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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is arguably the best in the range so far., 10 May 2011
This review is from: "Doctor Who" and the Terror of the Autons (Classic Novels) (Audio CD)
Geoffrey Beevers is an accomplished actor with a wealth of roles to his credit, but like other DOCTOR WHO "luminaries" such as Steven Thorne (In 2009, providing a thoroughly enjoyable unabridged interpretation of DOCTOR WHO - THE MYTH MAKERS) and Gabriel Wolfe, he'll arguably be remembered indefinitely for his incredible vocal talent. Simply put, Beevers is an ideal choice to narrate BBC AUDIO's prodigious crop of DOCTOR WHO TARGET novelisations.

Bringing a gravitas to the role, Beevers immediately commands your attention, translating much loved characters from prose to audio in such a way that you can't help but buy-in to the illusion he creates. He is equally adept at conveying the wide-eyed hapless innocence of Jo Grant on her maiden adventure or as the Doctor as he slowly becomes the semi-reluctant establishment figure that characterised Pertwee's later years, or the portrayal of UNIT's Brigadier, Mike Yates or Benton in a way that gives them individuality, steering clear of stereotypical military types.

For Terrance Dicks' DOCTOR WHO AND THE TERROR OF THE AUTONS, Beevers' triumph is with the character that he played on television at the twilight of Tom Baker's tenure, the Master (DOCTOR WHO - THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN). Here, he conveys a character familiar to all of us in the 21 st century, but, back in 1971, he was as new as Jo herself. There's no convoluted back-story here, he's just a Time Lord "gone bad" with a grudge against the Doctor and tantalising hints of their previous encounters. A fresh concept and brilliant realisation of a character devised by the series' Script Editor, Terrance Dicks and Producer, Barry Letts, first given life in the script writing of the legendary Robert Holmes. Be it in character as the evil Time Lord or as his alter ego, Colonel Masters, Beevers' interpretation of this twisted genius is world class, with a vocal resonance that simultaneously sucks you in whilst chilling you to the bone.

Worth a mention is the fact that this is Beevers' second time of introducing Jo Grant such were the vagaries of 1970s DOCTOR WHO TARGET novelisation, although this release is the authentic time-linear interpretation. In TARGET's DOCTOR WHO AND THE DOOMSDAY WEAPON, (the original television version, DOCTOR WHO - COLONY IN SPACE) Jo Grant's introduction owes a great deal more to author Malcolm Hulke's creative licence than it does to its television counterpart, where she was by that point a well-established character.

Noteworthy is the manner that the text and its narrator symbiotically coalesce to translate moments of unintentional comedy (seen as part of the 1971 broadcast) into nuggets of pure terror. For example, on screen, the murder of Farrell Snr. at the hands of a vicious troll doll was a combination of "fuzzy-edged" 1970's green-screen (well, "yellow-screen" in this instance. See CSO) and a death depicted by his leg shaking remorselessly then dropping to the floor behind a chair in a fashion reminiscent of something from the comedic mind of John Cleese or Spike Milligan.

However, on audio it's a spine-chilling scene and if you're listening to this BBC AUDIO release whilst driving you will not be able resist reducing the air-conditioning heat and checking the rear seat to be sure no crafty evil Time Lord has hidden one in your vehicle too. If you do, don't take it home.

This is Beevers' third unabridged BBC AUDIO featuring the Master, yet it is arguably the best in the range so far.

It is not just because of the sublime narration skills but it is a punchier story - perfect for the transfer to audio - free from a "saggy middle" that the longer (e.g. seven parts) adventures were afflicted with.

Additionally, with this release, the audio design (from MEON PRODUCTIONS) comes to its own. From the base background musical score (which for this reviewer had previously peaked with DOCTOR WHO AND THE GREEN DEATH) to the supplementary sound effects be they a fairground, a forest, pouring water, low flying jets, the familiar Auton signature or a full-on battle with guns and grenades mixed with alien energy weapons. It's an aural tour-de-force, complementing a superior narration in such a way that you feel you've been picked up and hurled into the action. This is the book as it happened in the head of a captivated nine-year-old reading it on first release in 1975.

Wonderful stuff!
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Initial post: 24 Jan 2015 13:57:34 GMT
Excellent written detailed review of audiobook.
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