Terror of the Arctic

John Parr

October 2007

Terror of the Arctic is the fourth story from the thirty-third season of The Doctor Who Audio Dramas. It is suprising long in production, as it consists of eight episodes in total. The eighth episode is actually much shorter than the first seven. James K. Flynn plays the lead role of The Doctor, with Rachel Sommers playing the companion role of Christine.

To begin with, I felt that the storyline was an extremely good one. With it revolving around an enemy that we haven't met before, it is made to seem even more interesting than just the usual sequeled plots. However, The Doctor does quote the fact that he's met the main enemies before, so that factor makes the storyline even more interesting!

This serial also holds another unique factor - a brand new writer for The Doctor Who Audio Dramas. Richard A. Franklin's first effort has really caught my interest. Please be aware that he isn't the same Richard Franklin who played Captain Mike Yates from the official BBC series of Doctor Who. However, it would have been really cool if they'd turned out to be the same person!

Because Terror of the Arctic has had such a positive impact on me, there is very little I can be negative about. Acting overall was fantastic, along with the actual storyline and major plot points. The only thing that I felt let the story down slightly were some of the voices used to represent the main enemies. Sometimes going over the top in angered expressions, they are made to seem slightly ridiculous and annoying. Also, the final two episodes of the story seemed to lack a few major aspects that had been presented in the first six. The seventh episode wasn't very ambitious in ways of set exploration, as it all basically takes place in one room alone. As well as this, the eighth episode is about half the length of total duration than the first seven are. This factor causes the story to eventually seem slightly unbalanced in various ways.

Across the eight episodes, the storyline itself takes a number of different progressions and changes. Various genres of horror and mystery are presented, along with the regular Doctor Who dosage of science fiction. Once again, this is another aspect of Terror of the Arctic that makes the story extremely interesting!

As a final comment, Terror of the Arctic is given a lot of positive feedback and respect from me, simply because of how excellently Infinite Imagination produced it. Very few aspects from it could be nominated for improvement, since most of the serial has been presented near perfectly anyway. Yet another great story from The Doctor Who Audio Dramas. I would recommend it to any Doctor Who fanatic!


Deborah Johnson

April 2009

This fourth story from the thirty-third season was exemplary. I give kudos to Richard Franklin for weaving a story with such riveting and intricate threads.

There is much about this production that shines, with just one large, sour note.  Letís start with the sugar before we get to the vinegar.

Letís begin with well-rounded applause for production quality.  It takes a gifted audio producer to convey the terror of cannibalism without relying on sight to indicate the blood, gore and horror. As an audio producer myself, I know both the joy and difficulties of conveying ideas through sound, and the production work for this piece was first-rate.

The bright star in this production is J.K. Flynn. With his lovely accent, beautiful tenor voice, and often witty and delightful inflections, Flynn is, in my humble opinion, the quintessential Doctor.  This is not meant to subtract from the performances of most of the other cast members.  While there is a bit of reliance on stereotype; the plucky British officer, the big-hearted Irishman, and the frightened young sailor with a strong English backbone, the performances, of the majority of the cast, were quite outstanding.

The alien antagonists were interesting, although in long bits of dialogue, the sustained rage did teeter on the edge of being funny.  I kept hearing the phrase, ďPlease pass the saltĒ uttered in that sustained growling fury, and it made me laugh uproariously.

The one deeply discordant note, in this otherwise delightful symphony, was the Doctorís companion, Christine. Iím sure that Rachel Sommers is a wonderful person, and a talented actress, but this character kept me hoping that the Doctor would show mercy on the listeners and not come to her rescue.

Letís begin with that accent. This unidentifiable accent, along with the occasional ďverilyĒ thrown in, was meant to indicate that Christine was a visitor from 13th century.  The thread that suspended that disbelief was so surgically thin, that it snapped within seconds of hearing that egregious accent.  Also, her high-pitched voice was like teeth scraping across porcelain. That voice, which easily hovered around 18,000 Hz, would set dogs howling throughout the neighborhood when played through speakers. If this is meant to represent the average female voice and accent of 13th century Europe, it is a small wonder that Marco Polo fled to China.

Overall, I would recommend this production with just one caveat. Keep the volume on this one on the low side so that the sympathetic spinal vibration, caused by the high timbre of Christineís voice, isnít too painful.

Last updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009