This is the first in Big Finish Productions' line of Doctor Who audio serials. It unites the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors, voiced by the actors that originally played the roles. Its release was a welcome addition to the then-cancelled TV programme.
Produced by and for fans, this serial features three of The Doctor's incarnations in one story. After this release, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy each perform in Doctor Who serials focussed on their Doctor specifically.
The message here is that Doctor Who is back: the story is presented in its traditional format of four half-hour episodes. The familiar characters inhabit an environment full of familiar sound effects. In the first moment of Part One, a tannoy voice on The Doctor's homeworld of Gallifrey delivers its alert in accurate, 1976 style as heard in the serial The Deadly Assassin. Such fan service is balanced with discretion. When the Doctors' minds meet in telepathic unity, gone is the tacky sound heard in 1973's The Three Doctors, replaced by something similar enough to establish continuity but much better suited to this 1999 recording.
The story is itself a slight variant on the Doctor Who format. Each of the three Doctors gets an episode to themselves, then they converge in the conclusion. It's a nice change in itself but we're asked to suspend our interest twice as pieces of a mystery are temporarily set aside at the episode transitions. The story has as big a finish as can be expected for an adventure that is very much a beginning. Having become a fan of these audio adventures I spotted a few later-to-recur elements that are put into place here.
Doctor Who rewards repeat viewing (or listening) and this was no exception. Revisiting this, I was quite entertained by the number of now-familiar performers present. I hope they had some laughs and maybe earned a penny or two because my side of the bargain's worked out pretty well.
Available now from Big Finish: The Sirens of Time