Don't know about you, but we're getting a little stir crazy waiting for the next season of Doctor Who to arrive. Even now it's still likely months away, so we've decided to start a new feature to help pass the time: We're going to take a dip into the Big Finish universe and check out some audio adventures. The number of options to choose from feels a little overwhelming, so we may jump around here and there, rather than stick with one specific Doctor or box set. Pretty sure we already know what story we'll look at next after this, but feel free to email us at email@example.com if you think there's something we can't possibly miss.
For now, let's discuss Doctor Who: Out of Time 2 - The Gates of Hell. That sounds like a cheerful title to kick off our journey!
Released in June 2021, and available as a download or CD, Out of Time 2 sees both the Fifth and Tenth Doctors exploring the Paris Catacombs, 135 years apart, until an anomaly brings them together. Earth's history has gone off its accepted path, and instead of World War II happening, there are Cybermen everywhere. How did this happen, and who is this Time Agent called Tina Drake?
Of course the two Doctors have a real-life relationship, with Peter Davison being David Tennant's father-in-law. It's impossible to ignore that fact as you listen to the two Time Lords talk, because they have terrific chemistry and clearly enjoy interacting with each other. Quick question: These two Doctors previously met in Time Crash, and they both seem to remember it. Shouldn't the time stream have corrected to erase the 5th Doctor's memory of that encounter?
In any case, while the Doctor sometimes has issues with his previous selves (see any interactions between the first three of them in the classic series), these two have fun with each other. David Tennant particularly seems to be having a blast. You can hear his grinning during discussions about the old TARDIS interior, hats, and the sonic screwdriver.
Shelly Conn seems fine as Time Agent Tina Drake. She knows all about the Doctor right from the start, and it seems like she could be an interesting partner in future stories. However, Drake needs a little more character development. Mark Gatiss plays Joseph Deleon, a Frenchman who has a key role in the Cybermen's plans. We didn't look at the credits beforehand and had no idea it was Gatiss (who has appeared in, and written, multiple TV adventures during the modern era) at the time, so cheers to him for blending into the character. Of course, Nicolas Briggs nails down the Cybermen voices, because that's what he excels at every single time.
The story itself might be a touch confusing at times. It's no coincidence that there are a few segments that are heavy on exposition, because the listener might need the occasional resetting of the scene to understand what's going on. The resolution is also a little underwhelming, but frankly, the two Doctors are so much fun to listen to for 78 minutes, we still give Out of Time 2 - The Gates of Hell a thumbs up. The two of them sound almost as disappointed as we were that the adventure was over. You leave thinking the door is open for more to come down the road, and we will be back for that.
We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. Again, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know which stories we need to explore!
A fun adventure. (pic via bigfinish.com)
If you enjoy Clearing out the Clutter, please consider a $5 monthly donation! You can click here or on the "Donations" category on the right-hand side of the page.