Saturday, August 09, 2008

OT: Doctor Who Audio Book review

Continuing with my occasional reviews of Doctor Who/Torchwood audio books, next up is The Nightmare of Black Island, written by Mike Tucker and read by Anthony Head. As well as appearing in the episode School Reunion, Anthony Head is also the voice of Doctor Who Confidential and this exposure serves him well in his portrayal of Rose and the Doctor.

The Nightmare of Black Island
starts off rather nastily and extremely creepily with the death of a tourist who has recently arrived in a small coastal Welsh village which has an abandoned light-house on a small black-rock island. The man doesn't get much fishing in before he's mauled to death by a 2 metre tall monster. Rose is sleeping in the TARDIS and is able to 'see' this event in her dream. The Doctor guides the TARDIS to the outskirts of the village but when the pair head through the woods to the village proper, they are set upon by not just one monster but a whole variety of peculiar and deadly forms.

Reaching safety in the shape of a local pub, they discover the trouble began when a local man, Nathanial Morton, returned and set up a nursing home. The Doctor and Rose visit the home then getting nowhere, they separate; the Doctor visits the light-house and Rose returns to spy on the home. The Doctor finds a space-craft on the island but he leaves it too late and the monsters return trapping him there, whilst at the home, Rose doesn't avoid detection and gets captured. The duo will need the assistance of the villagers - to first, free the time-travellers and then to help eradicate the monsters and allow the children to sleep peacefully at night once more.

Aside from the beginning with all the monsters this story feels like it could easily be filmed for tv and would make an exciting two parter, but equally it has the feel of the classic Doctor Who episodes of the 70s where the story was split into 4, 6 or even 8 parts. The Doctor and Rose are well written and feel consistent with the tv portrayal. Not too surprising as the author worked on series 1 and 2 in the visual effects department.

Though Anthony Head states, in the not to be missed interview at the end of disc 2, that he doesn't do impersonations he gets the speech patterns correct and provides a flavour of the accents of the Doctor and Rose so that you do hear the tv actors' voices. He also does well with the remaining characters and he has a lovely, warm voice for the straight narration. To date he doesn't appear to have narrated any more - but I'd certainly be keen to listen to them if he did.

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