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Doctor Who Audio Books in December

19 Dec

Doctor Who: Snake BiteSeason’s greetings! As we head towards Christmas, there are three brand new Doctor Who titles this month! The first, DOCTOR WHO – SNAKE BITE by Scott Handcock, is an audio original adventure for the Eleventh Doctor, and a flashback to his days of adventuring with the Ponds, Amy and Rory. It’s a fast-paced, action packed adventure which begins in the laboratory of Doctor Elehri Mussurana, an eminent scientist whose life’s work is about to reach is fruition. Then the TARDIS materialises, and changes everything…  The story is read by Frances Barber, who of course played Madame Kovarian in Series 6 of Doctor Who, and there’s sound design by Simon Hunt. In all it’s a fine climax to this year’s range of audio originals, which is also something of a pausing point for the Eleventh Doctor, as next year’s Destiny of the Doctor (starting in January) will present an original adventure for each of the 11 Doctors in turn.

Meanwhile in Paris, it’s Spring 1979 and the Fourth Doctor and Romana are sightseeing in our latest TV Soundtrack title DOCTOR WHO – CITY OF DEATH. Narrated by Lalla Ward, who also provides a fascinating bonus 20 minute interview, this is one of the most popular classic Doctor Who stories of all. It’s written by Douglas Adams, under the pen name David Agnew (since elements of the storyline originated from David Fisher) and it features Tom Baker at the height of his powers as the Doctor, fizzing with what I tend to think of as ‘eccentric menace’! There is some superb dialogue here, and much witty repartee, delivered in some first class performances by the lead actors plus Julian Glover, Catherine Schell and David Graham. Several reviewers of these recent 4th Doctor TV soundtracks have remarked on what a different experience it is to listen to familiar stories rather than watching them on TV. I can only agree. The soundtrack is crystal clear, and there are nuances here which are easy to miss with the distraction of pretty pictures! I heartily recommend you try it.

Our third new release of the month as a download only (although a CD version will follow in March). DOCTOR WHO – DEVIL IN THE SMOKE by Justin Richards is published by BBC Books as an ebook, and the audiobook version is read by Dan Starkey. You’ll know Dan as the Sontaran Strax in the recent TV series, and Strax is one of the main characters in this story – along with Madame Vastra (‘the fabled Lizard Woman of Paternoster Row’) and her assistant Jenny. All three characters are in the forthcoming Christmas TV episode of Doctor Who, and DEVIL IN THE SMOKE sees them having another adventure in Victorian England.

Michael KilgarriffLooking ahead, I mentioned Destiny of the Doctor which begins in January with the First Doctor story HUNTERS OF EARTH, written by Nigel Robinson and performed by Carole Ann Ford and Tam Williams. It’s a gripping tale set immediately before the events of the very first Doctor Who episode, way back in 1963. More next month! Finally, to whet your appetite for March, here’s a photo of actor Michael Kilgarriff, who came to Bath recently to read our forthcoming Classic Novel title DOCTOR WHO AND THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN. You…will…be…like…us!

With very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Michael Stevens

Commissioning Editor, Doctor Who

October Film and Music Titles at AudioGO

19 Oct

Peter HookOctober is a great month for music and film lovers. First up is former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook reading his own book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division.  In Peter’s own unique style he talks candidly and gives a fascinating insight into history of the ground-breaking and hugely influential Joy Division, from their first rehearsal and gig to the untimely death of lead singer Ian Curtis which led to their break-up. This is a warts-and-all account giving a great insight to the inner workings of this amazing band.

Following this we have Philip Norman’s simply titled Mick Jagger. 2012 marks 50 years since the formation of the Rolling Stones and there’s no better reason to look at the life and times of their legendary front man Mick Jagger. Philip Norman has done sterling work on previous music biographies, including the acclaimed John Lennon: The Life (also available from AudioGO.co.uk) and his take on the life of Mick Jagger adheres to his high standard. Expertly researched, bringing fresh insight and revelatory tales, Mick Jagger really gets into the soul of Jagger’s character.

And for film fans we have two episodes from Sir David Frost’s recent Radio 2 series Hollywood Greats. Sir David Frost, the broadcasting legend, needs no introduction and we join him as he expertly prizes nuggets of interview gold from two Hollywood legends – Shirley MacLaine and Sir Michael Caine. Shirley MacLaine discusses being the poster girl for the Rat Pack, reveals how her open relationship with her husband, Steve Parker, affected both their lives and talks about her beliefs in UFOs and reincarnation. Michael Caine speaks about the brother he never knew and reveals how he chased his wife-to-be, Shakira, after seeing her in a Maxwell House television ad!

That’s it for this month – enjoy!

Doctor Who Audiobooks in October

11 Oct

Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet (4th Doctor TV Soundtrack), Douglas Adams34 years ago this month the mercury was dropping, leaves were turning brown on the trees, and on television the Doctor was encountering a maniacal pirate captain, in a script written by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy scribe Douglas Adams. You can relish the sparkling wit and intellect of those episodes in our new TV soundtrack title, Doctor Who – The Pirate Planet. Narrated by John Leeson (the Voice of K9) it stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and the late Mary Tamm as Romana, with Bruce Purchase as the Captain. This was Douglas’s first script for Doctor Who, but very soon he became the series’ script editor and wrote two further scripts: City of Death (as David Agnew) which we’re releasing in December, and Shada which was novelised earlier this year, and read for audio by Lalla Ward. At the same time as recording the linking narration for The Pirate Planet, John Leeson also recounted his memories of his time in Doctor Who – which you can hear as a bonus interview. The soundtrack is a fine testament to the talents of Mary Tamm, who portrayed the first incarnation of Romana with a wit, intelligence and elegance.

This month’s Classic Novel is Doctor Who and the Visitation by Eric Saward, and it’s read by newcomer to the range Matthew Waterhouse. Matthew played the Doctor’s companion Adric in the original TV serial from 1982, and it was great to welcome him to our Bath studios earlier this year. He gives a colourful, lively reading of the story, with special mention due to two of his characters:  the Fifth Doctor, whose tones he captures superbly, and Richard Mace, the 17th Century thespian who here is a plummy, fussy aesthete almost perpetually out of his depth. Lovely stuff! Sound design is again provided by Simon Power – listen out for some lovely evocations of the countryside in which the adventure is set.

Torchwood: Exodus Code is the brand new novel from BBC Books, written by brother and sister John Barrowman (Captain Jack himself) and Carole E. Barrowman. It’s an epic thriller in which Captain Jack is reunited with Gwen Cooper (we saw them both last in the the TV series Miracle Day) and together they battle to save humanity itself – again! Our reader for it is Daniel Pirrie, whose name you may know from Downton Abbey, Waking the Dead, The Awakening and the Doctor Who episode The God Complex  – in which he played Joe Buchanan.

As it’s less than three months to Christmas, we’ve gone box set happy this month, with no fewer than three Doctor Who CD collections being released. The TARDIS Tardis Adventure CollectionAdventure Collection offers the chance to own your own actual police box – or at least a sturdy miniature version of one, crammed with six 11th Doctor Audio Original titles! The box is beautifully designed, with a single front ‘door’ which opens to reveal the CDs inside. It collects together our first six 11th Doctor stories – The Runaway Train, The Ring of Steel, The Jade Pyramid, The Hounds of Artemis, The Gemini Contagion and The Eye of the Jungle – and the reader list is impressive: Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill, Clare Corbett, Meera Syal and David Troughton. The run is limited, so catch it before it dematerialises!

Dalek Attack! and Invasion Earth! are smart slipcases collecting together three of our Classic Novel readings. Dalek Attack! brings together John Peel’s three First Doctor novelisations The Chase, Mission to the Unknown and The Mutation of Time, read by Maureen O’Brien (Vicki in the TV series), Peter Purves (Steven) and Jean Marsh (Sara). If you’re a fan of the TARDIS and its travels, look no further than this box set, as it takes the Doctor and friends to a multiplicity of times and places in their escape from the dreaded Daleks. Invasion Earth! sees our home planet under attack in The Dalek Invasion of Earth  and The Auton Invasion, both by Terrance Dicks, and The Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke. The readers for these are William Russell, Caroline John and Martin Jarvis.

Looking ahead to November, anyone still reeling from the departure of Amy and Rory from the TV series can take heart from our next 11th Doctor Audio Original (and, for that matter, the one after that!). But elsewhere, lurking in the shadows is a familiar menace…

Michael Stevens

Commissioning Editor, Doctor Who

In the studio

27 Jul

The AudioGO studios in Bath were in thrall last week to Buster the Dog and his owner Andy Kershaw, who was in to read the unabridged version of his autobiography; ‘No Off Switch’. Buster was quite the gentleman, sitting on Andy’s feet during the recording, and charming the other readers at lunchtime. Andy himself entertained all with stories of his escapades all over the world. The audiobook sounds great, with Andy unable to contain his giggles at some points.

Available from Audible on 4th October 2012.

Also in was Tom Allen, star of Radio 4’s ‘Bleak Expectations’; reading ‘The Merde Factor’ by Stephen Clarke. The book follows Paul West, an Englishman living in Paris trying not to annoy the French, and gave Tom a chance to employ his full vocal range in this his first audiobook for us. Tom really does have a unique voice, brilliant for this sort of comedy novel.

Available from Audible on 13th September 2012.

I’ve been in studio for the last week with ghoulies and ghosties and David Rintoul, recording James Herbert’s ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’. This book is currently being made in to a TV series for the BBC, but I can’t imagine it being creepier than the Rintoul performance.  The chills were running up my spine, despite the hot weather… David knows how to build the tension, and he even does his own sound effects (swish-thwack!).

Available from AudioGO to download on 4th October 2012, and on CD from all good bookshops.

Lyndsey Melling, Studio Audio Editor