A sense a pattern emerging, as the first Troughton era Lost Story was pretty awful, the second was good, and now… Yeah. This isn’t good. While it’s not as bad as Prison in Space, and certainly not as painfully insulting to the senses, Queen of Time instead commits the cardinal sin of being boring. Really, really boring. It was originally written by Brian Hayles, the same man who originally wrote the similarly boring Dark Planet Lost Story… so let’s take a look!
Somewhere outside our universe, she is waiting.
A god-like immortal, living in a realm of clocks. The hours tick slowly by as she plots and plans. She is readying her trap. A trap for a very special man in a very special police box.
Hecuba has all the time in the world. But for the Doctor, time is running out.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
The actual production here is fine. The soundscape of ticking clocks and great halls are fine, and Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury once again do a great job as both the lead trio and as narrators. The only other voice comes from pretty much the only other character, and that’s Hecuba, the titular Queen of Time, played by Caroline Faber. She does well as the supremely arrogant and childlike immortal, it’s just a shame the actual story is so… dull.
A very stylish cover, for a very boring story.
So… I haven’t got around to reviewing the First Doctor TV story “The Celestial Toymaker”, yet, of which this is a spiritual sequel to, but when I do I’ll not doubt describe it as “a good idea that ends up as a long string of really boring games”. Well, The Queen of Time is a good idea, but it ends up as a long string of really boring games, mostly puzzles this time.
Hecuba is the sister of the Celestial Toymaker and much like her brother she traps The Doctor and his companions in her dimension and forces them to play games with their very lives at stake. They range from giant bladed clock hands, to a huge hall of clocks where one specific one has to be found if The Doctor’s life is to be saved, or a room that advances and reverses Zoe’s age, and a game where Hecuba and The Doctor have to describe a person or piece of equipment in turn until one can’t beat the other, like “Roman Soldier!”, “tank!”, “missile!”, that sort of thing (the Doctor wins by choosing peace, which isn’t a person or equipment, but whatever…)
That’s literally the entire two hours, and without the visuals to at least distract, it’s really dull. To make matters worse there’s an interlude between each task of The Doctor at Hecuba’s dinner table watching her eat more and more disgusting food being delivered by her slobbering minions. Having to hear detailed descriptions of nasty food, followed by wet panting dog sounds and Hecuba tucking in while The Doctor recoils in distain aren’t very fun once, let alone several times. The Doctor ends up outsmarting her and trapping Hecuba is her own collapsing dimension. Given she’s never heard from again, let’s hope she really is trapped (or if she does escape, she’s put in a better story…)
As mentioned several times already, this is a sequel to First Doctor TV story “The Celestial Toymaker”, also written by Brian Hayles. I can’t really find where this was supposed to go or how far along the script was, but it’s safe to say it was probably rejected for just literally being the same thing again…
That’s about it really. The Toymaker reappeared several times on audio (including later in this rundown of Lost Stories!) but Hecuba has since stayed in this sole appearance…
I mean, I think I’ve already made myself clear, but sure: The Queen of Time is extremely dull. The two hours will drag on and on and on, and… on. I can’t believe I’ve ended up listening to it twice, going into the listen for this blog I was thinking “was it as bad as I remembered?” and yep. Well, again, not bad, just BORING. That’s why it’s not getting a 1, it’s well made and they brought the script to life, it’s just the script wasn’t interesting to begin with…