Time for some more timey-wimey shenanigans as Big Finish dare to tackle one of the big plotholes of The Trial of a Time Lord – how can the Doctor disappear with Mel at the end of episode 14 when they’ve not actually met? There are various explanations in the tie-in media – starting with Pip and Jane Baker’s own version in their novelisation of The Ultimate Foe – and Matt Fitton tries not to go too much against these in this tale.
It’s a story you need to concentrate on: with two versions of the sixth Doctor wandering around, Colin Baker has to be on the top of his game to ensure that we know pretty instantly which is which (and succeeds admirably: the less mature version is noticeably shorter tempered and breathless). Bonnie Langford has been away from the range for too long, and she’s making her return in a story that gives her multiple different challenges.
There are some neat ideas on show, not least to explain how the two incarnations can be present at the same time without one of them remembering exactly how things happened, and the underlying mystery is satisfactorily dealt with.
Verdict: A different and less obvious tale than you might expect from the billing. 8/10
PS. It’s pronounced ‘Cook-field’ not ‘Cuck-field’