Earthshock is one of the more memorable Fifth Doctor adventures. Not just because it slaughters off one of the most unpopular companions ever to have graced the series, but because it was a tightly written chiller of a serial with plenty of action and real depth to the characters, it even gave Beryl Reid the chance to attempt serious science fiction.
Its bleakness and downbeat conclusion loses no impact in this form.
A group of paleontologists have been savagely attacked while carrying out a study of fossilized dinosaur remains in an underground cave system on twenty-fifth century Earth. A party of troopers and Professor Kyle the only survivor of the attack are investigating the deaths of her colleagues when they discover the Doctor and his companions at the site of the massacre. The time-travelers are immediately suspected. In trying to establish their innocence and find out who – or what – was responsible for the killings, the Doctor is confronted by an old enemy.
Read by Peter Davison from the classic Target novel by Ian Marter which itself was based on Eric Saward’s superb script, this is a prime piece of Who history that across 4 hours and 45 minutes (approx) retains the tension witnessed on the small screen. His voice has aged only slightly and this adds a maturity to the piece. He easily moves from character to character and delivers a memorable re-telling of that classic ending. Adric is at his brattish best here and it’s easier to understand the motivation of this often badly written for character.
The powerful score and subtle sound effects from audiobook regular Simon Power never outstay their welcome and help create a claustrophobic atmosphere making it a memorable audio experience, especially his orchestral infused final section.
The ever reliable Nicholas Briggs is on hand to lend his dulcet tones to the voices of the Cybermen. His cold, unfeeling delivery stands perfectly beside Davison’s enthusiastic “human” character delivery. As we’ve come to expect this audiobook comes with a biography of the writer and reader as well as a section about the Target release culled from the David J Howe masterpiece, The Target Book.
Ian Marter’s respected novel has been given an intelligent and thoughtful transfer to audio and is one of the very best from AudioGO so far.
Released on February 2nd, the audiobook of Earthshock is read by Peter Davison and is available now on Amazon for £8.48, a saving of 36% on the RRP!