AudioGo, out now
The first Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki are pursued through time space by the Daleks…
The original TV version of The Chase may have ended up being one of the more comic adventures for this early TARDIS crew, with the metal monsters from Skaro apparently having the mickey taken out of them (that has to be the explanation for a Dalek going “er…er…” or clearing its throat!) but John Peel’s novelisation removed that element completely.
In his contributions to the novel line, Peel tried to take everything very seriously, and tie it in to the wider Doctor Who universe, as revealed over the subsequent years. That’s not always easy when there are parts of the story that depend on the Daleks only knowing of one incarnation of the Time Lord – as did the audience at the time – and Peel consciously changes certain pieces of dialogue to create a more unified whole (the Doctor’s description of the Time Path Indicator, and the Daleks’ discussion of tarranium being prime examples).
Maureen O’Brien’s reading matches this grim and relentless tone, aided by Briggs’ dulcet ring-modulated tones. Simon Power’s score and sound effects work well, as ever, taking their cues from the descriptions within the text, rather than the soundscape created for the TV show, and it’s a bit of a relief to realise that the Mechanoids are voiced by O’Brien rather than Briggs emulating the original vocalisation – at least this way, you get to understand what they’re saying a bit more. At times, O’Brien sheds the years to voice Vicki’s dialogue, but on the whole gets a general feel for the characters, rather than trying to do an imitation.
Verdict: With the DVD easily accessible, Peel’s decision to create a novel based on the original scripts makes sense: a very different take on one of the less well-regarded stories brought to a new life. 7/10
Check our other Doctor Who and Torchwood reviews.