Kieran Brennan takes a look at the second instalment in the Doctor Who: Out of Time series, which pits the Fifth and Tenth Doctors up against a very old enemy…
Various hand-waved away time shenanigans have not only brought the Tenth and Fifth Doctors together, but also resulted in a Cyberman ruled Paris! C’mon, what more need I say to get your attention?
Oh how fast a year can pass, eh? It really does feel like just yesterday I was a little sad that we’d have to wait an entire year for the second part of Out of Time. As someone who grew up with David Tennant as the Doctor and whose first exposure to the classic series was the Time Crash special which brought these two iterations of the character together, The Gates of Hell was a really highly anticipated release for me.
Any Tennant release is an automatic buy for me, and there’s always some fun “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” from his pairing with Father-in-law Peter Davison. More than any other Out of Time I feel this dynamic is the most predictable, but perhaps also the most comforting. 4 and 10 have the gimmick of being the icons of their respective eras together at last, and 6 and 10 has the gimmick of, well I guess seeing how 6 might rile up any new character is fun, especially when it’s David Tennant. 5 and 10 fighting Cybermen though? Just the premise sounds like a fun, easy comfort story to throw on for an hour and that’s exactly what it is!
Well, for the most part.
The Gates of Hell is just a little weaker than the previous Out of Time release purely because it seems to focus on the story a little too much, where it should be spending its time giving the Doctors a chance to interact. When they do, it’s perfect. From a writing standpoint it’s a joy, David Llewellyn has crammed in so many fun moments and cool inside jokes that’ll just put a smile on anyone’s face. Plus, Tennant and Davison have excellent chemistry; even better, I’d argue, than Tennant and Baker.
They bounce off each other so well and so fast, both giving the other a chance to shine. And they get along so well! It’s not a surprise, the only pairing I’m expecting to bicker at all is 10 and 6, and even then I’m not sure, but there’s an incredibly wholesome relationship here with one moment in particular sure to be loved by anyone who listens.
However, as mentioned just a little too much time is taken up by a slightly lackluster Cybermen story. I’m a big advocate for more Cybermen stories, but this felt like any other threat could have been in place and the story wouldn’t really have changed at all. On the other hand, new fun character Tina Drake, played by Shelley Conn, is a wonderful addition to the cast as an American time agent investigating the same disturbance as the two Doctors. Her accent may be a little close to Peri’s, so I wouldn’t expect her to show up in any Nicola Bryant stories soon, but I’d most definitely be in favour of her appearing in a future Tenth Doctor release, either as a new companion or just popping in as a guest.
Perhaps I’m gushing over this release a bit much, but, just like the first Out of Time, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face for most of the runtime!
A worthy second act in the Out of Time trilogy, The Gates of Hell is another strong multi-Doctor blast that totally fulfills its promise of bringing together two beloved Doctor’s who are able to bounce off each other in unexpected, but natural ways. Performances are king here as Tennant and Davison’s natural chemistry shines through and makes this another sure fire hit from Big Finish.
Doctor Who- Out of Time 2: The Gates of Hell is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com