THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMAS
"OTHER LIVES" AND
BIG FINISH CD#80
RELEASED IN MARCH
The TARDIS lands in
between times, in a
time where there
is no time. A time in
which nothing can
be. But something is...
The Doctor, Charley
and C’rizz are a RISK
to the schedule of a
world where timing
And the seconds are
counting down to
a future that has
Unless they can beat
Time Works is one of the most aurally opulent productions that Big Finish have released to date. Whilst Steve Lyons’ script doesn’t live up to the superlative standard of The Fires of Vulcan or Colditz, it is still a fascinating and eerie tale, buoyed by one of the finest soundscapes that Big Finish have ever produced. Andy Hardwick’s stunning score has a decidedly Celtic feel to it that, when fused with Gareth Jenkins’ supremely evocative sound design, skilfully creates the land “in between times” in the mind of the listener.
Prior to its release, I wondered how similar this story of “clockwork men” would be to the upcoming television episode The Girl in the Fireplace, but it seems that the similarities begin and end with the word “clockwork”. Steven Moffat’s television terrors look like they
are going to be frightening in the conventional, under the bed sense; the clockwork men of Time Works, on the other hand, are a much more psychological menace – “they come in between the ticking of the clock to downsize clockstoppers and time wasters.”
Tracey Childs – who played the starring role of Klein in Lyons’ Colditz - is fabulous as the Figurehead, a character programmed by the occupants of the “old world” to ensure that the inhabitants of the “new world” don’t waste a moment of their lives, even if it means “cutting them back” using the clockwork men. The people of this so-called “old world” were wiped
out by a meteor because they were “too idle” to develop technology, and the Figurehead was their way of preventing their lineage going the same way. Thus Lyons’ script becomes
a bald-faced allegory for modern working life – anyone who has ever worked in an office is sure to appreciate the former high-street bank worker’s wry musings, and in particular his chilling corruption of certain buzz phrases.
However, whilst I really enjoyed
Charley and C’rizz’s thread of
the story, I found the Doctor’s
side of things to be a little more
predictable. Thankfully though,
Paul McGann’s Doctor is back
to his very best, bouncing from
scene to scene with that Tom Baker verve and revelling in the adventure, really lending his scenes with Kestorian (the “good King”) and Zanith (the “idle prince”) some much-needed zest. What’s more, his interaction with Beth Vyse’s Vannet - a struggling merchant whose husband had to be “downsized” - is actually quite touching at times.
In the end, the only real problem with Time Works is that it isn’t as good as Lyons’ earlier plays for Big Finish or contemporary Doctor Who competition; a fact that is brought into sharp focus by its being released amidst all the hype surrounding the return of the television series to our screens. All the same, it is an enchanting and observant piece that has been immaculately produced.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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