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Doctor Who And The Sea-Devils
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Geoffrey Beevers narrates this audio version of the novelisation of the Third Doctor story, originally broadcast in 1972. The story was novelised by the writer, Malcolm Hulke, who also added a few extra bits into the novelisation that were not seen in the original tv story. So we get a very well-rounded story here. Beevers is known to `classic' Doctor Who viewers as one of the incarnations of the Master in the 1970s, and suitably dastardly he was then. His voice in these audio stories (of which he has narrated several that I can think of) rolls beautifully through the language. (Beevers was also married to Caroline John, who played the Third Doctor's assistant Liz Shaw, and who sadly died in June 2012).

This story introduces us to the Sea Devils, aquatic cousins of the Silurians, creatures the Third Doctor has met previously. The Sea Devils are, right from the start, involved in the mysterious sinking of ships off the British Coast. But the Doctor and Jo soon find that one of his most deadly foes is also involved in the plot. Can the Doctor set everything right? Well, we're pretty sure he can, but we have great fun listening to him as he does so!

Although the Sea Devils are the reason for all the skullduggery and intrigue, they don't really have a huge role to play in this story; rather it is a story of the Master and the Doctor, those classic Third Doctor confrontations which Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado did so well. The other thing that I felt really added to the whole Third Doctor atmosphere was the Navy involvement, with Captain Hart, and of course the rather sad figure of Mr Trenchard. The Third Doctor's era was also, as I recall, one where we often got to see rather caricatured Governmental bureaucratic officials, and there is a really prime example in this story, the Right Honourable Robert Walker - I don't think I would have shown the same restraint that the Doctor and Jo showed to this horrid little man.

Having Geoffrey Beevers narrate this story was great - his voice is just right for these Third Doctor stories, and of course having later played the Master himself, his voicing of the character is perfect.

This is a great Third Doctor story; it has all the elements - the Doctor and Jo, Navy involvement (making a change from UNIT who were involved in many of the Third Doctor stories), Mr Trenchard, the Master, Robert Walker, and of course the Sea Devils; not to mention the poor chap whose boat the Doctor steals. There's action, politics, intrigue, monsters, and Time Lords - who could ask for more!? Totally recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2012
Once in a while AUDIOGO releases a DOCTOR WHO unabridged novelisation reading, based upon the original TARGET range of paperbacks, that is dull, poorly paced and abhorrently boring immediately tossed into an old TESCO plastic carrier bag for its one-way day-trip to the local charity shop. Unsurprisingly, I think my OXFAM donated copy of DOCTOR WHO - GHOST LIGHT will either be heavily reduced or gathering dust on their shelf unwanted and ignored. Now, that was a release depressing to listen to.

However, once in while a genuine masterpiece is released and this is it; DOCTOR WHO AND THE SEA-DEVILS.

In 2012, if you want/have to/need to select one novelisation release then Geoffrey Beevers' charismatic performance in reading Malcolm Hulke's 1974 published novel is an unequivocal choice.

Nearly four and half-hours delivering thrilling action, a subdued characterisation of the Third Doctor, a chillingly personification of hatred embodied in the Master, and an aural canvas of technical & atmospheric sound effects that is more akin to a cinematic production rather than a humble spoken word release.

With an opening sequence - wonderfully written by Hulke nearly 40 years ago that has stood the test of time - that is as heart-stoppingly energetic as Spielberg's sequence of a mass troop deployment on Utah Beach in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. In Chapter One ("Abandon Ship") Crafted by Simon Power (MEON SOUND), we are treated to a multi-layered audio feast that assaults the ears with storm-forced winds, inconsolable waves, creaking steel-work of an aging vessel (SS Pevensey Castle), mechanical winches, and the chilling impossibility of crackling flames from the sea that was anything but empty. Thankfully, this sequence does not have any screaming mariners as they are dragged from their discarded lifeboat and down under the relentless white water as, if it had, then this audio release would be subject to a PG rating.

For DOCTOR WHO AND THE SEA-DEVILS barking seagulls, out-board motors, choppy waters and were a part of MEON SOUND's extensive "audio shopping list" in order to enhance Beevers' confident and artistically adept reading, but I do wonder what sound effect that could have been employed for Jo Grant's observation of a sewer "floater" if it had slapped against the side of boat's hull. An uncooked Saveloy sausage flapped against his front door on a wet Monday morning?

Listen out (disc two, chapter seven) for the superb multi-layered fast-paced sound effects of scuffling feet as the Doctor and Sea Fort engineer, Alan Clark as it would not be out of place in STRICTLY COME DANCING as a "quick step"; superb `Foley'.

Once again, Geoffrey Beevers delivers another `listen-in-one-sitting' reading that, ironically, hypnotises, drawing you closer and deeper into the story. His vocal clarity is matched with his engaging warmth; Beevers' ensures that each character is industriously rendered whether it is an overly-authoritarian Prison Guard (Mr. Crawley), or the pompous but misguided Col. George Trenchard, or the toast devouring Parliamentary Under Secretary (Mr. Walker) but is it is, naturally so, his manifestation as the Master that is unparalleled.

Seditious and slimy in equal measure, Beevers' characterisation of Roger Delgado's Time Lord is curtly crisp, tautly traditional and undemandingly malevolent.

There is only one minor error that the production team should have identified during the recording; the pronunciation of `Azal' (see DOCTOR WHO - THE DAEMONS). Beevers reads this is `Ar-zal' as opposed to `Az-al'. Minor quibble and it has been difficult to find anything that undermines the quality of the release.

With his novelisation, unlike the televised version, there is a realisation that DOCTOR WHO AND THE SEA-DEVILS is less of a `monster story' and more of a `bureaucratic story' with Hulke highlighting the inadequacies and determinations of Government policy in the early 1970s with the Sea-Devils representing the disrespected `common-man'. Perhaps, Col. Trenchard is `monster' of the story, relegating the Master to a mere henchman?

It is testament to the quality of DOCTOR WHO AND THE SEA-DEVILS that I have enjoyed the four-disc set three times already; it's that good.

Good? It's more than that. Exemplary? Yes, that's more like it.

You will find it difficult to find a better example of DOCTOR WHO on audio.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 September 2012
It's no surprise that all seven of Malcolm Hulke's Doctor Who novelisations have been released as audiobooks since they are rightly regarded as some of the strongest in the entire Target series of over 150 books.

Read by Geoffrey Beavers, who briefly played The Master in the Tom Baker era, The Sea Devils takes place in the middle of the Jon Pertwee era, when the Doctor finds himself crossing swords, this time literally, with his arch nemesis, the Master.

Although imprisoned on an island in the English Channel, this hasn't stopped the Master from making contact with a race of reptiles who ruled the Earth long before the human race, and have a desire to do so again. The Master, of course, is only too happy to help, particularly if it means the Doctor's favourite planet is in the firing line .....

One of the joys of Hulke's Doctor Who books are the numerous extra touches he added. Never content to simply take the original story and transfer it scene by scene and word by word, he often played around, inventing or improving scenes as well as allowing the reader into the minds of the characters.

One of my favourites concerns the bluff Colonel Trenchard, governor of the Master's prison. He is duped into helping the Master, who convinces him that the area is under attack from enemy agents, whereas the Master is preparing the way for the Sea Devils. When the Sea Devils invade the prison, Trenchard nobly attempts to defend it, but releases too late that the safety catch of his gun is still on and dies before taking a shot. When the Doctor discovers his body later, he notices this and turns the safety catch off, so no-one will realise his mistake. It's a small character point, but it adds great depth to the character of Trenchard.

Although at times the sound effects verge on the overkill, this doesn't stop The Sea Devils from being a great listen, like all of the Doctor Who audiobooks based on Malcolm Hulke's novels. An essential purchase.
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on 13 January 2015
This is certainly not Malcolm Hulke’s best Target novelisation. In ‘The Cave Monsters’ the Silurians received an excellent treatment that enriched and established them as a credible species with a structured and believable civilisation. Their aquatic cousins, unfortunately, do not receive the same quality of treatment. In fact the novelisation is more focussed upon humans and Timelords, rendering the Sea Devils as little more than generic monsters of the week. Whereas there was a preoccupation throughout ‘The Cave Monsters’ concerning how the Silurians should be known, in this novelisation the ‘homo reptilia’ featured are simply known by the moniker given to them by a petrified human and no one really questions it. Otherwise they’re called merely ‘lizards’. It is disappointing that Hulke doesn’t develop them as he does the Silurians.

The one concession, however, is with a brief view of the Sea Devil hierarchy. On screen there appeared to be some sort of leader of the Sea Devils. The novelisation ratifies this by proclaiming he/she to be the Chief Sea Devil. It might not sound as exciting as Dalek Supreme or Cyber Controller but it at least establishes a leadership system which provides some information, however slight, upon Sea Devil society. The Chief Sea Devil even possesses an ‘iron throne’ in the novelisation.

The Master is quite well characterised. He is at his manipulative and cunning best in this story. His alliance with the Sea Devils is far more credible, and less foolish, than those he attempts to establish with the Axons, Autons and Azal. And this time at least it benefits him by providing him with an opportunity to escape. This story goes better for him than most. Unfortunately the fantastic sword fight between him and the Doctor is sadly absent.

The character that receives the most attention is probably Trenchard. To what extent he was working alongside, being manipulated by or fooled by the Master is a little vague in the televised version and the character is more of a villain. Hulke’s novelisation of his script focusses more on Trenchard, his bitterness and aspirations. He becomes a more developed and multi-dimensional character. He is also more of a sympathetic figure, as the use of safety catch in the novelisation helps to emphasise.

Hulke’s novelisations of ‘The Silurians’ and ‘The Colony in Space’ (aka ‘The Cave Monsters’ and ‘The Doomsday Weapon’) built upon his scripts and improved the stories. ‘The Sea Devils’ doesn’t do the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2011
A good book, a good read, goes much further than the televised serial - I originally had this book in my Target series some years ago, and I was delighted to find it easily on Amazon.

PF
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In the 70s Doctor Who books were aimed at kids but could be enjoyed by adults. This book is one such read. The audio book is superbly presented and whilst it takes liberties with the plot is a cracking story well read.
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