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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

on 29 June 2013
Patrick Troughton was one of my favourite Doctors. The War Games was a fitting way for him to 'bow out'. Also the end of the Black and White era.
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on 5 October 2012
The War Games was the last Doctor Who story of the 1960's, the last Doctor Who story to be made in black and white and also the last regular Doctor Who story to star Patrick Troughton. Amongst these lasts, it also marked the first appearance of the Time Lords. So, all in all, it's a milestone in the history of the programme.

Malcolm Hulke's novelisation was published by Target Books in 1979, based on the original scripts written by Hulke and Terrance Dicks. The TV serial was 10 episodes long, clocking in at around four hours. The book compresses some sections of the story, but nothing really vital is lost. It works well in book form, capturing the essence of the original.

There are plenty examples of Hulke's tweaks to the original material, which always made his Doctor Who novelisations so interesting to read. At times there's a slightly harder edge to the early part of the story, which is set in the 1917 Zone.

David Troughton, at times sounding uncannily like his father, is a wonderful reader with a rich and expressive voice. There are still plenty of Second Doctor stories left, so hopefully David Troughton will read many more of them.

The War Games is an Audiobook that can be listened to again and again, and as the last Doctor Who novelisation written by the late Malcolm Hulke it stands as a fine tribute to this influential Doctor Who writer.
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on 16 February 2011
So The War Games materialises in the always-excellent Classic Novels audio strand, despite not perhaps being a true classic of ye olde Target range. It's certainly not vintage Malcolm Hulke, but that's only because of the high standards he set with both his original TV scripst and later novelisations "Doctor Who" and the Cave Monsters (Classic Novels). (And there are perhaps reasons for this; Hulke sadly died shortly after the source book used here was completed in 1979.)

None of this means that The War Games isn't a welcome addition to the audios, of course: it's an important story, marking as it does the end the second Doctor's adventures and with it the introduction of `Them' - the Time Lords.

Fans will know that, for various production reasons, the original 1969 TV series was a bit of an epic - ten episodes, and as the original writers now acknowledge, somewhat reliant on padding. Unlike so many Troughton-era tales Doctor Who - Lost In Time [DVD] [1963], it survived the Great BBC Tape Purges of the sixties and seventies and is out on DVD Doctor Who - The War Games [DVD]. Excellent it is too and, padding or no, across its four-hour run time is rarely less than entertaining. The same can be said for this five-hour, four-CD version, but it's quite a different beast - and fascinating with it.

Hulke compresses and reshapes the material into a more gripping, focused affair. Yes, there's still a lot of running around, but it's less baggy overall, and the urgency heightens both the sense of danger (Hulke really brings home the horror, not the glory, of war) and creates a darkening mood of time running out. It's something rather absent from the TV serial until the last two episodes, but here the second Doctor is in a trap from the minute the TARDIS arrives in no-man's land, and his own awareness of not just the business in hand, but a terrible, personal reckoning ahead, infuse the whole piece.

This mood is enhanced by the excellent sound design, though here the range has perhaps added as much sonic embroidery as long-term listeners will want - any more effects or music and we'd be straying beyond true audiobook lines. It might even risk obscuring the narrator's work - and in this piece in particular, that would be a great shame indeed.

The involvement on David Troughton in this release, and the earlier, equally-satisfying Abominable Snowmen audio "Doctor Who" and the Abominable Snowmen (Classic Novels), is no mere whim or gimmick. Rather it's an inspired piece of casting. It goes without saying that he's a fine actor - the long career and diverse, distinguished roles speak for themselves A Very Peculiar Practice - The Complete Series [1986] [DVD] [1988] - and one who recently has been drawn back into the Doctor Who family (Big Finish audios, on-screen opposite the tenth Doctor Doctor Who - Series 4 Vol.3 [DVD] [2008]; his connection with the `classic' TV series goes back to 1967 Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World, and he did in fact appear in the War Games on TV. But he is also, quite simply, a brilliant reader in this medium, conjuring the epic cast assembled here seemingly effortlessly - Tommies and Jerry, French fighters, Russians, Romans, Greeks, Turks, Mexicans, privates, officers, humans of both genders, alien oppressors, rather eerie Time Lords... oh, and of course, the Doctor himself.

One can't imagine quite what it's like for a famous son to voice anew a character his father effectively created, then made memorable, then imperishable Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (The Seeds of Death / Carnival of Monsters / Resurrection of the Daleks) [DVD] and beloved, but the result here is fascinating and thrilling - spooky, even. Without merely impersonating the late Patrick Troughton, David nonetheless evokes the sheer quicksilver magic of the Doctor's second incarnation: fey and casual, but steely, alien and, dammit, dangerous. "Doctor Who", the Tomb of the Cybermen (Dr Who)

Given that this is this Doctor's last adventure proper "Doctor Who", World game (Doctor Who (BBC Paperback)), his reappearance before us, even as the end looms again, is simply haunting, and the younger Troughton lifts this release into the Essential category. There are moments when the time-lines merge and you'd almost, almost swear the second Doctor was back... David Troughton's work here is both an unforgettable turn and a wonderful, touching tribute to his father's performance, this epochal story and a whole fondly-recalled era of Doctor Who. Warmly recommended.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 March 2011
While this story is long and involved, and thereby runs the risk of falling flat, it never does. The storyline is well paced, the characters well drawn - except possibly the Mexican bandit who got a bit cartoonish for his own good.

This is a very long story but offers much more than just a plot based around the War Lord's people playing their own War Games. It also offers background on the Doctor (new to those seeing this story for the first time in the 1960s). It is a pivotal story in the Doctor Who timeline for being the last Patrick Troughton story, and leads well into the Jon Pertwee error.

David Troughton reads this very well - the voice characterisations are spot on - uncannily so for Patrick Troughton, his father, sometimes - it sounds just like him.

A good story, very well read - I enjoyed listening to this - brought back fond memories.
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on 31 March 2016
The original onscreen version of this is a pretty important Doctor Who story. It introduces the Doctor’s own people (aside from a couple appearances by the Monk), it confirms information originally given about the Doctor in ‘AN Unearthly Child’ and establishes regeneration as a regular norm for him. All three of these have become cornerstones to the Doctor’s own personal story and to the programme’s development. Therefore it is interesting to see how this momentous story is novelised.

The Target novelisations are generally fairly short books as a rule. The novelisation of ‘The Dalek’s Masterplan’ (a twelve part serial, thirteen if you count ‘Mission to the Unknown’) was spread over two volumes whereas ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ (fourteen episodes) was easily and understandably split into its four sections. ‘The War Games’ doesn’t receive such liberal treatment though and is confined to one volume. Although it is one of the larger Target books it is still faced with the problems of trying to pack in ten episodes.

Oddly this lack of space has both positive and negative connotations. The pacing is definitely improved. However, nothing feels like it has been omitted; at least nothing vital to the plot. The televised version did seem to have quite a lot of scenes involving running around and being captured which acted to pad out the middle episodes. And it is much of this that has gone or been rendered more concise.

However, similar treatment has also been undergone by the more interesting sequences of the story unfortunately. The latter stages increasingly feel rushed and the Doctor’s trial seems particularly short. Oddly enough it receives just as much attention in the novelisation of ‘Spearhead from Space’.

None of the characters are developed from that seen onscreen, although the author does provide some names and a bit of personality to a couple of Romans and invents a few incidental characters from different time/war zones.

Sadly the War Chief isn’t expanded upon nor are his relationships with the Doctor, the War Lord or the Security Chief. In, fact the rivalry between the War Chief and the Security Chief feels reduced, especially the snide bitchiness between them.

Whereas Hulke infused the Silurians with so much detail in his novelisation of ;’The Silurians’ (retitled ‘The Cave Monsters’) there is no more information given about the aliens in ‘The War Games’. The species still doesn’t even get a name. Confusingly periods of the book appear to indicate that they are collectively known as War Lords and the beginning suggests the onscreen War Lord should be called the Chief War Lord. This idea isn’t adhered to and the War Lord is generally referred to as such.

The novelisation does finally reveal what the acronym for SIDRAT stands for and offers an explanation for how they are different to Tardises.
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on 12 February 2011
I love this Doctor Who story, it's one of my very favourites and so as I buy some of this range I was compelled to buy this release and I wasn't dissapointed, well only slightly.

I had forgotten that the book is a really tight edit of the tv serial and that there are huge chunks of the tv show missing. However, having said that this is a great release, David Troughton has a brilliant voice and the production and story doesn't have any of the pedestrian aspects of some of the tv show episodes. David is I think one of my favourite voices and it was a good idea to pair him up with his fathers swan song in this format.

So highly recommended but don't expect to reexperience everything you saw on tv.
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Oh my goodness I'd forgotten how much I loved this novelisation of the epic 1969 TV serial. With Patrick Troughton's son David reading, this unabridged audio version is completely brilliant and utterly compelling throughout. A host of great characters such as the sinister General Smythe, uptight Captain Ransome and unflappable ambulance driver Lady Jane Grey, complement the excellent lead cast, and the bittersweet ending will live long in the memory. Simply outstanding.
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on 17 June 2011
On TV the war games was a long overdrawn affair of some 10 episodes.
This audio book cuts out a lot of the padding from the orginal tv show and gives you a smoother flowing tale.
At times the capture/escape attempts begin to repeat themselves but on the whole the tale is enjoyable.
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on 27 February 2011
The original book was the last to be penned by Hulke, and was written close to his untimely death. It might be this and the need to churn out books that were around 128 pages that led this adventure feeling like a Readers' Digest condensed version. That said, much of the flab is pruned and what's left is the core story. What makes this release essential is the performance by David Troughton - whom one hopes is recruited for all further 2nd Doctor discs. Not only bringing a very passable Jamie and Zoe to life, he masterfully recreate's his father's portrayal and its a joy to listen to the adventure almost as if Pat was there acting away.

Not the best the range has to offer novel wise, the discs herein do represent what an audio book should be - entertaining enthralling and well performed.
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