The Invasion of Time
Episode / January 9, 2017

Aired 4 February – 11 March 1978 Returning to Gallifrey, the Doctor demands to be instated into the position of President of the High Council of Time Lords after inexplicably signing a treaty with enemy aliens. After banishing Leela to the wastelands and disabling the planet’s defence barriers to welcome an invasion, the hidden agendas of both the Doctor and the Vardans come into question as another familiar presence lurks in the shadows. The Fourth Doctor has always managed to carry a bit of a darker persona about him no matter how jocular or frivolous he at times seems, and the first half of ‘The Invasion of Time’ wonderfully exploits this aspect of the character as it seems that he has turned against his own people. Baker excels in bringing out a truly frightening menace as events progress, and the manner in which he scorns his former mentor, Borusa, and verbally abuses his companion, Leela, gives credence to the prospect that he really has forsaken the Time Lords in favour of the Vardans whom he manically and gleefully introduces. Of course, there is a method to his madness, and moments such as his pained look as he must keep his…

Wave of Destruction
Audio / February 6, 2016

Series five of Big Finish’s The Fourth Doctor Adventures kicks off with ‘Wave of Destruction,’ easily recapturing the eccentricity and aura of season 17 as Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, and John Leeson reprise their roles. Writer Justin Richards admits in the extras that he was striving to write something in the same vein as ‘City of Death,’ realising that to emulate it would be folly. In terms of providing an intriguing and credible threat while managing to keep the tone fairly light and surreal with plenty of humour, ‘Wave of Destruction’ succeeds admirably. Returning in the villainous role are the Vardans, an enemy that audio has been much kinder to than the televised series ever was. Conceptually, they have a lot to offer, and their ability to travel across waveforms is aptly explored in this story, making them much more than the placeholder understudies as presented in ‘The Invasion of Time.’ Set in the 1960s when popular music and pirate radio stations were all the rage, this story provides the audio and waveform-based Vardans with a very susceptible Earth. However, and it is perhaps a deliberate scripting choice in sticking with the overall tone of the story, it is a…