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In the shadow of the Pulsar
on 17 February 2013
A new Doctor Who talking book from the bbc. Second in the 'Destiny of the Doctor' series of Doctor Who talking books. These are being released at the rate of one a month, and they tell an all new story for a different one of the Doctors on each occasion. There is though a linking theme which we are promised will all come together in the end.
The format of these is a story that is complete on a single cd. It's basically one long episode with no breaks other than the usual cd chapter ones. Minimal sleeve notes give copyright details, advertise other bbc Doctor Who product, and contain a few bits of info about the particular era of the show from which the story comes.
The cover shows the Doctor and main companion of the story.
It is narrated by an actor who appeared in the show at the time. They read the story in the third person and do all the voices save one, which is done by a guest actor.
'Shadow of Death' is a Second Doctor story. It is read by Frazer Hines, who played his companion Jamie on tv.
The story sees the TARDIS land on a very strange planet. Which is in the shadow of a pulsar. Which emits a very strong gravitational pull. There is an abandoned city. Statues of people in spacesuits. And the survivors of a human expedition sent there to study it.
Something has happened to people they came there with. There is a very strange force indeed on the planet. Which spells danger for the surviving humans. Plus the Doctor and his friends...
As anyone who has heard Frazer Hines other Doctor Who audio readings will know, he does an amazingly good version of the Second Doctor's voice. Which really does sound like Patrick Troughton. He also reprises Jamie's voice effortlessly, so it really does feel as if you are listening to something from their tv era. The story fits it as well. Being a strange world with minimalist settings and a small cast of characters, being stalked by a monster.
The sound design is appropriately eerie and does help to create the feeling of such an alien world.
The explanation for what is taking place here is quite clever, and there's some good real science involved, but you will need to think carefully to get your head around it at times. Whilst in some ways it doesn't feel like anything we haven't seen or heard before, it is creepy and effective. With a pretty decent resolution. Which does nicely serve to highlight how alien the Doctor is.
There is one scene which does develop the ongoing plot that is moving throughout all of these. A very interesting scene it is. Slightly reminiscent of something that happened in the first story. But it adds in a lot more detail which does make the bigger picture slightly clearer. And very intriguing with it.
This is a decent listen and one that also develops the ongoing story very well. If you liked the first story in this series then this is well worth getting. You could probably get into easily enough without having heard that one, though.But it might, in the long run, be better to start at the beginning.