[[caption-width-right:350: The journey of filling a thousand narrative blanks begins with a single audio.]]

This is the first ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'' audio drama featuring the Eighth Doctor, five years to date since he made his debut in [[Recap/DoctorWhoTVMTheTVMovie the TV movie]]. It is also the debut story of India Fisher as the Eighth Doctor's first audio companion, Charley Pollard. (Though not his first actual companion, as he had had several in both his book series and comics series by that point.

It would turn out to be the first of an ''extensively'' long line of audios for Creator/PaulMcGann when his character became a [[BreakoutCharacter runaway hit.]] The audios began to explore the untapped potential of the Eighth Doctor, where the sky's the limit.


October, 1930. His Majesty's Airship, the R101, sets off on her maiden voyage to the farthest-flung reaches of the British Empire, carrying the brightest lights of the Imperial fleet. The Eighth Doctor ends up on the R101 entirely by accident, and soon meets an upper-class runaway named Charlotte Pollard (Charley for short), who has snuck aboard in men's clothing. She dreams of being an Edwardian LadyOfAdventure, and was rather hoping to hitch a ride to a romantic encounter on a rooftop in Singapore. The Doctor knows what will happen to the ship, but before he can make his way back to the TARDIS, he's captured and mistaken for a German spy. Playing along as Herr Dr. Johann Schmidt, he realises that a Vortisaur (a vortex pterodactyl) has followed him in from the time vortex, and he tames the beast by letting it drink his blood. It's not the only alien aboard, though -- the mysterious special passenger is the Prime of the Engineer caste of the Triskele. The three-caste race is looking for a new Lawgiver, and they have their eyes set on Lord Tamworth. The Uncreator caste, however, are also eyeing Rathbone, an Afrikaans traitor who's easily manipulated. He shoots the Triskele Lawgiver, which sets the Uncreators free of their mental bond with the law and gives them a great excuse to declare war.

However it turns out the new generation of Triskele Uncreators, who have never encountered predators before, are frightened of the humans, and scared away by roaring. In the end, the Doctor convinces the Triskele that they can live without a Lawgiver if their Engineers and Uncreators learn how to work together. It will take time and effort, but it's possible. Tamsworth, now the new Lawgiver, leaves to teach the Triskele this. But Rathbone gets his hands on the Triskele energy weapon. The Doctor needs prevent history from being changed by alien technology. He doesn't need to do anything special to save the day, though, as the crash of the airship makes Rathbone's plans moot anyway. But since he and Charley manage to escape from Rathbone on the Vortisaur's back, Charley is now a living paradox -- a girl who shouldn't be alive.

The Doctor briefly considers putting her back on the airship just before the crash so she'll die in her proper time. But he can't bring himself to do so, and they leave for adventures together with Ramsay the Vortisaur. [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho033Neverland Which, as we'll find out later, was a terrible idea.]]

The ''entire'' start of the audio becomes HarsherInHindsight when one has listened to [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho072TerrorFirma Terror Firma]].

* AccentRelapse: Invoked by the Doctor when he's pretending to be a German spy.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Uncreators seem to be this, though they are really all instinct and when confronted with humans roaring they are scared back.
* AmoralAfrikaner: Rathbone.
* AncientAstronauts
* AndTheAdventureContinues
* AxeCrazy: The Uncreator Prime, who loves destruction for its own sake, being all instinct.
* BadassGrandpa: Lord Tamworth. Among other things, he takes on Uncreator Prime in a fistfight and wins.
* BatmanGambit: Everything goes according to Uncreator Prime's plan.
* BizarreAlienSenses: The Vortisaur can sense time distortions.
* BoisterousBruiser: Lord Tamworth
* CassandraTruth
* ChekhovsGunman: The Vortisaur
* ClockRoaches: See trope below.
* ColdOpen: See GroundHogDayLoop
* CoolAirship
* DisneyVillainDeath: Rathbone.
* TheDogBitesBack: Rathbone, who's been reduced to a puppet, shoots the Uncreator Prime
* DramaticGunCock
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: Why the Triskele went under the control of a Lawgiver.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Rathbone gets two. First he's introduced as drugging a defenseless creature, then afterwards he's trying to force himself upon Charley for "Protection"
* ETGaveUsWifi: What Tamworth planned, and Rathbone tries after the climax.
* EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs: The story introduces Vortisaurs, pterodactyl-like creatures who [[ClockRoaches live in the time vortex.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: SPIN that Tardis into rescue, Doctor!
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: The reason for the FantasticCasteSystem of the Triskele. Lord Tamworth says he will teach them to live again with free will.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: Shouting is ''barbaric''!
* FlyingSaucer
* ForegoneConclusion: The [[CoolAirship Airship]] in question is not a future or alternate history, it's the '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R101 R101]]'''.
* FreudianTrio: The Triskele have this sort of arrangement on a species-wide scale. The Engineers are the Superego, the Uncreators are the Id, and the Lawgiver is the Ego.
* FriendlyEnemy: Spies are received better than {{Intrepid Reporter}}s.
* GoingDownWithTheShip: ForegoneConclusion
* GoodOldFisticuffs: Lord Tamworth ''lives'' for this
* GoToAlias: Well not quite, it's Johann Schmidt.
* TheGreys: The Triskelene
* GroundhogDayLoop: The opening has the Doctor discovering an exploding ship that is stuck in the time vortex in away that makes go through the same few seconds of exploding, and the explosion itself, on a loop.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E13TheBigBang That sounds way too familiar.]]
* HeadsOrTails
* HistoricalFantasy: This story mixes the real life R101 Airship disaster with fictional characters and a rendevouz with aliens during the airship's maiden voyage.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Rathbone tries to reach the alien weapon in the rafters, which he'd just busted up with a wrench.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: They're warmongering jerks.
** HumansAreSpecial: But also pioneers, ''innovators''. And possess free will.
** HumansThroughAlienEyes: From the perspective of the Uncreators humans are Monsters, as they have never met any predators before. The humans scare them away by roaring.
* ImmuneToBullets: Subverted.
* IndyPloy
--> "[[FalseReassurance Trust me, I have no idea what I'm doing]]."
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Tamworth first appears as a rather stuffy glory-seeking individual, but underneath it all he has a [[HiddenDepths core of honor and compassion that comes out as the story goes on]] and becomes an eminently lovable character.
* KlingonPromotion: Tamworth beats the stuffing out of Uncreator Prime, and becomes the leader of the Triskele.
* LadyOfAdventure: Charley
* MilitarySalute: When Tamworth is about to leave with the Triskele, the Doctor is heard shuffling about and exclaims, "Sir!", seemingly the radio version of a salute, conveying just how impressed he is.
* [[TheMirrorShowsYourTrueSelf The Alien's Eyes Show Your True Self]]: Charley finds her beautiful, [[TheReveal Rathbone finds her hideous]].
* MistakenForSpies: The crew assume the Doctor and Charley are spies from the Zeppelin Company. [[SureLetsGoWithThat The Doctor rolls with it.]]
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Explicitly, [[UsefulNotes/RamsayMacdonald Ramsay]] the vortisaur.
* NewsBroadcast
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: "Lord Tamworth" sits in for Christopher Thompson, 1st Baron Thompson, who was a member of the Labour Party and Air Minister under UsefulNotes/RamsayMacdonald, and the motive force behind the building of the R-101. Given [[ForegoneConclusion how the story turns out]], they may have thought to do this to avoid cries of TooSoon.[[note]]Thompson died in 1930, in the RealLife R-101 disaster.[[/note]]
* NonAnswer: The Doctor is a Doctor of "Most things and some things aside"
** NotThatKindOfDoctor
* ObfuscatingStupidity: The Doctor, once he's been "Exposed" as a German spy, starts intentionally botching up English sayings.
* [[OneLastSmoke One Last Drink]]
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Charley as Murchford.
* PretextForWar: The Uncreator Prime uses Rathbone shooting the Lawgiver as this, even though he manipulated Rathbone into doing so.
* PronounTrouble: The Triskelene seem to lack obvious genders. Charley refers to the one who was on the R101 with female pronouns, but Tamworth refers to the same individual as male.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: The Doctor's "English Accent" is almost good enough, but doesn't quite cut the mustard! Creator/PaulMcGann doesn't use his real accent to play the Doctor.
* {{Retcon}}: In "Terror Firma", the opening sequence was retconned to be the tail end of a rather more lengthy, and rather more important scene. In which the Doctor loses two companions and [[RunningGag promptly develops amnesia about it]]. The reason the Doctor was looking for the TARDIS manual also becomes very important.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Both the Minister and the "Uncreators"
* ShoutOut: When the Doctor is allowing the Vortisaur to drink some of his blood he says that it must have had about a pint. [[Radio/HancocksHalfHour "That's very nearly an armful"]].
* ShownTheirWork: Barnaby Edwards' Afrikaans accent is definitely not bad.
* UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica: Rathbone is from South Africa and peppers his speech with the accent, and strange De Veldt sayings about lions and such.
* SpellMyNameWithAThe: The Triskelene get a bit confused by the Doctor's name and call him Doctor The.
* SweetPollyOliver: Charley starts out disguised as steward Simon Murchford.
* TakingYouWithMe: The Doctor threatens this on Rathbone.
* {{Telepathy}}: The Triskelene. The Doctor is shielded from this because of his own latent PsychicPowers.
* ThinkingOutLoud: The Doctor for most of the first episode, until he finally meets someone else to talk to. He even chides himself for talking to himself a few times, calling it a bad habit.
* VillainousBSOD: Rathbone goes through one.
* WarIsHell: UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* WholePlotReference: The first part seems to invoke "[[Series/TwilightZone There's something on the wing!]]"
* WouldHitAGirl: Rathbone.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: Yay! Tamworth beat the Aliens! Rathbone has stolen alien technology and at the end is trying to kill the Doctor and Charley.
* YouTalkTooMuch: "Give it up, with the yak, yak, yak, will you?"