The Foe from the Future was originally submitted as the possible conclusion to Season 14. When writer Robert Banks Stewart was called away from Doctor Who by Verity Lambert to guide the writing of a troubled soap opera at Thames Television, however, the story lapsed and script editor Robert Holmes instead wrote The Talons of Weng-Chiang as the season-ender. (DOC: The Foe from the Future)
About 40 years later, Big Finish Productions resurrected the original script idea and adapted it to audio. It was then released as a six-part adventure starring Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. As a sort of in-joke to the relationship between Foe and Talons, Big Finish adapter John Dorney explicitly set it immediately prior to the events of Talons.
The Grange is haunted, so they say. This stately home in the depths of Devon has been the site of many an apparition. And now people are turning up dead. The ghosts are wild in the forest. But the Doctor doesn't believe in ghosts.
The TARDIS follows a twist in the vortex to the village of Staffham in 1977 and discovers something is very wrong with time. But spectral highwaymen and cavaliers are the least of the Doctor's worries.
For the Grange is owned by the sinister Jalnik, and Jalnik has a scheme two thousand years in the making. Only the Doctor and Leela stand between him and the destruction of history itself. It's the biggest adventure of their lives – but do they have the time?
A fissure in time brings the Doctor and Leela to Staffham Village, 1977, which has been beset by time distortions and deadly apparitions - ever since the arrival of new inhabitants at the village Grange. While investigating the anachronistic sound of bells coming from the boarded-up church, the Doctor's and Leela's lives are endangered as the church bell crashes through the belfry.
While Leela is detained by the local constabulary, the Doctor and Staffham resident Charlotte Willis investigate the Grange. Exploring underneath a crypt, they discover a secret laboratory containing one end of the time fissure, before they are confronted and attacked by the Grange's new owner - the half-human, half-insectoid, Lord Jalnik.
The Doctor and Charlotte are taken through the time fissure to a domed city in the year 4000, where its inhabitants are undergoing training for living life in the twentieth century. Leela follows the Doctor and Charlotte through the fissure. Escaping into a desolate wasteland after being pursued through the city, the Doctor and Leela are attacked by the giant, locust-like Pantophagen.
The future earth has been overrun by the Pantophagen after Lord Jalnik - really a time travel scientist in love with the secret leader of an aggressive political faction - brought them back from the Time Vortex, in order to implement a coup that has gone disastrously wrong. Cornered by coup soldiers, execution orders are given for the Doctor, Leela, Charlotte, and their unwitting associate, Shibac.
Jalnik and the Pantophagen travel through the time fissure to devour twentieth century earth, Leela is lost to the time vortex, and with access to the fissure destroyed, the Doctor is stranded in the year 4000 with no way of stopping the destruction of the universe.
Leela survives the journey through the vortex by lassoing a Pantaphagen with the Doctor's scarf. The Doctor manages to get back to 1977 by lashing up equipment left over from Jalnik's research. The Doctor destroys the entrance to the time fissure in the twentieth century, restoring order to the time lines and wiping out the Pantaphagen. Shibac remains in Staffham with Charlotte.
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- Leela - Louise Jameson
- Jalnik - Paul Freeman
- Charlotte Willis - Louise Brealey
- Butler - John Green
- Instructor Shibac - Blake Ritson
- Constable Burrows - Mark Goldthorp
- Father Harpin - Philip Pope
- Supreme Councillor Geflo - Jaimi Barbakoff
- Historiographer Osin - Dan Starkey
- Councillor Kostal - Camilla Power
- Charlotte mentions the Hammer Horror films, Monty Python and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.
- The Doctor attempts to teach Leela about poetry by introducing her to Hamlet.
- Father Harpin compares the sound of the TARDIS materialising to "an elephant in a shed." He initially believes that the Doctor and Leela are spirits and attempts to exorcise them.
- Fragmentary historical records available in the year 4000 erroneously state that the television presenter Bruce Forsyth was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1977. Charlotte jokingly asks the Doctor if they thought that the President of the United States was the American film star Gene Kelly.
- The vintage Ford Cortina which Charlotte steals from Instructor Shibac's driving class has the registration number BFP 189S.
- Charlotte plans to introduce Shibac to the music of David Bowie.
- This is the first Lost Story to adapt a script which was originally to have been made during the 1970s.
- This audio drama was recorded on 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 September 2011 at The Moat Studios.
- According to John Dorney, the original outline featured no female characters apart from Leela. This led to some changes in the audio version: (BFX: The Foe from the Future)
- Geflo was cast as female, but there was otherwise no fundamental change to the character.
- Kostal was turned female which influenced changes to the dynamic between her and Jalnik.
- Charlotte was an original character to the audio; neither she nor any alternative version of the character were present in the initial outline. Dorney included her as a means to help translate the story's visual elements to the audio format.
- Paul Freeman had previously been approached by Big Finish and offered a role in another project but he was unavailable. Nevertheless, he expressed his interest in taking on another role at a later stage, leading to his casting as Jalnik in this story. (BFX: The Foe from the Future)
- Though this story was replaced by The Talons of Weng-Chiang, some of the story beats are similar. Namely, a villain from a far-off millennium, deformed by a faulty time travel experiment, invades Earth's past and turns to kidnapping people to sustain themselves. At the conclusion of Talons, the Doctor even describes villain Magnus Greel as "a foe from the future".
- The Doctor tells Leela that William Shakespeare is the greatest poet in the English language "with [his] assistance." (PROSE: The Empire of Glass, The Stranger, The Writer, His Wife and the Mixed Metaphor, TV: City of Death) However, the Fifth Doctor later described him as a "hack" to his companions Peri Brown and Erimem. (AUDIO: The Kingmaker) By the time of his tenth incarnation, his opinion of Shakespeare's work had considerably improved as he spoke of it in glowing terms to his companion Martha Jones. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
- Leela once again refers to members of the Metropolitan Police Service as "blue guards." (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang, AUDIO: Energy of the Daleks)
- After hearing his voice over the intercom in his house, Leela states that Jalnik "speaks through the air like Xoanon." (TV: The Face of Evil)
- The Doctor tells Charlotte that he has previously visited the year 4000 and he believes that history has been altered. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
- Official The Foe from the Future page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Foe from the Future at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide