Doctor Who
Wooden Heart

Author: Martin Day
Read by: Adjoa Andoh
BBC Audio
RRP: 9.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 67775 2
Available 02 July 2007

Castor, a vast and seemingly deserted starship, spins slowly in the void of deep space. Martha and the Doctor explore this drifting tomb, and discover that they may not be alone after all. Who or what survived the disaster that overcame the rest of the crew? What continues to power the vessel? And why has a stretch of wooded countryside suddenly appeared in the middle of the craft? As the Doctor and Martha journey through the forest, they find a mysterious, fog-bound village - a village traumatised by missing children and prophecies of its own destruction...

The above synopsis, with its apparently primitive earthbound setting somehow connected to a derelict spaceship in the future, sounds rather reminiscent of The Girl in the Fireplace doesn't it? Wooden Heart is also derivative of several other stories, borrowing elements from the Doctor Who serials Castrovalva and The Mind of Evil. I was also reminded of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Remember Me (people disappearing and the universe shrinking) and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Shadowplay.

Nevertheless, author Martin Day manages to keep the listener guessing and keeps things moving along nicely.

The progression of the narrative is, in fact, aided by some of the cuts that have been made to this abridged edition, including the excision of a somewhat off-topic flashback/dream sequence from the second half of the story. Martha, Saul and Petr's journey across the lake to the mysterious island is also cut down to the bare minimum. And - surprise, surprise - the Doctor's cheeky line about the Castor's sister ship ("Never mind the Pollux") hasn't made it into the talking book either!

Reader Adjoa Andoh, who played Sister Jatt in New Earth and the recurring role of Francine Jones in several episodes of Series 3, is what really makes this audio book. She gives the villagers distinctive Eastern European accents, and her delivery of Martha's lines sounds uncannily like Freema Agyeman. Sometimes you can almost believe that Agyeman has come into the studio just to record her lines. Andoh is obviously well cast as Martha's mother.

I actually enjoyed this reading more than the original book. Not Pollux at all then.

Richard McGinlay

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