So, I was trying to figure out which of the two Doctors in this Big Finish audio play to use for the banner image. The show was produced during the COVID lockdown in the UK with the actors mostly recording their lines separately from home, but c’mon, the people at Big Finish finally realized that they had the two most popular Doctors recording stories for them so maybe they can finally get the pair together to do something? So, do I use the banner image for Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor or David Tennant’s Tenth?
I went with Tennant because his voice is heard first, and Big Finish apparently includes this one with Tenth Doctor stories. Good enough for me!
As it is, this is just a fun story, very different from the usual sorts of team-ups in part because the writers took as some inspiration that the Tenth Doctor can somewhat fanboy-out when he meets an earlier incarnation, probably not that different from how Tennant is himself a big fan of the series going back to when he was a kid, to say nothing of the fact Baker suggested in some script notes that his Doctor wouldn’t be quite so cruel as others had been in past Doctor team-ups.
Yeah, this one ended with some cast conversations, and it was nice hearing both Tennant and Baker speaking well of each other despite the fact that they recorded everything separately and probably never met outside of the fact Tennant mentions getting Baker’s autograph when he was a child.
Anyhoo, what makes this story a little different is both Doctors find themselves in the Cathedral of Contemplation, a place outside of time that the Doctor in various incarnations goes to for, well, quiet contemplation. The Fourth is running away from his recent election to the Presidency of the Time Lords, and he has just left Sarah Jane behind somewhere. The Tenth is hiding from the fact he more or less knows he’s regenerating soon and doesn’t really want to. Ten recognized Four immediately when the pair cross paths and gives an alias. Some time later, Four basically reveals he knew all along it was a future version of himself.
Besides, the Daleks went and invaded the Cathedral. They killed the Abbess in charge and need someone with a powerful enough mind to steer the Cathedral to places where they can take over other worlds and do a lot of exterminating. There’s even a Dalek Supreme in the bunch.
So, what can go wrong? The Doctor, for once, is not really bickering with himself. Four is too mellow for that. Ten is mostly worried Four is going to die and that would be the end of him since he can’t really remember what happened. Four is actually taking that he will regenerate at some point in the future rather well, and he’s not above pointing that out. But these are both the Doctor, and there are Daleks, and the Doctor always beats the Daleks, mostly with a plan from Ten involving getting both Doctors strapped into the Cathedral’s navigation and taking the Daleks where they want to go, namely Earth. The Doctor just didn’t specify when they’d get there, and he opted for a time in the far future when the sun went nova.
That’s a lot of barbecued Daleks.
Anyway, that more or less saved the day. Yes, there were other rather pleasant moments. Both Doctors reminisced over Sarah Jane, Ten even mentioning her wedding from his time on The Sarah Jane Adventures and giving his earlier self the hint of what was to come, namely settling down with a nice Time Lady and a dog.
So, for an adventure where the actors were nowhere near each other, I gotta say, this worked out very well.
Man, I am running out of Big Finish stuff though…