I remember Hartnell saying the following phrase to Ian Chesterton, not sure what story it was in, it may be The Sensorites my memory gets a little fuzzy, but it was just so profound he said: “It all started out as a mild curiosity in the junkyard, and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.” And boy how right he was, look at how from those humble beginnings at Lime Grove, tiny sets, tinier budgets but a vision and breadth of imagination that far outweighed any technical limitations. And as the show moved on, the legend grew, the brush strokes of creativity were on a pan universal scale. We found out more about The Doctor and his people, Bob Holmes gave us The Deadly Assassin which was the template for all Gallifrey stories to follow and so the groundwork was laid for the Big Finish spin off series Gallifrey.
I must confess to not having heard any Gallifrey episodes before this one; six series missed and coming in on the seventh should have been a difficult jumping on point, but Gallifrey and its society are so familiar, it was like revisiting an old friend.
This is the Gallifrey of Robert Holmes, of President’s, Castellan’s, Coordinator’s, politics and intrigue. Romana is President- now in her third incarnation and played by Juliet Landau. This Romana is both frosty and playful but with a more ruthless edged than her previous selves, and boy does she need to be.
This story is EPIC – spanning millenniums and universes and delving deep into Doctor Who and Gallifreyan mythology. It is told over four parts and I am sure it is no spoiler to say it deals with the return of Omega and the action is set on earth, Gallifrey and in Omega’s parallel reality.
An undercover cult “The Adherents of Ohm” are planning Omega’s return to this reality. All the major players are involved, Romana, Ace, Narvin – and not everyone is who they seem. This is a very political story with plots and counter plots, and then there is Omega, played by Stephen Thorne – a bombastic blustering tyrant one moment, and a sad pathetic lost soul the next, so many layers to his character.
As I said, it’s epic, like The End of Time or Stolen Earth style epic, a real blockbuster and an ending that really does leave me wanting to hear more. It’s not perfect, it may be a bit too long and have too many peripheral characters, but at its heart it’s a rip roaring roller coaster ride leaving my wanting Gallifrey 8 to be released sooner rather than later. Overall 8/10.
Written by Ed Watkinson
Romana is approaching her final term of office, and hopes to leave her world in a state of peace and harmony. Narvin is concerned about the implementation of a controversial Precog programme, one that seeks to predict the Time Lords’ future. Ace is an operative for the Celestial Intervention Agency, having learned the art of interference from one of the best…
And somewhere, across the stars, an ancient force is stirring: one of the Time Lords’ greatest heroes is returning to our universe. But he may also prove to be their greatest threat.
When the history of Earth is threatened, and an ancient conspiracy reaches the heart of Time Lord government, can even Romana’s closest allies truly be trusted?
Time will tell… but by then, it may already be too late.
Juliet Landau (Romana), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Seán Carlsen (Narvin), Stephen Thorne (Omega), Scott Arthur (Lukas), Gyles Brandreth (Rexx), Daniel Brocklebank (Tauras), Laura Doddington (Vale Endrogan), Rachel Atkins (Sol), Toby Longworth (Min), Andrew Pepper (Merkis)
Written By: Scott Handcock & David Llewellyn
Directed By: Scott Handcock