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The Doctor, Steven and Dodo mosey on down to the OK Corral…
Donald Cotton’s contributions to the Target range of Doctor Who novelisations were always eagerly expected: you never knew quite what you were going to get – whether it was letters from Ian Chesterton to his headmaster (The Romans), or the confessions of a dying man (The Gunfighters). He took the original TV stories and added twists that often could only work in book form, and created books that stood beside their source material, rather than simply adapting them.
It’s great to hear his reworking of The Gunfighters read by one of the serial’s original stars, Scott Tracy himself, Shane Rimmer. As heard in the audiobook version of his own memoirs a couple of years back, Mr Rimmer has lost none of his sense of timing as he’s grown older, even if his speech is noticeably thicker. Ironically, that works in this audiobook’s favour – you might not choose to listen to it all the way through in one sitting, but in chapters, or discs, it weaves its spell.
Simon Power’s audio landscape goes a long way to creating the ambience of the Wild West – or rather, the Doctor Who reworked version thereof – although neither he nor the narrator use the original music for The Ballad…
Verdict: An unusual take on an often-derided story. 7/10
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