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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Day of the Troll


Author: Simon Messingham
Read by: David Tennant
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.78 (CD), £9.00 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0939 8
Available 08 October 2009

When the Doctor arrives on Earth in the far future, he is horrified to find the planet beset by famine and starvation. England is a barren wasteland, and scientists are desperately seeding the ground to make the crops grow again. But now it seems that something even worse is happening. Karl Baring, the owner of research facility the Grange, has been snatched away in the middle of the night. His sister Katy was with him when he vanished, but is now in catatonic shock - so it is up to the Doctor, with the help of the scientists at the Grange, to investigate. What is lurking under the old bridge, and why is it preying on people? The Doctor must find out, before it strikes again...

The Tenth Doctor’s time is almost up. On the upside, though, it does at least mean that David Tennant has some time on his hands to record Doctor Who audio books, something he hasn’t done since The Stone Rose, The Feast of the Drowned and The Resurrection Casket back in 2006. And this audio exclusive certainly needs a good reader...

The Day of the Troll is basically a rehash of familiar Doctor Who stocks in trade, including the archetypal scientific base under siege. Indeed, Simon Messingham’s narrative takes place in the aftermath of another “base under siege” story, The Ice Warriors - it is revealed that, following the ionisation of the glaciers, the retreating ice has left the land barren. The scientists aren’t a terribly interesting bunch, but Tennant makes the most of them by adopting a range of accents for the international team.

There’s also an unscrupulous government minister - though he’s more actively villainous than the indolent bureaucrats we usually encounter in Who - and a terrifying legend come true. Actually, the plant-based menace is more like Swamp Thing than the trolls of folklore, though he does at least live under a bridge. There are some particularly vivid and creepy descriptions as animated roots and twiggy creatures strike terror into the hearts of their victims.

The Day of the Troll contains few real surprises, but if you need a comforting dose of traditional “tick the boxes” Who to keep you going before the next television episode arrives, Tennant’s reading should do the trick.


Richard McGinlay

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