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Doctor Who: The Stuff of Nightmares \ Tom Baker \ Paul Magrs

September 6, 2009

Is writer Paul Magrs’ latest creation occupying an otherwise cramped Doctor Who stable of franchise spin-offs the one to knock seven-bells off the competition? Or is audio drama The Stuff of Nightmares a bit of a coded signal in which at one time impossible dream of Tom Baker returning to his role in a special TV appearance a little bit closer to a reality?

Let’s not get carried away. At least I shouldn’t. Such impulse normally leads to intense disappointment.

Even so, there is an undeniable joy to be savoured listening to Magrs’ script, brought to life by Baker’s classic voice. It may be nearly thirty years since he fell to the ground at the bottom of that mast in the Christopher Bidmead story Logopolis, but hearing his voice read the first few sentences of this story brought happy memories back. Years haven’t aged Baker. It’s a joy to have him back in the fold.

A joy too to sit back and listen to a good old-fashioned mystery being played out. The writing is sound and engaging, almost sickeningly so. Sure, at first listen the sound of a character called “Mr Noggins” may not immediately sound particularly Doctor Who (I’m talking retro-Doctor Who), but its all delivered with plausibility as to make the finished product dark and forboding rather than cheap and transparent.

It takes a lot of nods of heads, shaking of hands and signing of legal documents before a writer is allowed to even consider penning a story about this highly-valued character. I can’t help thinking the fact this is out (and the fact I’m enjoying it) might mean Mr Magrs and quite possibly even Mr Baker figure more highly on-screen in the coming years.

I bloody hope so.

Have a look for the story on iTunes, or if you can’t be arsed to go there, go to Play.com instead

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