The TARDIS lands awkwardly on the edge of a vast swamp on the planet Sunday. The Doctor and Martha become separated and and soon discover the human colonists of Sunday are beset by problems of their own. There are otters acting oddly and a far from harmless swamp creature who appears to feed on human intelligence…
Cards on the table, I much prefer the audio adventures with a full cast to these more intimate performances. Freema Agyeman, whilst not as vastly experienced in the role of narrator as, say, Martin Jarvis, is pleasing to listen to and obviously very at home with her character Martha Jones. Full credit to her for managing to make the Doctor sound so convincing. She has clearly studied David Tennant’s vocal inflections at close quarters and expresses the tenth Doctor’s playfulness and determined excitement to succeed, with great aplomb. It’s fair to say Freema’s acting skills lift an otherwise quite pedestrian story of survival. Agyeman’s clearly enjoying herself especially when vocalising the otters.
When one recalls the previous colonist stories in Doctor Who such as Colony in Space, Kinda, Frontios or the more recent The Impossible Planet and 42, it appears to be a genre the show is especially comfortable with and so it seems odd the contemporary version of Who is reluctant to leave Earth. Russell T Davies feels that alien planets should fundamentally convince the viewer. The beauty of audio is, of course, the pictures are always better. Freema paints a convincing alien world, in turn peopled by a realistic spread of characters. Most notably among these is sixteen year old Candi, who embodies the frustrations of being a rebellious teen bored with her surroundings and Pallister the nominal villain of the piece
Overall, the story is adequate with some enjoyable set pieces, especially the interplay between the Doctor and Martha and builds to a good conclusion. At nearly two and a half hours duration the story is on an epic scale. Being the equivalent length of a classic series six-parter, at times it feels over-long. Freema’s narration keeps the interest for the most part, it would perhaps be better served as a 4-parter rather than the two 75 minute episodes presented on each of the CDs.
Written by Mark Michalowski
Read by Freema Agyeman
BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Running Time: 150 minutes (approx)