Tuesday, March 2, 2010

REVIEW - "Castrovalva" audiobook

BBC Audio March 4
Available on 4xCD [RRP £12.99]
In a fit of unusual inter~connectivity, BBC Audio have delightfully linked two consecutive releases. We were just treated to the novelisation of Tom Baker's farewell Logopolis - read the review HERE - and now we are presented with Peter Davison's welcome, Castrovalva. After the calamitous events of The Fourth Doctor's finale, The Fifth Doctor's tale is more thoughtful, with less "action" and a bit barmy too with even more TARDIS room~deleting fun. (Bidmead!!!)

Like its predecessor, this novelisation spend a great amount of time concentrating on the opening scenes. And there's quite a bit going on to what with The Master, a regeneration, Adric going awol and the TARDIS hurtling towards "Event One", the 'big bang' that gave birth to the universe (so they say). Interestingly, we get an explanation for The Watcher - the ghostly character who popped up now and again in Logopolis and was "the Doctor all the time" (so they say).


Watchy, as he's known to his chums, was an "overlap" of the Doctor's lives, so caused due to the "apocalyptic" nature of his regeneration. Apocalyptic? Hardly! All he did was fall from a flippin' bannister - lightweight! Anyway, Peter Davison takes us through his onscreen opening gambit and does so with predictable panache and energy. His impressions of the characters make for an intriguing listen and whilst he does not quite capture Tegan's Antipodean twang, he certainly conjures her feisty and arousing attitude. Davison's take on The Master is remarkable as he recreates the character almost completely, making the rival Time Lord older and decrepit sounding - a brave move to be sure.


Oddly, his version of his own character is more akin to The Fifth Doctor present on the excellent Big Finish audio dramas - more aged and thoughtful as opposed to his youthful, celery~driven exuberance. Castrovalva, like its TV counterpart, does drag a bit despite the high~concept and Escher~inspired images. The sense of urgency, that should be present 'cos this was The Master's trap all along (*coughs*, yeah right), is lost and the story becomes rather padded and almost dull in parts. Thankfully, accompanied by the usual excellent production values from BBC Audio, Davison does his utmost to keep the listener listening throughout the four hours plus running time - using his considerable skills as a voice artist to consistently entertain.


BLOGTOR RATING 7/10

Thanks to BBC Audio

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