The Doctor is startled when a flashing red light appears on the TARDIS console. The surprise isn’t that the light has never flashed before, but that it is there at all, where there was no light on the console before. And it’s not just one Doctor, but all of the Doctor’s incarnations.
The eighth Doctor and Charley, after witnessing a strangely disjointed collection of images from the Doctor’s past (and past Doctors), try to follow a trace through time to a London suburb at three minutes after five in the evening on the twenty-third day of November, 1963, but the TARDIS instead deposits them on an alien planet in the middle of a live demonstration of a weapons system capable of immense destruction. The two time travelers are separated, and Charley makes her way back to the TARDIS, just in time for a strange phenomenon to change the TARDIS around her. She finds herself in a different (and yet similar) console room, occupied by a savage woman named Leela and another man who claims to be the Doctor. The eighth Doctor follows, and he and his fourth incarnation try to combine their talents and knowledge to get the TARDIS safely away from this planet. The escape attempt doesn’t go as planned. Charley and Leela inexplicably vanish from the TARDIS.
The sixth and seventh Doctors also find each other on this planet, but are in a different region, where a conference is taking place: a showroom demonstration for other weapons created by the same alien race, the Vess. The seventh Doctor and Ace discover the Master is somehow involved, but then Ace vanishes. The sixth Doctor finds a delegation of Time Lords are an unofficial presence at this weapons sale – members of the Celestial Intervention Agency, led by Straxus, without the knowledge of the High Council of Gallifrey. Peri vanishes, and only then does the sixth Doctor discover the truth: the Master discovered the unauthorized Time Lord expedition and demanded a bribe for their silence. That bribe came in the form of a weapon of the Master’s choice from the Vess arsenal. Straxus knows nothing beyond this, but the Doctor knows enough to threaten to expose Straxus’ presence to the Time Lords; in exchange for the Doctor’s silence, Straxus helps reunite as many of the Doctors as he can.
The fifth Doctor and Nyssa follow the same time trace, but the Doctor is suspicious enough to change the time coordinates, arriving instead at 5:02pm in November 23rd, 1963. The TARDIS crashes through a shed belonging to a man named Bob Dovie, whose wife and children have gone missing. To the Doctor and Nyssa, it is obvious that Dovie has suffered some sort of trauma that has left him in an agitated, distracted state. Dovie’s family are closer to him than he thinks, murdered by the Master. Why has the Doctor’s old enemy chosen to victimize a perfectly average suburban family, how is it connected to the evil Time Lord’s endless quest for vengeance against the Doctor, and what is happening to the Doctor’s companions?
written by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Paul McGann (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Sophie Aldred (Ace), India Fisher (Charley), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master), John Dorney (Bob Dovie), William Russell (Ian Chesterton / The Doctor), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Maureen O’Brien (Vicki), Peter Purves (Steven), Jean Marsh (Sara Kingdom), Anneke Wills (Polly), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon / The Doctor). Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Oliver Hume (Straxus), Nicholas Briggs (The Vess), Benedict Briggs (Kevin Dovie), Tim Treloar (The Doctor)
Notes: Straxus first appeared in part one of Blood Of The Daleks, the eighth Doctor audio adventure which introduced Lucie Miller, but the sixth Doctor would appear to have met Straxus first… at least in the timeline created by the Master, which the Doctors later eliminate. Since Straxus is played here by Oliver Hume, it’s safe to assume that this is an earlier incarnation of Straxus than the incarnations that have been encountered by the eighth Doctor.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]