- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 2 hours and 17 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 28 Oct. 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002UQGJE8
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audio Download, Unabridged
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It's basically a rehash of familiar Doctor Who stocks in trade, including the archetypal scientific base under siege. Indeed, Simon Messingham's narrative takes place in the aftermath of another "base under siege" story, "Doctor Who", the Ice Warriors (Dr Who Radio Collection) - it is revealed that, following the ionisation of the glaciers, the retreating ice has left the land barren. The scientists aren't a terribly interesting bunch, but Tennant makes the most of them by adopting a range of accents for the international team.
There's also an unscrupulous government minister - though he's more actively villainous than the indolent bureaucrats we usually encounter in Who - and a terrifying legend come true. Actually, the plant-based menace is more like Swamp Thing than the trolls of folklore, though he does at least live under a bridge. There are some particularly vivid and creepy descriptions as animated roots and twiggy creatures strike terror into the hearts of their victims.
The Day of the Troll contains few real surprises, but if you need a comforting dose of traditional "tick the boxes" Who to keep you going before the next television episode arrives, Tennant's reading should do the trick.
There are elements here that some listeners may find familiar, with a touch of DC Comics 'Swamp Thing', a dash of 'The Seeds of Doom' (the Doctor himself referencing the Krynoids at one point), and elements of the classic Troughton era 'Base Under Seige' stories, but author Simon Messinghman puts a deft spin on the material, creating an exciting horror tale that has a flavour all its own. The creature has a wide range of powers leading to some great variety in the attacks, and its simple need to eat is a refreshing change from the usual 'aliens wanting to invade Earth' routine. The setting of a practically deserted Britain is unique and evocative, whilst the cast of characters are realistic and believable. The blinkered authority figure of the minister in charge could have wandered in from any one of a dozen UNIT-era tales, but their presence gives the drama the neccessary kick, inevitably making a bad situation worse. In a pleasing break with the norm Messingham fails to provide an obvious 'one-off companion' for the travelling solo 10th Doctor, with each of the supporting characters contributing aid at various times.
Add to this a great reading from David Tennant (and the slightly more serious subject matter seems to reign in Tennant's usual broad range of comedy accents) and the result is an excellent horror tale that probably rates as the best exclusive audio story yet. My only dissapointment is that we didn't get to see it on telly!
Other reviewers before me have commented on the plot and style, so I'll stick with saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this offering from the pen of Simon Messingham, with its original monster and its focus on characters rather than simply on action. Compared to previous offerings in this range such as the overrated "Doctor Who": The Nemonite Invasion (Dr Who Audio Original 3) and the patchy "Doctor Who": The Forever Trap: No. 2 (Dr Who Audio Original 2), this is consistently superb, and serves as a timely reminder of why we love David Tennant's portrayal of the nomadic Time Lord so much, with his constant bonhomie and incessant need to poke his nose in where it could well get bitten off. David Roden's story hurtles out of the starting blocks, and never really lets up; hopefully he'll be trusted to write for the TV series in the not too distant future.
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A great 'fun listen'.