Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who


Author: Oli Smith
Read by: Stuart Milligan
RRP: £10.20
ISBN: 978 1 4084 6878 4
Available 08 September 2011

November 9th, 1965: New York City is plunged into darkness, a taxi driver has bad dreams, and an invisible spacecraft hovers ominously above the skyline. As an extra-terrestrial disease sweeps through the populace, Amy and Rory must sabotage the city’s water supply in order to slow the spread of the infection, and a dying Doctor holds another man’s life in his hands. With the death toll rising, and his companions stalked through the streets by alien businessmen, the Doctor is forced to make a terrible decision. How far will he go to save his friends...?

It’s back to the USA once again for the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory - and for author Oli Smith, who has taken us to that country in every Doctor Who novel and audio book he has penned to date. Given the setting, Stuart Milligan, who played President Richard Nixon in The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon, is an appropriate choice of reader.

Unfortunately, the familiarity doesn’t end there. The 1960s time period is also similar to that opening two-parter of Series 6, as is the alien menace that our heroes encounter. Extra-terrestrial businessmen with distorted faces and elongated bodies, hiding away in the shadows... they do sound rather like the Silence, don’t they? There are also several references to actual silence, which sound a little unnerving coming from the man who played Nixon! However, unlike at least one other reviewer, I don’t think these aliens are the Silence: people don’t forget them as soon as they turn away, and these creatures are clearly just visitors to our planet, rather than long-term residents. In common with another Steven Moffat episode, Let’s Kill Hitler, the Doctor is poisoned and has only a short time left to live.

Following the double-disc release The Eye of the Jungle, we are back to a single CD here. All too often these single-disc stories are blighted by a lack of scope and scale, but here Oli Smith overcomes the problem by starting the adventure as though we are halfway through a serial. We first meet the Doctor, not in the TARDIS control room or stepping out through the police box doors, but through the eyes of a troubled taxi driver, which gives the Time Lord a suitable air of mystery. We first encounter Amy and Rory in the midst of a mission to sabotage New York City’s water supply.

There are occasional narrative lapses, such as the author’s use of the word “pavement” rather than “sidewalk” when writing from an American point of view, but despite its flaws, Blackout is the most engaging Eleventh Doctor audio I have yet heard.


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.

£6.29 (
£6.29 (
£10.20 (
£7.14 (
£9.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.