"Artemis will enjoy watching your companions tear you apart!"
Since the popularity of the Doctor's latest three incarnations moved the emphasis on Whovian audio adventures from the Big Finish stories to ones generated in-house, there's been a noticeable drop in quality that's taken a long time to address. Too many of the recent David Tennant and Matt Smith Doctor audio adventures seemed like substandard stories designed solely to part hungry fans from their money between DVD sets secure in the knowledge that anything who had a guaranteed market. Even Tom Baker's return to the fold teased more than it delivered. So it's a genuine surprise to come across a NuWho audio adventure that's not only good but very good - and good enough to make a two-parter on TV for once at that.
It's a classic gothic period piece, with the Doctor and Amy being discovered inside a newly opened tomb in Smyrna in the 1920s. Naturally there's a curse that's seeing firs the local labourers being picked off and later members of the expedition, and of course the ancient evil - in this case the parasitic `goddess' Artemis - is of alien origin. While Artemis herself isn't a million miles removed from the Weeping Angels or the Silver Nemesis the story has been well thought through, offering thrills, chills, a few laughs and some wry observations on human nature - and a name check for Fish Custard - along the way. And that thought has extended to the presentation, with the narration shifting from Matt Smith in Doctor mode to Clare Corbett as a descendant of one of the ill-fated archaeologists reading Amy Pond's diary (it helps that Corbett can do a fair impersonation of Karen Gillan, something no previous narrator has managed). It's an old literary device that works particularly well in widening the scope and keeping things fresh here, making the telling as appealing as the story. It may be too early to tell if this is a sign of better things to come, but even if it's just a one-off burst of quality it's a very welcome and enjoyable one.
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