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Doctor Who: Castrovalva Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; Unabridged edition (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408426978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408426975
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,182,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

Peter Davison reads the first gripping adventure for the Fifth Doctor.

About the Author

Christopher Hamilton Bidmead was born in 1941. He trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and subsequently played leading roles on the West End stage and television. For several years he was a regular voice on radio as a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company.

He began scriptwriting while working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and by the early Seventies was writing television scripts for the Thames TV serials Harriet's Back in Town and Rooms. At the same time a long-standing interest in science drew him towards technical journalism. His articles in the New Scientist prompted BBC producer Robert Banks Stewart to recommend him for the post of script editor on Doctor Who when it was vacated by Douglas Adams at the beginning of the '80s.

After a year in that role he signed off on the job by delivering two stories, Logopolis and Castrovalva, and returned to freelance projects - including a third Doctor Who story, Frontios, and novelisations of all three for the Target range of books.

His stint on Doctor Who introduced him to the use of personal computers, and for the past quarter century he has continued to work as an IT journalist, writing for a range of publications including Wired magazine and The Daily Telegraph. Over the last decade he has been a regular columnist on PCPlus magazine.

(Author biography by David J. Howe, author of The Target Book, the complete illustrated guide to the Target Doctor Who novelisations.)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an important Doctor Who story in that it introduces us to the fifth Doctor and it is delightful and surprisingly modern in the scope and the importance placed on the companions to help the Doctor.

Firstly, the plot: the newly regenerated Doctor escapes with his companions back to the TARDIS. Suffering from post-regeneration trauma, he only narrowly manages to save the ship from destruction as it plunges back to Event One, the hydrogen in-rush that preceded the creation of the universe.

He then seeks sanctuary in the peaceful domain of Castrovalva, only to discover it is an illusory, dimensionally paradoxical trap set for him by the Master with the unwilling aid of a kidnapped Adric. The Doctor eventually wins the day by enlisting the help of the Castrovalvan people who, although also part of the Master's creation, are nevertheless able to exercise free-will.

The story is an interesting one and a rare introduction to a Doctor that allows for a stimulating and original story. Of course, there are issues with it. It follows directly on from Logopolis which saw the Master kill the fourth Doctor. Therefore, the Master had no way of knowing the Doctor would survive his fall from the radio telescope at the end of Logopolis, and yet he is already prepared at the beginning of this sequel to kidnap Adric and trap him within a web of power. Using Adric's mathematical skills, he then causes the Doctor's TARDIS to travel back to the very start of the universe, where he fully expects the Doctor to be destroyed. Even as the TARDIS veers away from Event One, Tegan however, discovers yet another trap - a reference to Castrovalva (a fictional construct by the Master) planted in the TARDIS's index file.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Castrovalva was the story that introduced Peter Davidson as Doctor Who, replacing Tom Baker. I admit I'm probably biased in favour of this story, as it was Peter Davidson I remember most clearly as Doctor Who when I watched the programme as a child.

Tom Baker bowed out with Logopolis, another story by Christopher H. Bidmead. Bidmead's stories are always well thought out, with the science fiction rooted in the vaguely likely, rather than the totally outlandish. Castrovalva is slow to get started, as the Doctor is suffering post regeneration fatigue. The first half of the story centres largely on his companions, and provides a rare chance to focus on the interaction and differences between Teagan and Nyssa. It also offers a glimpse into the inner rooms of the Tardis beyond the control room. As a result, the story probably appeals to Doctor Who fans more than it will to the general listener. This was a story that lent itself to the visual medium of television, so for those who have seen the tv version, it may work very well. Bidmead writes clearly, so perhaps even if you haven't seen this episode, the story will come to life. For me, I found that long forgotten memories of this episode came flooding back, adding an extra dimension to the story.

Davidson reads with clarity, and an increasing urgency as the pace picks up. His reading lacks the drama of David Tennant, and whilst his voices for different characters are distinctive enough, they could be better. For me though, it was more important that the story was narrated by the Doctor that starred in it, and it was a pleasure to listen to, so it had to be five stars. I appreciate it might not score so highly with unbiased listeners!
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Format: Audio CD
Like the previous story Logopolis, Castrovalva is a complex, imaginative and thought-provoking story with some very interesting concepts but is probably not the most accessible story for casual viewers/listeners. I adore Christopher H Bidmead's writing style, it often goes off on little tangents but it has the effect of making the story more absorbing and memorable and he has a great way with words, and an impressive vocabulary and clearly a good scientific knowledge. The first half of the story is very self-contained, concentrating soley on the Doctor and his companions in the TARDIS and the effects of the Doctor's regeneration and while short on incident it benefits from giving a good insight into the characters and to exploring the interior of the TARDIS better than has ever been done before or since. The second half picks up the pace with the arrival in Castrovalva and the complex trap that has been set for the Doctor. The way Bidmead describes the town of Castrovalva and the slow realization that all is not as it seems is very cleverly done and hugely satisfying.
The fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, reads this story and does an exellent job of it. His voice is quite similar to Bidmead's, which makes this fit well with the previous audio of Logopolis which was read by Bidmead. Davison does the various characters well, especially the Master and although his voice now sounds a little older than when he was the Doctor he still has the character to a tee.
In short, Castrocvalva, along with Logopolis are, for my money, the two best Doctor Who novelizations ever written and these audios are also probably the best in the range so far. An essential purchase.
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