Jonathan Clements bring us back to basics in Big Finish Productions latest adventure Key2Time: Destroyer of Delights with a little idea called “learning.”
Way back in the 60’s Doctor Who tried to teach its viewers a thing or two about history and science (and many other classes as well I’m sure) but as the show progressed it became more of the sci-fi show it is today. Well, the audience of this story can now have the added bonus of learning something new while still getting the same enjoyment factor from a Doctor Who adventure. Sure there are aliens, god-like beings, segments of the Key to Time and a spaceship or two, but writer Jonathan Clements has woven an underlying bit of history into Destroyer of Delights.
We are taken back to Ninth Century Africa – the Sudan to be specific – and a true story of Lord Cassim and his, well, what we now call tax invasion. Of course we learn about a bit more than this one man and his money fetish, but to say more would be as River Song says, “Spoilers.” What I can say is that it was very interesting to learn that these events really happened in some way in our history, and when you hear not only the story but the extra features on the CD it really gives you a good idea of what poor Lord Cassim is in for after we leave him in this adventure.
Aside from learning a thing or two on this journey we have the added treat of hearing David Troughton, son of the late (and may I say one of the best Doctors) Patrick Troughton as none other than the Black Guardian. Perhaps it is tiresome for David to see his name mentioned with his fathers so often in relation to Doctor Who; let’s face it, David is a fine actor in his own right whose career could easily be summarized without mention of his family links. I mention this now mainly because there are times during this story where you get a vision of his father. The way David will deliver a line, or a tone he takes… well, let’s just say I see now why people always tell me that I am just like my father.
Ciara Janson who portrays the Doctor’s current companion, Amy – and due to the nature of the character (she being only a few days old) Ciara is quite fun to listen to as she learns new things. However, she does resemble another of the Fifth Doctor’s past audio companions, Erimem, played by Caroline Morris. This is not a criticism; actors often have a look or sound-a-like out there, so it’s bound to happen some time.
With the links to the past that David Troughton and the Key to Time bring, here’s another – making her Big Finish Doctor Who directorial début is none other former Casualty actress Lisa Bowerman, co-star to the Seventh Doctor in 1989’s Survival and the voice behind Big Finish’s Bernice Summerfield. Her hand seamlessly guides us from action to danger to humor to touching moments and then back again for more action.
Which takes us back into the episodes themselves and the man who has to live most of those dangerously action-packed humorous moments: Peter Davison. The Doctor has to witness first hand the effects that the Key to Time are having on the worlds and people around them.
The race for the Key is even more urgent then before and as usual the odds are stacked against the good Doctor and yet the story still has time for humor. Not time wasted on humor, but time well spent. Peter’s comedic timing is beautiful. It really makes me sad to know that he was not allowed to show this humorous side during his time spent on the show in the 1980’s. But then Peter seems to have found a home with Big Finish, where he can be the Doctor he always wanted to be.
With only one last installment of the Key2Time left to come, one can only hope that it stands up to the excellent story telling of Destroyer of Delights.