on 21 December 2015
The onscreen version of ‘The Sensorites’ suffered from being a bit drawn out and, at times, a tad chunky. However, it possessed some good ideas and explored some interesting concepts. In a similar vein, the Sensorites themselves were never going to be one of Doctor Who’s most memorable aliens but there is something intriguing about them and their predicament; something that resonates in their links to the Ood many years later. This novelisation successfully captures and focusses on these aspects, orientating them firmly at the heart of the story.
Essentially, ‘The Sensorites’ is a story concerned with a lack of communication between two species that leads to a state of fear and mistrust. As such there are no ‘real’ villains just scared individuals, both human and Sensorite, reacting to events. Even the Administrator is portrayed by the story’s close as a misguided fool acting in what he naively believes to be his people’s best interests. It presents a situation ideal for the Doctor’s intervention, where he must convince both sides to put aside their differences and prejudices. His obvious enjoyment at events despite their peril is made quite apparent in the novelisation.
It is a well written novelisation that, for the most part, follows the televised version fairly loyally. There is some content added and this generally benefits the story. Carol is given a more expansive role, for example, in that we hear more of her internal concerns and worries, especially concerning John. The strife of two lovers who have become victims of events gives the plot an added emotional aspect.
There is also an interesting section in the earlier stages where the author makes the decision to reiterate the events, albeit briefly, which bring the current Tardis crew together. This is quite rare for Target Doctor Who books which generally don’t consider the effects of the previous adventure or even really refer to it. This ‘recap’ contains references to ‘The Aztecs’ which continues to be occasionally referred to throughout. Partly because this is the previous story to ‘The Sensorites’, but more to serve to give Barbara a slightly larger role than onscreen, more equal to the other members of the Tardis crew, and also because it allows for a form of comparison between the philosophical points of the two stories.
This is another great reading by William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the first few seasons of Doctor Who. The Sensorites is a story of several parts; in the first part, we have the psychological thriller notion of an abandoned spaceship, apparently dead crew, mysterious wild people in the corridoors of the spaceship, and unexplained activities caused by the mysterious and unseen Sensorites. In the second part of the story, the Sensorites and the Tardis crew interact, along with the crew of the Earth spaceship, and the story deepens and broadens into a story of mistrust and greed, ambition and many characters playing for their own advantage, no matter what the cost. In the third part of the story, the Doctor seeks to resolve once and for all the mystery of the contaminated water supply for the Sensorites, and comes cross another mystery which requires his keen senses to solve and resolve.
At the end, we are left with the chuckling Doctor congratulating himself on his own perspicacity, Susan feeling that there might be more to life than travelling through time and space, and Ian and Barbara worrying about the long-term effects of the Sensorites way of life. And it's off to another adventure!
This is great stuff; a really characteristic story of the First Doctor's era, great interaction and use of the other Tardis crew characters, and the Sensorites and the Earth crew members are well written, and well portrayed. The story is read over 5 cds, which adds up to a great 6 hours of listening to William Russell's well-modulated tones reading this classic story. Brilliant, and totally recommended.
on 18 July 2012
The 'Ian' actor William Russell has been reading Dr Who audiobooks since the range began in 2005, and this is another addition to what has become a successful run of stories read by the man who has become a fan favourite.
The book itself, by Nigel Robinson, is nothing to write home about; as solid a book as it is, it doesn't stray from the plot at all and adds only trivial details and character development. However it tells the story well and does contain some atmospheric passages, particularly at the start.
Sound design is always a strong point on this range and this doesn't disappoint - regular composer Simon Power does another sterling job, with music and effects which embellish but don't infringe - my only criticism would be the repetition of some music from earlier releases, but that's not to say the music is used inappropriately.
If you're on a slight income and are looking to buy only the very best of these releases, this probably isn't for you. However if you're a Dr Who or William Russell junkie then this is a sure-fire addition to your collection!
Any audiobook in the Doctor Who Classic Novels series read by William Russell is always a must buy for me. Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the original series, has such a comfortable and warm voice that listening to this late at night is rather akin to having a bedtime story told by a kindly grandfather.
At six hours though, The Sensorites is probably not one for the more casual purchaser, who may prefer something just a little faster paced. Indeed, the TV serial at 150 minutes, has long been regarded as somewhat drawn out, so an audiobook that is more than twice that length might be considered too much of a good thing.
But if you stick with it, you are rewarded with a story that becomes more engrossing as it continues. Originally transmitted in 1964, towards the end of the first season, and novelised by Nigel Robinson in 1987 from Peter R. Newman's scripts, The Sensorites is an early attempt by the series to show that aliens are not necessarily monsters.
Although the Sensorites have imprisoned an Earth spaceship in orbit around their planet, they have their reasons - and problems of their own. The Sensorite nation has been struck with a disease that is killing off more and more of its people. The Doctor is confident he can find a cure and negotiate the release of the Earth spaceship, but not all the Sensorites trust the Doctor and his friends ......
If the era of the First Doctor appeals, then this is a worthwhile purchase. For the more casual listener, William Russell's readings of The Dalek Invasion of Earth or The Aztecs might be better choices.
on 23 July 2012
As reassuringly comforting as a WERTHER'S ORIGINAL BUTTER CANDY that has been deliciously dissolved around your mouth for five minutes bringing to the fore distant memories of childhood, of school holidays bathed in endless sunshine and of cosseting grandparents secreting a spare ` thruppenny bit' in your pocket when mum & dad weren't watching, listening to William Russell reading DOCTOR WHO - THE SENSORITES is equally as pleasurable, and you just wished it would continue.
AUDIOGO's new audio novelisation of Nigel Robinson's Peter R Newman's 1964 six-parter continues the ever expanding range of unabridged CLASSIC SERIES stories, and in contracting William Russell (needless to say he played Ian Chesterton in the original series) they have another guaranteed success.
It's a real treat. Glorious.
With honest generosity, I could end the review there, as it's all you need to know. There are not many things in these uncertain times that are adroitly perfect that surrender to the microscopic scrutiny and comes through untarnished and critically unalloyed. In this her Diamond Jubilee year, HM Queen Elizabeth II is one such example and, now, DOCTOR WHO - THE SENSORITES can be joined. Yes, an excessively sweeping statement but I do truly believe that this new release is as perfect as perfect can be measured against.
Like a swan, William Russell glides through the pages of the TARGET novel with a regal elegance but with unchallengeable intelligence that will endear him to younger fans that have only known (and loved) the NEW SERIES but will cement himself as a living DOCTOR WHO legend amongst `long-time' fans.
Cleverly, Russell is an 'acting chameleon' of some note, adapting effortlessly in fleshing-out a disparate stage of characters, from TARDIS time-travellers, to `kidnapped' Earth Astronauts, to hirsute aliens in adult-sized `baby-grows'.
As the First Doctor, Russell is wonderfully accurate as an abrupt and crisp alien out of his time, whilst as the abducted School Teachers (Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton) he is soft & prime and decisive & confident respectively. As the thought-provoking (sic) aliens, Sensorites, his performance required conscientious delivery to portray the subtleties of the `good' and `misguided' elements within their society. Credit is duly assigned.
Like a blazing Guy Fawkes Night bonfire that catapults wisps of burning embers into the night sky that is laden with the sweet smell of Parkin and Toffee Apples, William Russell draws you closer into the action yet holds you at arms length giving you a feeling of security. Mark my words; clear all prior appointments, meetings, and social events, as you will be listening to DOCTOR WHO - THE SENSORITES in a single marathon sitting.
Commendation is, once again, required for the incidental music, sound treatment and `Foley effects', provided by Simon Power (MEON SOUND) that is essential, like the relationship between the Doctor and a companion/assistant itself, in supporting the storytelling with creativity and passion. Whilst I may have been so engrossed in William Russell's performance/reading but the incidental music seems to have an appropriate 1960s `period' resonance (without parodying the Norman Kay soundtrack created for the original televised version). However, THE SENSORITES `Foley effects' (e.g. the sound effects of footsteps on the gravel as the Doctor explores the tunnels beneath the Sense Sphere, etc that mirror action within the story) are of merit, like crispy Yorkshire Puddings served with a Sunday Roast Beef lunch; the meal would not be complete with out them.
Demonstrated here by MEON SOUND is a masterclass for all budding sound creatives & technicians in how to understand what a story requires and, without deflecting from the reader's voice, how to incorporate additional sound to enhance and balance the final product.
DOCTOR WHO - THE SENSORITES has been a pure joy to listen to - a valuable companion on a delayed train journey recently - and will remain a faithful addition to the ever expanding DOCTOR WHO audio collection.
on 14 June 2007
The Sensorites has a firm solid story at it's backbone, while being absurd it's definitely believable! The Doctor, Ian, Barbara & Susan land on a space ship, they find two crew members dead. Shortly after arriving the TARDIS lock is removed, leaving the Doctor with no way into the TARDIS and the two dead crewmen are resurrected into life...
This book shows most of all, an alien culture, unaffected by humans, dubious of any outsiders but unable to doubt each other, trusting all their fellow Sensorites. The Sensorites cannot afford to risk anyone taking their secret to the rest of the galaxy. They hold the TARDIS crew and their new found comrades trapped, allowed to roam free through the ship and the Sensorites home, yet unable to truly gain the liberty that they so dearly desire! The whole foundation of this book is trust, the Sensorites trust themselves, but not so easily the TARDIS crew & their friends. The irony of this, is among the Sensorites there is good at work and that the Doctor & Co. in fact help the Sensorite nations in a big way.