Review: Doctor Who – Out Of Time (Volume 1)

Review by Jacob Licklider

Out of Time is a release that’s production feels much like Big Finish Productions had an idea, and then decided ‘let’s do that idea because it’s fun’.  Billed and hyped for being the meeting between the Fourth and Tenth Doctors played by Tom Baker and David Tennant; Matt Fitton’s story really only sets out to be a bit of fun and does just that.

This isn’t a story that has some big message or is really setting out to do anything but entertain for a while and that is something that it does marvelously.  The plot sees two Doctors, at emotionally shaken points in their lives come to the Cathedral of Contemplation as a distraction, but soon danger is afoot as the peaceful Cathedral is invaded by Daleks!  Yes, that plot description has been written to emphasize that this is just a story that’s only trying to have fun and nothing more.

Except, that’s not really true as Tennant and Baker both give subtle clues that their characters are in some way suffering.  For the Fourth Doctor this story is just after The Deadly Assassin and he is reeling from the loss of Sarah Jane.  It’s not a depression, but the sadness of knowing that he has left a very good friend while the Tenth Doctor is going on the David Tennant death parade of death in that period after Journey’s End.  Both characters are having their own distractions and contemplations and the final scenes where they say goodbye actually highlight this relationship excellently.  Both Doctors are good for one another and provide suggestions on how to deal with their own situations, with nice dramatic and comedic moments (the Doctor’s reaction to Ten’s description of Romana is a highlight).

Interestingly David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor is resistant to explaining himself early on with the Fourth Doctor.  He claims to be A doctor, but not ‘The’ Doctor, which allows him to take a backseat to the over the top Fourth, meaning that the ‘in your face’ version of the Tenth Doctor, which myself and others have a distaste for, is not present here.  Tennant is incredibly enjoyable as the Doctor here and the listener can tell that as an actor he is enjoying himself greatly at the chance to work with one of his heroes.  Tom Baker is also clearly having a ball; especially considering that this adventure was recorded in the comfort of his own home due to the current state of the world.  What is also of note here is that the Daleks while a mixture of classic and new series are not hatching some great scheme to destroy the Cathedral of Contemplation, but only invade because the opportunity arises during their conflicts.  This allows Fitton to establish them as a threat, but not to bog down their plans to fit into a story that only lasts an hour.  Because of this the Daleks are used effectively throughout this story.  The supporting cast is also well utilized and defined, creating only three characters.  Keeping the cast small like this allows Fitton to remain focused on defining them from Claire Rushbook’s Abbess to Kathryin Drysdale’s pseudo-companion Jora and Nicholas Asbury’s Captain Zenna, each character has their own little arc and quirks throughout the story.

Overall, Out of Time sets out and achieves its goal of being a fun little romp that is self-contained in an hour.  While it does nothing groundbreaking, it manages to be very entertaining for the hour that it takes up and is worth the purchase.  7/10.

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