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Doctor Who: Gallifrey Series 4 CD Boxset by Gary Hopkins, Justin Richards, Scott Handcock, Gary Russell and David Wise

01/11/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Gallifrey Series 4 CD Boxset in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Gallifrey Series 4 CD Boxset in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 5 CDs 120 minute 4 stories. Price: CD: GBP 35.00 (UK), Download: GBP 30.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-556-3). cast: Lalla Ward, Louise Jameson, John Leeson, Miles Richardson, Sean Carlsen, Mary Tamm, Colin Baker, Katy Manning, Geoffrey Beevers, Carole Ann Ford, Sarah Douglas, Brian Miller, Alan Ruscoe, Lisa Bowerman, Charlie Hayes, Andy Coleman, Anthony Keetch, Steve Wickham, Conrad Westmaas, Lewis Rae, Chris Johnson, Alexander Vlahos, Matt Bates and Scott Handcock.

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In this series of four audio plays, the impossible is made possible as Gallifrey is resurrected. Our four intrepid Time Lords enter the Axis, a place of portals to other worlds. They are then forced to make impossible choices when all the portals lead back to Gallifrey and time-locked versions of their homeworld.

Romana (Lalla Ward) as President of the High Council takes the lead with her faithful hound and super-computer, K9 Mark II. Her companions are the now blind Leela (Louise Jameson), yet to be the nemesis and friend of Bernie Summerfield, Time Lord Cardinal Irving Braxietal (Miles Richardson) and Coordinator Narvin (Sean Carlsen)

In ‘Gallifrey Reborn’ by Gary Hopkins, you will need to keep your wits about you as we discover that this Gallifrey is a different world in every sense. Although the companions hope they will find somewhere to settle and make new lives they find this Gallifrey has some serious problems. Of course, they cannot resist trying to make a difference and are quickly sucked into the machinations of this world.

There are trouble with relations, regenerations and people hungry for power at any cost and as usual it’s all about time. As Narvin discovers, there is a price to be paid and no one will remain unchanged at the end of their stay.

In the second audio, ‘Gallifrey Disassembled’ by Justin Richards, we are lead to another Gallifrey and timeline, where once again the High Council treads a dangerous and greedy path. Romana becomes Enemy Number One with the best assassin despatched to eliminate the risk. As this story draws to a close, we encounter old friends, doppelgangers and another loss to the party as they fight for survival.

The third audio, ‘Gallifrey Annihilation’ by Scott Hancock and Gary Russell, throws our companions into the perpetual dark of Gallifrey. The darkness has caused a terrible deviation in the development of its people. Among its warring armies of two different strains of Gallifreyans, only Cassandra can foretell the future and sees nothing good as the strangers approach through the portal.

Romana is in a dark place already and the interminable war she and her friends stumble into is about to make an even more dramatic turn as they are forced to take sides and make some momentous decisions.

Finally, the fourth audio takes us to ‘Gallifrey Forever’ by David Wise, where there is no time except the present. The Gallifreyans have toiled for years, some of them in chains, to discover Rassilon’s secret and open the Eye of Harmony. There are no Time Lords on Gallifrey except those that have stumbled through the portal. Romana, the Destroyer of Worlds, is feeling exceptionally unhappy following recent events.

This Gallifrey is ruled by people who probably shouldn’t have access to all of time and space but it could all be theirs if Romana lets it happen and the mood she’s in, she very well might.

If you are relatively new, as I am to this massive spin-off then possibly the Fourth Series is not the place to start. That said it doesn’t take much external info, from the various Internet sites to get you up to speed. The four characters are distinctive and pitched very well. Braxietal may be known to you from Bernice Summerfield but she appears here before all that happens. Narvin is not well known but his character is quickly established, he was previously head of the CIA or Celestial Intervention Agency. Leela is blind from a bomb in a previous episode of Gallifrey which certainly puts a new slant on this character. Lalla Ward is the second incarnation of Romana and has been through a lot in this lifetime. She will be sorely challenged in this series of audios as well.

This proved to be an agreeable series of adventures that takes the characters further along the path away from Doctor Who and manages to breathe vivid life into the various scenarios. Although there has been quite a long break between the ‘Seasons Of Gallifrey’, it looks like it was worth the wait.

Sue Davies

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