The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked!

Posted in Audio by - November 07, 2021
The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked!

Released November 2021


As with The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles Volume Two, The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles range has shifted away from its narration-based format to a full-cast one for its second volume, an arc of three linked stories titled Timejacked! Adeptly capturing the cadence and intonations- if not quite the voice- of Peter Capaldi, Jacob Dudman once more returns to the lead role to bring his iteration of the Twelfth Doctor to life once more as rookie Time Agent Keira Sanstrom is prepared to go to extreme measures to get the Doctor’s help by forcing him away from St Luke’s University.

With Keira in essence fulfilling the role of companion in this set, her profession and knowledge lead to a certain shorthand that allows the mystery of just why the world of Calandra has changed so much since she left to quickly unfold in Matt Fitton’s ‘Flight to Calandra.’ A Time Agent who believes she is destined to much more meaningful work than she has been allowed to this point, Keira is unquestionably incisive and impulsive, her strong will and self-assuredness making for unique complements to her good intentions. Unfortunately, while trying to piece together technology to allow her to leave this world, she inadvertently unleashed a marvel of technology upon this society that comes with a terrible cost, a means of transporting that copies the individual with increasingly-degraded copies that are sentient and yet increasingly helpless and confused. This is a story that moves along at a fairly brisk pace and that expertly places the focus on the developing relationship between the Doctor and Keira as the initially more brusque and terse nature of this Doctor slowly takes on a slightly softer and even sympathetic tone as Keira continues to work to discover what has happened and to help put it right. As such, there isn’t a tremendous amount of time to truly delve into just how much this world has changed with the influx of the so-called Confused that are afforded their own space and rights and a system in which even years of life can be taken, but the brief discussions about the societal and personal turmoil adequately provide a background layering to this problem that ensures the bigger picture is never lost amidst the Doctor’s ambitious plan. Accordingly, the final twist isn’t completely unexpected, but it nonetheless provides another opportunity for the full spectrum of this situation and its consequences to come to light, and Hannah Genesius and Charlie Hamblett give charismatic performances throughout to bring the plight of Calandra so vividly to life. Likewise, Dudman and Bhavnisha Parmar form an instant chemistry that uniquely plays off the reactions of both to Keira’s unintended guilt, and the resulting cliffhanger that shows just how widespread the ramifications of her earlier actions are provide a strong hook for the remainder of this set after an intriguing and emotional opening.

Lou Morgan continues the narrative in ‘Split Second,’ revealing that Bristol and, indeed, the world are far different than how the Doctor and Keira left them. There are fractures throughout time stemming from Keira’s previous actions, and the two companions soon find themselves on a series of journeys to the many discrepancies the TARDIS has found in order to stabilize the universe. In theory, this is a plot akin to a treasure hunt movie as the action rollicks along from locale to locale, but in an effort to emphasize just how much has gone wrong, each individual location and its people are relatively light on development. From Bristol to the American Old West to a spaceport, the action never abates, but without the aiding visuals that a different medium could provide or else dedicating more time to the individual- or fewer- locations within the brief running time of the story, everything is fairly generic and more or less bleeds together as a series of quick successes. More successful is the continuing development of the relationship between Keira and the Doctor, and Parmar and Dudman once more sparkle in what in many respects is a two-hander. Still trying to come to terms with her guilt about what she continues to witness, Keira is keen to help in any way that she can and proves to be resourceful and dedicated in her cause. The Doctor, of course, is just as keen to put right the devastation before him, and although he maintains a gruff edge as he attempts to help Keira rectify what she has inadvertently caused while also crossing paths with another mysterious woman, he continues to soften while appreciating her commitment, trusting her to perform the final act and even consoling her when the guilt threatens to consume her. This is a side of the Twelfth Doctor that is rarely seen since he keeps so much to himself, but it’s a great bit of development that remains perfectly in line with what has already been established about this most unique incarnation. ‘Split Second’ is somewhat lacking in plot if not in ambition and scope, but the developing core relationship is engaging and emotional, and the final cliffhanger sets the scene for what promises to be a momentous finale.

‘The Weight of History’ by Lou Morgan closes out Timejacked! as the Doctor and two Keiras pursue the Time Agency’s most wanted fugitive and find themselves on a Calandra that is increasingly unlike the one they last saw. In fact, this is a world on which anyone and anything can be altered, and the vision of the immortal Founder whose whims change so frequently is the only rule of the land. This is, of course, a frightening power that adds a tremendous degree of conflict to the story as Keira remains so personally invested in the consequences of her own actions that continue to unfold, and the direct incorporation of those earlier plot elements in this one location creates an altogether more impressive sense of scale than the myriad quick jumps in the previous story quite managed. Holly Jackson Walters give a strong performance as Havilland who has such a callous disregard for anyone around her, and it’s that mindset that allows one of the most emotional moments of this entire set as the Doctor highlights to Keira just how dissimilar these two women are. The developing relationship between the Doctor and Keira continues to be the highlight here, and the growing trust and respect between the two highlights just how far both have come while welcoming the possibility of future exploits together. Dudman and Parmar work wonderfully together and certainly create a strong emotional core to this story that could have easily been overshadowed by Havilland’s scheme and the immense visuals accompanying it. However, the handling of the second Keira is ultimately disappointing and far less successful. It’s understandable that the script should want to toy with expectations given Keira’s involvement with the Time Agency, but the return of an element from the first story of this set is absolutely the expected outcome, and the story dragging out the façade of a supposed paradox for so long does little to add to the plot. Yes, the Doctor’s self-confidence is an underlying element to this that is certainly in line with his characterization, but it seems unlikely that two such intelligent and advanced characters would not at least consider an alternative to their initial belief, especially as Keira begins to feel ill. Still, Parmar does well in this dual role, and the end result is relatively strong conclusion to Timejacked! which, although far from perfect, represents an enjoyable and self-contained introduction to the full-cast world of the Twelfth Doctor within the audio medium.

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