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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Wirrn Dawn


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 396 5
Available 30 June 2009

This is full-scale war. Wirrn and Humankind locked in a deadly struggle for survival. When did that happen?” The Doctor and Lucie land right in the middle of one of the bloodiest periods in the human race’s history. GalSec colonists are at war with the insectoid Wirrn. Trying to make a difference here would be like standing up and calling for a ceasefire on the Somme. Certain death... or worse. Survival can be a messy business...

This exciting adventure is an unashamed homage to Aliens and Starship Troopers, with the Wirrn (from The Ark in Space) well cast in the role of the terrifying alien bugs. And why not? After all, they were gestating inside human hosts and absorbing brain power long before their cinematic counterparts came along.

The handful of human characters that inhabit this tale also tick the necessary boxes, including the loudmouth bully Salway (Colin Salmon), who ultimately fares less well than the quieter and more rational Delong (Daniel Anthony, alias Clyde Langer in The Sarah Jane Adventures).

It’s tempting to use terms such as “stereotype” or “rip-off”, but in fact these familiar story elements are a handy shortcut for getting the listener straight into the heart of the action, which is an important consideration when your story is only 50 minutes long. Nicholas Briggs’s script kicks off at a tremendous pace, throwing the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) into the midst of battle, and it doesn’t let up. That said, the writer/director also remains faithful to the moral values of The Ark in Space.

Sound designer Jamie Robertson lovingly re-creates the Wirrn’s famous chirruping sound, while Briggs reinstates a line that was cut from the Doctor’s original encounter with the creatures, as one of their victims, Farroll (Liz Sutherland), begs her comrades to “Kill me!”

Audio Who doesn’t get much more exciting than this.


Richard McGinlay

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