On a planet known only as Chronos, two scientific survey teams have vanished. Inexplicably. Without warning. But with just one clue supplied - a singled [sic] screamed word: "Cybermen!"
The University they worl [sic] for has called in the Earth security forces who dispatched a third team, a mix of military and scietific might, under the auspices of a University Administrator. If that kind of volatile grouping isn't bad enough, three strangers have been added to the mix - a young human expert in Cybermen and a mysterious traveller in space and time, the Doctor along with his companion, Dr Evelyn Smythe.
But can they solve the riddle of the vanished survey team before the Cybermen harness Chronos' unique temporal gifts and rewrite the history of the galaxy?
Originally broadcast on BBC Interactive's Doctor Who website bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho between 2nd August and 6th September 2000 [sic], Real Time is the first collaboration between BBCi and Big Finish Productions Ltd, who have been producing original Doctor Who audio drama under license from BBC Worldwide since 1999. This special CD release contains extra scenes as well as an exclusive full-length behind-the-scenes "Making of" documentary.
IT WAS A GREAT DEAL more complicated to start with, you know. I mean, there was a whole future scenario where the CyberController first arrives on Chronos. Oh, and a bit where the virus is developed that turn human beings into CyberCreatures minus the need for clumsy conversion chambers. Oh, and then there was the bit where Evelyn... oh no, best save that, because it'll most likely feature in the sequel. If there is one.
I really didn't make it easy on myself. Firstly, by tryiing to do a story set in "real time" - the sixty minutes of running time that BBCi requested. Then opting to make the Cybermen truly evil and "heavyweight". you know, just as they've not been on the telly for... oh, years. And doing a time paradox story, but from an unusual view point...
Of course, I had help. Both Jac Rayner and James Goss offered heaps of sensible alternatives, and all kudos to Martin Trickey for having flow-charts, an apparent degree in temporal mechanics and, ultimately, the good sense to say "yes, it's all very nice and clever, but is it actually important?" And although I wrote the script to ensure that you didn't need pictures to understand the story, the finished version with Lee Sullivan's gorgeous art enhanced the experience no end.
Thanks then everyone at BBCi, and to you, the listeners. I just hope we lived up to your expectations.
Gary Russell, November 2002