‘THE SIRENS OF TIME’
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The Three Doctors Reboot
This is the first Big Finish audio adventure in ‘Doctor Who’!
‘The Sirens of Time’ is a significant story in the history of ‘Doctor Who’. It is a multi-Doctor story featuring the Fifth; Sixth and Seventh incarnations of our Time Lord! It is also is the first of a long-running range of audio stories produced by this fantastic company that has lasted for over 15 years!
In 1989, ‘Doctor Who’ was cancelled on TV. In 1999, ten years later, Big Finish got the licence to produce audio dramas of the British sci-fi TV series. Producer Gary Russell commissioned Nicholas Briggs to write and direct the first ‘Doctor Who’ audio drama and things were never the same again.
This must have been exciting for ‘Doctor Who’ fans, without the TV show for ten years, to be getting brand-new stories in the form of audio. It would take a while before Big Finish gained its popularity and influence in later years. But this was a ‘small start’ leading to a ‘big finish’! Terrible joke, I know.
It was decided that the first ‘Doctor Who’ audio by Big Finish would be a multi-Doctor tale, featuring Peter Davison; Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Nick Briggs wanted to write an episode for each of the three Doctors and to have them all appear in the final episode for a showdown with the villain.
‘Part One’ features the Seventh Doctor only; whilst ‘Part Two’ features the Fifth Doctor only and ‘Part Three’ features the Sixth Doctor only. ‘Part Four’ would feature Doctors Five; Six and Seven at the end. I was pleased Peter; Colin and Sylvester all agreed to appear in this Big Finish audio drama.
A crisis occurs on Gallifrey, when the Time Lords are attacked by a fleet of hostile warships of the Knights of Velyshaa. Someone wants the Doctor dead and the Fifth; Sixth and Seventh incarnations face their own trials and adventures, before they work together and to deal with the sirens of time…
I did enjoy listening to this multi-Doctor story when I purchased the CD during a Big Finish sale in 2012. I’d got into the Big Finish audio adventures pretty early on and was immensely enjoying them. It was fair that I should listen to this first audio drama and find how ‘Doctor Who’ began in Big Finish.
It was nice to hear a multi-Doctor adventure with Peter Davison; Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. I was sad there weren’t any companions joining the three Doctors in this audio drama. But hearing the three Doctors in their separate adventures and meeting up together in ‘Part Four’ was enjoyable.
Sylvester McCoy is a delight to listen to as the Seventh Doctor. For him, this story presumably takes place when he’s travelling alone without Ace in the TARDIS. In his adventure for ‘Part One’, Doctor Seven arrives on an unnamed planet and he rescues a girl called Eleyna after she falls into quicksand.
Peter Davison is brilliant to listen as the Fifth Doctor. For him, this story takes place between ‘The Five Doctors’ and ‘Warriors of the Deep’ where he’s travelling with Tegan and Turlough. In his adventure for ‘Part Two’, Doctor Five is on a WWI German submarine as he meets a girl called Helen.
Colin Baker is wonderful to listen to as the Sixth Doctor. For him, this story takes place where he’s travelling alone after ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. In his adventure for ‘Part Three’, Doctor Six finds he’s on the spaceship Edifice. He meets a girl called Ellie and he also finds this being called the Temperon.
This story guest stars Mark Gatiss. Mark has a long association with ‘Doctor Who’, as he is currently an actor and a writer for the new series of today. Here Mark plays this German U-Boat captain called Schwieger. The Fifth Doctor meets him he visits the German submarine during the First World War.
The story also guest stars Sarah Mowat. Sarah has an important place in Big Finish, since she would go on to play Susan Mendez in the spin-off series ‘Dalek Empire’. Here Sarah plays three companions and a villain. Could the four characters be one of the same? I hope I haven’t given the game away?!
There’s also Maggie Stables as Ruthley. Maggie also has an important place in Big Finish, since she’s well-known to ‘Doctor Who’ fans as Evelyn Smythe, companion of the Sixth Doctor. Maggie delivers a delightful performance as Ruthley, a cackling old hag that the Seventh Doctor meets in ‘Part One’.
This story features the first appearance of the Knights of Velyshaa. These characters will become important in the history of ‘Doctor Who’, especially as one appears as a regular character in the ‘Dalek Empire’ series. Why they attack Gallifrey becomes a mystery for the three Doctors to resolve.
This story also features Anthony Keetch as Coordinator Vansell of the CIA on Gallifrey. Vansell is a Time Lord that the Doctor has met before and would later meet in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ including ‘The Apocalypse Element’. He warns the Time Lord President of the crisis on Gallifrey.
Nick Briggs voices the Temperon creature that becomes pivotal in the story. The Sixth Doctor discovers the Temperon in his adventure in ‘Part Three’ as it’s responsible for bringing the three Doctors together. But the Temporan isn’t the threat, as it warns the Doctors of the ‘sirens of time’…
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there are trailers for other Big Finish audios in ‘Doctor Who’. There’s ‘Phantasmagoria’ with Peter Davison and Mark Strickson; ‘Whispers of Terror’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant; ‘The Fearmonger’ with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred; and ‘Storm Warning’ with Paul McGann and India Fisher.
If you’re a Big Finish subscriber, there is a behind-the-scenes documentary with ‘The Sirens of Time’ looking into the makings of Big Finish called ‘Talking ‘About My Regeneration’. This features behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew including Peter Davison; Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.
‘The Sirens of Time’ has been an interesting and enjoyable audio adventure to listen to. It’s not the greatest multi-Doctor story I’ve heard in ‘Doctor Who’, but it started a massive series of stories featuring well-loved characters from a very popular TV show. This is an audio adventure not to miss!
Oh and I love it when Peter; Colin and Sylvester as the three Doctors bicker among each other. And this was way before ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ happened for the 50th anniversary of the series!
‘The Sirens of Time’ rating – 7/10
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