Monday, 26 September 2011
Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction, by Nigel Robinson – reviewed by Stephen Theaker
There have been many moments in the Doctor’s long life of which he would be less than proud: running dalek experiments on Jamie, ditching Sarah Jane Smith, quipping while a man died in an acid vat, and multiple dalek genocides. But this story set a bar for bad behaviour that wouldn’t be raised until the sixth Doctor tried to strangle Perpugilliam Brown. The Doctor here is quite the mad scientist. In the Sartrean play of argument and recrimination he behaves abominably from start to finish, curtly dismissing sensible suggestions, lying, being very rude about humans, and even drugging Ian and Barbara at one point. At the end, even an apology to Barbara turns into a bit of a lecture.
Nigel Robinson’s novelisation captures the eerie, fractious tone of the original episodes very well, and William Russell’s reading is, as with The Dalek Invasion of Earth audiobook, quite wonderful, his Doctor just as irascible as the narration describes him, his Ian, Barbara and Susan capturing their shifting moods. His introduction to CD3 is delightfully jaunty: “Disk threeee!” The music is well-judged, the soundtrack missing only a sprinkling of authentic Tardis sound effects. Overall, a sometimes gruelling but always gripping three-and-a-half hours for the listener. After all the theories and arguments, the solution when it comes is brilliantly bathetic. For Doctor Who fans this is an almost pure pleasure.
Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction, by Nigel Robinson, read by William Russell. Audiogo, 4xCD, 3hr20. Amazon UK. Amazon US. This review originally appeared in BFS Journal #3.