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Fantastic return for the Ninth Doctor!
on 23 February 2014
Perhaps the era of Doctor Who we should be most thankful for…is that of the Ninth Doctor. Think about it, if not for Russell T Davies and his vision, if not for Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper showing the world what she could do as Rose Tyler, if not for the overwhelming success of bringing Doctor Who into the 21st Century, then the show would’ve remained dead & cancelled after its ‘end’ in 1989.
No new series, no return of Sarah Jane, the Daleks or Cybermen, no Donna Noble or Captain Jack, no franchise or Moffat-era, no 50th Anniversary Special…if not for Davies’ winning formula, Series 1 of the new Doctor Who, anything and everything it gave us…we wouldn’t be here talking about this.
Which makes Night of the Whisper just as important (if not more so) than any other Destiny of the Doctor chapter, in celebrating each incarnation and their eras. But Night of the Whisper is very unique in that it’s a joint-effort, written by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright. Other entries in the Destiny saga have also featured a famous actor/actress reprising their past roles as previous companions and primary narrators. Sadly, neither Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) or John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) are telling the story here. Instead, it’s Nicholas Briggs – voice of the Daleks & Cybermen since the show’s 2005 revival – doing the honours, with John Schwab in the supporting role of Police Chief McNeil.
True to the nature of Destiny of the Doctor, the atmosphere over those golden Russell T Davies days are faithfully recreated in this splendid audio-production, and Nicholas Briggs is the ideal candidate to narrate this adventure in absence of everyone else. Briggs is not only as much of an integral part of New Who as Russell, Christopher, Billie and John, he’s also an incredibly versatile actor.
Thinking back to the audiobook-reading of Prisoner of the Daleks, Nicholas demonstrated the ability to not only reel listeners in with his reading, but also to understand a well of characters and give individual voices to each-and-every one. His impeccable impersonation of the Ninth Doctor is SO accurate, that you’re convinced that Christopher Eccleston is back! Impersonations of Rose and Jack, the colourful identity of charismatic rogue Wolfsbane and other supporting players, the drama of the events; it ALL shines through perfectly in Briggs’ narration. It’s so good that there are times when you actually forget that John Schwab appears as McNeil. Briggs is absolutely outstanding here!
The story itself is a deliberate cliché, with Batman influences a-plenty, but it’s all great fun in the same way that Justin Richard’s The Resurrection Casket was. And while predictable in places, Night of the Whisper boasts fine pacing and a Doctor that you remembered feeling for. Dark, bitter & isolated following the Time War that ruined his life, the Ninth Doctor is full of rage and anger, and in desperate need of Rose Tyler to help him heal. It’s all worthy of Russell T Davies (to the point where you can imagine a TV adaptation), and the various ‘Bad Wolf’ references will certainly bring a smile to your face.
There are plenty of surprises here (along with a really ‘fantastic’ one mid-way through), making Night of the Whisper yet another brilliant entry in this brilliant series. Not the best Destiny chapter on offer, but certainly all the more reason to explore this superb 50th Anniversary audio-series.