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The Judgement of Isskar

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A new adventure in time and space for the Fifth Doctor and
his new companion, Amy as they search for the Key to Time.

 January 2009 sees the first of three back-to-back releases for the Fifth Doctor. The story for this month has the fame of heralding for the first time, in its 12-year history, that Big Finish Productions has released stories in their monthly range of Doctor Who audio adventures as consecutive collections.

The idea of putting things into seasons is something we've been talking about for a long time’, explains executive producer Nicholas Briggs, ‘and as Doctor Who fans, let's face it, we think of stories in terms of seasons. This is the beginning of a move to, retrospectively, put all our stories into three-story blocks’.

 Together the three stories form a new three-part mini-series featuring an all new quest for the Key to Time - first seen in television show back in 1978/79. The Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison, is joined by a brand new companion called Amy, played by Ciara Janson, a sentient Tracer created to find the all-powerful Key to Time. But Amy is a companion with a twist - this time The Doctor is the assistant.

The Doctor finds himself on a planet where time stands still and where a woman who is just a few minutes old. She is a Tracer, sent into our Universe by her makers to locate the six segments of the Key to Time and this being without a name wants The Doctor to aid her in her quest. ‘This is a very different adventure from the original Key to Time’, says Producer David Richardson. ‘It's all about consequences...

Audio - The Judgement of Isskar

The Judgement of Isskar
(Simon Guerrier)

 The first story in this mini-series is "The Judgement of Isskar" by Simon Guerrier, in which the discovery of a segment of the key on Mars has grave repercussions and sees the return of the Ice Warriors, last heard in "The Bride of Peladon" and last seen on television in the 1974 Third Doctor story "The Monster of Peladon".

It’s 30 years since the original Key to Time series on television’, Executive Producer Jason Haigh-Ellery has pointed out, ‘which is worth celebrating! It also offered a good opportunity for David Richardson and me to work together and give the main audio production team of Nick Briggs, Barnaby Edwards and Alan Barnes a bit of a chance to catch up with themselves. In deciding to produce three stories together, we needed some kind of linking theme so that all 12 episodes could form a set - and thoughts of the Key to Time came out of that’.

Producer David Richardson has revealed that, ‘We couldn’t just replay the original Key to Time season - that had a very fixed format which we didn’t want to go over again. But the events of this audio season do come as a direct consequence of that original season’.

We have been promised that even if you know the original television episodes back to front or if you’ve never seen any of them at all, this new series presents something brand new especially as the choice of Doctor is the Fifth - next Doctor in line from the Fourth, who starred in the original, and so anything that happens as a consequence of that original season should come along not much later.

Fifth Doctor
Fifth Doctor
 A big issue with revisiting the Key to Time’, Producer David Richardson has also revealed, ‘is that it was vital that we found a way of approaching the concept differently. I threw in the idea that the Key was actually malfunctioning - the segments had to be collected because they had become dangerous. The writers ran with this, and what we now have is an epic tale told against the ticking clock, as the whole universe begins to unravel’.

As well as bringing back an iconic part of the Fourth Doctor’s era "The Judgement of Isskar" is also an Ice Warrior story! But one where the Ice Warriors are at the height of their Martian empire, rather than afterwards that has been portrayed in the previous audio and television outings.

This mini-season has also seen the creation of another new companion character for the audio adventures, in the form of Amy. ‘Amy is an artificial girl!’ actress Clara Janson, who portrays her, has revealed. ‘She’s not really human… kind of a robot but not a robot! She adapts to her environment. The Doctor kind of just finds her as a blank canvas and she starts to pick up on the Doctor’s phrasing, and that of other people.

"The Judgement of Isskar" has been directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery and was recorded on the 24th and 25th April 2008. This 4 part story guest-stars Raquel Cassidy (from television’s Lead Balloon, Party Animals and Teachers) as the Lady Mesca. Also starring are: Laura Doddington, Nicholas Briggs, Andrew Jones, Jeremy James and Heather Wright.

Audio - The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Prisoner’s Dilemma
(Simon Guerrier)

Actually The Key 2 Time is in fact a trilogy in four parts. Even though "The Judgement of Isskar" is the first story in this second quest for the Key to Time, in the Big Finish Productions monthly series of Doctor Who audio stories, there is a prequel audio story – Also appearing later in January 2009, in the Companion Chronicles range of audio stories, is "The Prisoner’s Dilemma" also by Simon Guerrier.

As revealed by Producer David Richardson, ‘"The Prisoner’s Dilemma" started development in March 2008’ a month before we actually recorded the Key 2 Time season. When I read the script for "The Judgement of Isskar" it struck me that there was more story to tell with the character of Zara’. At first it has been revealed that "The Prisoner’s Dilemma" was to be a Second Doctor story but as revealed by Producer David Richardson, ‘Then it hit me – it should be a Seventh Doctor playing one of his grand schemes with events that took place earlier in his own life, with his poor companion Ace caught up in the middle’.

So listen out for an epic tale told against a ticking clock, as the whole universe begins to unravel!
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  • Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Amy
  • Serial Number: 6R/A
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 120 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 27'15", 2 = 31'04", 3 = 30'52", 4 = 29'14"
  • Total Story Length: 118'25"
  • Also features 32 minutes of trailers and special behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and producers.
  • This story takes place between the television adventures, "Planet of Fire" and "The Caves of Androzani".
  • Cover Illustration: Alex Mallinson
  • Recorded: 24th and 25th April 2008
  • Recording Location: Moat Studios
  • Released: January 2009
  • ISBN: 978-1-84435-363-7

On the Back Cover:

On a planet where time stands still, the Doctor meets a woman who is just a few minutes old. She is a Tracer, sent into our Universe by her makers to locate the six segments of the Key to Time. This being without a name wants the Doctor to be her assistant, but she doesn’t tell him the whole truth. Not at first.

Their first port of call is Mars, where a society that one day will become Ice Warriors lives in peace and civility. But the Doctor’s arrival will change all that. The universe is dying, a choice must be made, and the Judgement of Isskar will be declared.

The price must be paid - even if it takes centuries…


On the Inside Cover:

Writer’s Notes: Simon Guerrier

I was thrilled to be asked to invent a new friend for the Doctor. The original brief was that Amy would be a Pinocchio character, becoming more ‘real’ throughout the Key 2 Time series.

Now Amy owes more to the film The Big Lebowski. And to Eddie Robson, who pointed out how the Dude repeats other people’s phrases.

My original synopsis featured the return of the Doctor’s old friend Steven Taylor - played by Peter Purves in the mid-1960s. Steven assumed the fifth Doctor was a younger version of the first Doctor - so hadn’t met him yet. My masters worried that this might be too much like The Boy That Time Forgot.

So out went Steven and in came the Ice Warriors. I’ve pinched elements from previous Ice Warriors adventures the Virgin novel GodEngine (1996) and Big Finish’s Red Dawn (2000). And added some stuff of my own.

Producer’s Notes: David Richardson

The first production meeting for The Key 2 Time took place in early December 2007, at Jason Haigh-Ellery’s club in Central London. There were four of us: Jason, myself, Simon Guerrier and Nigel Fairs, producer of Sapphire & Steel, who gave as same invaluable ideas.

It was John Ainsworth who had suggested a second search for the Key, while Jason brought to the table the race which had created it, which he had named The Grace. Nigel suggested the idea of a Human Tracer, and sketched out the characters which would become Amy and Zara, Simon was keen to write the first story of the trilogy as a madcap adventure, while Jonathan Clements (abroad at the time) was commissioned via email to write the second story.

We all knew that, for it to work, this second Key to Time series had to be very different to the first. And that’s all I’ll say, because chances are you may not have listened to this CD yet. And we want you to be surprised...


Who's Who?

The Fifth Doctor

First television appearance: "Castrovalva"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "The Land of the Dead"

 He has been exploring the universe for hundreds of years. He fights injustice. He defeats evil. He helps people. In his fifth incarnation, The Doctor is more restrained in temper, calmer in attitude and visually younger in appearance than he used to be. He looks for the best in people and tries never to deliberately offend or cause trouble. Some may underestimate him because of his comparatively youthful nature. But those enemies who do, do so at their own risk…


First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "The Key 2 Time: The Judgement of Isskar".

 One of two artificial lifeforms that have been sent to our Universe by The Grace, a race of pan-dimensional engineers. Both are living Tracers, designed with the sole purpose of locating and assembling the six segments of the Key to Time. This one selects the Doctor to be her assistant, on a mission that will take them across space and time.

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Peter Davison
Amy Ciara Janson
Zara Laura Doddington
Isskar Nicholas Briggs
Mesca Raquel Cassidy
Harmonious 14 Zink Andrew Jones
Wembik Heather Wright
Thetris Jeremy James
Lord Izdal Nicholas Briggs
Ice Warriors Nicholas Briggs & Jeremy James

The Production Team:

Writer Simon Guerrier
Director Jason Haigh-Ellery
Sound/Music Simon Robinson & Jamie Robertson
Theme Music David Darlington
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Producer David Richardson
Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
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