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Real Time was a six-part webcast animated adventure featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. It was available via the BBCI website in 2002. Real Time was one of a few animated webcasts produced featuring various incarnations of the Doctor in the years prior to the revival of the series. It is notable for including the character Evelyn Smythe, marking the first time a character created for the Big Finish Productions audio dramas had appeared in a BBC-sponsored production.

Real Time is also known for its unresolved cliffhanger, which has largely remained an untouched subject since its initial release, due to plans to continue the webisodes falling through.


From Big Finish's website:

On a planet known only as Chronos, two scientific survey teams have vanished. Inexplicably. Without warning. But with just one clue supplied - a single 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 auspices 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?


to be added



Cybermen created by Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler and used by kind permission.

Story notes[]

  • This story featured the debut of the blue version of the Sixth Doctor's outfit. Multiple reasons were given for this: Colin Baker not having been fond of the original version and the blue suit being more suited to Big Finish's evolved version of the character. The main reason, though, was technical simplicity: the original version of the costume would have been too complex to portray in this webcast's illustrations of limited detail.[1]
    • The blue suit has since been adopted into the Sixth Doctor's continuity in his Big Finish audio timeline, featuring in his audios both in dialogue (AUDIO: The Wrong Doctors) and in cover art.
    • The blue-suited version of the Doctor from this webcast has since been released as Character Options and Character Building action figures.
  • Episodes 4 to 6 had warnings that "this week's episode contains scenes that may not be suitable for younger children".
  • Each episode was released at noon on a Friday.[2]
  • According to the Big Finish website, this story was specifically written to work as either a webcast or audio drama.
  • Author Gary Russell's subsequent novel Spiral Scratch contains a cameo by, among other alternate timeline versions of the Sixth Doctor, one dressed in blue and accompanied by a woman in her fifties with visible cybernetic implants; this is suggested to be the Doctor and Evelyn from this story, some time after the effects of its cliffhanger.

Original website release/broadcast[]

Production errors[]

Cat brooch

The superimposed cat brooch.

  • In closeup shots of the Doctor's changing cat brooch, it is obvious that the brooch is a rectangular image superimposed onto the image of the Doctor's lapel, as the background of the cat is a shade of blue slightly different to the lapel.
  • Due to the limited animation style of the broadcast, the character drawings are often mirrored to make it look like they have changed direction. This results in non-symmetric visual details like clothing and hairstyles constantly switching back and forth from one side to the other.

CD release[]

Main article: Real Time (audio story)

Big Finish Productions released an extended version of this story on audio CD. The release contains two scenes not present in the webcast version, and the CD booklet contains the script for a further unrecorded scene.

Modern accessibility[]

Due to technical changes behind the scenes of the BBC website, the Realmedia audio and video streams which made up the webcast stopped working. The BBC acknowledged the error in a FAQ on the Doctor Who website during Series 4, stating they were aware of the error and were working to restore the webcast to functionality in another format "as soon as possible,"[3] but no further announcements have been made. The relevant FAQ has since gone offline.

Though the webpages and links for the webcast still remain online as part of the archived "classic" Doctor Who website, the Real Time webcast itself remains inaccessible, although it can be unofficially found being shared around the internet.

The audio version of the story remains available on CD from Big Finish Productions.

External links[]