaway favorite of the bunch, however, is the completely bonkers A Most Excellent Match, which twists literary classics into absurd shapes and then winds up being quite dramatic before it’s all over. Would it have withstood being expanded to a full four-parter? No. It is absolutely engrossing for its single episode length? Yes!
Recorded Time is another solid collection of one-offs, solidifying the annual anthology as a favorite of Big Finish’s Doctor Who output.