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Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks
David Whitaker
Multicast performance starring Frazer Hines, unabridged
BBC Audiobooks America, 2 hours 51 minutes

Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks
David Whitaker
David Whitaker (Born 1928 in Knebworth, England - Died 4th February 1980 in Australia) helped create Doctor Who and served as the series' first script editor, beginning with "An Unearthly Child" and ending with "The Dalek Invasion of Earth." He wrote a number of Doctor Who serials himself, including "The Power of the Daleks" and "The Evil of the Daleks,"" considered by many to be classics. Other Dalek work included writing the Dalek comic strip in TV Century 21, and the 1965 stage play The Curse of the Daleks.

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A review by Gil T. Wilson

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One of the many things that got me on the path to loving science fiction was my exposure to Doctor Who every Saturday night on PBS (at least in my hometown). Doctor Who was a time and space traveler with many dimensions to his character. He also had many incarnations through the years, which provided a plausible explanation when different actors portrayed him. Although all of the doctors were unique and well-worth watching, I will have to admit my favorite was Tom Baker. He's the one who portrayed the doctor with the long scarf and the frizzy hair.

The series was set up as somewhat of a sci-fi soap opera, or better yet, a television serial, with a cliffhanger at the end of every episode. One unique aspect of older programs is the "cheap" special effects, which, by today's standards, are completely unbelievable. Fortunately, they really didn't drive the story so viewers forgave them and sometimes got a good giggle. Now, if you were to take away the visual effects, every episode is brilliant storytelling. With writers such as David Whitaker the concepts in the world of the Doctor make for some dramatic science fiction. So, what happens if you take the visuals away from the series? A very interesting and fun audiobook from BBC Audio, that's what.

This production is more than a single narrator reading a TV script adaptation -- it's an audio performance that lets you experience the broadcast using the recording of the original soundtrack (combining the voices from the TV show with the music and sound effects) along with added narration that describes scenes and provides the set-up for action sequences. The narrator, Frazer Hines, should feel right at home because a much younger Hines is the actor who portrays the Doctor's assistant in this particular TV episode. Using the original soundtrack, the listener is treated to the voice of the second incarnation of the Doctor, portrayed by Patrick Troughton. Also experienced is the full effect of the loud discordant voice of the Daleks, a treat in itself. So, with the story narrated and the voices of the original actors, it becomes pretty much a radio play, which makes for some fun sci-fi listening. As a side note, the original copy of this television broadcast was destroyed in the 60s but, due to fan efforts, the audio was saved, which allowed the creation of this audiobook.

The episode begins with the Doctor and Jamie trying to track down thieves who stole the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space -- it is a time machine and spacecraft used by the Doctor). After some mysterious and "too convenient" clues the Doctor and Jamie track down an antiques dealer whose antiques are authentic but new. This leads the Doctor and Jamie to be captured by the dealer and the Daleks and taken back in time to 1866. During their stay then, the Doctor is forced to trick Jamie into passing some tests for the Daleks so the "human factor" can be extracted by the Dalek's to use in their plans to conquer humankind.

With clever twists and deceptions, the performance finally leads to the Dalek home planet of Skaro, where the Doctor intends to defeat the Daleks once and for all. Can he do it? Ahh… I will not give that away, Enjoy this audiobook and you will find out. This audiobook will bring back some great memories for Doctor Who fans of all ages and could create some new ones with a great science-fiction time traveling adventure with Doctor Who.

Listen to the audiobook review podcast of Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks.

Copyright © 2008 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.


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