Look, Brigadier! Its growing! screamed Sarah.
The Brigadier stared in amazement as the robot began to grow...
and grow... swelling to the size of a giant. Slowly the metal
colossus, casting its enormous shadow upon the surrounding
trees and buildings, began to stride towards the Brigadier.
A giant metal hand reached down to grasp him... Can the Doctor,
only recently recovered from his regeneration into his fourth
incarnation, defeat the evil forces controlling the robot
before they execute their plans to blackmail - or destroy
- the entire world...?
Baker, the Fourth Doctor himself, reads this unabridged audio
presentation of Terrance Dickss novelisation of the
1974-5 serial Robot, originally published in 1975.
has proven reluctant to reprise his role as the Time Lord
in ventures such as Big Finish Productions audio plays,
so its extremely gratifying that he is willing to lend
his rich vocal talents to talking books like this one. This
tale marks the Fourth Doctors debut, and Dickss
novelisation of his own script presents some amusing point-of-view
sequences as the Time Lord awakes from a lengthy coma, gets
his bearings, gets used to his new physical form and tries
to make off in the TARDIS. These descriptions are made all
the more endearing when read by the actor who realised the
role on screen.
author also gets into the heads of characters such as the
Brigadier, who recalls the Doctors recent transformation
(in the television serial, this event comprised the opening
scene, rather than being an incident in the past) in terms
of a worn-out body being traded in for a new one. Unfortunately,
Bakers vocalisation of the Brig comes across as too
gruff for my ear, though it settles down over time. Other
voices come across better, including that of the robot, which
is treated electronically.
uses the prose medium to free his robotic creation from the
limitations of its television counterpart, which would have
been physically unable to sort through buff folders, use a
keyboard, fall to its knees, lie down and rise up again as
the robot does here. The creature also has a tendency to lay
down its victims almost tenderly and is said to
use curiously human gestures whenever it experiences
conflict in its programming. The author repeats both of the
quoted phrases, a characteristic tendency of his writing.
other respects, Dicks sticks close to his television script.
The robots Prime Directive is a clear homage to Isaac
Asimovs Three Laws of Robotics, which prevent robots
from harming humans, while the Scientific Reform Society continues
a trend of mid-70s Who for sinister scientific
elites (see also the recent Invasion
of the Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Invasion and the subsequent Genesis
of the Daleks).
Though the novelisation is re-titled The Giant Robot,
the robot doesnt truly become a giant until near the
end of the story, in scenes that are inspired by King Kong.
it is, to date, the shortest of BBC Audios Classic
Novels series of Doctor Who talking books, at 3
hours 40 minutes duration, this hefty four-CD release remains
a force to be reckoned with, thanks largely to the august
tones of Tom Baker.