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

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 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 (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 990,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Personally I’ve always enjoyed the original televised version of ‘Castrovalva’. However, I can’t say the same for the novelisation which is quite a dull rendition of that seen onscreen. The writing lacks intensity and there is little emotional connection to the characters who often seem like irritating versions of themselves. At best this is a mediocre novelisation; at its worst it becomes very tedious.

The pacing struggles throughout the novelisation. Despite the dangers and perils faced by the characters the text plods along at the same unfaltering speed failing to create any atmospheric tension.

It seems to take much longer in the novelisation to reach Castrovalva and the build-up (which really can’t be classified as a ‘build-up’) to get there is incredibly slow. And when they do reach Castrovalva it all feels a bit anticlimactic.

To be fair, though, the settlement of Castrovalva loses something in the conversion process to novel. The visual impact of the Escher influence and the conjunction between semi-baroque architecture and parochial village life doesn’t come over as well. Somehow the rather uninspiring descriptions of the place lack the magic of the visual image.

There is little embellishment. What there is probably isn’t necessary. Admittedly, Tegan being able to fly the Tardis isn’t very well explained onscreen. The novelisation overcompensates for this though. Perhaps the author, who also wrote the original script, felt this was a serious flaw and sought to correct it. However, not to spoil/reveal the Master’s schemes too early we are ‘treated’ to two pages of Tegan tediously standing around the console with constant reminders that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. A couple of lines at most would have sufficed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Note this is a review of the novelisation by Christopher H Bidmead.

Having written Logopolis, the last story of the Fourth Doctor, it is appropriate that the same writer led from the `end' at Logopolis to the `beginning' of the Fifth Doctor at Castrovalva.

In this story, the new Fifth Doctor, somewhat befuddled after his regeneration, is taken by Nyssa and Tegan to Castrovalva to help him recover. But where is Adric? And why does Castrovalva not seem to be all that it appears?

This is a quite complex story, and was a good introduction to the Fifth Doctor played on the screen by Peter Davison. Tegan and Nyssa get to play important parts in the story, and Adric also has a role to play. The Doctor finds himself, as well as someone else not so welcome.
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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? )
If you are nostalgic for the days of Peter Davison playing the Doctor, then I would recommend Castrovalva. If you are a newer fan then I would advise a little caution. The fact that this is the first adventure of the Fifth Doctor made the story exciting when it was first broadcast in 1982. Now we've got to know this incarnation better, the flaws in this story become clearer.

Castrovalva was written as a replacement for another story, Project Zeta Sigma, which proved unworkable. Perhaps this is why so much of the first two CDs feels like filler. It's only when the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan arrive on Castrovalva (halfway through the story) that the pace picks up. There are some interesting ideas, but the final result is still lacking in thrills. The 'old enemy' that the Doctor encounters has a convoluted plan and lacks clear motivation, beyond just being evil for the sake of it.

Peter Davison reads the story well. His rendition of Tegan's Australian accent is more successful that Christopher H Bidmead's attempt in "Doctor Who": Logopolis (Classic Novels). This audio version of Castrovalva allows us to go deeper into the Doctor's thoughts, though we don't delve too deeply. The sound effects are sparse but effective. The prose contains some poetic flourishes - such as the climax of Disc 3 - but for the most part is unfussy and functional.

I would recommend Castrovalva if you are already a fan of Peter Davison's portrayal of the Doctor.
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