- Audio CD: 2 pages
- Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; Unabridged edition edition (5 Feb. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1405676914
- ISBN-13: 978-1405676915
- Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 15.2 x 13.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 417,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Doctor Who: The Gunfighters Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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The TARDIS lands in the Wild West in this classic BBC TV soundtrack starring William Hartnell, written by Donald Cotton and with linking narration by Peter Purves.
About the Author
THE PROGRAMME: Prior to The Gunfighters, the Doctor was last seen recoiling in pain after eating one of schoolboy Cyril’s boiled sweets (see The Celestial Toymaker). However, a resolution for his malady was to be found in the Wild West town of Tombstone in October 1881. This black comedy about the events of the legendary shootout between Doc Holliday and the Clantons was commissioned from writer Donald Cotton as Dr Who and the Gun-Fighters in November 1965. A former writer of comedy revues, Cotton injected a seam of humour into his new serial which was loosely rooted in actual historical events. The real gunfight had nothing to do with Bat Masterson, while Johnny Ringo appears to have been added to the mix from John Sturges’ 1957 film The Gunfight at the OK Corral. The scripts were delivered to the BBC production office by Cotton in December 1965 and January 1966, to be made by a new production team; outgoing producer John Wiles and story editor Donald Tosh had commissioned the story, but now handed over to Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis respectively. Sequences involving horses, and the climactic gun battle itself, were pre-filmed at the BBC Television Film Studios at Ealing between 28 and 31 March 1966. To accompany the narrative, Cotton had written a ballad, 'The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon', verses of which punctuate the main scenes in the story. Director Rex Tucker then added some additional verses prior to production. The first music recording took place on 5 April, with the tune composed by Tristam Cary who also supervised the recording with Tom McCall at the piano. Sheena Marshe, who played Kate, attended the session, but after a few tests it was decided that her voice was not right for the ballad. Also considered was Jane Tucker, the 17-year-old daughter of director Rex Tucker, who later became famous as part of the singing trio ‘Rod, Jane and Freddy’. The ballad was eventually sung by Lynda Baron, who had been a singer in the BBC2 satire series BBC3. Baron recorded the remainder of the song on the evening of 12 April. The bulk of the four episodes were recorded on a videotape on a weekly basis from 15 April to 6 May, with the first episode taped in Studio 1 of Riverside Studios. When broadcast, the series achieved a degree of notoriety when its final episodes were awarded very low audience appreciation scores, helping to seal the fate of historical stories with little or no science-fiction element on Doctor Who. The Gunfighters was released on VHS videotape by BBC Worldwide in November 2002 as part of Doctor Who: The First Doctor Special Edition Box Set. One additional scene for the serial was pre-filmed at a sandpit in Surrey on 1 May. This depicted a pallid figure appearing on the TARDIS scanner at the conclusion of the adventures as the closing caption promised viewers, ‘Next Episode: Dr Who and the Savages…’ Programme notes compiled by Andrew Pixley.
Top customer reviews
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Donald Cotton's 1985 novelisation follows the same plot of his original scripts, but the book enhances and re-works almost every element to great comic effect. It's not quite as good as his previous Doctor Who novelisation - The Myth Makers but then, very little in the Target range is.
There's plenty of wonderfully quotable lines though, such as this description of the Doctor piloting the TARDIS - "clutching at an apparently haphazard selection of levers with the air of a demented xylophonist, who finds he's brought along the wine list instead of the score".
The audiobook is read by Canadian-born Shane Rimmer, who played Seth Harper in the original story and is probably best known for voicing Scott Tracy in Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds. It's fair to say that he's getting on a bit, and this does come over in the reading. However he does sound authentically American, and therefore his gravelly tones fit the story well.
So, although at times the reading does seem like a bit of a struggle for Rimmer, it's still an enjoyable four hours of tongue-in-cheek Western adventure.
You may not recognise Shane Rimmer's voice as that of Scott Tracy from Thunderbirds as with age its got more gravel in it than one of the many gracel quarries that Doctor Who has been shot in over the years.
This is a very exciting reading of Donald Cotton's original Target novel with added sound effects.
Although Shane Rimmer is Canadian rather than American, you'd be hard placed to guess that from this reading as he sounds like an old time Western character from start to finish.
One of the best reading of these audio books I've ever heard, most enjoyable. A must listen to.
This and his Myth Makers novel are narrated. In this case it's be the real Wild West Pesudo-journalist Ned Buntline (he interviewed a number of gunslingers and told their stories in dime novels). In the prologue he visits a dying Doc Holliday in a TB sanitorium to hear his story and clear up a few points; why do some say he used a rifle at the OK Corral gunfight instead of his pistol? Was there another Doc there?
The story of how the Doctor, Dodo & Steven came to be in Tombstone during the Gunfight at the OK Corral is related by Buntline with a great deal of humour and wild west style dialogue. The plot is the same as the TV version but characters are expanded and dialogue largely rewritten.
There are various discussions about the honourable way to shoot people and that kind of thing. Dodo is described as resembling the proprietor of "a cat house" (I don't know if anyone shared this with Jackie Lane!) and there is a delightful moment where she beats Holliday at poker and then she later gets the drop on him, holding him at gunpoint.
The more adult material is suggestive rather than explicit so beyond a few embarassing explanations (" a cat house is where they keep cats son!") , after checking it out you could possibly let your kids hear it. They just wouldn't understand some bits. older readers will understand what Doc Holliday and Kate were must have been up to while the Dr waited in the dentists, and the kids probably wouldn't notice.
Some of the extra character fun is that in this version rather than happily going along with the plan to pas sthe Doctor off as himself, Kate walks out on Holliday in disgust-and then flirts a bit with Steven. Also rather than fictional Kate Fisher as on TV, she is now the genuine historical figure Kate Elder.
Doc Holliday has more of a sense of humour and as well as gun for hire, Johnny Ringo is a avid reader of classics-quoting Cicero!
The gunfight is more exciting here than in the TV version (backed by gunshots) and much of the book is enlivened by Shane Rimer's narration. He was of course in the original where he threw in with the Clantons and here gives us a convincing wild west gravelly drawl.
A clever trick is at the start he narrates as if Buntline was a little the worse for drink but sobers up on meeting the sickly Holliday. The opening slurs are so convincing, I almost thought it was not part of the performance!
I haven't had much interest in these old novels as talking books ( though I did enjoy Tom Baker's ones on Radio 4 Extra) but there's something special about Cotton's novelisations. The narration and the humour have made these date a lot less than some of the others.
If you are a purist and don't like the Doctor's appearances and importance being reduced then these may not be for you. If such things wouldn't bother you then I recommend this highly. If you can't run to the talking version, then there's always the original written version which can be picked up cheaply.
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