Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Doctor Who The War Games audiobook review

The War Games is a notable Doctor Who adventure for a couple of reasons. The most obvious one being that it was Patrick Troughton’s swan song as the Second Doctor.
The other is the length of the story. At ten episodes, it is the longest televised Who adventure to date. This, as you may know, came about during production when what was originally a four part story became six parts when another script fell through, and was then increased to ten parts as they lost a second script. It is a testament to the professionalism of writers Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke that this story ended up being as strong as it is. Yes, it is way way too long with far too many capture and escape scenes, but the writers manage to keep everything rolling along nicely.

This then, is an audio book of Malcolm Hulke’s novelisation. The story itself differs somewhat from the television script. I recently rewatched the story, and Hulke has wisely ejected a lot of the aforementioned repetitive sections and has juggled with the plot somewhat, adding additional scenes and more depth to the characters.
The production itself is very good, and the sparse use of sound effects and music adds atmosphere without detracting from the narrative. But very special mention must be made of the narrator of this audiobook- David Troughton. David is, of course, the son of Patrick and was even an actor in the televised version.
As you would expect from an actor of his calibre, the reading he gives is excellent, with each character getting a distinctive voice. Some of his accents are a little bit off, but I think it’s fair to say they’re probably better than those of the original actors. However, it’s when he’s doing the Doctor- his father’s voice- that things get startling. He has Patrick’s inflections and voice to a ‘T’. Every few minutes I had to remind myself that this was not a recording of the soundtrack, but another actor. Surely having David Troughton do more of this with the lost Second Doctor adventures is a no-brainer? Please, AudioGo- do it!

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