When the commanding officer of UNIT's UK division goes missing
while transporting a dangerous cargo, political officer Emily
Chaudhry is left to investigate a series of bizarre accidents.
Meanwhile, the Brigadier is trying to enjoy his retirement,
but it seems he must come to the rescue again...
UNIT its own spin-off series is something that has been on
the cards for a long time, ever since the production team
of the Doctor Who TV show considered the idea in the
1970s. Big Finish has finally achieved what was long overdue,
though the only familiar cast member in this instalment is
Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier, now actually a general
(he's gone up in the world) and theoretically retired.
writer Malcolm Hulke once said that there were two basic kinds
of UNIT story: "alien invasion" and "mad scientist". Time
Heals falls into the latter camp, though the scientists
in question, Meade (Alfred Hoffman) and Kelly (Stephen Carlile),
are not so much mad as misguided with regard to the effects
of their experiments. I might have given slightly too much
away there, but for me the cause of the bizarre incidents
that Colonel Chaudhry (Siri O'Neal) investigates seemed obvious.
Another shortcoming of Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett's
script is the fact that Nicholas Courtney spends much of his
time talking to himself. Forced to work around the absence
of actress Angela Douglas, who played the Brig's wife Doris
in Battlefield, the writers are forced to employ tactics
such as one-sided telephone conversations.
problem that McLaughlin and Bartlett can't really avoid is
the fact that this series has already been pretty well launched
by the episode The Coup, which was given away with
Doctor Who Magazine. They have to build upon this foundation,
which established UNIT's sinister rival organisation ICIS
(Internal Counter Intelligence Service), without alienating
customers who haven't heard the free DWM CD. The addition
of a new character, Colonel Robert Dalton (Nicholas Deal),
who is drafted in to replace the missing Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood,
helps. He is unfamiliar with UNIT's remit, so he needs to
have to certain key facts explained to him by Chaudhry.
the writers fail to get across the idea of what ICIS is, even
though there are some potentially confusing references to
it. The back cover blurb tries to help, by explaining that:
"The UK branch of UNIT is under threat. The Government wants
its own military investigative organisation, one under its
sole control." But that should be the job of the script, not
the cover blurb.
its flaws, Time Heals demonstrates that this series
has great potential. Give it time!
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