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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor pits his wits against another power-mad dictator
The great Tom Baker narrates this audio version of the 1981 Target novelisation of the 1979 TV story in which he starred as The Doctor.
The story is a natural choice to be adapted for audio and is far better than the television version. The titular creature has gone down in Doctor Who lore as one of the worst-realised of the show's infamous `rubber monsters' and...
Published on 8 Mar 2009 by Captain Pugwash

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2.0 out of 5 stars No one comes out of the pit alive
The televised version of this story was plagued with some of the worst effects ever. I was, therefore, hoping that the novelisation would prove much better. Unfortunately that is not the case. Upon reading the novel it becomes quite clear that many of the problems lie with the script. Usually this would evoke some type of sympathy for the author producing the...
Published 2 months ago by Alaran


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor pits his wits against another power-mad dictator, 8 Mar 2009
The great Tom Baker narrates this audio version of the 1981 Target novelisation of the 1979 TV story in which he starred as The Doctor.
The story is a natural choice to be adapted for audio and is far better than the television version. The titular creature has gone down in Doctor Who lore as one of the worst-realised of the show's infamous `rubber monsters' and makes a faintly embarrassing visual spectacle, but in your imagination Erato comes across as a mighty green behemoth and Fisher's descriptions of his odour, skin, and web weaving are fantastic.

I read the TARGET novelisation long before seeing the TV version, and it was always one of my favourite novels, with great characters, including the nasty `wolfweeds', the vindictive `Madame Karela', the motley collection of miners turned bandits led by the odious Torvin, and the corrupt and savage ruler of the planet Chloris, `The Lady Adrasta'.

Erato, the creature itself, is actually an intelligent and humane ambassador from the planet Tythonus, who has been trapped in a mine by Adrasta and used as an unwitting executioner for anyone she wants to get rid of. When The Doctor arrives she steps up her efforts, seeing K9's laser as the perfect weapon with which to do her nasty work.

Baker's rich and booming tones have mellowed with age but I could still listen to his voice all day. He brings the miners, Adrasta, Karela and Romana to life superbly, and deals well with the nuances and variations in pitch and tone necessary to make an audio story work. With Chris Achilleos' original TARGET artwork, and four discs containing the unabridged novel, this is another top release from BBC audiobooks.
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2.0 out of 5 stars No one comes out of the pit alive, 21 Jan 2014
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The televised version of this story was plagued with some of the worst effects ever. I was, therefore, hoping that the novelisation would prove much better. Unfortunately that is not the case. Upon reading the novel it becomes quite clear that many of the problems lie with the script. Usually this would evoke some type of sympathy for the author producing the novelisation. But in this case David Fisher, the author of this novelisation, is also the writer of the original script. It does seem a shame, however, that Fisher wasn't able to novelise some of his much better scripts for Doctor Who, such as `Stones of Blood' and `The Androids of Tara'.

Neither Erato nor the Wolfweeds were able to be realised on screen. But, to be honest, they were never going to work, even with today's special effects and CGI. Essentially they are flawed conceptually. Although some ideas concerning the race of Typhonians are fairly inventive; a giant, amorphous, green, blob is never going to be considered seriously. The author himself describes it at one point as "oozing like toothpaste". If you're going to call your story `The Creature from the Pit' and invent a world where people live in fear of said creature it doesn't really help the gravitas of the threat to use such a simile. Why the eponymous creature should also be called Erato, one of the Greek Muses of poetry, is also somewhat of a mystery. Whereas the Wolfweeds, voracious tumbleweeds that roll on mass over their victims at the bequest of human masters, are too ridiculous to be believable.

The main antagonist, Adrasta, although a credible villain, lacks the strength of Myra Frances' performance in this novelisation. Karela is reasonably intriguing but none of her internal plotting really manifests itself in the story where there could have been a promising sub-plot here. The Doctor and K-9 are portrayed well but Romana is often completely off character.

The author has included numerous footnotes which seem to be either for amusement or to enrich the world he has created. The first option is a bit hit and miss but the second doesn't really work. They tend to break the narrative for no real benefit.
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