Time Works (#80)

Big Finish Main Range

An adventure in odd parts, where the companions are separated from the Doctor relatively early on in the story. Charley and C’rizz stay in the time, between the tick and the tock, where the clockwork men live. The Doctor follows the “real” time of the people who live under the thumb of the clock, the Figurehead that runs them to the timetable of the project. It’s quite the little metaphor for working at an office, taken to an extreme. Throw your spanner in the works and see what happens, eh?

Overall, I enjoy this adventure as it’s the first one where C’Rizz and Charley get involved in a revolution to throw off the chains of the oppressor. The Doctor actually has mostly a distraction role while everyone else does the leg work of starting the revolution. The Doctor gets to end it but he depends on his friends, and they on him, to carry out their usual adventures and end the oppression. The setting is very nicely done, too. The language is different as they talk about time differently and I really like the way the story is framed, as a story that Vannet is telling her children. It reminds me a bit of Gattica, the film where people are genetically engineered and what happens when one person goes against that grain. Similar in that Vannet is statistically, supposed to be sterile, which we find out isn’t true. The project is ruled by the Figurehead who is ruled by the probabilities and the statistics. This is the industry phase of the project that she rules until the next phase is ready.

The history of the location is also very intriguing. The king and his son are actually the least interesting part of the story. They’re different for rulers, not the standard stereotype, but they’re also not really the rulers. The cutbacks rule the city and terrorize the citizens, not the monarchy. And ultimately, the love of one man, Zanith, starts the revolution when the opportunity presents itself. And they prosper.

Steve Lyons also wrote The Fires of Vulcan, Colditz, and Son of the Dragon. His stories all rely on people in specific, restricted situations who do unexpected things, whether in a positive or negative way. This story is definitely one of the Lyons cannon and is very enjoyable. The atmosphere is amazing and everything moves along like clockwork in the plotline. However, I just don’t feel like it’s an instant classic. Very good but not a five jelloid story. There’s just not the ultimate feeling of danger and that indefinable emotional edge that would push it into the five range. However, I have to admit that every one of his tales are very good so you can’t go wrong listening to a Steve Lyons adventure!

Paul McGann, India Fisher, and Conrad Westmaas

Writer: Steve Lyons

Director: Edward Salt

Release: March 2006

Laura Vilensky 2019