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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 November 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am quite a fan of BBC Audio, and a long time fan of Doctor Who.

I was very disappointed when I listened to this very short story. There just isn't enough of it to make it worth the price to all but the very avid fan. The effects are average, and while Matt Smith makes a great Doctor, he sadly lacks the vocal skills to bring this average story to life. The cowboys all sound the same, and don't even get me started on Amy Pond's accent!

The story itself is very contrived. I was looking forward to the action and suspense that you would expect from a story with the Runaway Train title. But the train plays a very small part in the story, and the fact that it is running away seems to not matter at all. There isn't even much in the way of humour.

Hopefully the BBC will realise that bringing out these short below par stories will end up turning away fans who will only put up with this for so long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Runaway Train continues the rather disappointing run of recent audio adventures from the BBC, and like many recent Dr Who adventure it feels less like the kind of genuine attempt to keep the series alive before its TV resurrection than another rushed cash-in on its current popularity. It's not exactly bad, but it is rather forgettable and noticeably thin on ideas - this is really little more than a chase through the Civil War American West (or rather a very small part of it), and not a terribly original one: take away the alien terraforming device that threatens to destroy all life on Earth as we know it that everybody is after and you've just got a B-movie western. Writer Oli Smith throws in a neat opening riff on Once Upon a Time in the West - this time it's the TARDIS rather than Charles Bronson a bunch of mean hombres are waiting for at a rundown railway station - and has fun naming the odd character after members of the Magnificent Seven, but that's about as far as it goes for depth. Matt Smith's reading veers between good and bad - accents aren't his forte, which is a problem with a Scottish assistant and numerous cowboys populating the story - but generally makes the most of what he has to work with. Two stars does seem a rather mean rating (it's more two-and-a-half star material at best), but it's all too thin to really stick in the memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Matt Smith - The Doctor himself - reads this audio story, and as well as doing his character's voice, he plays three wild west types the Doctor has hired (or will hire, as at the start of the story it's just as much a surprise to him) to help him steal an alien device back from the Confederate Army. In fact he plays these three characters with such enthusiasm that they almost jump out the speakers at you. He's obviously not one for doing things subtly when he gets the chance to go free range on a character, and that makes the plot almost irrelevant as you also get caught up in how much fun he's having with the characters.

The plot is not much more than a set-up for The Doctor being on a runaway train. It's not the most original story anyone's ever come up with, and it's probably more suited for children who are new fans than long time Whovians.

I'm a bit puzzled why, having spent so much time with Karen Gillan, Matt Smith can't get her Scottish accent right - but to his credit he doesn't fall into the usual trap of putting on a stereotypical "scootish" drawl, as some English actors do - at least, I suppose, he tried his best. Not that Amy Pond really has a lot to do in this story.

Although the characters Matt Smith play in this are good value for money, story-wise I preferred The Ring of Steel, and would recommend that instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2010
I have never been a big fan of westerns, but this story got me hooked right at the start when it is clear that the motley crew of men that meet the Doctor on this out-of-the-way railroad station in the middle of the `wild west' begin the tale by knowing more than the Doctor does at this point. The story moves along quickly with everything you want out of a Doctor Who tale, with danger and chases and aliens thrown in for good measure. At just over an hour in length it is disappointingly short. I was enjoying it so much I wanted it to continue!

Matt Smith is the narrator, and is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. Amy Pond's scottish accent was extremely dodgy I have to say, but he did manage to make her sound feminine all the same which is quite an acheivement. His characterisation of the Doctor is, of course, spot on, and the American characters all sound (to me at least) genuine enough. The music and the sound effects are all well done and do not interfere with the storytelling in any way. Overall, I found The Runaway Train very easy to listen to, and it is a perfect way to overcome the irritation of a traffic-jam!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is good fun, Matt Smith reads all the voices, as is standard with these audio books. As ever, a full cast would have improved things but MS does a good job - he's not quite as characterful in audio as he appears on the screen, but he'll do.

The story motors along, it all a bit 'Wham, Bam thank you, Ma'am' and there isn't any time for character development, the alien presence seems like a bit of a McGuffin as well as the story could function quite well without it. But it's exciting and good fun.

So how does Matt rate - he's not as eccentric as Tom Baker on the recent audio adventures and he's still not quite in David Tennant's league as an actor but he's personable and tells a good story, although my attention did drift occasionally. His southern American accents were very good to my (Scottish) ears but his Karen Gillan accent was pretty dreadful. It's a shame she couldn't join him to be honest, as her part is a little underwritten.

Well worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 November 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm beginning to feel a bit like a stuck record when it comes to these 11th Doctor audio stories and whilst The Runaway Train isn't especially bad, it's not satisfying enough to be considered good either.

Matt Smith narrates with all the enthusiasm you might expect from the star of the TV show, but his vocal finesse appears rather lacking. His characters sound mostly the same so it can be somewhat difficult to keep on top of which cowboy is speaking.

The story itself kicks off intriguingly enough, and as with "The Ring of Steel", manages to keep your attention until the aliens show up. On this occasion they feel tacked on for the sake of maintaining the science fiction slant of the series and their presence adds very little to the story. The final confrontation lacks punch and the aliens run off with so little fuss it all feels rather anticlimactic.

The Runaway Train will certainly fill an idle hour or so, but it isn't likely to wow you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 January 2011
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Runaway Train is a new original Dr Who adventure and is read by Matt Smith.

It is set in 1864 during the American Civil War and begins with the TARDIS materialising on a deserted train station in the desert to be met by three men who apparently have been hired by the Doctor to help him retrieve a strange device buried in the desert.

When they track the device they find it has been discovered by a group of Confederate Soldiers who have set up camp around the site.

The Doctor and his little gang grab the item and the chase is then on with them stealing a train and heading off across the desert with the Confederate soldiers and the owners of the device in hot pursuit.

This is the first of I'm sure many BBC Audio adventure for Matt Smith's Doctor and he does a good job of bringing the story to life and at just over an hour running time will hold the attention of younger listeners.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Matt Smith reads this story and that is basically the problem- it would have been so much better dramatized with a full cast like the generally excellent Big Finish.

Matt Smith reads the story well and tackles the American voices from the time of the American Civil War but you can always tell that it is Matt Smith reading this but he is adequate.

The story involves a branch of the Confederate Army who has discovered a strange object.

The Doctor needs to retrieve it before the end of the world comes- at about 9.01 that evening.

He has landed and met a motley bunch of misfits to help him.

There are a few clever twist but this is an average story read in an average way, indeed editions of this were issued free with the Daily Telegraph which gives you an idea of its worth.

Average in all respects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a Western!!! It just happens to have the Doctor & his companion in it.....sort of! I say sort of because, although the Doctor's voice is intact (well, the reader Matt Smith IS the current Doctor!), but Amy is badly served with Matt's dismal Scottish accent. Same goes for his attempt at the American accent, a bit of a problem as the story is set in the USA & is populated by quite a few cowboy characters!!! If you overlook this, the story is still quite unremarkable, & really too short for anything to develop. And the only sniff of anything alien you get is an artefact.
It's short; it's not exciting; it lacks alien baddies, or indeed, any aliens at all; Matt Smith reads parts of the story well, but is not consistent & his attempts at accents have much to be desired. It was okay, but I probably won't bother to listen to it again.
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Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This BBC Audio book version of Doctor Who seeks to present to sort of adventure which it would be difficult to do on television without a rather larger budget. Set during the latter years of the American Civil War, and read by Matt Smith, the current Doctor, it sees the Doctor and Companion Amy Pond meeting with a 'posse' at a railway station in the West, at a scene slightly reminiscent of 'Once Upon a Time in the West', in order to retrieve a dangerous item of alien technology which nefarious alients have put on this planet in order to transform its environment to one more like their own, which will have the unfortunate side-effect of destroying humanity. Naturally, the Confederates don't quite see things that way, and one Captain Britt believes the device could be used for the Confederacy. In the middle of all this are the Doctor and Amy, who have until 9 o'clock to defuse the device. Unable to get it into the TARDIS, they load it onto the nearest train, hence the title.

This story perfectly captures the atmosphere of Doctor Who, and is a joy to listen to, Matt Smith's talents as a narrator giving life to what can sometimes bea rather static medium. The story is well-paced, and not over-ambitious, while the temptations open to writers of audio books are mostly avoided. It is a good addition to the Doctor Who canon, picking up many of the themes of the new Doctor Who, as the Doctor is suitably manic, yet shows the depths of his soul at the same time. Well worth getting if you appreciate Doctor Who.
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