Doctor Who: The Androids of Tara
Written by David Fisher
Read by John Leeson
This story from Doctor Who’s first arc season – The Key to Time – places the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 on Tara in search of the fourth segment of the Key. With the Doctor off fishing, Romana quickly finds the crystal, but is then caught up in a Machiavellian tussle to seize the throne of Tara.
First adapted for Target Books by long time script editor Terrance Dicks, this new version has been specially written for audio by original author David Fisher. As this release follows a similar reworking of his earlier adventure The Stones of Blood, presumably Fisher was not too enamoured of Dicks’ treatment of his stories.
In the liner notes, Fisher writes of his love for Anthony Hope’s novel The Prisoner of Zenda, and Androids of Tara borrows liberally from its plot, with dopplegangers galore befuddling court officials and scheming Counts alike. This new version does much to fill in the back stories of the Taran characters, which while mildly interesting, does make for a few longueurs amid the plot. ?The opening in particular takes an age before the Doctor enters proceedings.
John Leeson gives a characterful reading of the book, with a good range of voices, not least the occasional interjections from K9 himself. Evocative music and sound effects also help to drive the story along (the audio realisation of several arrows thudding into a wooden door must have been great fun in foley).
An enjoyable audiobook then, and at under four hours not too challenging to listen to in one or two sittings. But one has to wonder why Fisher felt the need to dig deeper into such an inconsequential corner of the Doctor’s universe.