The Adolescence of Time

Posted in Audio by - September 01, 2018
The Adolescence of Time

Released August 2008

The decision to send Bernice and her son afar from the Braxiatel Collection with- at least for now- no explicit ties to previous continuity aside from the brimming danger that lurks within Peter substantially frees up this audio range to explore once more a much wider range of tones and ideas. Writer Lawrence Miles, who is himself famed for his more off-beat and outlandish ideas that featured so heavily in his previous written works set within the Doctor Who universe, takes this freedom to its fullest extent as ‘The Adolescence of Time’ focuses almost exclusively on Peter Summerfield who finds himself some sixty-five million years in Earth’s past as a race of intelligent winged reptiles struggles to survive in the aftermath of the devastating collision that destroyed so much life on the planet.

With such a heavy focus on Peter, Thomas Grant is once more thrust into the spotlight, and he sounds much more confident here than in the preceding story with exploring the inner workings of his tortured young character. He does still seem a bit too petulant and too prone too complaining to come off as fully believable, but it nonetheless marks a much more confident portrayal and delivery for this child who doesn’t want to be treated like a child to build upon as he continues to experience the universe. Surprisingly, he holds a rather cynical and lacklustre view of his mother despite acknowledging that she so often ends up saving others in need simply because he knows that there is a less dangerous way of living, and the fear that he- possibly unknowingly- commands from her remains another fascinating dynamic to this unusual mother-son relationship. He’s not quite as mature as he would like those around him to believe, but he does accept the necessity of self-sacrifice to help others after placing an extreme importance on his non-reptilian nature that he believes allows him to approach the problem of the storms from a unique angle.

These airborne reptiles are clearly an extension of the Silurians and Sea Devils that likewise roamed Earth during this time, and the image of a planet completely covered by the thick cloud resulting from the cataclysmic collision is a striking image around which to base ‘The Adolescence of Time.’ With Peter able to ride a pterodactyl to explore this planet facing an extinction event in whole, the unique threat of the wyrm that awoke following the collision and that attacks in the form a storm makes its presence known, and the very graphic description of the colony being destroyed as the sky itself turns hazardous adds to the danger and immediacy of the threat immensely. The fact that the wyrm sent the time ring to find Bernice explicitly is an intriguing subplot even if some of the conversations and ideas lack a complete sense of context to make them fully resonate, but Peter’s actions that end with him labeled a hero worthy of a statue highlight just how heroism in its many forms seems to run in the bloodlines of the Summerfield family.

Naturally, Bernice is not wholly absent from events, and her finding the time ring and statue that allow her to retrieve her son, only to have to explain that this event has to play out in its entirety to ensure their own future, is a fittingly meaningful appearance from the charismatic lead that again provides a frame of reference for this adventure as a whole. ‘The Adolescence of Time’ is unfortunately a story that cannot hide the fact that its cast size is so limited given the scale of events on display, but Miles’s imagination and refusal to adhere to expectations has resulted in a surprising and effective tale that highlights just how much variability this audio range holds even just two stories into its current iteration.

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