Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: Doctor Who: The Audio Novels: The Dead Star, by Big Finish

SCI-FI: Can the Doctor and his friends prevent the planet Earth from being erased from space and time?

Another entertaining audiobook that utilises the Big Finish studios effectively to present the story in an entertaining fashion.

Feature image credit: Keenan Constance (via Unsplash)

After escaping a weird version of London, the Doctor, Ben and Polly must work out what sent the TARDIS into what appears to be a time tunnel connected to a black hole. If they do not work out what is happening then Earth will likely be blown up in 1968 and the trio of travellers already know that this simply couldn’t (and shouldn’t) happen.

The fourth volume in the Audio Novels range features a wonderful story from the pen of veteran Doctor Who novelist Kate Orman. Australian-born Orman wrote a number of celebrated novels in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s for the Doctor Who range. Since then, she has written the occasional short story for Big Finish audio. Orman has well and truly captured the feel and spirit of the Patrick Troughton Doctor and she is aided by a brilliant reading of the book by the actor’s son, Michael, who has been portraying the Second Doctor in recent audios (some of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site).

Orman evokes the world of swinging ‘60s London well and then takes us through various locations to bring us towards the novel’s conclusion. Having written six roughly hour-long episodes, Orman keeps the action flowing nicely, although the last episode does tend to fizzle out somewhat and really is the only episode that lacks appropriate pace and energy. She creates a number of interesting side characters for the story, all of which Troughton brilliantly realises. He has also done a stellar job of recreating the personas of both Ben and Polly. His narrative voice is pleasant and easy to listen to which is always a plus for longer novels.

What helps keep the story flowing and interesting for the listener is the use of an effective sound and music mix that takes the soundscape beyond that of an ordinary audiobook. Steve Foxon deserves high praise for his efforts in the sound and music department here (as he always does!).

There is a substantial bonus package connected to the end of the story which features interviews with both Troughton and Orman as well as a number of the crew from the production showing the dedication they have to bring this story to life.

Although this may not quite reach the standard set by Emancipation of the Daleks, it is still a worthy listen for lovers of the classic era of Doctor Who and especially the performance of Patrick Troughton. At seven hours, it will take a few bus trips or car rides to get through but it is well worth the listen.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter:  @Wagnerfan74

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: January 2023
Approx RRP: $32 Digital Download

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