Written by Terrance Dicks
Read by Mark Gatiss
Published by AudioGo
There are many treats for Doctor Who fans in this 50th year, but few can fit so neatly in a plastic jewel case. Take Jon Pertwee’s iconic Third Doctor, his arch enemies the Daleks, legendary Who writer Terrance Dicks, and renaissance man Mark Gatiss and you have a perfect gift for every fan.
The story opens with a cliffhanger from previous story Frontier in Space. The Doctor is unconscious, wounded by The Master, and the Time Lords are piloting the Tardis and its occupants to Spiridon in pursuit of the Daleks. Pretty quickly companion Jo Grant is separated from the Doctor on this alien planet, where man-eating plants and an invisible race are but a prelude for the main drama – the efforts of a Thal terrorist cell to destroy a Dalek army.
Terrance Dick’s Target novelisation of Terry Nation’s teleplay is a model of economy – all action and dialogue – and Gatiss’s sometimes breathless narration complements this perfectly, while also evoking the excitement with which the original Target novels were read by fans in the 1970s.
The amazing sound design on this release more than compensates for the lack of narrative description in the audio. Poisonous plants spit, ships explode, scanners beep, and Daleks speak with the familar ring-modulated voice of Nick Briggs. These aural elements (and praise must also be given for Gatiss’ Pertwee voice) combine to create a listening experience closer to a radio dramatisation than a straight audiobook.
Given all the above, it is no surprise that this 3 CD set passes all too quickly. The only remedy is to line up Gatiss, Briggs, and the AudioGo production team to record Dick’s novelisation of Day of the Daleks. If enough fans buy this delight, maybe Michael Stevens will be encouraged to do exactly that.