Friday, September 11, 2009

Fistful of Audios: Hornet's Nest 1

I listened to the first Fourth Doctor audio. Sadly I was underwhelmed by this audio - it wasn't bad, but sadly it was nowhere near as good as the first Eighth Doctor audios.

Tom refuses to work with Big Finish - the audios are from the BBC Audiobook team who up until now have only had Tom reading novelisations of old TV episodes. Tom has a habit of avoiding working in the same area as other Doctors. When offered scripts from Big Finish he unkindly mentioned he put them in bin - amusingly one of these scripts is by the guy who wrote all five of these new audios. Supposedly he suggested doing new material and is more comfortable working with his chums at BBC Audio than Big Finish. Perhaps he feels more comfortable with them than the Big Finish crowd (who are by all accounts nice people who make nice lunches).

The format is somewhat schizo - switching from audiobook to audioplay for certain scenes, but with dollops of narration (mainly from Tom). The basic story is that Retired Captain Yates has been lured to The Nest, a cottage the Doctor owns in Sussex. (Let's be honest it was never going to be outside the home counties). He proceeds to tell Mike about his recent adventures relating to a group of hornet-like aliens that he has trapped in his cottage - or have him trapped?

The Doctor is suspiciously similar to the 70 odd-year Tom Baker. He complains about his old bones, lives in a cottage and walks his dog (called Captain) in the countryside. There's the occassional witty remarks but most of his time is spent narrating his story to Mike.

The guy who voices Captain Yates is relatively flat. As the initial narrator he is competent but when he reacts indignantly to the Doctor, demanding to know what's going on, it does not sound so different from the tone he narrates with.

Truth be told this would be a reasonably good story but some of the really witty bits are narrated flatly rather than acted. There's still some good stuff from Tom when he's not in narrator-mode, but the only characters with voices are Mike Yates, the housekeeper and Mister Noggin.

Additionally this is 1/5 of the full story, and despite appearances to the contrary does not stand on its own terribly well. It ends with a cliffhanger of the Doctor preparing to tell yet another story to Yates. Will Yates survive? Probably. Will my interest survive? For now. I do hope this series is a success and leads to a proper series of audio plays.

No comments: