This is the thirty second release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight and India Fisher as Charlotte Pollard. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
This release is the fifth in the second miniseries of Eighth Doc stories, through which there is a loose story arc revolving around Charlotte Pollard's rescue from the R101 by the Doc back in their first adventure. The arc has a greater presence on some stories than others, and here it starts to come to the fore in the effect that Charlie's existence is having on the fabric of time. There is also a reference to story 30, Seasons of Fear, which explains a brief cameo in that story.
The Doctor and Charlie are following a rather worrying rift in time, which has resulted in Shakespeare being removed from history. The follow it back to a dystopic near future earth, where England is ruled over by a seemingly benevolent dictator, there are improbable time experiments going on and Daleks are wandering around, spouting Shakespeare quotes and even more improbably being incredibly helpful...
It's a tale of two halves. On the one hand there is a lot of fun to be had with the tinpots quoting the bard rather than their usual motivational speeches of `Obey!' or `Exterminate!' There's some genuine intrigue as the Doc gets stuck into trying to figure out just what the pepperpots are up to and tries to convince people that they are not benign. But on the other hand, things get confusing as the tale starts to get wrapped up in time paradox and hard core SF. On this level the story does not work well, and is a bit of a confused mess.
McGann and Fisher are their usual excellent selves. Especially McGann, who portrays the happy go lucky Doctor slowly coming to realise just what a mistake he has made and becoming very worried in a very convincing manner.
A partly entertaining romp with some great ideas, but partly confused mess, so only three stars for this story.