The Crimes of Thomas Brewster was the one hundred and forty-third story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jonathan Morris and featured Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe, John Pickard as Thomas Brewster and Anna Hope as DI Menzies and introduced Lisa Greenwood as Flip Jackson.
It was notable for featuring the third appearance of DI Patricia Menzies, for featuring the first appearance of the Doctor's future companion Flip Jackson, for turning the Fifth Doctor's former companion, Thomas Brewster into a companion of the Sixth Doctor and for retconning Evelyn's personal timeline to include a time where she shared the TARDIS with another companion.
Sent down south to assist the Metropolitan Police in their efforts to investigate the gangland kingpin known only as "the Doctor", Detective-Inspector Patricia Menzies finds herself up to her neck in laser-armed robot mosquitoes, gun-running criminal overlords, vanishing Tube trains... and not one, but two Doctors.
Meanwhile the real Doctor, and his academic assistant Professor Evelyn Smythe, have become ensnared in the machinations of an old acquaintance — time-travelling Victorian guttersnipe Thomas Brewster. But what's Brewster's connection to the rapacious robot Terravores? And can anyone contain the gathering swarm?
The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn find themselves in the middle of a disaster taking place in London involving robotic mosquitoes, later identified as "Terravores". They jump onto a boat and make a break for it. The Doctor manages to take one out, but it explodes, ruining his coat in the process. Luckily, they are rescued by DI Patricia Menzies. While holding them at the station, she explains privately to Evelyn that she has already met the Doctor, however, she explains that she can't reveal that she knows him due to being warned. Menzies goes home to sleep and the two are placed in cells for the night. After being held at the station, they are released in the morning into custody but end up getting kidnapped by someone under the employ of a man named Mr. Gallagher.
They are brought to a place that the Doctor suspects is Bermondsey, and speak with Mr. Gallagher, who reveals that the Doctor is not the Doctor he's after, however, he can't let them go in case they inform the police. He also explains that he's looking for this "other" Doctor because he keeps intercepting and stealing all of Gallagher's illegal weapon smuggling and imports. Meanwhile, Menzies returns to the station only to find that the officer who released the Doctor and Evelyn into custody made a huge error and failed to check the legitimacy of the authorization, and didn't realize the squad car that picked them up was the same one as one that had been reported as stolen that very morning. They commence a search, while Mr. Gallagher, under threatening pretenses, has Evelyn go find and meet the other Doctor who is threatening Gallagher's criminal business, and has the Doctor held hostage to ensure her cooperation. Just then, the Doctor and Gallagher and company are attacked by the Terravores. Evelyn finds the other person claiming to be the "Doctor" in an abandoned building, surrounded by the robotic mosquitoes and dressed in Edwardian clothes...
The Sixth Doctor manages to escape Gallagher and the Terravores and is rescued by Menzies. Meanwhile, Gallagher makes a deal with the Terravores to help them, who are also looking for the Doctor, once he discovers they can convert organic matter into diamonds. Evelyn and Thomas Brewster have a chat and once she discerns his real identity, he tries to kidnap her but she manages to escape and gets onto the tube, where she bumps into Flip and Jared, although is not aware of their identity. Suddenly, Evelyn notices her pursuers managed to board the other car and suddenly the train is transported to the planet Symbios, as revealed by Brewster, who has caught up with her.
In the meantime, the Doctor and Menzies find his TARDIS which he uses to locate Evelyn. They step out to go find her just as they are found and cornered by Gallagher and the Terravores. They manage to evade Gallagher and capture a Terravore which they interrogate. Brewster forces the passengers to pick up the machine guns from Gallagher's shipment he brought aboard the train and to follow his instructions, where he marches them through the jungle while Evelyn, Flip and Jared discuss the current situation. They are suddenly attacked by a swarm of Terravores and get stuck in quicksand, sitting ducks for their attackers...
Evelyn, Jared and Flip are trapped in the quicksand. The Sixth Doctor and DI Menzies, inside the TARDIS, locate the source of the signal sending the Terravore its instructions coming from just outside London. Evelyn, Jared and Flip fall through into a cavern and Thomas Brewster gives them further instructions. Meanwhile DI Menzies and the Doctor arrive at the signal's location.
The Doctor and Menzies find Neville Perkins' voice recordings, which he used to log his construction of the Terravores after receiving email instructions under threat and warns anyone listening to his message that the Terravores will do anything to protect the signal source. Thomas Brewster, after explaining to everyone that he brought them here so the native species could take over their bodies and fight an invasion, separates Evelyn from the group and brings her to the Locus so that it can take her over. The Doctor and Menzies follow the trail where he lands them in a maintenance tunnel near Great Portland Street tube station and they investigate, trying to find the time breach that Brewster, unbeknownst to the Doctor, is using to transport everyone by abandoned train. The Doctor mentions he is getting a familiar feeling and could have been here before, and warns DI Menzies that if they encounter a young man in Edwardian garb, she is not to reveal that he is the Doctor or that she a policewoman at any point. Sure enough, they are found by Thomas Brewster who claims that he is the Doctor and he then locks them in a store cupboard, not recognizing the Doctor's new face. The Doctor explains his history with Brewster to DI Menzies. He manages to pick the lock and they find Brewster's time machine which the Doctor thought had been destroyed, and Brewster reveals he knew the truth all along. However, DI Menzies explains that she is the Doctor and "Norman" (the Doctor) is her assistant. Brewster buys this lie and explains what happened. Six months ago, the Locus, the life-form and embodiment of planet Symbios, found Brewster, looking for the Doctor to help them as he had done before (but in the Doctor's future). and Brewster tries to help them instead but lies and says he is the Doctor, explaining that he thought they wouldn't have trusted them otherwise. He then takes them by train to Symbios.
The Doctor and DI Menzies meet with the Locus and the Doctor as Norman on behalf of DI Menzies as the Doctor demands three things in return for helping them, returning the minds of all the people they kidnapped, all humans are to be returned safely to Earth and the third is to listen to him carefully and do exactly as he says. The Locus agrees but will inhabit Evelyn to communicate for now and return her at the end. The Doctor as Norman convinces the kidnapped humans to help and they prepare to engage the Terravore while DI Menzies, the Doctor and Thomas Brewster go investigate a crashed ship when they are attacked by the Terravore Queen. The Doctor/Norman explains they have now found the source of the Terravore's signal, and Thomas bursts out that something of that size and power means they're all going to die...
The Terravore Queen gravely injures DI Menzies and the Doctor is forced to reveal himself to Brewster in order to save her. The Doctor demands to know why Brewster reactivated his time machine and he explains that he wanted to save his girlfriend Connie after she was hit by a car and left in a coma, and it was through that that the Locus contacted him. The Doctor, disappointed by Brewster's methods, is at least slightly sympathetic. Meanwhile the Locus reveals its real intention to the humans and that was to give the Terravores access to Earth through the wormhole they arrived in by Thomas Brewster's subway train travel so it would leave Symbios alone. At the same time, the Terravore contact Gallagher and have him show them a way to invade Earth through the tube subway. On Symbios, the Locus explains that it has spared their lives and that they are welcome to stay on Symbios, since no one ever dies on the planet and heals DI Menzies as a gesture of gratitude. DI Menzies inexplicably gets a call from Sergeant Bradshaw on her cell phone telling her that more of the robot creatures they saw yesterday night have appeared near Great Portland Street and they are trying to fight them off. The group go back to London
After Gallagher's usefulness is fulfilled, he is killed by the Terravores despite begging for mercy. The Doctor, however, seemingly in a change of heart, says that he is locking the wormhole, believing that Symbios deserves to live and that the Earth can fall to the Terravores and when he is resisted by the others, the Locus-controlled Evelyn appears behind them with a weapon, ready to kill those who disagree with the terms. The others opt to stay on Earth and die for their planet while the Doctor and Locus-controlled Evelyn go back to the TARDIS to return to Symbios. Once there, the Doctor, who had swiped Jared's phone, calls them and reveals his ploy, and explains to Brewster just how to shut down the wormhole. The Doctor is caught by the Locus but he explains that now that all the Terravore drones are gone from Symbios and only the Queen is left, since the wormhole is being closed the connection between the queen and the drones is lost and since they are a hive mind and depend on each other, both will lose their power and die from having the connection cut. The queen descends on them but loses power just as the Doctor explains. He then gives a stern warning to the Locus that this is the last time he'll be helping them and heads back to Earth after having Evelyn liberated from their control.
Back on Earth, they reunite with DI Menzies and the Doctor explains what happened to the Detective Inspector while she reveals the fates of all those Brewster kidnapped to help the Locus, although it seems Brewster managed to get away before being caught. The Doctor also reveals to a startled Menzies that although he hadn't met her before today he could guess that in her personal timeline they had already met before. He bids her farewell, looking forward to seeing her again in his future, and he and Evelyn depart for the TARDIS. The Doctor, however, can't find the key and Evelyn points out that the door is open. She begins fussing that the Doctor is "getting old" when they are shocked to discover Thomas Brewster inside, claiming that he is hijacking the TARDIS and demands that the Doctor return him to his own time...
- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Evelyn Smythe - Maggie Stables
- Thomas Brewster - John Pickard
- DI Menzies - Anna Hope
- Raymond Gallagher - David Troughton
- Jared - Ashley Kumar
- Flip - Lisa Greenwood
- Sergeant Bradshaw - Duncan Wisbey
- Terravore Queen - Helen Goldwyn
Cultural references from the real world
- Menzies compares the interior of the TARDIS to "Captain Kirk's ship."
- Flip's ringtone is Pokerface by Lady Gaga.
- DI Menzies has seen the first ten minutes of the film "The Time Traveler's Wife".
- While fighting the Terravores, Jared claims to Flip that their experience battling the Terravores is better than Call of Duty and the James Cameron film Avatar.
- While being interviewed by Menzies, Evelyn tells her that the Doctor's name is "Dr John Smith."
- As the Doctor asks the Terravore to tell him about themselves, they ask who he is. He states he is the Doctor's companion and it's "kind of my job to ask stupid questions".
- The Doctor says "Geronimo" when he jumps out a window.
- The Doctor mentions being over 900 years old.
- The Doctor uses the name Norman Deplume to disguise himself when he first meets Thomas Brewster who is unaware that he has regenerated since they last met.
Fashion and clothing
- The Doctor's coat is destroyed in the explosion of the Terravore. He tells Evelyn that he has twelve other identical coats in the TARDIS wardrobe.
- The Doctor wears a jumper and jeans throughout the rest of the story to replace his outfit after it gets soaked.
- Menzies asks Evelyn what has become of Charley Pollard.
- Menzies was recently seconded from the Greater Manchester Police to the Metropolitan Police Service due to her experience with mysterious individuals calling themselves "the Doctor."
- When Evelyn attempts to test Brewster's claim that he is the Doctor, she mentions the Daleks.
- Brewster tells the Doctor that his girlfriend Connie Winter was hit by a car and left in an irreversible coma.
- The Locus tells the Doctor that all life on Symbios exist in symbiosis, hence the name of the planet.
- A future incarnation of the Doctor saved Symbios from the Drahvins at a considerably earlier point in the planet's history.
Theories and concepts
- The Doctor tells Menzies that, due to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, he experiences a prickling sensation on the back of his hand when one of his past or future incarnations is in the vicinity.
- Brewster sends a Great Portland Street tube train to the planet Symbios on the other side of Mutter's Spiral through a space-time wormhole.
- The Doctor claims to know how to drive a speedboat, though his efforts are less than successful.
- Gallagher mentions the old Marlborough Road tube station and how it used to be occupied by a Chinese restaurant a few years back.
- This audio story was recorded on 12 and 13 July 2010 at The Moat Studios.
- Although Menzies says that the events of AUDIO: The Condemned, set in 2008, were two years ago, the next story in this trilogy (AUDIO: The Feast of Axos) places it in 2011.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- The Doctor takes out a Terravore by confusing it with his coat. However, his coat is implied to be the multi-coloured coat, despite him being depicted in his blue coat on the cover of the audio.
- The ending of this story leads straight into AUDIO: The Feast of Axos.
- The Doctor and Evelyn were previously imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1554 (AUDIO: The Marian Conspiracy) as well as visiting it in 2003 in an alternate timeline. (AUDIO: Jubilee)
- Brewster becoming a companion of the Sixth Doctor was foreshadowed in AUDIO: A Death in the Family as Evelyn reminisced with the Seventh Doctor about each of them spending time "in a spacesuit bouncing about Axos with that poor boy Brewster." This remark also foreshadowed the events of the following audio drama AUDIO: The Feast of Axos.
- The Doctor tells Evelyn that he once passed under the original London Bridge in a boat with King James II (AUDIO: The Glorious Revolution) and that mudlarks used to scavenge for goods in the River Thames. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster)
- This is the Doctor's first meeting with DI Menzies in his personal timeline. However, it is their third meeting from her perspective, following AUDIO: The Condemned and AUDIO: The Raincloud Man. Menzies elects not to inform the Doctor but he correctly guesses that this is the case. He promises to return the favour when they meet for the first time in her personal timeline.
- DI Menzies refers to the Ackley House incident in Manchester in February 2008. (AUDIO: The Condemned)
- Brewster once again poses as the Doctor, as he did while the TARDIS was in his possession. (AUDIO: Time Reef)
- Menzies comments that the Doctor looks about five years younger than he did during her two previous encounters with him. (AUDIO: The Condemned, The Raincloud Man)
- Menzies tells Evelyn of the time that Charley Pollard claimed to have met the Doctor out of order. (AUDIO: The Raincloud Man)
- In AUDIO: The Raincloud Man, the Doctor politely refuses Menzies' request to travel with him, citing the growing mystery surrounding Charley's true identity, though he states that one day he may return and take her up on the offer. As his encounter with her in The Raincloud Man takes place later in his personal timeline than the events of this story, he would have been aware at that time that Menzies had never become his companion when they met in 2011. Consequently, granting her request in 2008 would have altered history and damaged the Web of Time. It is possible that the Doctor's grounds for refusal, namely the mystery surrounding Charley, may have simply been an excuse to avoid revealing to Menzies that he had already met her future self.
- The Doctor recalls visiting the then newly opened Great Portland Street Tube in the company of Brewster and Nyssa in 1867 during his fifth incarnation. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster)
- Menzies compares Brewster to the Artful Dodger from Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. Later in his sixth incarnation, the Doctor would meet a 23-year-old version of the Artful Dodger in the Land of Fiction (AUDIO: Legend of the Cybermen) whereas the Ninth Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler would later meet Dickens himself in Cardiff on 24 December 1869. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)
- Captain Ruth Matheson would later tell Warrant Officer Charlie Sato about the 2010 Terravore incursion in the London Underground and that a deactivated Terravore was stored in UNIT's Vault. (AUDIO: Tales from the Vault) In 2014, Rees would use his mind to control this Terravore to help him search for his music box. (AUDIO: The Screaming Skull)
- The Doctor would later visit another sentient planet, Unity, during his seventh incarnation. (AUDIO: Shadow Planet)
- In order to fool Brewster, Menzies poses as the Doctor and introduces him as her companion. However, when the ruse is uncovered, Brewster claims that he 'thought it a bit odd, [him] turning into a lady'. The Doctor would later regenerate into a woman in his thirteenth incarnation. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)
- When escaping Gallagher, the Doctor shouts "Geronimo" as he jumps out of a window. This was a particular phrase often used by the eleventh Doctor. (TV: The End of Time, The Beast Below et al.)
- The Doctor mentions that he is over 900 years old. (TV: Voyage of the Damned et al.)
- When the Doctor and DI Menzies are attacked by the Terravores in Neville Perkins' lab, he mentions that he wished he still had his sonic screwdriver. The sonic screwdriver was destroyed by a Terileptil on a visit to Heathrow in the 1600s during the plague. (TV: The Visitation) The Sixth Doctor did, however, occasionally use a sonic lance but it was only good enough for making repairs to the TARDIS. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen)
- DI Menzies comments that there are no chairs in the TARDIS. There was a chair in the console room of the First Doctor's TARDIS (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Time Meddler) and Second Doctor's (AUDIO: The Black Hole), but one would not reappear in a console-room until the Seventh Doctor, at some point in his travels, changed the desktop theme and added one. (TV: Doctor Who)
- DI Menzies mentions Twitter with disdain. The eleventh Doctor also disliked Twitter. (TV: The Power of Three)
- The Doctor sword fights with a Terravore. The Twelfth Doctor and Robin Hood have a sword-fight as well (TV: Robot of Sherwood) while the Third Doctor and the Master fence (TV: The Sea Devils).
- Evelyn complains that every time the Doctor says he'll take her somewhere nice for a vacation it usually ends up being dangerous or a disaster. He replies "Oh yee of little faith", something similar he told Peri Brown when she expressed a similar sentiment. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen)
- When Menzies and the Doctor search for the time breach, the Doctor says that their setting is vaguely familiar and he thinks he remembers being in the maintenance tunnel near Great Portland Street before. When Menzies questions him further about this, he mentions that the memories might be from one of his past selves he had forgotten about. (TV: The Brain of Morbius, The Timeless Child)
- Official The Crimes of Thomas Brewster page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Crimes of Thomas Brewster at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide