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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Demon Quest


Starring: Tom Baker
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.99, US $24.95 (CD), £3.60 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 6671 1 (CD), 978 1 4084 8053 3 (download)
Available 02 December 2010

Following the revelation of one final clue, the TARDIS arrives on Sepulchre, and the Doctor and Mike Yates find themselves in an old, dark house. Who awaits the two men in this strange place? What plans have been laid for their arrival? They soon discover from their demonic host - and his housekeeper, Mrs Wibbsey - that this is the culmination of a terrible, grand plan... one with the Doctor at its very centre... one from which he may never escape. As the Atlas of All Time unfolds, the odds seem to be stacked against the three friends. Which of them will fall before the night is out...?

And so another Paul Magrs / Tom Baker mini-series comes to an end.

There has been some criticism of this series and its predecessor, Hornets' Nest, for not being sufficiently representative of the Fourth Doctor’s television adventures. Instead of the Doctor whizzing around in his TARDIS to distant planets accompanied by his more familiar companions, such as Sarah Jane Smith or K-9, he’s been largely earthbound, hanging around Nest Cottage or travelling through Earth’s history with his new team of Mike Yates (Richard Franklin) and Mrs Wibbsey (Susan Jameson). However, with this instalment the continued involvement of the “Nest Cottage gang” pays off handsomely, though some listeners may be disappointed by all the references to Hornets' Nest (be warned if you haven’t yet heard that series).

There’s a relatively small cast this time. Joining Baker, Franklin (who also narrates) and Jameson are Nigel Anthony as the Host and Carole Boyd in a bit part as an old friend... and that’s it. However, in this instance the smaller complement of characters allows for a more tightly focused drama than the more rambling nature of preceding episodes. The sense of threat to the lives of the regulars - especially Mrs Wibbsey, who has never appeared in Doctor Who outside of this audio strand - feels greater than ever before.

However, it does seem that Magrs and BBC Audio have not done with the Fourth Doctor yet. The story ends on a cliffhanger, which hopefully means that another series for 2011 is on the cards.

Overall, I have found Demon Quest to be a more involving affair than Hornets' Nest, despite its more tenuous linking theme. Its emphasis on multi-cast audio drama rather than past-tense narration makes a big difference. As Harry Hill might once have put it: Hornets' Nest... Demon Quest... that’s how I tell them apart.


Richard McGinlay

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