Darkel has played her hand, the Free Time influence is
spreading, and opposition to Romana's policies is mounting.
When the bombs start going off, the President decides enough
is enough. While Leela and K9 race to track down the terrorist
and avoid more bloodshed, Romana enters into a risky bargain
with a dangerous figure from her past...
Before I get on to Chapter Nine, the final instalment
in this season, let's get one other thing out of the way.
Yes, it's part seven in the ongoing series, "Richard attempts
to reconcile the Gallifrey audios with the Doctor
of you who have grown tired of me rambling on about how this
series might take place before the New Adventures novel
Lungbarrow, or could possibly occur after it, will
be relieved to know that I have finally abandoned this particular
obsession. The death of Andred (Andy Coleman) in the previous
while Leela (Louise Jameson) is still without child, means
that Big Finish's Gallifrey-based audio dramas cannot possibly
fit in anywhere between Romana's return to her home world
in the New Adventure Blood Harvest and the planet's
destruction in BBC Books' The Ancestor Cell.
is Andred's demise the last personal tragedy that Leela or
Romana (Lalla Ward) have to face...)
this doesn't mean that the books and audios cannot all be
part of a larger whole. Thanks to Outpost Gallifrey's Canon-Keeper's
Guide to Doctor Who, I now see that the Eighth
Doctor audios, and consequently the Gallifrey series
that spun off from them, could take place after the BBC's
Eighth Doctor novels. After all, we know that Gallifrey's
existence is restored by some means or other at some point
Gallifrey Chronicles and the Time War mentioned
in the new television series.
I had resisted this notion for a while, because I preferred
to assume that The Gallifrey Chronicles occurred close
to the end of the Eighth Doctor's lifetime, and I felt that
the notion of the planet being somehow "reset" to its pre-Lungbarrow
condition was too contrived. However, I am now warming
to the idea, because while the Eighth Doctor novels have ceased
publication as a chronological series, the Eighth Doctor and
Gallifrey audio dramas continue to move forwards. Therefore,
it is more satisfying to treat the audios as the new adventures.
This also allows the planet to "live a little" between its
could also explain why Braxiatel... No, leave it, Richard
- that's a debate for another time!)
Gallifrey Chronicles reveals that the planet's inhabitants
are all stored, in super-compressed form, within the Doctor's
mind. Though the author, Lance Parkin, wisely avoids stating
exactly how Gallifrey is to be brought back into being, he
reminds us that the companion Fitz once died but was "remembered"
back into existence with the help of the TARDIS databank.
Perhaps something similar, but on a planetary scale, could
explain the resurrection of Gallifrey.
as certain bits of Fitz's memory were lost in the process,
so too could aspects of Gallifrey. This might explain why
Andred's familial House is given different names in Lungbarrow
Five - Lies. The fact that the world appears
to have reverted to a pre-Lungbarrow state could be
another error in the transfer, or it could indicate a deliberate
bit of tweaking by the Doctor, returning the planet to a more
hopeful time in its history.
Unfortunately, Gallifrey seems to be fated for a devastating
war, albeit a civil one on this occasion, as this latest chapter
dramatically demonstrates. Meanwhile, Romana appears destined
for corruption. Her ruthless attitude in the audio drama Neverland
echoed that of her third incarnation in the books The Shadows
of Avalon and The Ancestor Cell. Lalla Ward manages
to ramp her performance, which had already grown increasingly
intense over recent CDs, up yet another notch.
we don't quite get the calamitous climax that we were perhaps
led to expect (instead, this instalment sets the stage for
the next series), elements from all four previous chapters
in the current run are brought into play. These include an
unlisted character that you probably weren't expecting to
hear from again...
also get a longer running time than usual, at no extra cost.
In addition to a 100-minute episode, spread over two discs,
there's a 45-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, featuring
interviews with the cast and crew. This includes a sneaky
peek at the third series, which director/producer Gary Russell
reveals will probably be the last.
In terms of both continuity and storytelling, it would seem
that the planet of the Time Lords has a fair bit of life left
in it, even though its days are numbered.
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