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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Forever Trap


Author: Dan Abnett
Read by: Catherine Tate
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0678 6
Available 09 October 2008

When the TARDIS is invaded by a holographic marketing scam, the Doctor and Donna find themselves trapped on the Edifice, a purpose-built complex of luxury apartments in space. Their new environs leave much to be desired. Millions of beings from across the universe have been gathered to live side by side, but instead of creating neighbourly affection, it’s led to terrible battles in the corridors and on the stairwells. The Doctor and Donna must cross the paths of deadly alien mobs as they search for the Edifice’s ultimate authority. Who - or what - lies at the heart of the incredible complex? What destructive scourge is eating away at the Edifice itself? And are they trapped forever in this living hell...?

Unlike the previous Doctor Who audio exclusive, Pest Control, The Forever Trap is not read by David Tennant. However, we’ve got the next best thing in the form of Catherine Tate, alias Donna Noble.

We already know from Journey’s End that Tate can do a mean impersonation of Tennant’s motor-mouth Tenth Doctor, so the actress has both of the main characters down pat. She also turns her comedic vocal talents to the various weird and wonderful aliens that populate the Edifice, including one that sounds remarkably like the squeaky Alpha Centauri from the Peladon serials. Author Dan Abnett (The Harvest, Torchwood: Everyone Says Hello) follows the TV series writers’ penchant for giving Tate lines that sound rather like her comedy show catchphrases, in this case, “How dare you” - though at least she omits the “very”!

The plot is exploratory in nature, as the Doctor and Donna move from apartment to apartment and from floor to floor, encountering various dangers, including warring species (the Sontarans get a mention, placing this story after The Poison Sky in series continuity), deadly alien criminals and a microbe that can eat through anything. This variety helps to make up for the fact that the notion of a luxurious prison has recently been done in the book The Doctor Trap, during much of which Donna was trapped in a replica of a hotel.

Another flaw in this story is that the Doctor seems to work out how to reach and then defeat the villain rather conveniently, with little or no explanation of how he achieves these feats.

However, this is essentially an enjoyable tale. And BBC Audio has remembered to use the latest theme tune this time! All in all, The Forever Trap is worth getting trapped in, maybe not forever, but at least for 2 hours and 20 minutes.


Richard McGinlay

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