Down the years, many stories have been written for Doctor Who that, for one reason or another, failed to get to the tv screen.
Now, thanks to Big Finish adapting some of them for audio, we can find what might have been.
This story features the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. It's based on a storyline by writer Brian Hayles, best known for creating the Ice Warriors.
Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury - Jamie and Zoe on TV - both narrate and do dialogue for various characters. The narration thus jumps back and forth between them at a moment's notice, but it's something you so quickly get used to it works perfectly. As regular audio listeners will know, Frazer Hines impression of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor is superb and great to listen to.
They are joined by actress Caroline Faber who plays Hecuba. The villainess of this tale.
It runs for four parts, of twenty five to twenty seven minutes each [approx] and is spread over two discs.
The story sees the TARDIS taken out of time and into the realm of Hecuba. A beautiful and immortal woman. She lives in a very strange realm with lots of clocks. She has two very strange creatures as servants. And she makes the Doctor and his friends play games. Most of which are related to time.
Can they escape her realm before their time - literally - runs out?
Hecuba is a very good foe, superbly brought to life by Caroline Faber. The sleeve notes describe her as being like a faded old silent movie star, and that approach works very well.
The length of the episodes means the pacing of the story is spot on, and they do zip along very nicely.
You can't help but think when listening to this of how similar the idea is to another Brian Hayles story Doctor Who: the Celestial Toymaker. And is structured like that as well, in that the Doctor and friends end up playing the games for three episodes before things are quickly resolved at the end.
But it does have enough variety to not be quite as repetitive as that story is. The quick pace also helps with that. The imagery that the narration describes, of Hecuba's very strange and often changing realm, is quite strikingly surreal at times. Although it might just have been achievable for the show at the time.
Another plus point is that the writing does get Jamie's character just right, allowing him some good moments in part four.
It is all worth it though for the last five minutes. With some quite brilliant and rather haunting resolution to the whole thing. That does address a point that will have occurred to the listener throughout also.
It never got made, possibly because it might have stretched the budget and possibly because of it's similarities to the Celestial Toymaker, but as an audio it has a lot of good points. And it's worth a listen.
A trailer for the next lost story can be found on the track after the end of part four on disc two.
There's just over fourteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track right after that.
04/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014.
I'm enjoying these Lost Stories with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe.
With Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury reprising their roles of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe recently, the Big Finish audios of `Doctor Who' bring a nostalgic sense of the Second Doctor era and have it brought back to life again. I've enjoyed listening to stories such as 'Prison in Space' and 'The Rosemariners' that I knew I would enjoy further stories with this memorable TARDIS trio. For the 50th anniversary of `Doctor Who', Big Finish released their fourth series of Lost Stories on audio. In this series we have not one but two exclusive `Doctor Who' stories with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe that were meant for television but never got made. `The Queen of Time' is first out of the two, with 'lords of the Red Planet' being the second.
I've had the CD cover of `The Queen of Time' signed by the lovely Wendy Padbury who plays Zoe in `Doctor Who' at a convention recently in Brighton.
`The Queen of Time' is a four-part story on a 2-disc CD set. It was originally pitched by writer Brian Hayles, who previously wrote 'The Celestial Toymaker' and created the Ice Warriors for two stories including 'The Ice Warriors' and 'The Seeds of Death'. It is one of many pitches proposed to the `Doctor Who' production office during the 1960s. But for reasons unknown it never got past the scene breakdown and scripting stage. This is a shame as from listening to this audio story it's really good and has been well-adapted by Catherine Harvey.
Catherine Harvey was chosen to adapt Brian Hayles' original pitch of `The Queen of Time' following her previous work for `Doctor Who' in Big Finish as she wrote for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in '1001 Nights' and for the Sixth Doctor and Peri in `Recorded Time and Other Stories'. Catherine is an inspirational choice to adapt Brain Hayles' story and write for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I'm really impressed with Catherine's writing for the characters and the adaptation of the story as it's really compelling and she brings a sense of the late 1960s era of `Doctor Who'.
The story of `The Queen of Time' is about the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in the TARDIS and they arrive on a strange world - a place outside the universe, where a deadly and beautiful woman is waiting. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves in a world of clocks and where time is a key aspect of this world. They meet Queen Hecuba who invites the Doctor and his friends for dinner and cocktails. But Hecuba has set a trap for them as the Doctor and his companions get split up and have to play her deadly games of time. Whilst the Doctor has to endure Hecuba's attention during dinner, Jamie and Zoe are on the verge of death and have to use quick-thinking to get out of a deadly predicament.
The world of `The Queen of Time' is very eerie and unusual which Catherine depicts very well in Brian Hayles' story. There's a 1930s sense about it with familiar jazz music in the background and antique grandfather clocks ticking and cuckoo clocks cuckooing with their cuckoos going off. There's an element of `The Celestial Toymaker' about this with the game playing and puzzle solving elements and also in connection to the Queen of Time which I'll mention later.
I enjoyed listening to Frazer and Wendy's third-person narration of this story again as I enjoyed listening to them narrating for previous stories in `Prison in Space' and `The Rosemariners'.
Frazer Hines delivers again in playing both the Doctor and Jamie in this adventure. I've said it before in other reviews but Frazer does a really fantastic interpretation of Patrick Troughton's Doctor, bringing the mannerisms and traits of the character to life. It feels like Patrick's in the story, even though Frazer's voicing him. The Doctor is anxious about where he and his friends are, who Hecuba is and shows concern for his companions when they get in trouble. He doesn't like Queen Hecuba's company and the way she mistreats his friends during their puzzles and game-playing. The Doctor is determined to outwit Hecuba and save his friends, and doesn't like the courses given during dinner.
Jamie is brave and heroic as ever and Frazer brings out the spirit of the young boy despite being older from working on the series. Jamie is with Zoe a lot of the time in this story as they're going through games and puzzles involving clocks and time. Jamie seems to like Hecuba at first, saying she's a `bonnie lassie'. But he doesn't like what's going on and how Hecuba taunts them in their game-solving endeavours. Jamie shows concern for Zoe when she's growing older and getting younger with time accelerating or decelerating. Jamie gets to be resourceful in trying to think how Zoe would think logically which is unusual since he doesn't often have that capacity. With trial and error he manages to save Zoe's life and even makes a joke about it calling Zoe a `wee bairn'.
I really like Wendy Padbury's performance as Zoe in this adventure. Despite her voice deepened over the years, Wendy manages to bring the youth in Zoe with a higher-pitch voice making her sound like she did in the TV series back in the 1960s. Wendy also gets to play an older Zoe and a baby Zoe when time accelerates and decelerates for her which is pretty frightening and funny at the same time. I was worried for Zoe when she was aging at the end of `Episode Three'. Zoe gets to use her logic in solving a problem especially when trying to free the Doctor from one of the clocks and noticing one of them has stopped working. I like the friendly banter shared between Zoe and Jamie, especially when they're playing a board game in the TARDIS and she manages to win every time.
The villainess of this story is Hecuba played by Caroline Faber. Caroline delivers an extremely invigorating and terrifying performance as Hecuba, making her sound seductive, beautiful and deadly at the same time. Hecuba is described as beautiful with blood-red lips and finger nails and is pretty deadly when conducting her games on the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. She's a worthy adversary to the Doctor as they both match in their knowledge of dealing with time and trying to outwit each other. She's pretty sadistic and ruthless and tries to seduce the Doctor with her feminine almost vicious ways and takes delight when wanting to see Jamie and Zoe dead in her games. I couldn't help wonder if this was the Celestial Toymaker and whether a sex-change had taken place, especially since watching the recent episodes of `Doctor Who' with Missy in `Dark Water'/'Death In Heaven'. But the true identity of Hebuca is far more interesting and makes sense when the Doctor reveals it to Jamie and Zoe.
At the end of Disc 2 of this story, there are behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `The Queen of Time'. These include Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, director Lisa Bowerman and writer Catherine Harvey, conducted by David Richardson. I like the stories shared between Frazer and Wendy including buying/getting costumes and props from the series and Frazer's undeniable sense of humour which makes me laugh every time he plays gags and tells jokes. It demonstrates how great Frazer and Wendy are in recreating the Second Doctor team from the 60s.
`The Queen of Time' has been a great audio listening experience with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I've enjoyed listening to this audio adventure and it is well adapted by Catherine Havery from Brian Hayles' story and is well performed by Frazer, Wendy and Caroline. I found this adventure very easy and engaging to listen to and was looking forward to the next adventure.