on 10 April 2013
If you are a fan of Doctor Who and the works of the late Gerry Anderson as I am, you'll love this audio book read by Shane Rimmer.
You may not recognise Shane Rimmer's voice as that of Scott Tracy from Thunderbirds as with age its got more gravel in it than one of the many gracel quarries that Doctor Who has been shot in over the years.
This is a very exciting reading of Donald Cotton's original Target novel with added sound effects.
Although Shane Rimmer is Canadian rather than American, you'd be hard placed to guess that from this reading as he sounds like an old time Western character from start to finish.
One of the best reading of these audio books I've ever heard, most enjoyable. A must listen to.
Howdy pardners! I guess y'all heard of `The Gunfighters'? I know that old yarn of the Doctor has a bad reputation you wouldn't give to a mangy prairie dawg, but from what I hear, it ain't justified. Anyways, this ain't *that* version at all. And it ain't what they call `the narrated soundtrack'. And it ain't the printed book neither, not strictly.
No sir (or ma'am), this is the story read for our pleasure, retold as a tall tale by a journalist of the Old West and it's as different as could be. `Cause this is what happened: Mister Donald Cotton, as wrote the story to begin with, well, twenty years later the folks at Target Books asked him to write up his tale of the Earps, the Clantons and Doc Holliday - and the other Doctor - for printed publication.
So he did. And what he wrote is, to adopt high-class literary terminology, a sure-fire top-draw corker! His Western-style writing twists and turns through wisecracks and sideways glances at the action like a winding trail and there's a gold nugget of wit and comedy just waiting to be picked up in most every line. If you've had the great pleasure of reading his tale of the Trojan War (the one folks call `The Myth Makers') then you'll get my meaning. There ain't nothing else quite like it in the Target books; Mister Cotton wrote novels of high humour where the Doc and his pals are there sure enough, but they're only one part of the action - though this time they're right in the heart of it when the showdown comes. There's times when the humour's as black as the inside of a lost mine, `cause Tombstone weren't no Sunday school back then.
Now it seems as how there was *two* doctors in town when the shooting started. One was a shotgun-blasting feller famed in stories, who thought nothing of drifting into some hell-hole trouble-spot with his buddies and then vanishing again, with only a busy day for the mortician to show he'd been there. And the other was Doc Holliday. And it was from *him* that Ned Buntline, that genuine journalist of the 1880s in the Old Wild West, got the *true* story of the O.K. Corral, with the aid of a few bottles of rot-gut whiskey in the cause of recollection - leastways, that's how Mister Cotton tells it.
Mister Buntline weren't available to retell that story in person, on account of him being gone west, so what we have here is his tale performed by Mister Shane Rimmer, who back in the old days played hired gun Seth `Snake-Eyes' Harper in the original production of this story. And let me tell you, friends, his acting as the trail-worn old journalist is pure, brilliant, 22-carat gold-dust for the ears, with a voice with more gravel in it than you'd find in a gold prospector's pan. It's a fine performance indeed, though I seen some few as don't share that opinion. Fair enough, this ain't Tombstone in the old days, so I won't be issuing invites to a meeting at High Noon for them as don't agree.
Mister Rimmer brings this most extra-ordinary tale of the wild frontier to life - and death, `cause after all, this is Tombstone 1881 we're talking about and the corpses is noticeable. So if you're put off *real* easy by the thought of blood you might want to ride on by. Heck, even that tough hombre of the spaceways (goin' here by the name of Steven Regret), even he loses his breakfast in the sink one gory morning - while the Doc (that's *our* Doc) he don't twitch a hair. And Miss Dodo DuPont (as she's known around here), why, she just moseys through innocent-like, takes a famous card-sharp for all he's worth at poker and rides off with his horse - and him - at gun-point. Never can tell what the West'll bring out in folk.
Thanks for riding along the trail with me in the old Western style; I'd say herd these four silver discs into your new-fangled CD player, hitch your horse to the rail, sit back on the porch and tip your hat over your eyes. Then lose yourself back in the Old West for four hours while the music plays, the horses gallop, the bullets whine and the wit flows fast as whiskey in the Last Chance Saloon.
Five lone stars.
on 11 November 2014
Along with other Hartnell alumni, Donald Cotton was invited by Virgin books to novelise his old Who scripts (and later Dennis Spooner's The Romans) in the 80's. Cotton decided that these books were unlikely to be bought by young kids and made them a bit more adult and changed the format of the stories.
This and his Myth Makers novel are narrated. In this case it's be the real Wild West Pesudo-journalist Ned Buntline (he interviewed a number of gunslingers and told their stories in dime novels). In the prologue he visits a dying Doc Holliday in a TB sanitorium to hear his story and clear up a few points; why do some say he used a rifle at the OK Corral gunfight instead of his pistol? Was there another Doc there?
The story of how the Doctor, Dodo & Steven came to be in Tombstone during the Gunfight at the OK Corral is related by Buntline with a great deal of humour and wild west style dialogue. The plot is the same as the TV version but characters are expanded and dialogue largely rewritten.
There are various discussions about the honourable way to shoot people and that kind of thing. Dodo is described as resembling the proprietor of "a cat house" (I don't know if anyone shared this with Jackie Lane!) and there is a delightful moment where she beats Holliday at poker and then she later gets the drop on him, holding him at gunpoint.
The more adult material is suggestive rather than explicit so beyond a few embarassing explanations (" a cat house is where they keep cats son!") , after checking it out you could possibly let your kids hear it. They just wouldn't understand some bits. older readers will understand what Doc Holliday and Kate were must have been up to while the Dr waited in the dentists, and the kids probably wouldn't notice.
Some of the extra character fun is that in this version rather than happily going along with the plan to pas sthe Doctor off as himself, Kate walks out on Holliday in disgust-and then flirts a bit with Steven. Also rather than fictional Kate Fisher as on TV, she is now the genuine historical figure Kate Elder.
Doc Holliday has more of a sense of humour and as well as gun for hire, Johnny Ringo is a avid reader of classics-quoting Cicero!
The gunfight is more exciting here than in the TV version (backed by gunshots) and much of the book is enlivened by Shane Rimer's narration. He was of course in the original where he threw in with the Clantons and here gives us a convincing wild west gravelly drawl.
A clever trick is at the start he narrates as if Buntline was a little the worse for drink but sobers up on meeting the sickly Holliday. The opening slurs are so convincing, I almost thought it was not part of the performance!
I haven't had much interest in these old novels as talking books ( though I did enjoy Tom Baker's ones on Radio 4 Extra) but there's something special about Cotton's novelisations. The narration and the humour have made these date a lot less than some of the others.
If you are a purist and don't like the Doctor's appearances and importance being reduced then these may not be for you. If such things wouldn't bother you then I recommend this highly. If you can't run to the talking version, then there's always the original written version which can be picked up cheaply.
on 1 June 2013
I don't know who Shane Rimmer is but he is absolutely right as the reader of this audiobook. His voice and accent is so spot on as the narrator of the story and gives an authenticity to the recording that someone with a British accent merely narrating and putting on American accents for the characters' voices would not have accomplished so well.
It seemed more like a proper dramatisation than a mere audiobook so good was his reading of it.
There wasn't anything sci-fi about this story, apart from the fact of the TARDIS appearing in a wild west town with visitors from a different time and in the case of the Doctor and Susan, different planet, but such was the entertainment value of the listening experience of this story that the lack of a sci-fi element didn't bother me.
The music and sound effects also were spot on. I don't usually go much on Westerns but thoroughly enjoyed this, and that is down mainly to the excellent reading by Shane Rimmer.
Not to mention how funny the story is as well. I was surprised at how much i enjoyed it and how good it was.
Well done all round!
on 20 March 2007
BBC Audiobooks' latest offering; The Gunfighters, is a welcomed addition to any Doctor Who fan's audio collection. It begins with the familiar Ron Grainer Doctor Who theme tune, which immidiately makes the listener feel he/she is watching the actual episode itself.
The Gunfighters sees a slight break from tradition of previous Doctor Who adventures, as it's in the style of a black comedy, veined with the slight feeling of a musical, with Tristram Cary's; 'The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon' played at regular intervals throughout.
You really feel the build-up to the cliffhangers, and any urge to press the pause button to make yourself a cup of tea is quashed as you can't wait to hear the resolution in the next episode.
Peter Purves provides the linking narration with fluidity and excellent pace. It's also a comforting thought that he was in the story itself as Steven, which really makes you feel that bit closer to the action.
The quality and clarity probably makes The Gunfighters one of the best produced from BBC Audiobooks Hartnell range, thus far. It is digitally remastered and boy can you tell! Kudos to Mark Ayres for his hard work here.
Overall, an extremely enjoyable package, accompanied by a well presented and striking cover, designed by the fabulous Max Ellis.
on 16 September 2007
This was once slated as the "worst ever Dr.Who" story. I cannot agree. It is an all too rare historical adventure which is quite entertaining. However, I do not understand why this has been released at all. The Dr.Who audio collection has been very useful in plugging gaps where the video of the original stories have been wiped. However, all the episodes of this story survive and have been released on video.
on 21 March 2013
On the printed page, Donald Cotton's self-penned 1966 four-parter, DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS is a novel that veritably uncontrollably gallops like a posse hunting down an escape convict across the dust-blistered Western Plains; it extrudes historical footprints in the sand, tonally accurate and suitably humorous without being a "Carry on..." movie pastiche.
Regrettably, AUDIOGO's novelisation is one of the most misguided releases that I have reviewed (with over 200 audiobook reviews completed to date for various media outlets). Certainly, the premise of employing one of the original actors from the television broadcast (Shane Rimmer played Seth Harper) to read the novel must have been acceptable at the Commissioning meeting on that Monday morning. However, it would seem that the actor's Contract must have been signed-and-sealed before AUDIOGO had heard him reading an `auditional text'. Sadly, the aged actor splutters and slurs throughout the recording with uncomfortable ease that grates on the ear and, at times, annunciation lacks clarity that forces you to rewind and attempt to listen again.
Yes, the concept of having a North American (Canadian) reader reading this `Wild West' set story is commendable but on the first day of recording someone must have thought that he was `unsuitable' for the task. Even Elsie the Tea-lady pushing her trolley from studio-to-studio would have noticed it too. Perhaps, Peter Purves could have been engaged for the project.
However, the post-production is as eloquent as ever by MEON SOUNDS, deploying an armoury of sound effects and incidental music that give credence to the historical context of 1887.
Atmospheric, it conjures a dust-covered landscape that has been baked under the relentless sun, whilst errant bullets ricochet aurally across your ears that will have throwing yourself off the sofa to lie flat on the floor. MEON SOUNDS outstanding contribution that attempted to lift Rimmer's reading above poor.
Overall, sadly, DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS is unlistenable, and I would have preferred to have been trussed-up naked, thrown over the saddle and ridden out of town under the midday sun resulting in dehydration and a sun-blistered backside.