Audio Review: Doctor Who: The Awakening
PUBLISHED: 14:27 30 September 2010
ALTHOUGH the Target novelisations of Doctor Who stories continued well into the 1980s, they struggled captured the series’ halcyon days in the 1970s, when home video didn’t exist and these books were often fans’ only way of revisiting old adventures.
Unlike many of the earlier novels, these later books failed to add much more to the televisual narrative, either in terms of characterisation or plot, and were little more than direct transcripts of what had unfolded onscreen.
This is certainly the case with The Awakening, Eric Pringle’s novelisation of his own two-part TV serial, which is here read by Nerys Hughes, who didn’t even appear in the original story but had a guest slot in an adventure the previous year.
The English village of Little Hodcombe is preparing to celebrate May Day with a re-enactment of an important Civil War battle when the TARDIS arrives, bringing the Fifth Doctor’s companion Tegan to visit her grandfather. But all is not as it should be in this once quiet country idyll – the divisions of the Civil War are resonating into the present, there is a grisly fate in store for the May Queen, and a force of ancient evil has been unearthed within the village church…
This story should tick all the boxes for a Doctor Who classic, being a tale of a typical English village under siege from an alien force, but it somehow lacks the impact of earlier adventures like The Daemons and The Android Invasion. That said, it’s still a jolly little romp, with some nice ideas and a well-developed plot, although Nerys Hughes was far from the best choice to read it, lacking that “oomph!” her peers have brought to other audio novelisations.