Big Finish Productions
The Queen of Time

Written by Brian Hayles, adapted by Catherine Harvey Cover image
Format Compact Disc
Released 2013

Starring Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury

Synopsis: Somewhere outside our universe, she is waiting. A god-like immortal, living in a realm of clocks. The hours tick slowly by as she plots and plans. She is readying her trap. A trap for a very special man in a very special police box. Hecuba has all the time in the world. But for the Doctor, time is running out.


A Review by Thomas Tilly 22/8/17

This audio release from Big Finish is the reproduction of a unmade Patrick Troughton story, originally conceived by creator of The Celestial Toymaker and Ice Warriors, Brian Hayles, and brilliantly expanded and adapted by Catherine Harvey. I must also mention Lisa Bowerman, whose direction really brings this fantastic tale to life.

The story starts in a similar fashion to Hayles' first story for the series, The Celestial Toymaker, with the TARDIS crew landing in a clock-strewn, deserted palace, where the second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are drawn into the twisted games of the villainous Hecuba, a glamorous, devious, vamp-like villain of the piece performed by Caroline Faber.

Faber really brings this character to life, with her flirty tones when she is dining with the second Doctor, her sudden rages and angers and her twisted laughter. This game-obsessed villain sets the TARDIS crew a series of tests while she dines and flirts with the Doctor (these scenes are especially funny; you can really imagine Troughton saying the lines as Hines performs them). I wouldn't mind if she turned up in the TV series, hopefully playing a villain, if only to hear her evil laugh. It really is worth hearing this play for her laugh alone, in my opinion.

Frazer Hines pulls double duty both as Jamie, who sounds just like he did in the 60s, and as the Doctor. His impression of the Doctor is really uncanny; if you didn't know better, you would swear that they had brought Troughton forward through time to make these recordings. Hines really is spot on, with all Troughton's tics and his manner of speech.

Wendy Padbury reprises her role as Zoe and does a fair effort at trying to recapture her youthful character's voice.

I really enjoyed this story's narration/descriptions as they aided me in picturing the locations and scenes; I've noticed many of the more recent audios aren't as good at setting a scene compared to this story. I could really picture the halls of clocks, the various tests and traps, the dining room with its revolting feast and Hecuba's drooling, monstrous manservants. I enjoyed how the story didn't have any gunfights or much in the way of action, instead giving the Doctor and Zoe a chance to use their minds to try to logically beat the games and puzzles set by the villain.

I could really see how the action took place in my head, picturing the scenes. I could really see this as being made in the 60s. In fact, I had to rein in some of my imaginings: when the two companions were trapped in a giant sandglass, I imagined it as described, a vast, enormous timepiece; when they cautiously walked down vast hallways filled with timepieces or when they were confronted by Hecuba's clockwork dragon humanoid henchmen... but then I realised they'd be short of studio space and imagined it smaller, scaled down, the sand hourglass as a small sandpit, the corridors restricted in space with only a few clocks, the minions in rubbish costumes.

The commentary at the end was also interesting, revealing the changes Harvey made to the story and how it was based off a two-page draft. Hines is especially funny in the commentary; it turns out he's the practical joker of the bunch.

I would recommend this story to any fan of this particular TARDIS crew. 10 out of 10.

All in all, I would say that this is a near-perfect audio.