Brief Encounters: Roses
Continuity: The Doctor suggested to Steven that they have a rest following the events of The Daleks' Master Plan, a suggestion to which Steven "enthusiastically" agreed. The Doctor wears fingerless gloves whilst tending the roses, presumably to protect his hands from the thorns (see [TV]The Five Doctors). He considers Steven to have potential, but to be too flippant and resolves to "push him in the proper direction" (foreshadowing his unexpected nomination of Steven as leader of the Elders and Savages in [TV]The Savages).
The Doctor took Susan from Gallifrey during "dark times when his world tottered on the edge of ruin, where the impotence of his own people had driven him to leave". It is confirmed that Susan's lifespan is much greater than David, the Doctor reflecting that he has left her to "wait the death of the man she loves. Arkytior is High Gallifreyan for 'rose' and is also Susan's real name [ironic, given the Doctor's later attachment to a companion named Rose in the new series!]. The Doctor feels guilty about abandoning Susan, but eventually accepts that his decision to let her have freedom of choice was the right one. He determines that he will be there for her should she ever need him again (leading neatly into The Five Doctors).
Links: This story takes place between The Daleks' Master Plan and The Massacre (the Doctor reflects on 'that ghastly business with Mavic Chen.' The Doctor gets timescooped from the Garden at the end of the story (The Five Doctors). The Doctor left Susan with David in [TV]The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Susan's origins in the Dark Time were later expended upon in Marc Platt's New Adventure Lungbarrow. The idea of David growing old whilst Susan barely ages is later revisited in John Peel's BBC Eighth Doctor Adventure EDA">Legacy of the Daleks.
Location: The Garden.
Unrecorded Adventures: It is implied that the Doctor has been tending the Garden on and off for years.
The Bottom Line: Fannish, but rather sweet. Bizarrely, the Doctor's tendency to talk to himself here is reminiscent of the early Big Finish audios unfortunate tendency towards clumsy expository dialogue, a problem that really shouldn't blight prose!