This release is something slightly different; according to Doctor Who Magazine, Time In Office is an anthology release, following the Fifth Doctor’s time in office as President of Gallifrey. Each of the fourth parts focusses on a different period in this point of the Doctor’s history, and today I’ll be reviewing the first part, Period of Adjustment.
The Doctor’s adventures in time and space are over. The Time Lords have recalled him to Gallifrey – but what he faces on his home planet is worse than any trial. Following the disappearance of President Borusa, the High Council condemned him to the highest office – and he can’t evade his responsibilities a nanosecond longer…
So all hail the Lord High President! All hail President Doctor!
Rassilon save him. This time, there’s really no escape.
We start this story with a political programme on Gallifrey. Part of me is genuinely relieved that, in the Whoniverse at least, that Earth isn’t the only planet that is bogged down with this type of petty politics; on the other hand however, I’m deeply annoyed that even the high and mighty Time Lords of Gallifrey can’t escape this. Maybe it’s because of the media in the recent years, and Brexit, and the General Election, and Donald Trump, but you can’t help but feel as if Eddie Robson wrote this collection of stories as a form of therapy.
The Doctor is planning on heading back to Frontios with Tegan, when one of the Doctor’s old friends, Leela, brings a warning about what’s in store for the Doctor on Gallifrey. Now, I know I’ve probably waffled on about this a lot in the past, but I love it when Big Finish mashes New Who concept with the Classic series. Mentions of Vortex Manipulators and regenerations into different genders really makes you remember that this is all one show, one universe, one Time Lord.
Whilst the Doctor is whisked off to take part in the formalities of becoming President, Tegan is lovingly held in a containment field, before being joined by Leela. The idea of the gob and the warrior together is one that, if I were a cartoon character, would make me rub my hands together with glee.
Of course, having the Doctor as the President of Gallifrey creates certain… issues amongst the political aspects of society. The Doctor’s inauguration is unorthodox to say the least, and the Doctor, not really wanting the role, decides to impose a few new laws and rules straight away. The fact that it’s the Fifth Doctor, arguably the most placid of all the Doctors, being such a political rebel is really fun to listen to.
The conclusion of Period of Adjustment isn’t too high-stakes, and normally I’d criticise a story for that, but in this case it really works. The whole tone of this episode, and I assume of Time In Office overall, is different from the normal releases that Big Finish offers.
If you’re into politics, or satirising the political landscape, I think that the 26 minutes you’ll spend listening to this episode will absolutely fly by. Eddie Robson clearly knows what he’s doing, and I can’t wait to hear what happens next…
Should you want to purchase Time In Office, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £14.99 on CD or £12.99 for a digital download for a limited time.