Doctor Who Watch exclusive: Leela to return in Gallifrey: Time War 3!

Series two of Gallifrey: Time War left our heroes in a desperate situation. Where will they go from here?
(Image credit: Gallifrey/Doctor Who/Big Finish Productions.
Image obtained from: Big Finish Productions.)

In a Doctor Who Watch exclusive, we reveal details about the upcoming third series of audio spin-off Gallifrey: Time War – which will feature the return of Louise Jameson as Leela!

One thing you should know is that, at Doctor Who Watch, we’re huge fans of the spin-off series Gallifrey from Big Finish. Beginning in 2004, it’s strange to think that the audio series is already fifteen years old. In that time, we’ve had ten series so far – two of which have been firmly set in the Time War.

It’s with this particular era of the series that we focus on for our latest exclusive. Coming out in February 2020, the third series of Gallifrey: Time War will be released on CD and download – and we can exclusively reveal what to expect!

During the last series, Romana and Narvin – two major long-running characters of the series – had continually found themselves at odds with Gallifrey’s current President: Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society itself. Forced into exile after a failed assassination attempt, Romana and Narvin head deep into the Time War to find another old friend of theirs: Leela, who disappeared during the events of Time War 1

Life away from Gallifrey

Here’s what we can expect from the first half of the upcoming series.

3.1 Hostiles by David Llewellyn
Exiled from Gallifrey, Romana and Narvin are fleeing from their own people and the Time War.
Seeking refuge on a derelict wreck they find they are not alone. And that Time Lords have enemies everywhere…

3.2 Nevernor by Lou Morgan
Narvin and Romana reach the distant, rural world of Njagilheim. But even here the Time War follows – and there are more things to fear in the Vortex than warships and weapons.
The Orrovix have caught a scent and they are hunting…

So for the first two episodes, it looks like it’s going to focus on Romana and Narvin trying to survive a life away from Gallifrey. This is a radically new direction for the series. After all, most of the focus of the series has been, unsurprisingly, on Gallifrey itself.

There have been some exceptions to this, of course. You’d have the occasional off-world trip, especially in the first series, when the spin-off was still finding its feet. And even Time War has seen some of the regular characters go on missions on distant worlds.

But Gallifrey has always been home for these characters, and they could always go back there. Even in series four to six – when the regulars traveled far away from their own version of Gallifrey – they still traveled to different versions of their home planet in wildly different timelines.

But now, there’s less of a safety net than ever before. Not only are Romana and Narvin completely rejected by Time Lord society by this point. But we also know that the Time Lords aren’t exactly popular during the Time War – The Night of the Doctor was proof enough of that. Certainly, this seems to be a key aspect that opening episode Hostiles looks set to explore.

Leela has been a key character in Gallifrey since the very beginning. But she disappeared in Time War 1. What happened to her since we last saw her?
(Image credit: Gallifrey/Doctor Who/Big Finish Productions.
Image obtained from: Big Finish Productions.)

The return of Leela

During The Devil You Know, the third episode of Time War 1, Leela was sent on a mission with the Master to retrieve some potentially vital information – information on some kind of power that could change the course of the war. Unsurprisingly, the Master wanted to keep this information for himself. Rather than risk her telling the Time Lords, he opened the TARDIS doors in mid-flight and sent Leela into the time vortex – her fate completely uncertain.

Well, more or less. We knew she didn’t die, as Leela later shows up chronologically in The War Doctor: Casualties of War. But that was set centuries later, and everyone had assumed she had died during “the Battle of the Pillars of Consequence”. Nothing like this was explored in The Devil You Know, so despite her disappearance, we knew that her story in Gallifrey wasn’t quite over.

Still, that didn’t stop the character from being noticeably absent during Gallifrey: Time War 2, released earlier this year. A few characters have come and gone in the series – especially Braxiatel, repeatedly – but Leela has been a regular character since the very beginning of the spin-off. So her disappearing completely – even for just a few episodes – was certainly noticeable.

So it’s wonderful to know that Time War 3 is definitely bringing the character back. But what has happened to her since we last saw her?

3.3 Mother Tongue by Helen Goldwyn
Leela was thrown into a Vortex ravaged by the Time War, lost in space and time – but the Trill have shown her mercy…
She finds herself in another realm, another life. One where the warrior is also a mother. Where she must help her son to choose the path to avoid his world’s destruction.

Leela as a mother. Now that is definitely something we haven’t seen before. While we’ve seen Leela in relationships or even married, we’ve never seen what she’s like as a mother. This sounds like a very intriguing story, and I’m excited to see what Helen Goldwyn has in store for Leela. Will the savage be reunited with her Time Lord friends? And if she has made a new life for herself, with a son to protect, will she even want to see them again?

The Daleks will make an appearance in finale episode Unity. But will it be their only appearance this series?
(Image credit: Gallifrey/Doctor Who/Big Finish Productions.
Image obtained from: Big Finish Productions.)

Unity

The final episode of the series is Unity. And from the description, it certainly looks set to be extremely dramatic.

3.4 Unity by David Llewellyn
On a dusty frontier world, destiny awaits Romana…
Betrayal, deception and death are the currency on Unity. And as the Daleks close in on their target, there will be a price to pay.

“Betrayal, deception and death.” If I was asked to sum up Gallifrey in just a few words, that would be the perfect description. So it sounds like an appropriate finale for the third series.

Even more exciting is that we can expect the Daleks to show up. It may sound obvious that, for a series that’s focused on the Time War, you’d expect them to show up. But Big Finish have neatly avoided the trap of overusing the pepper pots, even in a Time War setting.

This is especially true in the spin-offs – while the Doctor regularly faces them in his own series set during the conflict, they’ve only appeared in a couple of episodes of Gallifrey: Time War so far. They didn’t even appear at all in the second series. (This is even more true for The War Master – out of the three series so far, the Daleks have only appeared in the first.)

So it’s nice that they’re returning for the final episode of Gallifrey‘s next series, at the very least. While it made sense to avoid overusing them when so much focus was on Gallifrey and the Time Lords themselves for the first two series, it’s good to bring them back when the series focuses more on the front lines of the War.

But what price will be paid? What destiny awaits for Romana? And will our heroes ever be able to get back home? We can’t wait to find out when Gallifrey: Time War 3 is released on CD and download next year. You can pre-order the series right now from Big Finish’s website.

Are you excited about the third series of Gallifrey: Time War? Have you been enjoying the series so far? What would you like to see happen next in the Doctor Who spin-off? Let us know in the comments below.