Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Essential Companion


Presenter: Alex Price
BBC Audio
RRP: £13.99 (CD), £9.00 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 6772 5 (CD), 978 1 4084 9589 6 (download)
Available 18 November 2010

Hear again the most exciting, scary, funny and moving moments from the Eleventh Doctor’s first series of TV adventures in this collection of highlights. What is the new Doctor really like? What’s in store for Amy and Rory when they join him on his travels? Confront the Smilers, the Daleks, the Weeping Angels, the Dream Lord and all the other terrifying aliens they face. Meet Winston Churchill and River Song amongst the many brave friends who help along the way. Travel to Starship UK, Alfava Metraxis, Venice, Provence and Stonehenge - all in the company of your favourite Time Lord and his friends. Doctor Who: The Essential Companion has everything you need to know about the Doctor’s travels before he - and you - set off in the TARDIS once again...

I greatly enjoyed Matt Smith’s first season of adventures as the Eleventh Doctor. Even so, I’m struggling to see the point of this double CD.

Like 2006’s The Dalek Conquests, Doctor Who: The Essential Companion is essentially a two-and-a-half-hour clip show, this time with linking narration performed by Alex Price (from Doctor Who Confidential). However, whereas The Dalek Conquests offered some analysis of the show’s complex chronology, explored its thematic connections, and even included some newly recorded scenes, there is little of substance here.

To be fair, The Dalek Conquests had the advantage of covering a greater volume of stories and a much longer period of television history, while The Essential Companion has just 13 episodes to play with. There is a degree of thematic structure to the two discs, with CD 1 presenting itself as the story of a brave little girl (Amelia/Amy), while CD 2 is the story of a brave young man (Rory). I will admit that Price’s narration (written by Steve Tribe and produced by Neil Gardner) explains the society of The Beast Below’s Starship UK, including the function of the Winders, rather better than the actual episode does - but apart from that I learned nothing new about the mythology or making of the show.

The Essential Companion is a useful aide-mémoire, a primer for the upcoming Christmas special and Series 6. It reminds the listener of the major events of Series 5 (including the cracks in the universe and the return of River Song) as well as what we don’t yet know (who or what is the Silence, and what awaits the time travellers on board the Orient Express in space?). Many of the clips make great listening, especially the funny lines from The Eleventh Hour and The Vampires of Venice, and the moving moments of The Beast Below and The Big Bang.

However, I can’t help feeling that this is a poor substitute to re-watching the episodes themselves on TV, DVD or Blu-ray.


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.

£9.49 (
£9.49 (
£9.79 (
£9.79 (
£13.29 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.