Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll

by Simon Messingham
read by David Tennant
(London: BBC Audio, 2010)
MP3 Audiobook, 63.3 MB, 2.2 Hours, Fiction

When the Doctor arrives on Earth in the far future, he is horrified to find the planet beset by famine and starvation.  England is a barren wasteland, and scientists are desperately seeding the ground to make the crops grow again.  But now it seems that something even worse is happening.  Karl Baring, the owner of the research facility The Grange, has been snatched away in the middle of the night.  His sister Katy was with him when he vanished, but is now in catatonic shock—so it is up to the Doctor, with the help of the scientists at The Grange, to investigate.  What is lurking under the old bridge, and why is it preying on people?  The Doctor must find out before it strikes again…

Since finishing my Master’s degree and not having an hour and a half bus ride Monday to Friday I haven’t had much need to fill time with an audiobook. In fact, I have been falling behind on my podcasts as well without that time. I know, I know … First World problems, right? Anyway, because I am now a stay-at-home dad I have had a lot of time in the car shuttling back and forth with the kids. I’ve “forced” them to listen to my podcasts but I wanted to also make the car rides a little more fun, rather than just us listening to local newscasts or political gabfests and whatnot. Then I remembered that I have a bunch of Doctor Who audio books stashed away, so I dug those out, uploaded one to my iPod and WHAM! Instant hit.

Luckily the kids are as big Whovians as my wife and I are, it also helps that this particular audiobook is read by David Tennant, the kids’ favorite doctor.

I’ve listened to some of these audiobooks in the past and they are fun, but I cannot tell you how much fun they are when I was listening to them with the kids. Everyone, especially my son, was totally in to them, and were very much caught up in the storyline and couldn’t wait to get back in the car to find out what happened next.

Now, I call that a ringing endorsement, but just in case you need something more, I will tell you that this is a consummate Doctor Who story with the Doctor appearing out of nowhere in a mysterious situation that has gotten overly weird and has a slightly supernatural aspect (in this case, a troll under a bridge) that you know that because this is a Doctor Who story (and not say, Supernatural or Dark Shadows) that there is an alien explanation, but you have no idea what it is, or how it will manifest itself. I must also say that The Day of the Troll is one of the most sufficiently creepy DW audiobooks that I have had the pleasure to listen to, and my kids loved that part of it too. In fact, my six-year-old son played at being a troll during the whole time we were listening to the story and well beyond that.

David Tennant’s reading is stellar, as if there could have been any doubts. His portrayal of the Doctor, while tinged heavily with emotion and loss on the show, still had more than its fair share of boyish eagerness and childlike enthusiasm, and that all carries over into Tennant’s performance here. It is a real treat to listen to Tennant, not only because he was the Tenth Doctor, but also because you can tell that he genuinely enjoys entering this world and having fun in it, inhabiting it fully. It is a lot of fun, and makes listening to The Day of the Troll an unadulterated pleasure.

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