Doctor Who
Frozen Time

Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 285 2
Available 01 September 2007

In 1929, Lord Barset’s expedition to the Antarctic was lost without a trace. Or so it seemed... Nearly a century later, in 2012, his grandson funds a much-publicized return to the icy wastes. His mission: to discover what happened to the original expedition. What he finds instead is an enigma - a battered London police box frozen in ice millions of years old. But something else lies in wait in this awful place, something from an era before humankind set foot on the continent’s cold soil. A menace frozen in time. Until now...


Though you don’t need to have heard the 1989 not-for-profit Audio Visuals story Endurance in order to follow Frozen Time, this is a kind of sequel to that earlier tale, which was set in 1929 and concerned an expedition to Antarctica led by one Lord Barset (then played by Joseph Howard). There he and the Doctor (then played by Nicholas Briggs) encountered some Silurians. Here Barset’s grandson (Anthony Calf) searches for the reptile people (and, more importantly, their technology) that were discovered all those years ago - though the creatures he finds are not the reptile people he was expecting...

If you are familiar with the plot of Endurance, the revelation of the creatures’ identity may come as a big surprise, thanks to a cunning bluff on the part of writer Briggs, who penned the original Audio Visuals play under a pseudonym. However, I was not familiar with that earlier story (though I’ve done my research afterwards) and so, ironically, I was not surprised when the Ice Warriors were revealed. This is because the Antarctic is such a fitting location for an Ice Warrior adventure, and the initial set-up - that of technologically advanced humanoids being thawed out from the ice - is very similar to that of the creatures’ debut serial, The Ice Warriors.

The notion of the TARDIS being excavated after millennia also recalls the beginning of the Fifth Doctor comic strip The Stockbridge Horror, in which an imprint of the vehicle’s police box shell was discovered in a limestone quarry.

Despite the running time of Big Finish’s episodes being restricted to 25 minutes each nowadays, the plot feels somewhat low on incident. The guest cast is good, though, including former Bond girl Maryam d’Abo as the eager French scientist Genevieve. She stands in as a kind of companion for the solo Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy). In fact, there’s a tantalising possibility that she joins him for some travels aboard the TARDIS before he returns her to Antarctica at the end of the story.

Though its production code would suggest that this drama takes place after Valhalla, Briggs, in an interview among the CD’s extras, states that it is set at a different point in the Seventh Doctor’s timeline. Perhaps the Time Lord’s forgetfulness (caused by him having been frozen in a self-induced coma for aeons) and references to Mel, Ace and Hex place this tale earlier than Valhalla, not long before Return of the Daleks, in which he recalled the same companions. His amnesia might also explain why he referred to those individuals rather than more “recent” friends, such as Bernice, Roz or Chris from the New Adventures novels.

The extra features also include several tracks of Steve Foxon’s effective incidental music. It’s a good job this is on CD, though - if this was vinyl, I might have been worried about the fizzes and crackles that are part of Foxon’s composition!

Though it didn’t surprise me as much as the production team evidently hoped it would, Frozen Time didn’t leave me cold.

Richard McGinlay

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