AudioGo are bringing some new voices into the Doctor Who audiobook range, with Bonnie Langford recently reading Paradise Towers, and now Matthew Waterhouse for The Visitation. Waterhouse’s acting ability doesn’t have the greatest of reputations among many fans, but judging on his work here – which of course comes with more than 30 years’ more experience – he has become considerably more adept, and provides an enjoyable read.
Although this is one of the shortest in the range, clocking in at just over three hours, it doesn’t feel rushed. Waterhouse gives scenes that require it an intensity, and makes Saward’s adaptation of his own script come alive. His voices for the TARDIS crew work well: his Doctor captures Davison’s rhythms, and he adopts a stronger Australian accent for Tegan than Janet Fielding did. His Richard Mace isn’t an impersonation of Michael Robbins’ performance, but a very plummy actor of the Nigel Planer posh school.
Saward’s novel isn’t one of the range’s classics: it’s a workmanlike version of the story, with the occasional flash of enjoyable prose, such as the prologue, which takes a short scene on screen and expands it into an insight into life in the seventeenth century. A few of the additions made by script editor Antony Root (such as the “Not again” groan from the Doctor as he’s faced with beheading for the second time in three stories and the links to the preceding story Kinda) are missing but otherwise it retells the story without providing fresh insight.
While some of the previous releases have included expanded versions of the original artwork – and the two original adaptations have appropriate new art – this is the first time that AudioGo has commissioned a new cover when other artwork had been used before on the book. I personally liked Alister Pearson’s 1990s version, but Nick Spender’s new picture sets the scene appropriately.
Verdict: An enjoyable read by Waterhouse. 6/10