'Doctor Who: Out of Time' Audio From Big Finish Is A Fun Time

Doctor Who: Out of Time 1

Multi-Doctor stories from Doctor Who can be fun, and the new audio from Big Finish is no exception. Titled Out of Time, this audio takes place in the Cathedral of Contemplation, which exists outside of Spacetime. The Tenth Doctor, played once again by David Tennant, arrives first (from our point of view, anyway). However, his past incarnation, the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) shows up, and then things get a bit complicated, as one might expect.

In terms of the Fourth Doctor’s life, he mentions having dropped off Sarah Jane Smith. This happened in the season 14 serial “The Hand of Fear,” which was followed directly by “The Deadly Assassin.” So for the Fourth Doctor, this audio takes place sometime after “The Deadly Assassin,” during his travels prior to meeting Leela. The Tenth Doctor mentions having stopped Sarah Jane’s wedding. This happens in the aptly titled The Sarah Jane Adventures episode “The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith,” which aired between the Tenth Doctor specials “Planet of the Dead” and “The Waters of Mars.”

It was very amusing whenever Ten was trying to choose his words carefully so as to not reveal to Four that they are in fact the same person. He even stops himself short of introducing himself as John Smith, given that his past incarnations have used that alias, and called himself John Tyler, an obvious reference to Rose Tyler. Of course, Four does figure it out. As expected, there is fun bickering and banter between the two.

Once again, the Daleks are the main threat to The Doctors. As fun as it is to hear the Dalek voices, this was another one of those times where I questioned whether or not a different and not very well known threat could have been used in their stead. With David Tennant and Tom Baker, arguably the most popular Doctors of the modern and classic era respectively (with Four even mentioning that he prefers to think of himself as “classic”), the further addition of the Daleks makes this feel like an attempt at the greatest hits of Doctor Who. The writing and acting are not phoned in, but I do wonder a bit whether there could have been more creativity with the threat faced by the Doctors.

I ended up having three favorite quotes from this audio, and they are all from the Fourth Doctor. These might be considered mild spoilers, so if you would prefer to hear them in context within the audio first, you can scroll past them.

First, there is this very amusing quote, with wordplay that I very much appreciate: “The higher the rank, the ranker the smell of arrogance.”

Then there is this rather touching sentiment that Four relays to Ten at the end: “If everyone we meet is out there fighting the good fight, we’re never really gone.”

Also from the end, a bit of advice from Four to Ten: “Try and face the future with hope. Find more friends who can resist the magic door to anywhere or any-when.”

At about an hour plus behind the scenes content, this was a fun romp. When the story is out of time, you may wish that it had been given more time. So the runtime is a mark against it, as it goes by more quickly than I would have preferred for this type of story. It is not quite as big of an event as one might expect, but the interactions between Tom Baker and David Tennant really feel like having your eyes closed during a Doctor Who episode that depicts the two actors onscreen together.

Score: 8/10 (Or two Tom Bakers out of David Tennant.)

The follow-ups to Out of Time are titled The Gates of Hell and Wink, which are set to be released in June 2021 and July 2022, respectively. The former will feature the Tenth Doctor teaming up with the Fifth Doctor, which should be interesting given that Peter Davison is David Tennant’s father-in-law. Doctor Who fans may remember seeing them interact in the minisode “Time Crash.” It will be nice having this longer story featuring the two. Wink will feature Ten teaming up with Colin Baker’s Six, a duo that is more unfamiliar. Given how great of a job Big Finish has done with the Sixth Doctor’s characterization, I am also excited for this. Both of these are still a ways away, but it is nice to know that they are coming.