Colin Baker as The Doctor,
Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe
Number of Episodes: 4
Written by Gary Russell
Directed by Gary Russell
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On a planet known only as Chronos, two scientific survey teams have vanished. Inexplicably. Without warning. But with just one clue supplied – a singled screamed word:”Cybermen!”
The University they worked for has called in the Earth security forces who despatch a third team, a mix of military and scientific might, under the auspicies 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 teams before the Cybermen harness Chronos’ unique temporal gifts and rewrite the history of the galaxy? Real Time Big Finish sees a new costume for 6th Doctor
After the success of the first online webcast story, Death Comes to Time, it was decided that a second would involve Big Finish Productions, who were already doing a number of audio plays involving members of Doctor Who’s original cast. This webcast would involve Colin Baker playing the Sixth Doctor accompanied by Maggie Stables as Dr Evelyn Smythe, his companion in the Big Finish audio plays.
The limited bandwidth allowed by broadcasting across the Internet meant that writer and director Gary Russell approached the story with the edict that it would be shorter than many of the Big Finish plays. He decided that the story would therefore run, more or less, in “real time”, with its complete 60-minute running time being exactly how long The Doctor would be involved within the story. The webcast was accompanied by very limited animation based on illustrations by artist Lee Sullivan.
The storyline was left without a definitive conclusion, allowing for a possible sequel to be made at a future date. However, the following webcast was a remake of the uncompleted 1979 serial Shada, written by Douglas Adams. When BBCi decided to take the production of the next webcast, Scream of the Shalka, completely in-house, this led to a brief falling out between Big Finish and BBCi, and any plans for a sequel to Real Time were shelved at that point. This extended to Russell even suggesting that Real Time be considered non-canon as far as the audio plays were concerned.