In the Museum of Aural Antiquities, preparations are underway for a broadcast in tribute to the late actor Visteen Krane, who died mysteriously on the eve of announcing his candidacy for the Presidency. But things begin to go wrong almost immediately. A man is found murdered in the Museum, and the only suspects without an alibi are two intruders who identify themselves as The Doctor and Peri. The Doctor is immediately suspicious of Beth Pernell, Krane’s theatrical agent and potential running mate, who is planning to supplant her late boss as a presidential candidate and use the tribute in his honor for her own publicity. But when another death occurs, the Doctor suspects an even greater danger – a bloodthirsty life form composed of sound waves, which can replicate and transmit itself through any sound-conducting channel…such as, for example, a tribute broadcast which will be heard by millions.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Rebecca Jenkins (Amber Dent/Car Computer), Hylton Collins (Goff Fotherill/Computer Voice), Matthew Brehner (Visteen Krane), Peter Miles (Curator Gantman), Mark Trotman (Miles Napton), Nick Scovell (Detective Berkeley), Lisa Bowerman (Beth Pernell), Steffan Boje (Hans Stengard)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: According to the liner notes, frequent Doctor Who novelist Justin Richards set out, with Whispers Of Terror, to do something that would be feasible only in the audio medium, not on television or in the books inspired by the series. I’m not sure if Whispers is that definitive, unique-to-audio entity, but it does make for enjoyable listening.
Livening up the guest cast is veteran actor Peter Miles, whose presence has distinguished numerous Doctor Who (Invasion Of The Dinosaurs, Genesis Of The Daleks) and Blake’s 7 (Seek, Locate, Destroy, Trial) episodes. Miles’ voice proves no less distinctive than his face in this story, and it’s nice to hear that the main stars are not the only Doctor Who stalwarts who will be populating the Audio Adventures.
I remember complaining about the thinness of the sound effects mix in The Sirens Of Time, the first Audio Adventure, and Whispers Of Terror makes up for it completely. While Whispers may not be the end-all and be-all of a story which could only be told in an aural medium, it’s fair to say that the script’s sound requirements are better served by a high-quality digital delivery system such as a CD, rather than being squeezed through the average low-quality television speaker.
One drawback to which I did take exception: Whispers reverts to the season 22 characterizations of the sixth Doctor and Peri, frequently arguing over the tiniest of details for no readily apparent reason than to pad out the script. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are both in fine form, sounding a great deal more enthusiastic than they were for the BBC’s 1998 book-on-CD Out Of The Darkness, but they deserve far better material for their next pairing in the Audio Adventures.