Released August 2007
‘Frozen Time’ is a strong offering from Big Finish, again exploring the latter era of the Seventh Doctor’s era as he travels alone. Featuring truly great performances from all involved, relentless action, and the return of the Ice Warriors, all of the individual concepts come together fluidly to showcase the audio offerings of Doctor Who in a story that will appease long-time and new fans alike.
In Antarctica, an archaeological team is directed to dig in a specific area, away from the intended site to look for another ill-fated expedition from earlier. Unsurprisingly, they stumble upon something much greater than they could have ever imagined, finding a group of bipedal reptiles, a human, and even an old English police box perfectly preserved in the ice as the true purpose of the expedition starts to become clear.
The Doctor, having survived frozen in the ice for millennia and still fully cognizant, suffers from amnesia at the beginning of the story, unable to remember the exact sequence of events that led to him being encased in the ice. McCoy does sterling work showing just how alien and resourceful the Seventh Doctor can be even without his full set of memories, and the gradual recovery of those memories helps both to explain the events of the past as well as to dictate a course of action for the present. He doesn’t dip into the more pensive or even the more humorous side of his character like he did in Valhalla, instead offering a more streamlined and determined version that fits perfectly with the tone and pacing of the story as a whole.
The Ice Warriors are a seldom used foe, but Nicholas Briggs- who also scripted the audio- does very well in capturing the breathy, sibalant speech patterns for his leader Arakssor, and his characterization is superb. Likewise, although the remainder of the supporting cast isn’t necessarily full of the most inherently interesting characters, all of the actors give spectacular performances. Anthony Calf’s Lord Barset, the financial source behind the expedition, is particularly strong, and his motives are just distinct enough from typical villain’s to add another layer of complexity to the character as he seeks to gain control of the alien technology so that nobody else can profit off of it without looking to profit off of it himself. Gwynn Beech’s stern security chief Harman has a fantastic scene in which he gets to confront the Ice Warriors and Tony Millan’s Professor McIntyre serves as the conscience of the group while trying to figure out what Barset is doing. A special note must be made about Maryam d’Abo’s role, her French archaeologist Genevieve filling the companion void in this story ably.
‘Frozen Time’ ends up being a stellar, if very traditional, entry in the Big Finish catalogue, and it continues to proves that the later days of the Seventh Doctor’s life are ripe for exploration. Bolstered by some truly stunning sound effects work that emphasizes the proud military tradition of the Ice Warriors and evokes the Antarctic surroundings incredibly well, the amnesiac mystery regarding the Doctor’s presence and the Ice Warriors who were imprisoned for trying to turn the Martians into a warrior race make for a truly memorable experience and a highlight of recent audio releases.