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Doctor Who, meet Jamie McCrimmon,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Highlanders Original BBC Television Soundtrack (BBC Radio Collection) [AUDIOBOOK] (Audio CD)
Gerry Davis' "The Highlanders" gets a bad rap from fans who find it dull; and, indeed, it isn't exactly the fastest-moving "Doctor Who" adventure ever made - historicals seldom were. It is, however, very important in the history of "Doctor Who" for a number of reasons: it was the last of the original 1960s run of pure historical stories; it was Patrick Troughton's only pure historical story; and, lest we forget, it also introduced Frazer Hines' popular companion Jamie McCrimmon.
Personally, I've never been entirely convinced by Jamie as a character. Hines, however, turns out to be a born narrator, and his narration of the soundtrack of "The Highlanders" is among the best the BBC have done. Unlike some narrators, who can sound flat and bored, Hines puts energy into the narration and reads his lines with enthusiasm, helping the listener to feel engaged in the story's otherwise entirely visual moments, such as fight scenes.
"The Highlanders" on audio also benefits from having a small principal cast. Unlike some other stories, such as The Massacre and in particular The Smugglers, the listener is seldom confused as to who is who, which aids the enjoyment of the action greatly.
The story itself is an uncomplicated chain of events in the capture, escape, rescue vein, but we get to know a variety of supporting characters, including a likeable turn by Hannah Gordon as Kirsty McLaren and a ludicrously over the top but entertaining turn by Dallas Cavell as Captain Trask. Sydney Arnold entertains as the hapless Perkins. The star of the show, however, is Patrick Troughton, whose eccentric Doctor insinuates his way through the proceedings, duping and befuddling where necessary, in order to engineer the rescue of his friends.
A likeable conclusion to the historical set, which almost certainly benefits from an audio presentation as it allows the listeners to picture the locations and sets with greater authenticity than could have been afforded on a 1960s "Doctor Who" budget.
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