Synopsis: During The Time War, the Doctor has been injured and brought to a Time Lord field hospital. His body glows with energy, but this is no regeneration into a future form. Instead, the Doctor’s past faces begin to appear as he flits haphazardly between incarnations.
Staggering to his TARDIS, the Doctor sets out to solve the mystery of his ‘degeneration’. From the Earth to the stars, he follows clues to retrace his steps. He encounters old friends and enemies along the way. Tumbling through his lives, the Doctor must stop his degeneration before he loses himself completely.
Settling as his Fourth incarnation, the Doctor goes in search of the Monk. The Doctor has a vague memory that his fellow renegade had something to do with his ‘degeneration’.
On Earth, the Monk is meddling. He plans to bring Sarah Jane Smith to the future UNIT HQ to steal a device for an alien race. The Doctor must help Kate Stewart and Osgood foil an invasion before he can confront the Monk about what he knows.
Review: Doctor Who: Once and Future: Past Lives is a wonderful way for Big Finish to kick off 60th-anniversary festivities. For his part, writer Robert Valentine faced a difficult balancing act.
Valentine had to craft the opening installment of an epic multi-part story worthy of all the Doctors incarnations. However, he couldn’t allow the plot to overpower the character beats that listeners crave.
Valentine deftly sets up the story loom and begins to weave the stand-alone and arc strands together. In the process, franchise Easter eggs and character internal logic are expertly combined.
Of course, personal timelines are violated. Consequently, I assume the usual memory wipes will be implemented down the line.
Tom Baker explores different levels this time as a future incarnation “degenerated” into a past self. For their parts, the committed and experienced supporting cast match him throughout.
Sadie Miller channels Sarah. Her bitter-sweet performance captures the story’s themes perfectly.
Ingrid Oliver dials Osgood’s usual unabashed geeky joy up to 444. Additionally, Jemma Redgrave inhabits the Brigadier’s daughter with aplomb and several twinkles in her voice.
Thanks, Big Finish. Doctor Who: Once and Future: Past Lives is an absolute treat. I can’t wait for the second chapter next month.
- You can purchase Doctor Who: Once and Future: Past Lives here.
- Audio Production10