on 12 January 2009
The Doctor, Victoria and the ever dependable Jamie arrive in the Himalayas where they encounter what are believed to be the elusive Yeti. But nothing is as it seems as the companions are helped and hindered in equal measure by warlike Monks, peaceful Lamas, an overambitious professor Travers and an old friend the Doctor assumes is long dead.
I must confess that I have been rather impatiently waiting for the BBC to release a 2nd Doctor story ever since they started recording the old Target novels a few years back. Every novel released is gratefully accepted but the 2nd Doctor is my personal favourite (the late, great Patrick Troughton) and The Abominable Snowmen is a pretty good place to start. Terrance Dicks as usual provides a very sound adaptation and David Troughton gives an excellent reading. His voice is so reminiscent of his father, especially when using low tones making him the perfect choice for this era. Hopefully there will be many more to come!
on 27 January 2009
The Abominable Snowmen was the second story to be shown in season five of Doctor Who, September-November, 1967. Due to the number of stories featuring iconic, memorable adversaries, such as the Cybermen and the Ice Warriors, this season became known as "the monster" season. This story was so popular with viewers that a sequel was immediately commissioned from the same writer and was broadcast later the same season.
The Doctor and his friends Jamie and Victoria arrive in the Himalayas, where the Doctor anticipates a warm welcome, since he is going to return the holy Ghanta - a ceremonial bell which he "borrowed" from the local monastery on his previous visit. In this hope, however, he is disappointed, as he is immediately suspected of being the murderer of an English explorer by the survivor of the expedition, Professor Travers. Even the monks have to admmit that the normally placid and timid Yeti have been behaving uncharacteristically violently recently.
This is one of the earlier Doctor Who novels, written by Terrence Dicks, one-time writer and script editor of the show, the man who wrote by far the majority of the Doctor Who novelisations. He turned Brian Hayles's original script into a taut, gripping novel. The book is read by David Troughton, son of the star of this story, Patrick Troughton. He has an excellent reading style, and his impression of his father is so close to the original that it sends a shiver down the spine. The booklet contains notes on the episodes, as well as reproductions of the original illustrations found in the book.
One of the best in the BBC's on-going audio novel series, highly recommended.
on 25 March 2009
In the dim and distant past, when Doctor Who was a man with a deeply lined face and a shock of white hair, someone wisely (?) bought me a copy of "Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks" and I was hooked. The first dozen or so Target editions were published with the Doctor Who logo in thick black text and it is those volumes - Daleks, Crusaders, Zarbi, Cybermen, Abominable Snowmen, Auton Invasion, Cave Monsters, Doomsday Weapon, Daemons, Day of the Daleks, Curse of Peladon, Sea Devils - of which I am fondest, dating from a time before the range became a monthly production line and the "arc top" logo became standard. However "Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen" hadn't quite managed to stick in my memory as a firm favourite - still much better than many of the later examples - just not as memorable to my juvenile mind in those days, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this was such an entertaining production.
This is a splendid addition to the audiobooks range. Terrance Dicks' text manages to enhance the limitations of the television production and has created an exciting and entertaining story with some wonderful embellishments which didn't disappoint me 35 years on. Sadly only 1 complete episode still survives of the original six part adventure - available on "Doctor Who - Lost in Time" on DVD - which is a great shame as it seems to be a rather fine example of the 1960s series. The audio of the entire original production is available as "The Abominable Snowmen" in the BBC soundtrack CD range.
David Troughton is an excellent choice as narrator and his impression of his father's performance is truly amazing. The whole package, including small reproductions of the illustrations from inside the original novelisation, has an air of genuine care about its production that really shines through.
This was one of my favourite books as a child. This was originally made as a television story in the 1960s, but unfortunately the BBC erased the master tapes. Recordings of the soundtrack exist, but they are poor quality, and it is difficult to imagine what is going on. There is no such problem with this novel, which has been written with great care by Terrance Dicks, the most prolific author of Doctor Who books. This was one of his earliest 'novelisations', and he has put a great deal of effort, not just converting a script to a novel, but in adding background to the characters, descriptions of how they might be feeling, and generally enhancing the story.
David Troughton who reads the books is the son of the late Patrick Troughton, who played the Doctor in this story. He is able to give a very good impression of his father when reading his lines, and even gives them some of the same verbal tics that Troughton's Doctor used. He also manages a credible Scots accent for Jamie, but can be a little shrill as Victoria. His clear speech is ideal for the narrated sections, and he gives all the supporting characters distinctive and consistent voices.
Added to this is Simon Power's music and sound design. I can't praise his work enough. I was sceptical when I heard that effects and music would be added to this reading, but they really do lift the story from the page and bring it to life. The music isn't intrusive, and touches like adding an echo to scenes set in a cave give the listener the feeling that they are really there.
A wonderful version of a great book, ideal for long car journeys!
on 25 August 2010
Although I never knew much about Patrick Troughton's portrayal of the Doctor - mainly due to the BBC's heinously short-sighted crime of wiping the majority of his TV stories in the early Seventies - I always loved the Target novelisations featuring his Doctor. This was partly because of the attention to detail and character; as with later writers such as Malcolm Hulke, Terrance Dicks in particular always strived to bulk up the often flimsy TV serials with extra off-screen information and thrilling prologues. This story is no exception, and with Troughton's son David reading it is even more atmospheric on audio, with full characterisations and some great sound effects that aren't too intrusive but add depth and interest to the reading.
With the original Target cover art in place as usual, and the adaptation faithfully unabridged, this is another great collectable adventure that also reminds us just how much recent TV portrayals of The Doctor owe to Troughton's inimitable template.
on 4 March 2013
I first read this novel well over thirty years ago and enjoyed it immensely. No surprises then that I really enjoyed listening to David Troughtons narration of the same. The Audiobook format brings a whole new dimension to the written word and in many ways brings the characters of the page to life. This may seem like nit-picking in the extreme but the only thing that stopped me giving this novel 5 stars was the fact that DT does not on this occasion, I think, quite capture his late fathers voice etc as compared to his excellent interpretation of the 2nd Doctor on "Fury from the Deep". Nevertheless, a highly enjoyable several hours listening and recommended to all Who fans old and new. Keep 'em coming.