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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
Day of the Cockroach


Author: Steve Lyons
Read by: Arthur Darvill
RRP: £10.20
ISBN: 978 1 4084 6880 7
Available 03 May 2012

The TARDIS materialises in a pitch-dark tunnel, where the Doctor, Amy and Rory stumble upon the dead body of a soldier. Questioned by his superior officer, Colonel Bowe, they learn that they’re inside a British nuclear bunker, in the middle of an atomic war - in 1982. Amy and Rory weren’t even born then, but they know the bomb didn’t drop that year, and so does the Doctor. The friends also know that they had nothing to do with the death of Sergeant Trott - so who, or what, was the killer, and why does the Doctor’s psychic paper not work on the Colonel? They soon discover that something else is lurking in the shadows... something deadly...

Another Doctor Who audio exclusive, another invasion by over-size creepy-crawlies. In Darkstar Academy it was giant genetically-engineered spiders. This time it’s man-size mutant cockroaches. Once again, the setting resembles the 20th century... but in terms of quality, Day of the Cockroach could scarcely be more different from its predecessor.

This time it actually is the 20th century - but how can it be 1982 in the aftermath of a nuclear conflict? That question propels the potent pre-titles sequence, which is as quirky and cliffhanging as the best that the television show has to offer, and it lingers throughout most of the 75-minute running time of this talking book, though it does get sidelined by the more pressing matter of avoiding grisly death by insect mandibles. This being a Steve Lyons story, I had anticipated the familiar theme of an altered timeline. After all, atomic war was a very real possibility in the 1980s. However, without giving too much away, the author succeeded in defying my expectations.

I was reminded at times of The Web of Fear, with all the characters trapped in an underground shelter, not knowing who to trust.

The narrator is Arthur Darvill, alias companion Rory Williams, who provides a very listenable voice and decent imitations of the rest of the TARDIS crew. Amy’s Scottish accent is not overdone or unintentionally comical, as is all too often the case with this range, and Darvill’s Eleventh Doctor is remarkably close to Matt Smith’s offbeat delivery.

If the delayed return of the television series is beginning to bug you, then Day of the Cockroach should help to fill the gap. Hearing Darvill reading Lyons’s gripping story, it’s almost as if the show is back on our screens.


Richard McGinlay

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