Originally released as a semi-animated webcast by the BBC, this episode marked the very first cooperation between the BBC and Colin Baker since they fired him. Due to the webcast's illustration being very limited, this episodes also introduces the Sixth Doctor's new blue outfit, which he'd continue to wear all the way through to "The Wrong Doctors". The story was extremely well-received and became the first time an original Big Finish companion was present in a BBC production.You can watch it on the BBC website over hereThe CD release includes additional scenes to the webcast, as well as a very extensive interview with the actors and writers.
The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn get a distress call from a group of archaeologists in the year 3286. They're having some trouble with a mysterious temple, which sends out temporal waves at regular intervals and makes people disappear. It's also full of Cybermen. Joining team TARDIS is a young American Cybermen expert named Dr. Reece Goddard (hey, it's Yee Jee Tso!), whose allergy to comms implants conveniently also makes him immune to radio detection.The Cybermen and their Cyberleader turn out to come from beyond the temporal wave point, where time is accelerated, enabling very quick conversion of some poor captured crew members into Cybermen. However, the Cybermen are less than ideally equipped, and the conversion is only partial.Meanwhile, Evelyn befriends Dr. Goddard, and is horrified when he turns out to be a time travelling agent sent there from the 1950's. Goddard, born in 1927, lived his whole life in a Cybermen-ruled hell, after the Doctor accidentally brought The Virus to his time period. The Doctor protests that he hasn't ever done anything like that, and that Goddard's timeline must already have been cancelled out, since Earth was never a Cybermen colony. Goddard realises that, but reveals that The Virus made him and everyone else on Earth into supreme Cybermen: metal on the inside, skin on the outside. He and the rest of La Résistance rebelled against their converted selves, and reverse engineered The Virus, changing it into a liquid that would de-convert Cybermen back into regular humans. The Doctor calls him a complete idiot for bringing the reverse-engineered stuff with him to 3286, since the Cybermen will inevitably get their hands on it, reverse engineer it back to suit their own purposes, and thereby create the virus that caused Goddard's timeline to begin with.While Evelyn is captured and tortured by the Cybermen, who plan to use her harvested brain in order to pilot the TARDIS and gain the technology of time travel, the entire rest of the crew is slowly murdered, squashed, converted and otherwise disposed of. Eventually, Goddard releases his liquid and confronts the Cyberleader with it, who reverts back into human form... and has Evelyn's face. Realising what must have happened, he tries to warn the Doctor, but is too late and gets destroyed by the temporal wave when the Doctor reverses it and erases the entire business from ever having happened. Six frees Evelyn from being wired up to the Cybermen machinery, and — not realising she's been implanted with The Virus — agrees to take her on a holiday to 1927, in honour of Goddard's sacrifice.
- Aborted Arc: The story ends on a cliffhanger and there was supposed to be a direct sequel. However, there have been no indications of a follow-up story since (which is now unlikely to happen due to Maggie Stables' sad passing in October 2014.)
- Changed My Jumper: Invoked on purpose. Evelyn wanted to see the Doctor's morning coat- he thought she meant "mourning coat". Also, the digital limitations back in 2002 made it impossible to render the myriad of colours on the Sixth's Doctor's old coat, which is why the blue costume was invented.
- Cybernetics Will Eat Your Soul
- The Fog of Ages
- Real Time: The original webcast version progresses at the pace of real time, the events in the story taking place over 65 minutes. Hence, the title of the story.
- The Reveal: The Cyberleader is Evelyn.
- Temporal Paradox
- Timey-Wimey Ball: OHH boy.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Six delivers a magnificent one to the Cybermen, telling them that his love for Evelyn will always be more powerful than their armies.
- You Already Changed The Past