Read by Ian Hogg
The Seventh Doctor takes Ace back to the scene of the crime – one hundred years early…
Marc Platt’s novelisations of the first two tales of the final Sylvester McCoy season are some of the finest books created for the ongoing Target range, with Ghost Light especially expanding the story far beyond the 75 minutes’ air time that the broadcast version was allowed. His attention to detail, and further layering of an already complex plot, set it above most of its contemporaries.
Ian Hogg’s reading allows the listener to savour every word of Platt’s Victorian pastiche. There are times when it walks the fine line between being atmospheric and ponderous, and anyone expecting the madcap delivery of David Tennant or Matt Smith in the new series audios could be put off. However it’s worth sticking with: the first meeting between Mrs Pritchard and Reverend Matthews, for example, has a tension only hinted at in the televised version. Hogg’s voices perhaps could be a little more diverse (and his Ace is a lo’ more gu’-er-al than Sophie Aldred’s) but this is a book that sells the story through its descriptions rather than dialogue.
This six disc rendition contains many other treats: the sound effects are beautifully put together (although it always seems odd when the text talks of rattling locks and a scream, but all we are given is the sound of the locks), and the music, while different from Mark Ayres’ original, compliments the story.
Verdict: One, perhaps, for a dark winter’s evening rather than the height of summer, but the mystery of Gabriel Chase draws you in. 8/10
Click here for our review of The Stones of Blood