Audiobook - Doctor Who Dark Journey Series 2 episodes 1 and 2

Wholock

Steve Taylor-Bryant ventures into the world of fan fiction via the TARDIS to review the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who Dark Journey from AM Audio Media...

Audiobooks are a strange thing. I absolutely love them, there is a market for them, but they are so damn difficult to do that it's not a medium many people attempt. We here at /G-f love audiobooks as you can tell from the hundreds of reviews we have of Dark Shadows from audio Giants Big Finish, and our love for the different with Spokenworld Audio. Our parent company DreamCage Media Group have even made their own based on this sites author extraordinaire Kneel Downe's The JackPort Killer, which is how we know how damn difficult they are to make. So when I was told a Canadian group of Doctor Who fans had made their own series of audio adventures and I was to review them I'll be honest I was dreading it. I don't 'get' fan fiction at the best of times, preferring instead the original idea and I honestly couldn't see the value in taking on the behemoth that is Big Finish's Doctor Who stuff, I mean how could you? It'd be like making a Doctor Who TV show for a smaller channel with no money and none of the cast! But I was quite wrong, which annoyingly is happening more and more often these days, as the first adventures from AM Audio Media I listened to were in fact very good and I shall be reviewing the entire series as time goes on. Here for now though are my thoughts on the first two stories, Legend of the Beast, and The Case of the Poisoned Sky.

Legend of the beast

A delirious Doctor on the verge of death is hearing voices chanting "death is a bridge" whilst a panicked Sherlock Holmes hopes his friend will survive, which he does thanks to his Watchers, the 12 previous incarnations of the Doctor. The Doctor survives but is confused and relies on Holmes to get the truth. The Doctor is still looking for his companion Fred who Holmes has not heard of and to get to where they need to be, Big Ben, the Doctor suggests the TARDIS, Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style. The Illuminatus have started an army of Bonesmen and one is questioning Emily about whether the Doctor loved her and would die for her, and as Emily flees she is looking for her kidnapped baby Anthony, but is confronted by a Bonesman. Cue ritual sacrifice scene and much dramatic chanting as Anthony screams. Jackson Lake's hot air balloon is the TARDIS which Holmes and the Doctor must commandeer to get to Big Ben, stop the ritual, save the Earth, all whilst trying to trust an escaped Bonesman, Walters, who wants to help but is given his death by the Doctor who gives him to the evil hounds the Illuminatus have sent. The Doctor is really not himself...

Poisoned Sky

Holmes questions the Doctor and who he has become, trying to find the root of his new found godlike smiting. The Doctor explains about Susan, Hal timelord half human, and Holmes asks to help so the Doctor gives him the images which involve the children and Daleks in a horrific scene of genocide. A confrontation between the Doctor and a Dalek shows that all the Doctor's family have been killed. He flees to the TARDIS seeking the missing Susan who he rescues before a shot from a Dalek throws Susan from the TARDIS. The Doctor explains to Holmes that he really tried to save her and feels guilt for her loss.

He should have died but he didn't explaining a Watcher was there, to judge him he thought, before leaving the Doctor full of fury, vengeance and fear searching for Davros. He seeks out the Dalek creator and murders him, before being saved himself by a life force that piloted the TARDIS helping the Doctor see who he was before crashing in Whitechapel in 1888. Holmes feels tainted and weak by everything and is not sure he can assist the Doctor anymore. The Doctor explains that Holmes is the best of humanity, a beacon of light and that's why they must stay together to fight the enemy. The balloon gets destroyed and Holmes and the Doctor head directly into Big Ben. The illuminatus attempt to continue their sacrifice as the balloon crashes...

One of the common wants amongst fans on social media is a Holmes/Doctor crossover, given in the main because Steven Moffat controls both presently. I personally was always concerned that two egos that size wouldn't even be able to be contained within the infinity of the TARDIS, but by slightly warping the characters writer, Andrew Chalmers, has cleverly allowed the two to co-exists. The Doctor in these two adventures is a little more gung ho with right and wrong than even number six was on television, and Holmes is a little more human, not as robotic and lost in his intellect as previous incarnations. Andrew Chalmers as the Doctor is superb. Playing some madness off against emotion and his pacing and use of pauses helps his narrative really grip. Roy Miranda as Holmes is convincing and the new twist on his niceties works well but on a couple of occasions his dialogue feels somewhat rushed, although not enough to spoil the story. At less than twenty minutes long and continuing from where they left off from one episode to the next, there is a real classic Who era feel to the production and along with superb sound effects and music, it's as refreshing as it is familiar.

From the funky version of the theme tune, through the canons history, to the originality shown in story and monsters, these are very good alternatives to what is in the licensed market and deserving of a listen by all fans.

Images - AM Audio Media

Find out more about where to find the latest episodes and listen to the back catalogue here.