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< 229. The Silurian Candidate
231. The Behemoth >

230. Time in Office

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10
61%
11
9
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5
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Average Rating
9.5
Votes
18
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 9/26/17 9:52 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

During the time of the Fifth Doctor specifically after the story "The Five Doctors", the position of Time Lord President remained vacant after the former president's disappearance under mysterious circumstances. Since the Doctor was technically elected as President at the end of that story, the Time Lords feel that it's time to bring him back and so with Tegan and Leela at his side, the Fifth Doctor is forced back to Gallifrey to officially become Lord High President with seemingly no escape. I'd been looking forward to this story for a very long time since it's announcement in fact and thankfully this is one that not only met my expectations but also did in a completely different way that I wasn't expecting. This is not just one story but technically four all of which take place during the Doctor's reign as President.

1. "Period of Adjustment" -- When the Doctor is summoned back by the Time Lords to become President, his initial days quickly become stressful to say the least when a mysterious bureau contacts him to prevent some of his biggest changes to Time Lord society. 'Period' works very well as an interesting beginning to the Doctor's reign begins though the final stakes don't end up having too much behind them as good as they are.

2. "Past Indiscretions" -- The Doctor and companions are forced in to a publicity stunt on a warring planet to appease a situation that for once he didn't create. It's a good little story with a hilarious twist that allows Tegan and Leela to shine in their various roles and presents some different aspects of each character as they adjust to Gallifrey and the various political situations that come with it.

3. "History Repeating" -- As the Doctor is properly settling in to his presidency and Tegan is quickly becoming bored out of her mind, Doctor and companion are once again seperated in to their own plots that coalesce together by the end with an interesting cliffhanger. This is probably the most standard of all of the stories for the most part but it's still engaging as we get to see details of the Doctor's time at the Time Lord Academy and Tegan becomes wrapped up in a very different and yet eerily familiar situation than you'd expect for her character.

4. "Architect of Destruction" -- The Doctor and team are enjoying a tour around the new Time Lord Capitol building built to accommodate one of the Doctor’s new policies but something strange is happening inside the architecture and the TARDIS team are once again seperated. This one is easily the most interesting story as it not only ends the set in a suitably big way but it presents a massive detail that has the potential to change the entire lore of Doctor Who forever (if you consider Big Finish canon like I do). It's a great encompassing of the entire audio as a whole as it represents the sum of its parts but yet at the same time is so much more and so full of surprises.

Each mini-story is wonderful in different ways, each interconnecting but yet feeling like it's own episode too which is a nice surprise and a very nice touch. The soundscape and cast in this one is great as well. Compared to the past few stories I've listened to lately with Five that haven't been that great, this story brings a refreshingly amazing performance from a Doctor I know and love. Peter Davison feels like a completely different person in all of the best ways and thus his Fifth Doctor is absolutely perfect in this one. Constantly frazzled and stressed but still keeping his selfless idealistic nature, Five is doing his absolute best even if he was forced in to the situation and yet he keeps his signature dry humor that makes us love the character. I really love Janet Fielding in this one as Tegan as well and that's a huge plus. Normally I'm not a huge Tegan fan but I love how involved she gets in Gallifreyan politics as the official Earth ambassador for Gallifrey and her spunk for once really works to her advantage. Louise Jameson is fine as always as Leela in a much more confidant and helpful tone than she normally gives as her dynamic with the Doctor has obviously changed between incarnations. However she almost feels a little unnecessary at times with everything else going on. The rest of the cast is good in various ways but not really as important as everything else. It's really all about Five, Tegan, Leela, and how they react to all of the situations around them as proper high officials on Gallifrey. As you can tell, this set is a bit more political than most Doctor Who stories but I honestly think it works really well especially in the tense political climate we all live in. More importantly, it makes these political machinations interesting, fun, and surprisingly funny to listen to which is a huge strength. This audio's biggest strength however is that it feels and acts like a Classic Who story and yet it successfully mixes New Who concepts in with it such as vortex manipulators and different gender regenerations. It also has tons of continuity nods to the past like the fact that Leela took out the Raston Warrior Robot herself. This makes the audio feel fresh and new (especially for a Gallifrey story) and yet old and nostalgic all at the same time and it's a wonderful combination of past and present in to one glorious whole. As you can tell, I honestly adore this story in every way and the two hours of its running time absolutely fly by. With a great premise that added to the lore of my favorite part of Classic Who, amazing performances from all of the cast, a great satirizing caricature of the current political climate, intriguing and fascinating writing from Eddie Robson, and an good ending that leads beautifully into the future, "Time in Office" lived immensely up to my expectations and has become a new highlight for me for the Fifth Doctor.
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Reviewed By: Murax Keron-FluxReview Date: 9/14/17 3:31 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Wonderful story from Eddie Robson, I love every single moment of this Story even have some laughs, I highly recommend this.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 9/12/17 4:41 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

In Time in Office, the Presidency of the Time Lords is vacant, following the events of Borusa's disappearance. With disagreement over who should become Lord President, the Time Lords decide to call back the person they think is best qualified: the Doctor (Peter Davison). The only issue is that the Doctor would rather strand himself in a dimension where time runs backwards then be Lord President. But the Time Lords are adamant, and so the Doctor and Tegan (Janet Fielding) must navigate the politics of Gallifrey, aided by the Doctor's old friend, Leela (Louise Jameson). But through it all, the Doctor is in danger at ever turn, from the past, the future, and the present. Time in Office is an extremely rompy, hilarious release at every turn, with some excellent performances throughout. A lot of the humour of the story comes from Davison's exasperated performance and Fielding's forcefully funny performance, and how that clashes with Time Lord society. The three main cast members all give excellent performances here, with Fielding and Jameson as the highlights of the entire story, and Davison doing stellar work throughout. Similarly, the guest cast, namely Sheri-An Davis and Julie Teal, are all excellent additions to an already excellent story by Eddie Robson that wrings a lot of humour out of the Doctor and Tegan's situation, while giving us an enjoyable story about what happens when the Doctor and Tegan come to Gallifrey.

Peter Davison returns to the role of the Fifth Doctor once again. Coming off July's rather mediocre Empire of the Racnoss, hearing an energized Davison once again is a delight, improving on the story even more than normal. Davison is excellent here as the Doctor, bringing a contradictory air of uncertainty and confidence to the role, mixed with an exasperated sense of humour. Davison is consistently funny throughout the story, alongside co-star Janet Fielding, especially in the first part of the story. Janet Fielding also reprises her role as Tegan Jovanka, the "mouth on legs" Australian of the TARDIS, in a downright excellent, comedic role. As with Davison, a lot of humour is wrung out of her interactions with Gallifreyan culture, from being dragged away from the Doctor to start, to being threatened with the removal of all her memories, all the way to her being a diplomat and the poor job she does at that. Fielding relishes the opportunity to be the sole companion for the Fifth Doctor for the first time in 11 years, taking Davison's Doctor to task a few times, but mostly, just being really damn funny. Also joining Davison and Fielding is Louise Jameson, reprising her role as Leela, a former companion of the Doctor, now a Gallifreyan citizen. Jameson is delightful here as Leela, establishing an instant rapport with Davison that carries them through the entire story. The sometimes antagonistic relationship between the Fourth Doctor and Leela is completely gone, and Jameson portrays that aspect joyously, playing a Leela who is sure of herself and happy to help her old friend.

Joining the main cast are several members of the guest cast, but in particular, Sheri-An Davis is Castellan Lowri and Julie Teal as Chancellor Vorena, two members of Time Lord society. Davis is consistently a highlight of the cast throughout, as the mistrustful but law-abiding Lowri. It's clear she dislikes the Doctor, and would much rather have elected someone democratically, but she's still willing to follow him, because he is her president. And throughout each story, she proves herself an important part, a fact proven when the Doctor gives her the presidency of Gallifrey at the end of the story. Teal is also another delight as the Vorena, a chancellor in Gallifreyan politics who wishes to use the Doctor for her own beliefs. At first, she's clearly set up to be the villain, and she technically is, but her position isn't one that comes from a place of evil. This story can almost act as a prequel to the Time War, given the character of Vorena and the idea that there are enough Time Lords that agree with the Doctor's personal ideas of intervening in worlds, and that's what makes her character so great. She's a follower of the Doctor's ideals, not inherently a bad thing, but her plans would corrupt the Time Lords, and make them too big for their britches. She's a more compelling character as such, and she's brilliantly portrayed as such by Teal.

Time in Office is very similar to previously released anthology stories, such as The Memory Bank and Other Stories and You Are the Doctor and Other Stories, but it's also completely unique from those. I would almost liken it to The Keys of Marinus, where the first three parts of the story are bound by a similar theme (the Doctor taking the office of the Lord President) that examine aspects of that theme, with an overarching story underneath each story that culminates in the final part of the story. Eddie Robson created a rather excellent story from this concept, filled with humour and a lot of heart, all underscored by a rather interesting arc that culminates in an excellent ending to the story. Each part of the story focuses on a different thing: the first part is about the future of Gallifrey coming to haunt the Doctor, the second part is about the past doing the same thing, the third part is about a remarkably similar set of circumstances to the Doctor's own flight from Gallifrey coming to pass, while the final part is about a grand plan for the Time Lords to become more like the Doctor. I felt that each part of the story was an excellent mini-story; the first part, I particularly liked the humour and the resolution of the story. I loved the callbacks in the second story, and the way that Tegan saved the day by destroying the power of a god, and I thought the third part was an interesting look at the other side of the Doctor's flight from Gallifrey. Finally, the fourth part was an excellent look at a pre-Time War Time Lord society, and the conflicts that arise there. I particularly liked the final part, as I explained a little above, because it really did feel like something that could eventually lead to the Time War. The idea that the Time Lords eventually felt like they should control the universe is a topic discussed in The End of Time and other stories, so it's interesting to see the seeds of it in this story.

The final aspect of the story I'd like to mention is the sound design and music work by Andy Hardwick who, throughout the story, did an absolutely stellar job with it. He combined aspects of several Gallifreyan musical cues, such as the heavenly choir and the organ sounds, mixed with aspects of the Fifth Doctor's era, with that electronic music. That resulted in just an absolutely incredible soundtrack for the story. Likewise, Hardwick's sound design work was similarly excellent. Big Finish has long employed excellent sound designers for their stories, and Hardwick, who has been with the company since 2000, is no exception. His sound design work here is great; from little echoes in the halls of the citadel to the crunching sound and the wind blowing on alien planets, it's lusciously sound designed from top to bottom.

Overall, Time in Office is a wonderfully enjoyable story. It's got an excellent premise to it, with the idea of the Doctor taking over the presidency of Gallifrey, and it's got some excellent writing to back it up. Eddie Robson's script was enjoyable, with four very distinctive stories, and an excellent ending that could act as a prelude to further adventures. Likewise, the cast did a great job here in this story. Peter Davison and Lousie Jameson were on top form in this story, while Janet Fielding was an absolute delight as the hilarious Tegan throughout the story. The guest cast too was stellar, with Sheri-An Davis and Julie Teal in particular standing out as two of the better members of the guest. Top to bottom, Time in Office was a great release, with some excellent writing and a great TARDIS crew that I would love to hear again in a heartbeat.

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