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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who and the Time Warrior


Author: Terrance Dicks
Read by: Jeremy Bulloch
BBC Audio
RRP: £17.99 (CD), £10.80 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0954 1 (CD)
Available 13 November 2008

His spaceship crippled in an interstellar battle, the Sontaran warrior Linx is forced to crash-land on Earth. He arrives in the Middle Ages, a time too primitive to provide the technology he needs to repair his ship. Allying himself with the local robber chief, Linx uses his powers to “borrow” scientists and equipment from 20th-century Earth. The Doctor tracks down the missing scientists and journeys into the past to save them. But can he defeat the ruthless Linx and his savage human allies before the course of human history is changed forever...?

The Time Warrior is a nice little story. I liked Terrance Dicks’s novelisation of Robert Holmes’s script when I read it as a child, and I greatly enjoyed the serial itself when it was released on VHS and then on DVD. It introduces us to Sarah Jane Smith and the Sontaran species, and is full of sparkling dialogue and entertaining characters, including the bandit Irongron and his cronies, and the eccentric, short-sighted Professor Rubeish. Remarkably, it is the Third Doctor’s only proper trip into Earth’s past during his television tenure (unless you count his journey to ancient Atlantis in The Time Monster or his encounter with characters from 1926 in Carnival of Monsters), which is a shame, as he fits in with the lords and ladies rather well.

The novelisation is a fairly standard adaptation of the screenplay, apart from the notable addition of a prologue, which introduces us to the Sontaran Linx and his warlike mentality. The prologue is actually written by an uncredited Holmes, who was initially commissioned to novelise the entire story, but only got as far as completing the prologue before giving up and sending it to Dicks with a note asking him to finish it off! Dicks adds a few little touches here and there, most notably making Sarah’s trip through time more believable. Here she cottons on more quickly to the fact that this really is the Middle Ages and not just some sort of film set or pageant. Her modern attitudes and choice of garments are more explicitly shocking to the inhabitants of Wessex Castle, who regard her as a witch.

Now the novelisation has been reissued as a talking book, read by Jeremy Bulloch, who played Hal the archer in the original serial. Bulloch, who later found greater fame as the bounty hunter Boba Fett in the first Star Wars trilogy, may seem like an obscure choice of narrator, since Hal is a relatively minor character in the serial. However, he gives a simply splendid reading. I don’t know whether he refreshed his memory by watching it again, or simply remembers the production well, but he gives convincing impersonations of several of his fellow cast members, including David Daker’s Irongron, John J. Carney’s Bloodaxe and Kevin Lindsay’s Linx.

As ever, music (by Simon E. Power) and sound effects liven up the tale, though I was a little distracted by the use of a Star Trek-style “widdly-whee” noise to represent the Sontaran’s hypnotic beam.

Enjoy this talking book, but remember: the Linx effect doesn’t last forever... only about three and three-quarter hours!


Richard McGinlay

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