- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 2 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 4 May 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002SQB16Q
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Doctor Who: The Space Museum Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audio Download, Unabridged
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Although the serial has received mixed reviews from television critics, I find the story rather charming in the vain of Classic Who, in that it has a balanced mixture of interplanetary politics and fourth-dimensional fancy (as well as that classic scene of William Hartnell hidden half-inside a dalek shell!). The appearance of a static dalek, and of the concluding scene, ultimately led to the third serialized appearance of the daleks, eagerly awaited by a patient fan-base in the form of 'The Chase', which is also a fantastic story (and for another review!). The first episode sets the scene very nicely, with some classic science-fiction elements that are still somewhat prevalent in contemporary stories of Doctor Who. The following three episodes work quite nicely as interlinking character journeys, and the ensuing action makes for a thoroughly entertaining exploration of one of the Doctor's most memorable journeys in time and space.
This serial has previously been visually released on VHS along with a special edition of 'The Crusade', and most recently in a Double DVD set alongside the following serial, 'The Chase'. In audio form, 'The Space Museum' works quite well; although, there are inevitably some moments and scenes which are meant to be experienced visually, such as the aforementioned famous Dalek scene and Vicki's spooky glass-breaking (it will make sense after watching/listening to the story!). Maureen O'Brien, who played Vicki, provides the linking narration within the story, explaining the visual cues and action sequences throughout the soundtrack recording. Plus, she partakes in an interview with Gary Russell, explaining her life as an actress before and after Doctor Who, and what it was like on the set with William Hartnell and fellow co-stars.
All in all, 'The Space Museum' is another worthy addition to the growing number of original television soundtracks of the Doctor Who series. That being said, since this is not a 'lost' serial, it is best to view this release as a nice accompaniment to the DVD version of the story, having experienced the episodes in visual form before embarking upon listening to the audio soundtrack.
When listening, you should try to remember that this story dates from simpler times when visions of the future were all rocket ships and shiny jumpsuits and the educational remit of the series could find references to the story of the Minotaur being made whilst Barbara can get cross when Ian tries to ruin a "good cardigan". William Hartnell's Doctor is at his most twinkling and charming at times, an aspect of his portrayal that is sometimes overlooked when his long ago creation of the role is compared with the modern era. Ian and Barbara (played by William Russell and Jacqueline Hill) are merely one story away from their departure from the series in a story ("The Chase" - alas as yet unavailable in both this and the DVD range, but it did once get a video release in a limited edition Dalek tin) that is hinted at by an encounter with a (dead?) Dalek in the opening episode.
I have enjoyed this range for many years now, with the soundtracks of old stories enhanced by the addition of explanatory narration that successfully replaces the missing visuals and they can happily pass a car journey or long day at the computer. Now that all the stories that are visually incomplete have been released, it was only natural that the stories that do exist in their entirety in the archive - like this one - get similar treatment, and whilst some might think it a superfluous exercise, I think they make an interesting addition to the series, despite the fact that this did get a video release many years ago (alongside episodes of "The Crusade" in a long deleted box set) and will surely eventually appear on DVD.
Maureen O'Brien narrates very well in a very easy style, and the CDs also contain an interview with her (about 30 minutes split into two parts at the end of each disc) in which she discusses with great charm and frankness her career, the place DOCTOR WHO played in it (she seems to have mellowed in her opinion of it recently) and has some insight into celebrity culture and even finds time to empathise with Christopher Eccleston's decision to leave the show.
As ever, the sound quality is good, and the packaging designers have taken the time to produce a reversible back sleeve so that the box will match previous releases when put on a shelf, a small detail, but one which shows the care that the producers of this range put into the releases.
UPDATE MARCH 2010 - These episodes have now been released on DVD in a box set alongside the Dalek story THE CHASE.
This is a great classic Doctor Who story - William Hartnell is in fine form chuckling knowingly as the Doctor, William Russell as Ian gets to be the brave fighting man, and Barbara and Vicki also provide drama and compassion through the story. The background of the Moroks and the Xerons is almost a peripheral part of the story, but their involvement is vital to the Doctor and his companions being able to save themselves, and the Xerons as well.
As was the case in the early stories, we are presented at the end of the fourth episode with a glimpse of the next episode where the time travellers are being watched - by the Daleks!
At the end of both cds in this set, there are two parts of a long interview with Maureen O'Brien which was very interesting to hear.