Paul Cornell and Mike Maddox collaborated on Circular Time a set of four stories for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. The stories are themed around the four seasons with an ensemble cast picking up the other parts.
I came to this with a sense that it was a popular release in the Big Finish forums. Were my expectations of a decent set of stories realised?
Unusually for a collection there is a single blurb on the Big Finish product page:
In the springtime of a distant future, the Doctor and Nyssa become embroiled in Time Lord politics on an alien world. During the stifling heat of a summer past they suffer the vengeful wrath of Isaac Newton. In the recent past, Nyssa spends a romantic golden autumn in an English village while the Doctor plays cricket. And finally, many years after their travels together have ended, the two friends meet again in the strangest of circumstances.
Four seasons. Four stories.
Now close the door behind you, you’re letting the cold in…
Spring: a fun story of an alien avian race and a Time Lord seeking exile. Light weight but entertaining as spring should be
Summer: is a powerful story of an encounter with Sir Isaac Newton (David Warner) and my favourite of the set. We have the intellect of Sir Isaac with some wonderful comic performances from various gaolers and others in the Tower of London
Autumn: is the Nyssa episode and tells of a romance set against the backdrop of the cricket season on the village of Stockbridge. Sarah Sutton has something more to do than just be possessed and the storytelling is poignant and measured
Winter: is ambitious and one for the fans. The only real topic for the season is the surprise twist of the setting revealed at the end. This story is also important for its link to the later return of Nyssa in Cobwebs. Despite the plot and its well-worked use of continuity with the TV series I wasn’t entirely taken with this story. For me the pieces were there but the construction didn’t quite work. I wonder if I would have preferred a shorter story. Maybe my problem is the lack of unification across the four apart from the seasons being the settings.
Overall though there are no bad stories here and it is well worth a listen.