It is interesting that although long regarded as a classic, the Doctor Who story Inferno was not adapted into a novel until Target Books were getting desperate for old stories to fill their Doctor Who book series schedule back in 1984.
Terrance Dicks gained the task of novelising all seven episodes of Don Houghton¹s original script into book form and did a splendid job of it too.
It's therefore fitting that the story has received a more prominent audiobook release on AudioGo’s classic Doctor Who schedule read over four discs by the late Caroline John who played the role of Liz Shaw in the original story.
Inferno finds the Doctor in the early days of his third incarnation, exiled to earth by the Time Lords and doing his utmost to try and find a means to escape so that he can freely roam time and space once again in his TARDIS. Enter Project: Inferno operated under the supervision of Professor Stahlman, in which the aim of the project is to try and penetrate the earth’s core in order to gain free energy.
The project is given the full support of the British government, however; there are dangerous emissions from the drilling plant which are having a deadly effect on several members of the technical team. Despite The Doctor’s insistence that the drilling should stop, Professor Stahlman is adamant it should continue.
Experimenting with his TARDIS, The Doctor is thrown into a parallel Earth where Great Britain is ruled under a fascist regime and Project: Inferno is bringing the end of the world closer than ever before.
Caroline John gives a dramatic reading of this exciting Doctor Who adventure originally broadcast at the close of Jon Pertwee’s first Doctor Who series in 1970.
Despite the stories age, the overall drama of Inferno hasn't dated. Today, world events involving earthquakes are as prominent as parallel universe tales in science fiction drama making Inferno just as relevant in 2011 as when it was first broadcast in 1970.
The overall drama of Inferno focuses on The Doctor and his experiences on the parallel earths and there are some stark examples in originality as to what Britain could have become had the country lost the Second World War and succumbed to a fascist regime.
Inferno retains all the excitement of the original story and at a running time of just over four hours is a worthy addition to the Doctor Who Audiobook collection.
As well as being available on Compact Disc format Doctor Who – Inferno is also available to download as an MP3 direct to an IPod Nano or MP3 player equivalent. For further information visit the BBC Shop website.
- This review was originally published in 2011. It has since been expanded upon for inclusion on the Retrospace blog.