The Fourth Doctor: Casualties Of Time (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
Casualties Of Time (Credit: Big Finish)

Written By: Nicholas Briggs Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9/The Oortag), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr Dorrick), David Troughton (The Black Guardian/Edge), Jez Fielder (Drudger/Ecidien Cerebus Bird/The White Guadian/Salonu Prime), Jane Slavin (The Laan/Conglom-net Computer/Salonu)

 

This title was released in August 2016. It will be available to buy from the BF website until September 30th 2016, and on general sale after this date.

This review contains spoilers

 

Casualties Of Time, the last in this series of fourth Doctor audio adventures from Big Finish picks straight up from the end of the previous adventure, The Pursuit Of History. We find Romana being forced  by Mr Dorrick (Toby Hadoke) into the chamber to repair the time engine and the Doctor about to take another perilous trip in the TARDIS through one of Cuthbert's (David Warner) dodgy quantum gateways. Needless to say that both cliffhangers are resolved quickly and neatly (perhaps the Doctor's just a little too quickly, or maybe the TARDIS is just getting used to these perilous trips through quantum gateways).

I couldn't help but notice that the blurb from Big Finish for Casualties of time is particularly bold, it's final two lines are:

The Doctor, Romana and K9.

Today one of them will die.

So do we lose one of the best TARDIS crews ever assembled? Possibly maybe, perhaps....

Thankfully, during the audio play's run time, a lot of the questions raised in the last episode, are answered - Questions like - What are Cuthbert's motives? Is the Black Guardian involved? What is the Cerebus Bird doing in the bowels of the TARDIS? And probably the MOST important of all - Could Toby Hadoke'sMr Dorrick possibly get more camp and moustache twirlgly devious? (That last one is a most definite yes).

Big Finish seem to be quite clumsy with their credits, they brazenly give the game away with regards to the Black Guardian's involvement before you get a chance to listen to the lovely season seventeen opening theme. But then again, I guess that it acts as an advert for a returning villain.

Nicholas Briggs not only brilliantly wrote, but also ably directed this story which is full of very intelligent paradoxes, one of which reaches right back to the iron age and involves an alien ship, Cuthbert, a bazooka and the Doctor (twice). Mr Cuthbert's timeline of self-perpetuation is very clever indeed, and makes perfect sense, especially when you find out how his whole life has been influenced, and manipulated. Oh - and the twist is a doozy. Nicely played Mr Briggs.

Tom Baker and John Leeson are (as you would expect) excellent together which is a good job as again we find The Doctor and Romana (Lalla Ward) are separated for a vast amount of the story. However when the Doctor does finally catch up with Ramona....sorry, Romana on the space platform, their chemistry once again is very evident and welcomed.

Tom has (of course) most of the best lines, and has fun delivering them. My favorite of which has to be "Hello Mr Dorrick, it's so nice to see you. I'm joking." As the story unfurls, both Toby Hadoke and David Warner's characters require a complete change in the way that they are played, and both handle this change with deft and with style. In fact the Doctor's relationship itself with Cuthbert changes also, and I'd welcome another visit from this new twist on the character, just as this adventure left him. I mustn't also forget David Troughton's Edge, who finds himself somewhat, shall we say at odds with Cuthbert for a while.

The last two of this series of eight has left me wanting more of the Doctor, Romana and K9. I can't wait for series six!