Doctor Who: Pest Control Part 1

“Silence like a cancer grows.”

Simon and Garfunkel

It’s TARDIS Monday!

Or it would be if there was any such thing, anyway.

Pest Control is a Tenth Doctor audiobook, only available as audio (as opposed to an actual book), read by – and this is the best part – the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant, who in my opinion was always the best Doctor anyway.

Admittedly, I only own Pest Control because my grandmother saved it from a copy of The Sunday Telegraph, which was giving it out as a freebie. This was several years ago. But still. There is always a time for Doctor Who.

So the Doctor and his companion Donna Noble end up on a planet at war: the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire (I think) is trying to conquer Recension, a planet inhabited by centaurs. There’s something else going on here though (of course), something to do with a giant robot and human-sized insects…all very Who-ish.

The writing is, admittedly, occasionally clunky, but this isn’t really as noticeable with an audiobook as it is with a real book. The story is quite riveting, which is far more important, there are some nice sound effects (although the creepy music can be slightly annoying), and there’s an interesting cliffhanger at the end of Part One (I have got the other half somewhere, so there may well be a post about that at some point). An excellent cure for Doctor Who withdrawal. (Because that’s a thing…)

Doctor Who: The Whispering Forest, ep.1

“Everything I had to know/I learned it on my radio.”


Well. Some more Doctor Who. There was nothing else on, OK? Anyway, this was on Radio 4, so it doesn’t really count…

The Whispering Forest is a fifth-Doctor audio adventure. The Doctor lands on the planet Chobel, having apparently set the TARDIS to look for cases of Richter’s syndrome (no, I don’t know why either). The wooded planet is filled with mysterious “Shades”, beings who seem to speak but only occasional words can be made out. And there are the Takers, who pick off the weak and the ill from the small human settlement on the planet. Who are the Shades and the Takers? Why are the settlers so obsessed with soap? And where do the taken go? These are the questions that the Doctor and his three companions (Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough, as far as I could make out) must answer, in true Doctor Who fashion.

This is probably solely because of the fact that it’s an audio drama, but I got the impression that it was really dark in the world of the story. Which was probably the wrong impression. Audio is an odd medium; people aren’t really used to it any more, and it always takes a while (for me, anyway) to get used to it. Hence the preternatural darkness on Chobel, which has no basis in the script.

I’m rambling. Sorry. Back to the review.

I really enjoyed The Whispering Forest, actually, despite the fact that you have to listen to it rather than watch it. (Also, what do you do when you’re listening to a radio drama? You don’t really feel as if you can just sit there and not do anything, but you can’t do anything much because otherwise you lose the thread of the story.) It was deliciously mysterious and other-worldly in the way that Doctor Who can be (although not recently, because Steven Moffatt hates Whovians, apparently). It was well acted, too – it felt like it wasn’t just being read out, but that it was actually happening somewhere, on a hidden television screen possibly. And it was relaxing not to have to look at anything, just to listen. And there is the lesson for today – radio. Worth it every now and then.