Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Big Finish Doctor Who 117 - The Key 2 Time - The Judgement of Isskar

On a planet where Time stands still, the Doctor meets a woman who is just a few minutes old. She is a Tracer, sent into our Universe by her makers to locate the six segments of the Key to Time. This being without a name wants the Doctor to be her assistant, but she doesn’t tell him the whole truth. Not at first.

Their first port of call is Mars, where a society that one day will become Ice Warriors lives in peace and civility. But the Doctor’s arrival will change all that. The universe is dying, a choice must be made, and the Judgement of Isskar will be declared. The price must be paid - even if it takes centuries…

Big Finish kick off 2009 with the release of the ‘Key 2 Time’ trilogy, starring fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. However, if you are after a more in-depth look at certain characters then check out the companion chronicle release – ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’. Even though it acts as a prequel to the trilogy, you’re not missing out on any of the story if you are unable to purchase a copy. However, if you’re a stickler for the development of a characters back story, then by all means - check it out! The story stars Sophie Aldred as Ace and like all companion chronicles – it’s a great listen!

Anyway back on the main subject! Let’s go back to 1978 and we are introduced to Romana and the mysterious Guardians, who are both after ‘The Key To Time’, which is a crystal made up of six different segments that can give the holder the power to rewrite the state and balance of the universe. However each segment has been scattered throughout time and space and could be disguised as anything! So the poor old Doctor has to find them and restore the balance. Don’t worry – it isn’t as confusing as I’ve told it!

I think it’s a good move by Big Finish to do a sequel to that classic series. This first story – ‘The Judgement of Isskar’, is a wonderful start! We’ve got Ice Warriors, before they where ‘Ice Warriors’, insect people who are at war with each other and of course a new companion – Amy (played by Ciara Janson). Amy is a humanoid ‘tracer’, which was the device which the fourth Doctor used to find the Key last time. However this time, the Key is decaying and Amy and her sister Zara (Laura Doddington) have been tasked to find three segments each by their masters – 'The Grace', before the key destroys itself - and the universe!

From start to finish, this audio just pulls you into the narrative. The pre-Ice Warrior Mars is a fascinating concept, which has never been explored by the television series before. There is also a nice nod to ‘Red Dawn’, an early Big Finish audio, with The Ice Warriors. But it’s the performances of the two sisters, Amy and Zara that I’m most impressed with. It’s like listening to a long-established partnership between the two characters, which in reality is just barely over an hour long!

Another partnership I was impressed with was the one between Amy and The Doctor. I felt that the new-born and naive Amy was great foil for Davison’s ‘old man in a young person’s body’-type Doctor. It was almost like being back in 1963 and William Hartnell’s old professor-type Doctor I wonder, what with Peri stuck on ‘a planet of rain’, which starts the story off and no Erimem anymore, will Amy get to stay on with The Doctor, beyond this trilogy? I hope so but its very early days!

Overall, this is a great start to what could be an epic story. All credit to everyone involved for producing yet another Big Finish masterpiece! I’m very rarely disappointed with a monthly release, so let’s hope this continues for the next 12 months - as there is some very intriguing stuff to come!


Next Time: The Doctor and Amy continue on their journey, this time they encounter ‘The Destroyer of Delights’!

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