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"...Maureen O'Brien's reading is astute and conscientious...",
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Rescue (Classic Novels) (Audio CD)
Like having your favourite Auntie perching on the edge of your bed regaling you with a bedtime story when you were four years old, Maureen O'Brien's presentation of DOCTOR WHO - THE RESCUE is equally as heart-warming, gratifying and delicious, and with Ian Marter's pre-eminent writing then this new audiobook from AUDIOGO justifies an unqualified recommendation.
Published in 1987, this TARGET novelisation represents the very best from (former DOCTOR WHO Fourth Doctor companion, Harry Sullivan) Ian Marter, and, ironically, his final novel (he died in 1986) for the publisher. Fleshing out David Whitaker's original 1965 televised two-parter to a full-length novelisation, Marter demonstrates a tactile and creative approach drawing the reader/listener into scenarios that they had not previously seen during the broadcast. It's a skill that, perhaps, under a different clattering of a manual typewriter would have failed to manifest but, characteristically, Marter delivers what could be considered to be a new, refreshing and ultimately an enthralling story. And, with a spin-off effect, it might inspire to visit the original printed novel.
(Description of the First Doctor) "...pale hawkish face. The imperious effect of his nose..."
In emulating the NEW SERIES' "pre-title sequence set-up", Marter strategically opens THE RESCUE within the confines of an aging space vessel, complete with an in-fighting disparate crew, on course to the planet Dido and an uncertain destiny. Deftly handling the introduction of orphan Vicki, Marter ensures that the reader/listener is capitulated into her current predicament (life within a disembodied crashed spacecraft, ASTRA 9) and is immediately sympathetic (will the rescue spacecraft, SEEKER, arrive before the scheming Koquillion - a native of planet Dido - murder her and expedition leader, Bennett).
A fairly simple, doppelganger plotline, but Marter retains an expedient pace and an underlining commination that is engrossing and, by its conclusion, rewarding. And along the way he even discusses the depletion of carbon dioxide and the probably melting of Earth's Polar Ice Caps (the `Greenhouse Effect') resulting in raising ocean levels.
Throughout Maureen O'Brien's reading is astute and conscientious, gambolling from character to character with mild yet appropriate accent variation that guarantees a clear, precise and listenable.
"...open the door, Susan. How very stupid of me. Of course, Susan is no longer with us..."
With the aid of sound post-production, O'Brien's realisation of Koquillion is chillingly threatening, with a hypnotically challenging voice that could have been designed for a David Lynch film; disturbing and life absorbing.
Once again, the special sound treatment courtesy of Sorcerer-like MEON SOUNDS has delivered a suite of preciously observed, believable - even within this primarily science fiction setting - and effective that supplement O'Brien's performance; supportive but never overwhelming. Whether it's the sound effect of Ian Chesterton swinging back toward the Doctor and unsteadily landing on a cave's gravel ledge, or the operation of electronic computerised equipment aboard the orbiting vessel, or a belligerent Time Lord slamming the wooden portal door to his Time ship, MEON SOUNDS contribution to this unabridged novelisation is as assiduous and inspired. Is there end no end to its talent?
"...I don't care for Wagner very much..."
Overall, DOCTOR WHO - THE RESCUE is as polished as you would expect from AUDIOGO as it combines the forte of a talented triptych: Maureen O'Brien's appurtenant reading, MEON SOUNDS aural creativity and Ian Marter's auspicious meritorious final work.
With eight more TARGET novelisation penned by Marter available for `audio conversion' AUDIOGO have an opportunity to indulge DOCTOR WHO fans for years to come.
Perhaps, as a tribute to his co-star Tom Baker could read Ian Marter's novel, Harry Sullivan's War (The Companions of Doctor Who)? Now there's a thought.