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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Key 2 Time: The Judgement of Isskar


Starring: Peter Davison
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 363 7
Available 31 January 2009

On a planet where time stands still, the Doctor meets a woman who is just a few minutes old. She is a Tracer, sent into our universe by her makers to locate the six segments of the Key to Time. This being without a name wants the Doctor to be her assistant, but she doesn’t tell him the whole truth. Not at first. Their first port of call is Mars, where a society that one day will become Ice Warriors lives in peace and civility. But the Doctor’s arrival will change all that. The universe is dying, a choice must be made, and the Judgement of Isskar will be declared. The price must be paid - even if it takes centuries...

It’s all very well having audio releases featuring past Doctors in brand-new adventures, but don’t you miss having them around for weeks at a time, like when they were on TV, rather than hopping back and forth along the Doctor’s timeline on a monthly basis? Well, the good news is that, from this two-disc release, Big Finish is embarking upon on a series of mini-seasons of consecutive stories. So for the next three months, we join the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) in a new quest to find the Key to Time.

We’ve had a human segment of the Key (in The Armageddon Factor), humanoid TARDISes (in the Eighth Doctor novels), and now we have a humanoid Tracer, in the shape of new assistant Amy (Ciara Janson) - except that she thinks of the Doctor as her assistant. Created by the same beings that made the Key to Time, Amy is delightfully naive, in a Lt Data kind of way, but she quickly learns from the Time Lord. The character works well with Davison’s Doctor.

This is a very different quest from the Doctor’s previous search for the Key to Time. For one thing, this season is half the length, which helps to convey a greater sense of urgency. There’s a similar being to Amy (Laura Doddington as Zara) searching for three of the six segments, and writer Simon Guerrier sees to it that four of them have been located by the end of this adventure alone.

The plot is a runaround affair, involving trips to three different planets, including Mars. I was sad to leave the red planet halfway through Part Two (of four), and I began to wonder about the relevance of the story’s title. Fortunately, Isskar (Nicholas Briggs) returns before the end of the tale.

My judgement is that this is a key release.


Richard McGinlay

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