The Queen of Time (2013)

The second story of the final series sees a second Doctor Lost story. Like the previous release (which I didn’t like too much), this story was from Brian Hayles and it was adapted by Catherine Harvey who has written for the main range so I thought that this would hopefully make up for the disappointment of the last story. It certainly started off promising with a rather run opening TARDIS scene which saw Zoe and Jamie playing a game. There was a nice bit of music which was unexpected but much appreciated. It’s clear from the first fifteen minutes that this would have lost something had it been made for TV. The narration and the music that  was created by Toby Hrycek-Robinson, gives the impression that it wouldn’t have worked as well on TV because the set that I have in my imagination is far grander than what could have been achieved in 1968/69.

As the story develops I keep thinking about The Celestial Toymaker and how I just cant shake off that feeling. It shouldn’t be that surprising really considering that Hayles wrote The Celestial Toymaker. It’s clearly something that Hayles does well and I appreciate that story more because of this fact. There are scenes in this that could have instantly come out of that story and one of them is the scene where Jamie and Zoe are in the hour glass as it filled with sand as the Doctor and Hecuba eat. The story progresses quite nicely and it doesn’t seem to overstay its welcome. Whereas in The Dark Planet I felt that it could have been severely reduced in length, I felt that this story had a good pace to it and it felt like had been structured in the right way so that it didn’t feel like it had a rushed ending or was being padded.

Caroline Faber is very good as Hecuba. Faber has most recently been in Merlin as Hunith but has a very impressive track record. Hecuba is instantly unlikeable and I can believe that she’s a top villain just by that laugh that she uses. Hecuba interaction with the Doctor is quite a well realised one and it reminds me of the First Doctor and the Celestial Toymaker. I thought that Jamie was quite different in this story as he started off as a love struck teenager. That didn’t last for long but it was fun while it lasted. I thought that Frazer Hines was on his usual fine form and is always worth the money based purely on his impression of Patrick Troughton. He can always be relied upon to deliver a good performance and he does so here. Wendy Padbury’s first appearance for what seems like an age is a good one. She was just as good as Frazer Hines and reminds us why Zoe is such a good character and why Wendy Padbury is very good.

The first cliffhanger was rather good and I think that would have looked quite good on TV.  The opening episode was quite a good one as it was very much of the period and introduced a good villain whilst utilising Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury well. The cliffhanger ended with Faber’s voice and that’s not a bad thing. The second cliffhanger was the same sort of thing and ended with Faber talking but I thought that the ending worked quite well. The third cliffhanger was probably my favourite as it had a companion in peril with Hecuba laughing.

The first episode moved quite quickly whilst the second seemed to slow down slightly. It picks up again in the third and fourth episodes but it doesn’t seem to have the punch that the opening episode did. It never got boring and I enjoyed this release far more than The Dark Planet. I think that Brian Hayles’ original idea was quite a good one and served as a perfectly good sequel to The Celestial Toymaker. Catherine Harvey has done a good job in making this story work not only for audio but for a 21stCentury audience.  An enjoyable release.

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