Two for one in this edition of the Folly, as our friendly Tardis-thief Thomas Brewster Esq., late of Victorian London, lets the Doctor and Nyssa back through the doors…
Time Reef, by Marc Platt
Thomas Brewster is still aboard the Tardis. Unfortunately for the Doctor. Because it seems that Brewster has, on his travels, traded away several very important pieces of the Tardis – including the food machine. Attempting to get them back, the crew arrive inside a bubble of time suspended in the Vortex, where an ever-expanding reef threatens the survivors of two crashed starships…. all of whom believe Brewster to be a man called The Doctor…
Me, I like my Classical allusions. I think Marc Platt does too: this tale references several Greek myths and histories, most notably the Odyssey, as well as naming the ship’s commander Gammades (very Hellenic-sounding, you must agree). There’s also a twist of The Tempest in here, with the Ruhk subbing for Caliban if you choose to see it that way. The plot, meanwhile sees the Doctor having to navigate his way past Gammades and the Lady Viyoki to regain the – very important – pieces of his Tardis, all before the reef expands to the edge of the time bubble.
Some nice touches: the crewman stuck to the edge of the bubble, forever orbiting his ship, forever stuck between life & death (“Hello down there! Hahahaah!”); Viyoki’s slightly warped personality; the sacrificial gots that the Ruhk herds around the island (blatantly Greek!). And to say that both Gammades and Viyoki get what they want…well, you can’t say either of them will be satisfied for too long….
Brewster’s duckin’n’divin’ is a little wearing over the three episodes however, now that he is out of his own time period. You can understand the Doctor’s frustration with him, and you have to wonder how he actually managed to survive stealing the Tardis to begin with. At this point you sense he’d be a liability more than a companion.
In all? A decent tale and a fun little conundrum for the Doctor. Certainly not a classic, but very well written.
A Perfect World, by Johnathan Morris
Coupled with Time Reef – and featuring several of the same actors in different roles – is this one-part vignette that focuses on Mr Brewster. One might almost call this the Wishes of Thomas Brewster to fit in with other episode titles. Indeed, Brewster is the Cockernee scamp whose chance meeting, in the 21st century, with a young & unemployed London lass causes the accidental creation of “a perfect world” in which every decision always goes right and nobody ever makes a mistake. Needless to say, perfection ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…
This play sees the deaprture of Brewster/John Pickard from the Tardis. Not quite an effective foil for the 5th Doctor, he wound up being a slight reflection of Adric. Interestingly, he does return later in this chronology… but not yet.