On 12 October 2021, Hex expects to go to work at St Gart's
hospital as usual. Then a friend is wheeled into A&E; McShane,
the strange young woman from Human Resources, tries to chat
him up; an eight-foot tall guy in a Merc tries to run him
down; and an enigmatic doctor tells him that something strange
is going on up on St Gart's 31st floor...
is easy to imagine this audio adventure being the soundtrack
to a television story that could have been made if Doctor
Who had not been cancelled following its 26th season in
1989. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred sound just the same
as ever, while the dance-style riffs of David Darlington's
incidental music bear a hint of Keff McCulloch's work on the
series, but with a more up-to-the-minute feel.
As in several of the New Adventures novels, which picked
up where the TV show left off in the early 1990s, we find
that the Doctor and Ace are already on site some time prior
to the beginning of the narrative.
more casual fans, who might be contemplating buying this CD
in light of all the current excitement about the new series,
need not worry unduly about being excluded by off-putting
references to the show's long history both on and off screen.
Allusions to the series' past are kept very straightforward.
Indeed, there is a distinct "pilot episode" flavour to this
adventure, which reintroduces the listener to such strange
concepts as the TARDIS through the eyes of new companion Hex
(Philip Olivier). Just like the suspicious schoolteachers
Ian and Barbara in the very first Who episode, Hex
follows a mysterious girl, in this case Ace, back to a very
strange dwelling in Shoreditch...
Brookside actor Olivier is very likable as Hex (short
for Hector), who, in a nice change, is a companion whose accent
originates north of the Home Counties.
I indicated, allusions to the past are kept very simple, though
they are not altogether absent. I was delighted, and yet somehow
still surprised, when some of my own vague ponderings were
borne out. This is not to say that writer Dan Abnett's script
is predictable - far from it, there are some excellent cliffhangers
here. I must say that the reuse of some Gallifreyan-style
door and control bank sound effects sent my suspicions up
a blind alley to begin with, though I'm not sure whether that
was a cunning red herring on the part of Abnett or just a
bit of technical cost-cutting by Darlington.
is more used to writing for the visual medium of the comic
strip (including several Seventh Doctor and Ace strips for
Doctor Who Magazine) than audio. Consequently there
are a few instances of descriptive dialogue such as "He's
aside, though, I strongly recommend this double CD to Who
fans both old and new.