Home : Archive : TSV 61-70 : TSV 61 : Review

Prime Time

By Mike Tucker

Book review by Jamas Enright

On the planet Blinni-Gaar, Channel 400 broadcasts to the galaxy, with the aid of a computer called Auntie, TV shows like ‘Walking with Drashigs’ and ‘Ogron Hospital’, with a new series due to start featuring a mysterious traveller called the Doctor. When presented with this, the reader might suspect that Prime Time is a subtle parody of the BBC. Like The Sunmakers was a subtle parody of the British tax system.

Fortunately, Prime Time soon moves onto the story, and a well-thought out story it is. The Doctor's own predilection for getting into the midst of problems and sorting them out is used as bait to draw the Time Lord into the plans of the Director-General. A nice application of using the opponent's strengths against him. Once the story is well under-way twists start coming out, although there are a few too many of them. I started to lose track of who was on which side.

The characters, it must be said, are very well done. The regulars, the Doctor and Ace, come across as they do on screen. Mike Tucker has certainly plenty of practice writing for them. The other characters are all well fleshed out, from Gatti to Rennie Trasker, Greg Ashby and his depressed associate Eeji Tek, even down to minor extras like Joonas. All are real and completely believable, a superb cast. The only problem I had was that I didn't care about any of them. None of the characters engaged me in a way that made me worry about if they die or not. A shame as some of the people go through fates worse than death, which would have been more moving if I was concerned for them. Although I did like Gartrold Breame.

There is a surprise guest star, but having read Verdigris I was expecting a different outcome. In fact, up to the end, I wasn't totally convinced I was going to be wrong.

Mike Tucker continues to carry on the series in his own way, ignoring all that Virgin did. He uses a different last name for Ace, and there's a major plot point that could tie into the DWM comics. I shall have to wait to see how that plays out.

Prime Time has a lot of promise to it, but something failed to click. Mike Tucker's bound to write again, so if he keeps up the characterisation and grabs the reader's empathy, it should be something great. [3/5]

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).

Index nodes: Prime Time