The Doctor and Jo Grant try to help some desperate earth colonists in their struggle to prevent a ruthless mining company from illegally evicting them (by any means necessary including murder) from their new home planet. Bound up in events is The Master who as always seems to have his own agenda and shows a more then casual interest in the primitive aboriginals that inhabit some caves.
It's a great idea for the BBC to start to release these classic Target novels as unabridged audio recordings. Geoffrey Beevers (who once played an incarnation of The Master) does an excellent job of the reading and whilst he doesn't attempt direct impressions of Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Roger Delgado, he gives them voices that are totally compatible with the characters. The story 'Doctor Who And The Doomsday Weapon' is adapted from 'Colony in Space', both written by Malcolm Hulke who was one of the very best writers to work on the TV series in the sixties and early seventies.
A real treat for fans of the classic series or for anybody who just likes to listen to a good story. More please!
The sumptuous cover and faithful reproducing of the Target novelisation makes this Doctor Who classic series unabridged audio a 'must have' for fans of both the show and audio novels in general. The story itself is more worthy than dynamic but Malcolm Hulke provides a wealth of detail on characters that are not included in the television version. We learn much more about the state of life on planet Earth in the 3oth Century and the IMC captain, Dent, is fleshed out nicely to provide a much more satisfying context for his actions against the colonists and for his seemingly easily detached manner and disregard for human life. It is noticeable that the story is not really about The Doctor at all but more a treatise of the folly of humanity and the inevitable repercussions for the way it treats its home. More than apt for today's environmentally aware and politically apathetic generation; Hulke could have produced this story in 2007 and it would be no less resonant. With a host of intriguing characters, a solid storyline of morality versus greed and the return of The Doctor's deadliest enemy, The Doomsday Weapon well deserves its audio treatment. I await further additions to the series eagerly!
I hadn't expected this to be quite as enjoyable as it turned out to be. DOCTOR WHO AND THE DOOMSDAY WEAPON is a rather loose adaptation of COLONY IN SPACE, a television production that has the reputation of being a rather plodding affair (it was released on VHS many years ago in the limited edition Master Tin) but Malcolm Hulke managed to take rather unpromising material and turn it into a very entertaining and engaging little tale. He has rearranged the story into a much leaner and exciting structure and yet added much to the back-story of the characters and given the whole thing a strong environmental spin that is still relevant today despite the original text being written in the early seventies. I shouldn't have been surprised, of course, as those early Target novelisations (especially those first published with the black block text "DOCTOR WHO" logo) were amongst the strongest in the entire range and really do manage to stand the test of time. Geoffrey Beevers narrates in a delightfully crisp manner - his voice is very easy on the ear - and only adds a sinister edge when he is delivering the lines of the Master, a role he did indeed play later on in his career (in "The Keeper of Traken" on TV - available in the "New Beginnings" DVD set - and DOCTOR WHO productions from Big Finish). The packaging includes a booklet containing small reprints of the original illustrations that were inside the book, and reprints of the various cover art illustrations that graced the cover of the book over the years are also printed inside the CD case. I would have prefered them to use the original version of the cover art for this, but that really is a minor gripe and comes from nostalgia rather than anything. All-in-all the whole release is very thoughtfully put together and I found myself feeling a warm glow of contentment as I was easily carried back to my youthful enjoyment of these books. This is intelligent storytelling that doesn't talk down to its audience and as such is highly recommended.
This is a novelisation of the serial originally entitled ‘Colony in Space’, It is one of the few times (or, perhaps, only time) where Target’s arbitrary renaming of a story is actually an improvement. ‘Colony in Space’ is a pretty dull title, difficult to become infused over. Interestingly the variation in the two titles emphasises the two distinct plots that run in tandem; the colonists’ struggle against the capitalist mining corporation and the Master’s search for a legendary weapon of mass destruction in the remains of the planet’s ancient and collapsed civilisation.
The novelisation focuses more on the eponymous weapon. It provides a different beginning to the story, initially setting it on Gallifrey. The Timelords’ home world had only previously been seen towards the end of the Second Doctor’s swansong, ‘The War Games’. Hulke thus uses material from that script, which he co-wrote, to form a background for the Master’s search for information on the doomsday weapon in the Gallifreyan archives. It provides a better reason for the whole story. The reader learns why the Master believes he knows on which planet the doomsday weapon is hidden, how the Timelords know what the Master is up to and, thus, why they send the Doctor to stop him. It helps make the plot make more sense. It does mean though that it is apparent from the outset that this is a story featuring the Master, devaluing his ‘surprise’ appearance halfway through (although within the programme at the time of ‘Colony in Space’ it would probably have been a surprise if the Master hadn’t appeared).
A lot more time is devoted to the first half of the story in fact. The early stages are very well written, characters are introduced in a very in depth and believable way (even making Dent a sympathetic figure in some ways) and more attention is given to the establishment of the colony and their interaction with the indigenous population. However, the latter third of the book feels somewhat rushed, almost as if the author decided to wrap things up because his word count was becoming too large or something similar. Additionally, the two plotlines diverge more towards the end rather than coming together. Thus the ending lacks a modicum of satisfaction. Overall, though, Hulke has provided the story with more depth, detail and coherency.