Demon Quest Part 4: Starfall

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey and Mike Yates to New York City in the bicentennial summer of 1976, where they encounter a young couple: a man worrying about his girlfriend, who touched a recently-fallen meteorite. When the young woman regains consciousness, she has something that can only be described as super powers, though this development irritates her employer, a past-her-prime movie star who needs help organizing her memoirs. As “Miss Starfall”‘s powers increase, a cult dressed like the Doctor – floppy hats, scarves and all – begin to exert their own influence, apparently using the final missing piece of the spatial geometer from the Doctor’s TARDIS as their sacred totem. The Demon that the Doctor has been chasing through time shows its hand at last – but only just before it claims a hostage from the TARDIS and escapes through time again.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Trevor White (Buddy), Laurel Lefkow (Alice), Lorelei King (Mimsy Loyne), Rupert Holliday Evans (Cop), John Chancer (Cultist)

Timeline: after A Shard Of Ice and before Sepulchre, and probably still before The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: The strongest segment of Demon Quest, Starfall benefits from a novel setting – 1970s New York, the height of the popularity of American comics as something other than a mere collectible – and a novel storytelling approach.

The cast deserves a round of applause. On many occasions, Doctor Who stories set in the States are one accent slip away from blowing the listener’s suspension of disbelief out the window. Starfall has the least flawed American accents I’ve ever heard in audio Doctor Who. At no point did I have any reason to doubt what I was hearing.

Like A Shard Of Ice, Starfall is narrated by one of its guest stars, pretzel-dealer-who-wants-to-draw-comics Buddy. This means that there’s ample opportunity for an accent or dialect mishap, but there isn’t one (bravo, Trevor White!). Furthermore, Buddy begins to narrate things as if he’s writing a script for a comic book – “Closeup!” – and suddenly the whole “’70s comic book obsession” isn’t just a background note for the character of Buddy, it’s woven into the fabric of the story.

This may well be the best of the BBC Audiobooks/AudioGo fourth Doctor releases overall – very highly recommended.