Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Last Voyage


Author: Dan Abnett
Read by: David Tennant
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.99 (CD), £9.00 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0940 4
Available 07 January 2010

The TARDIS materialises on board the maiden voyage of a pioneering space cruiser, which is travelling from Earth to the planet Eternity, the most distant outpost in human space. The Doctor has just started exploring the huge, hi-tech Interstitial Transposition Vehicle when there is a loud bang, a massive jolt and a flash of light. Shortly afterwards, he discovers that nearly all the passengers and crew have disappeared. Unless the Doctor and flight attendant Sugar MacAuley can take control and steer the ship, they could crash-land - or keep slipping through space forever. And as if that wasn’t enough, something awful awaits them on Eternity...

If you’re still inconsolable about the demise of David Tennant’s Doctor in The End of Time, you may find some comfort in this new talking book, another audio exclusive that is read by Tennant himself.

Admittedly, Dan Abnett’s story contains some familiar Tennant-era elements, including a spaceship’s ill-fated maiden flight, during which the Doctor teams up with a plucky stewardess (as he does in Voyage of the Damned), some disturbing alien intrusions into our reality (see also Midnight), a doomed space pioneer and a helpful little robot (as seen in The Waters of Mars). There are even hints of Steven Moffat’s style of creepy catchphrases, as various individuals find themselves asking, “Did you just say my name?”, and words to that effect.

However, The Last Voyage is executed with sufficient panache that such similarities can be forgiven. Almost omnipresent background sound effects by Simon Hunt create a sense of unease right from the start, with a decidedly strange, voiceless pre-titles sequence. There are some particularly unnerving moments as beings from another quantum reality extrude themselves into our dimension. Their materialisations are gruesomely depicted by Abnett and enthusiastically read by Tennant as floating fluid blobs that rapidly expand, filling out with blood, bone and sinew. The skeletal figure shown on the front cover doesn’t do justice to the hideous creatures described.

The author has a good instinct for what works in an audio book, as opposed to on the printed page, tending to populate his scenes with manageable numbers of characters for the narrator to vocalise. Often there are only one or two people present: the spirited Sugar MacAuley (Tennant putting on a reasonable American female voice) and one other.

This is the most gripping Doctor Who novel in quite a while - either on audio or in print. And that’s not the only good news. Apparently set before Planet of the Dead (the Doctor seems blissfully unaware of what his future holds), this isn’t the Tenth Doctor’s last voyage in terms of release dates either: there’s at least one more printed book and one more audio book to come...


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£4.98 (Amazon.co.uk)
£5.49 (Play.com)
£6.84 (Waterstones.com)
Doctor Who: The Last Voyage (Unabridged)
£6.95 (iTunes GB)
MP3 download
£6.75 (BBCshop.com)
£12.99 (HMV.com)
£9.49 (Tesco.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.