Published on June 19th, 2008 | by Brian A Terranova
Let me start by letting you all in on a little secret of mine. I don’t like reading. Well I should say I don’t like reading stories. Factual books seem to be more of my interest. I don’t know why this is. So every time I would attempt to read a Doctor Who book I lost steam.
This always happened and although my reading habits can be to blame it was really a combination of a few things. Sometimes it was the writer’s interpretation of that particular Doctor that turned me off, and other times it was a story that I felt was not very “Who.” In this case David Tennant and Peter Anghelides (the writer of this story) take the weight off of my shoulders as one lends their voice and acting talents while the other shows his ability to accurately capture the nature of the characters he is writing.
Pest Control is the latest BBC Doctor Who book to hit the shelves read by the lead actor in the title role… by “title role” I mean Doctor Who of course, not Pest Control… no one is called “Pest Control” in this story, and… look, never mind. Moving on. It features the Tenth Doctor and his current companion, the feisty Donna Noble, as well as a whole host of new characters specifically created for this adventure. All of course given voice by David Tennant.
David gives it all his best as he creates a character for every single… er, character in the book and of course he reprises his TV role as the Doctor. One notable mention should go to his spot- on performance as Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. Trust me, it’s like she’s there with him.
Now, it should be said that it might take a little bit of getting used to to hear David portray ever character on his own, and although it might be odd at first, it is amazing to hear him seamlessly flip between characters. Can you imagine the amount of work or concentration it must take to keep all those voices and personalities straight in your head? How actors never become schizophrenic I’ll never know. David Tennant was impressive enough as the as the Doctor on TV, but seeing the effort he put forth for a whole cast of people just shows how brilliant he really is.
The story, while very entertaining and engaging, strikes me as one that would never see the light of day on TV. Not because it is bad in any way, but because it takes place on an alien world, with a war between humans and centaur-like aliens, and it has a second race of insectoid aliens who also enter the fold as well as a rather large robot (great moments with that robot). Hmm… sounds more like old-school Who, so maybe in some way or some form it could have been a TV story, but certainly not a New Series adventure.
Again, this isn’t to say that the story disappoints; in fact, it was very clever in it’s use and connections between all the parties involved, and it really showed what a life-changing experience it is to meet the Doctor. One can only hope that the lives of all those involved will pass their newfound understandings, that they have gained through this adventure , on to the rest of their friends, family, and governments. The universe would for sure be a different place.
Donna certainly will never be the same after this adventure and that is thanks to Peter Anghelides who absolutely did a fine job capturing the persona that is Donna and how these life-changing events can alter your perception. Pest Control showed us once again how big Donna’s heart is and how, in many ways, she is just like the Doctor. Sure, she may not have the wealth of knowledge he has or even his understanding of basic scientific theories, but she knows when someone is being mistreated, be it physically or mentally, and she instantly, or better yet, instinctually snaps into action to protect that person. She is a defender of the under dog.
She also gets a taste of war and the harsh decisions that we only ever really get to see the Doctor make. But the truth of it is that many men and women make those same decisions every day. This was something that was very moving to see her figure out. You could also feel the weight be lifted from her shoulders the second another authority figure steps into the scene. This was the type of scene and situation that I really would have loved to have seen Catherine Tate play herself in some way – although David did a great job with this, it seems like a part companions dream of..
Pest Controlhad all the magic that it’s TV counter parts offers. It could easily be the closest I have ever seen anyone get to writing a book version of the show. Fair credit to Peter Anghelides for doing his homework and delivering a fun and exciting story and many thanks to David Tennant for continuing to cement his place in Doctor Who history as one of the best Doctor’s ever. His onscreen presence is nothing compared to his off screen dedication to the show that he loves just as much as we do.
To all the competition winners: Congratulations! You will love this story – and please feel free to share your thoughts in our forum. You never know, maybe David will be reading your opinions.