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Neverland was the thirty-third of Big Finish Productions' monthly audio stories. It featured the Eighth Doctor played by Paul McGann and Charlotte Pollard played by India Fisher, with Lalla Ward making an appearance as Lady President Romana. This story concluded the arc of stories beginning with Invaders from Mars concerning the paradox of Charley Pollard's surviving the R101's destruction. Neverland was one of three audio stories to feature Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor alongside Romana as played by Lalla Ward. The others were the audio adaptation Shada, which itself was an extended release of the webcast of the same name, and Zagreus.

Publisher's summary Edit

The Web of Time is stretched to breaking. History is leaking like a sieve. In the Citadel of Gallifrey, the Time Lords fear the end of everything that is, everything that was... everything that will be.

The Doctor holds the Time Lords' only hope — but exactly what lengths will the Celestial Intervention Agency go to in their efforts to retrieve something important from within his TARDIS? What has caused the Imperiatrix Romanadvoratrelundar to declare war on the rest of creation? And can an old nursery rhyme about a monster called Zagreus really be coming true?

The answers can only be found outside the bounds of the universe itself, in a place that history forgot. In the wastegrounds of eternity. In the Neverland.

Plot Edit

Part 1 Edit

Historical events are being recited; but the narrators can no longer retain the proper memories, and are going mad. Elsewhere, the Doctor and Charley are talking about their recent victory over the Daleks, who remain caught in a time loop; the Doctor expects the Time Lords under President Romana will eventually release them, as history sometimes hangs on their actions. It won’t be soon, however; Romana has her own score to settle with the Daleks. Meanwhile, a fleet of Battle TARDISes materialises around the Doctor’s TARDIS. He recalls that this happened once before in recent memory; this time, it seems they are coming for him and for Charley. Further, Romana is among them, accompanied by Celestial Intervention Agency Co-ordinator Vansell. He tries to escape again, but one of the other ships fires temporal torpedoes; if he dematerialises, they will snatch his ship from the Vortex, and if he stays put, the torpedoes will strike and freeze his TARDIS—and everyone aboard—in time for a few centuries, allowing the Time Lords opportunity to get inside. Just before the torpedoes strike, a wave of time distortion sweeps by, tearing seconds from the web of Time; the Doctor rides the wave and escapes the Battle TARDISes via a complicated path.

Once free, the Doctor presents Charley with an invitation to a rather extravagant party—a thousand-year party inside a pocket universe—allegedly so that she can celebrate her birthday. She sees it for what it is—a transparent attempt to get her off the TARDIS for a time—and deduces that he is going to find out what the Time Lords want. She knows the answer already: her rescue from death on the R101 airship has somehow broken the web of time. Determined to be mature and do the right thing, and grateful for the six extra months the Doctor has given her, she hits the fast return switch, sending the TARDIS back into the path of the time torpedoes.

Three hundred frozen years later, the TARDIS is invaded by CIA agents Levith and Kurst. They transfer the awakening Doctor to President Romana’s TARDIS: a massive Time Station, similar to the one aboard which his sixth incarnation stood trial. In his absence, they install Charley into a space-time converter device while she is still disoriented. Aboard the Time Station, Co-ordinator Vansell tries and fails to interrogate the Doctor, who invokes the Archetryx Convention and demands a fair trial. Romana assures him that Charley is safe; she explains that the time distortions appear to be caused by particles of anti-time, which has always been considered both theoretical and absurd, but now seems to be real. The Doctor doesn’t believe it at first; he recounts a legend of Rassilon, which states that Rassilon pinned creation down to one continuity when creating the Eye of Harmony, and in the process created both positive time and a universe of anti-time. Such a universe would have no continuity—no past, no future, just a chaotic present. He doesn’t believe it exists, but the strain on the Web of Time says otherwise; it is near to breaking, and many changes to history have been noted, all stemming back to his rescue of Charley. Her rescue created a living gateway through which anti-time can flow from the mirror universe. Gallifrey, a bastion of positive time, remains as the universe’s last stable point, and Romana has given the Matrix over to retaining a memory of the true history of the universe—and even this is failing. To prove her point, she forces the Doctor through the Eighth Door into the Matrix to see a projection of what is to come.

The Doctor finds himself on a ruined version of Gallifrey. A sad, elderly man tells him this was once Gallifrey, but is now the empire of Zagreus, the mythical monster from Gallifreyan nursery rhymes. In the former Panopticon, Romana—now ruling as Imperiatrix—presents to the people the trapped Daleks, who beg for mercy and freedom. Instead, she obliterates them completely, removing them from history. The Doctor protests, and the crowd turns on him. Vansell pulls him out of the projection, bringing him back to the Time Station. He is shaken by what he has seen, but still refuses to allow Romana to return Charley to the R101 to die; but Romana tells him it would make no difference anyway, as anti-time is already present. Instead, they will track the anti-time backward to its source and stop it there, in the other universe—and to do this, they will use Charley as a gateway. Already she is inside the Doctor’s TARDIS, hooked into the proton accelerator which will transform her into the living gateway she is. Kurst activates the machine, sending her writhing out of time and space. It’s only temporary, however, and Romana intends to free her when the anti-time is stopped; therefore the Doctor allows it. Levith informs them the gate is open, and the Time Station begins to follow the TARDIS through. However, the TARDIS console overloads, causing the ship to be pulled out of control through the breach into mirror universe, and the Time Station follows.

Charley reverts to normal as the power level drops, though she is shaken. Levith and Kurst discover that the sensors are not producing proper data, and they cannot isolate their temporal co-ordinates—it seems they are truly outside the universe of time. Still, they have landed somewhere; Levith takes the others outside, and sets up a beacon for the Time Station. Meanwhile the station’s sensors are likewise useless; it’s not a mechanical problem, as the Doctor points out, but a problem of the frame of reference. Their sensors are calibrated to require the passage of time, and there is nothing like that here. Only one fixed point can be found: a nearby planetoid, from which the beacon is emanating. The station approaches, but the beacon vanishes, indicating it is being affected by time distortion.

Charley and Kurst see a forest of metal spikes nearby, and Charley goes to explore while the others work to repair the beacon. Something speaks to her, using her own voice, and she meets an apparition that looks like her. More phantoms appear, calling themselves the “people who never were”. Kurst and Levith fire on the phantoms, and Charley escapes, but the phantoms reappear and consume Kurst, devouring his life energy. As Charley and Levith flee, the ground splits ahead of them, and the TARDIS—with the beacon—tumbles into the chasm. Aboard the station, the Doctor realises that the TARDIS they are detecting is not his TARDIS. Defying Vansell, he seizes control and pilots the station to the surface, unwittingly allowing it to crash into the metal forest. Vansell takes a concussion in the crash; in his delirium he quotes a poem about Zagreus. The Doctor notes it, and wonders why this mythical figure keeps coming up today.

When Vansell recovers, he is furious, and threatens to remove the Doctor from history, until the phantom in Charley’s form arrives. He deduces its nature as a being of anti-time, a “Never-person”, and is shocked to learn it has been to his universe, where it consumed Lucy and Richard Martin. Other Never-People appear and begin to devour the time energy pouring from the station’s damaged Time Rotor. Vansell tries to chase them off, until the lead phantom tells him that what he seeks is in a grotto nearby. Vansell immediately leaves, and Romana persuades the Doctor to follow, telling him that the station has the power to repair itself. Nevertheless, she hasn’t told him everything; and as Vansell well knows, the Doctor won’t like the truth.

Outside, Charley and Levith join the group, and Levith makes her report. The Doctor examines the metal forest and determines its spikes to be artificial; even the dirt consists of metal shavings. As an acid rain begins to fall, Charley and the Time Lords take shelter in a cave, but soon find it is actually an artificial corridor. Proceeding into the corridor, they find roundels on the walls, and a vast chamber with a hexagonal platform—it would seem, then, that the entire planetoid is a crashed TARDIS, with its internal structure mapped to the outside.

Vansell manages to feed in enough power to activate a few systems, and a hologram appears. The Doctor recognises it as the old man from the Matrix projection. The hologram announces its various titles—among them, conqueror of the Yssgaroth and First President of Gallifrey—and declares himself to be Rassilon. The Doctor knows him to be long-dead, with his tomb in the Death Zone—but the hologram claims the legends are true. He accidentally created this anti-time universe upon establishing the Eye of Harmony, and battled the monster Zagreus. Though he defeated Zagreus, his TARDIS was wrecked, and he was trapped, but he lies in wait inside a Zero Cabinet nearby—and now his descendants and heirs will take him home.

Part 2 Edit

The Doctor remains sceptical, but Vansell explains that Zagreus, with Rassilon, appears in the legends of many worlds, with similar events recorded. He suggests that the tomb of Rassilon on Gallifrey is false, with Rassilon still alive in the Zero Cabinet—and poised to lead Gallifrey to greater achievements if returned. The Neverperson in the form of Charley returns to negotiate the release of the Zero Cabinet; it opts to negotiate only with Vansell, who is more than willing to cooperate. In exchange, the Neverpeople want freedom to explore the timestream of the normal universe in order to gather the temporal energy on which they subsist. They demand, as a show of faith, that one of the Time Lords remain behind until the pact is finalised. The Doctor objects, as this will mean leaving Charley here as a continual gateway—but Vansell agrees with the Neverperson, and nominates Romana to stay behind. The Doctor realises that all along, Vansell has intended a coup, with the aim of installing Rassilon in power once again—and of course placing himself at Rassilon’s side. Vansell’s guards return the Doctor, Charley, and Romana to the surface, where the ground disgorges the Cabinet; the Neverpeople transport Romana back under the surface. The Doctor stumbles into the chasm, and despite his protests, Vansell lets him fall in, before escorting Charley and the Cabinet back to the Time Station. His guards bring the converter device to the bridge, and place Charley inside.

Romana is taken to an amphitheatre filled with Neverpeople. The Charley phantom introduces two of them as Rorvan and Taris, friends from Romana’s childhood, but she cannot remember them. The phantom questions her about a device called the Oubliette of Eternity. The device, belonging to the CIA, is a molecular dispersion chamber, used to remove criminals from all of time and space by dispersing their molecules through the timestream. The Doctor arrives and overhears this, and realises that the Neverpeople are former Time Lords who were destroyed in the Oubliette; they somehow arrived here. This is why Romana cannot recall Rorvan and Taris; after their dispersal, they had never existed in the first place. Their crime was accessing classified documents, and for this they were erased. Meanwhile, the Neverperson with Charley’s form reveals that she is Sentris, the 217th (and now former) Co-ordinator of the CIA. Once responsible for overseeing what she believed to be only very rare uses of the Oubliette, she was appalled when the records in a time-protected vault revealed that she herself had overseen over two hundred such executions—which she now could not remember, because the victims never existed. In severe guilt, she committed suicide by leaping into the Oubliette, but found herself here, with her former victims. Thus she leads them toward the normal universe for revenge.

Romana insists that the Oubliette is a relic of the past, and that Gallifrey will not forget the injustice; but Sentris reveals that the CIA continues to use it to this day, although of course no one would know. She blames Vansell as well as Romana, but more than that, she blames Rassilon for establishing this system. The Doctor realises that there were no personalities in anti-time before Rassilon established the Oubliette, meaning that the Zagreus legend is a lie, and therefore Rassilon is most likely in his tomb in the Death Zone—which means the Cabinet is something else entirely, and it is on its way to Gallifrey. Meanwhile, on the now-repaired Time Station, Charley realises that Vansell’s voice has become distorted, indicating he is infected with anti-time, and is being manipulated. Under his orders, Levith—although she too realises something is wrong—activates the device; just before Charley is transformed again, she realises that Levith, too, is infected. On the planetoid, Sentris confirms the Doctor’s fears: the Cabinet contains a huge quantity of anti-time energy. As well, though Gallifrey is under quarantine, the Presidential ship will be admitted without question; and when it materialises, the Cabinet will detonate, destroying the Capitol with a flood of anti-time and breaking down the last anchor of the Web of Time, causing the chaos the Doctor foresaw in the Matrix. It will be the Empire of Zagreus. She releases the Neverpeople to consume the Doctor and Romana. However, the Time Station stalls out during materialisation, failing to arrive; and Sentris pulls the Neverpeople away to deal with this new problem. As the Neverpeople are incorporeal, she sends the Doctor and Romana in the Doctor’s TARDIS to repair the Time Station; none of its now-possessed skeleton crew have the necessary skills. Sentris accompanies them, holding Romana hostage to ensure the Doctor’s cooperation. Romana manages to covertly tell the Doctor that she has a plan; if she can reach the Matrix door, she can change the station’s authorisation codes and prevent it from landing on Gallifrey.

The TARDIS materialises on the station’s bridge, where the Doctor and Romana find Charley, and learn that the rest of the crew is infected and unable to break free of the Neverpeople’s control. The Doctor sends Romana to reset the flux patterns in the reactor, and gives her his sonic screwdriver; Vansell suggests an escort for her, and Sentris sends Vansell himself with Romana. He links the station controls to his own TARDIS so as to boost the power, but then Sentris threatens to have Levith kill herself in order to make him cooperate further. She orders him to slave the Cabinet to the self-destruct system, so that the station will explode upon materialisation, spreading anti-time across the world.

At the reactor, the positive temporal energy draws Romana’s Neverpeople guards—Rorvan and Taris, as it turns out—toward the reactor. This allows Vansell to regain some control of himself; horrified by his previous actions, he swears loyalty to Romana. She enlists his help; by lowering the two blast shutters on the engine and raising its shield, she will expose Rorvan and Taris to the overwhelming energy of the core, and hopefully destroy them. However, Vansell’s shutter jams open; he lowers the shield anyway, sacrificing himself to destroy the Neverpeople.

With the boost from the TARDIS, the station’s time rotor revives, just as Sentris senses the deaths of Rorvan and Taris. She deduces Romana’s plan, and her possessed Time Lords activate the emergency bulkheads throughout the ship, sealing Romana away from the Matrix chamber. She uses the sonic screwdriver to override the bulkheads, and reaches the Matrix, but finds its voices are all insane now, ranting about the coming of Zagreus. She is unable to change the codes; and Sentris tells the Doctor that it doesn’t matter anyway—before leaving Gallifrey, Vansell had pushed through an order making it impossible to change the codes during a state of emergency. However, she taunts the Doctor by telling him that one option remains: he could kill Charley. This would close the gateway. Of course, he refuses, even when the possessed Levith gives him her staser. Charley makes an impassioned speech as to why he should let her die—knowing she is grateful for the extra time she’s had—but he cannot do it. As Sentris activates the gateway again, the station dematerialises, heading for Gallifrey. The Doctor realises there is one more thing he can do, however—and he runs into the TARDIS and dematerialises. Confident of victory, Sentris lets him go.

The Doctor quickly reconfigures the interior of the TARDIS, but is interrupted when time comes to a halt. He is visited by an apparition—the old man from the Matrix, now recognised as Rassilon. With time paused, the old man asks the Doctor to explain the course that led him here; he does so, beginning with meeting Charley on the R101. He insists he has considered every possible alternative; and at that, the old man allows him to proceed. He warns the Doctor that he must face the consequences of his decisions, but assures him that the Doctor has always made him proud. Time resumes its flow.

As the Time Station materialises, Sentris—through Levith—activates the self-destruct mechanism. However, the Doctor’s TARDIS materialises around the station. The TARDIS will contain the fallout until the Time Lords can fix it; and though the Doctor will die, he has won, saving both the Universe and Charley. The station explodes as Sentris screams.

Inside the Matrix, everything suddenly returns to normal, with history repaired. This time, it includes Charley’s rescue and all the events of the anti-time crisis, up to the Doctor’s sacrifice. Rassilon appears to Romana, and explains that Charley and the threat she represented to history are now a part of history. Her survival on the R101 ensured the Universe’s survival, thus meaning that her survival could never have been a threat to the Universe in the first place. It’s a paradox, but one everyone can live with. Rassilon expresses pride in Romana, and gives her the chance to return to Gallifrey; but if she does so, the future must be hidden from her. Still, she and Charley have a part to play, even if the future is dark. Romana leaves the Matrix, returning to Gallifrey.

Charley, too, has survived, and makes her way to the shattered console room of the TARDIS. She finds the Doctor in the darkened room, but he strikes her, knocking her down. He exultantly tells her that, with the breach closed, all the anti-time in the Universe is contained in him, as he absorbed it during the explosion. He is no longer the Doctor, but the embodiment of anti-time, the dark being known as Zagreus.

Cast Edit

References Edit

Botany Edit

Conventions Edit

Galaxies Edit

Gallifreyan culture Edit

Gallifreyan history Edit

Gallifreyan technology Edit

Space-time vessels Edit

Other realities Edit

Species Edit


Theories and concepts Edit

  • The Web of Time is stretched to breaking point. Even Gallifrey's own continuity is ready to break.

Timeline Edit

Time Lords Edit

  • When Romana was a young girl of sixty, her family went to the shores of Lake Abydos on Gallifrey.

Literature Edit

  • Charley makes various reference to Peter Pan.

Notes Edit

  • Don Warrington's name was not included in any of the cast lists printed in Doctor Who Magazine, or the CD's inner booklet in order to conceal the character's identity. His name does, however, appear on the cover of the CD.[1]
  • Despite Neverland being publicised as a traditional Big Finish Productions four-story, it was released as "a special two-part, feature-length" presentation with episodes of seventy-two minutes each.[1]
  • Part 2 of Neverland leads directly into Zagreus. However, there was a gap of a year and five months between the release of Neverland in June 2002 and the release of Zagreus in November 2003.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 24 and 25 January 2001 and 27 February 2002.

Continuity Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

Footnotes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Neverland. The Millennium Effect. Retrieved on 4th February 2012.

External links Edit

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