Big Finish: Doctor Who: Once and Future: Time Lord Immemorial, Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish: Doctor Who: Once and Future: Time Lord Immemorial, Review

Continuing the celebration of "Doctor Who's" 60th anniversary, Big Finish brings us "Once and Future: Time Lord Immemorial," featuring Christopher Eccleston's reprisal of his role as the Ninth Doctor. His return to the Whoniverse in audio form is always an unexpected delight, given his limited engagement with the franchise after his television departure, and having him in an anniversary special is the icing on the cake.

Eccleston's participation in this event was reportedly motivated by the opportunity to work alongside the revered David Warner, a legendary figure in the acting world, who sadly passed away. Warner's extensive career spanned stage and screen, and he left an indelible mark within the "Doctor Who" universe through his portrayal of an alternate Doctor, first alongside Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier and later with Bernice Summerfield, Big Finish’s own pioneering character.

In "Time Lord Immemorial," the narrative weaves a tale that extends beyond a simple crossover of iconic characters. What we have is a continuation from the cliffhanger presented in "The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50." The Ninth Doctor, following a tip from Missy, is in pursuit of “The Union,” a planet abundant with psionic sand. Yet, before he can delve deeper, he encounters the alternate Doctor, played by David Warner, in a surprising TARDIS collision that neither Doctor appreciates.

The plot thickens at a seaside holiday resort where Liv Chenka encounters “The Lumiat,” the benevolent incarnation of The Master. Their story intertwines with the Doctors' as the resort is plagued by mysterious sand men emerging from the drained seabed. As the characters converge, they recognize a looming threat that endangers the multiverse itself.

Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor maintains his characteristic humor amidst the impending crisis, providing a contrast to Warner's more somber portrayal. The dynamic between the two Doctors is touching and effective.

Gina McKee reprises her role as The Lumiat, a character introduced as an antagonistic foil to Missy but rich with untapped potential. Her interaction with Eccleston's Doctor is compelling, particularly as he grapples with her true nature.

Nicola Walker's Liv Chenka serves as the relatable everywoman, a grounding presence among the god-like Time Lords. Her prior acquaintance with the Ninth Doctor adds complexity to their interaction, considering she's supposedly unaware of these events in her future.

Narration by Robert Powell as the eponymous Time Lord Immemorial adds gravitas, although the choice to alter his well-known voice was met with mixed reactions. His contributions go beyond narration, as he also voices the sinister sand men, making one wonder why it took so long for him to be involved in "Doctor Who."

"Time Lord Immemorial" epitomizes what an anniversary special is all about – bringing together fan favorites and introducing novel elements to the lore, including a multiverse-threatening crisis. The storyline nudges toward the greater arc of the series, with a cliffhanger that sets up the finale.

The script by Lisa McMullin capitalizes on the dynamic between Eccleston and Warner, ensuring that their interactions are the highlight of the story. Her use of vivid imagery, such as the shattered hourglasses and the sands of time, enhances the narrative's depth. In essence, this chapter is as much about celebrating the show's legacy as it is about pushing the boundaries of its mythology.

Yet, despite the plot and the stakes, it's the chemistry and the exchange between Eccleston's and Warner's Doctors that truly enchant the audience, creating a memorable piece of "Doctor Who" history. As one of them may say, 'Once and Future: Time Lord Immemorial' is "fantastic!"

Doctor Who: Once and Future: Time Lord Immemorial is available to purchase from the Big Finish website.

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