At the height of COVID, Big Finish figured out how to continue to record original Doctor Who audios by recording remotely. One of their many exciting projects was Out of Time, the first of a series of adventures which paired Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant with the stars of the show from the classic era. First up was the legendary Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.
This isn’t the first time Tom Baker and David Tennant have been in the same story, of course. Baker made a cameo appearance in The Day of the Doctor, which Tennant co-starred in. And Tennant made a cameo appearance in The Legacy of Time, a Big Finish audio story which Baker co-starred in. But this is the first time that I know that the two actors have actually starred in something together.
So having Tom Baker and David Tennant team up is quite the monumental event–without a doubt, these two actors created the most famous, most popular and most iconic versions of the traveling Time Lord. It’s not that they are everyone’s favorites, but they are probably each the Doctors from their respective generations who would be picked by the most people as their favorite.
The story is by Matt Fitton, and details coincidental visits that the Doctors make to the Cathedral of Contemplation, a spiritual retreat center that exists outside of normal space and time. The two incarnations bump into each other, but of course only the latter one recognizes the other. There is a bunch of typical banter and knowing winks to the audience as the two characters bounce off of each other. But then the plot gets in the way, in the form of an attack by the Daleks.
In the “special features” at the end of the drama someone comments that with two such iconic characters, they wanted to have them face off with an equally iconic enemy. But in my view the Daleks are a bit of a drag, and the need to include them screeching and exterminating all over the joint just takes away from the fun of hearing the Doctors’ banter.
Still, there is some good Tom Baker / David Tennant stuff in there. And from the Tenth Doctor’s perspective, the story takes place in between The Waters of Mars and The End of Time, when the Doctor is on a bit of a self-destructive and existential bender, so this gives their interaction an interesting sort of color (this is indeed what the Out of Time in the title seems to really refer to).
There are two more episodes of Out of Time that are available (or will soon be), with the Tenth Doctor having an adventure with the Fifth and the Sixth, which I’m looking forward to listening to as well.