Following the successful re-releases of Tenth Doctor, and Torchwood audios as boxsets, this month’s Eleventh Doctor Tales collects more 15 hours of drama for Matt Smith’s Time Lord alongside his companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).
The stories are read by Matt Smith; Arthur Darvill; Clare Corbett (Hornet’s Nest: The Dead Shoes); Meera Syal (The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood); David Troughton (Midnight); Stuart Milligan (The Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon); Raquel Cassidy (The Rebel Flesh/ The Almost People); Alexander Armstrong (The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe); and Frances Barber (A Good Man Goes to War).
Here’s what this set includes:
The Runaway Train by Oli Smith
Arriving on Earth in the midst of the American Civil War, the Doctor and Amy must get a posse together to help them retrieve an alien artefact that has fallen into the clutches of the Confederate Army. The terraforming device belongs to the Cei, a race of invaders who plan to use it to turn the planet into a new home world. But neither the Army nor the aliens are keen to let the Doctor and his gang interfere with their plans, and give chase across the Wild West. The only hope of escape for the Doctor and friends is to catch the 3.25 to Arizona and race along the newly-built transcontinental railroad…
The Ring of Steel by Stephen Cole
(Read by Arthur Darvill, despite what the cover says!)
When the TARDIS lands on Orkney in the near future, the Doctor and Amy arrive to find a large demonstration in progress over the construction of new electricity pylons. The Doctor tries to break things up peacefully – but suddenly the road splits open without warning and swallows police, security guards and protestors alike. Separated from the Doctor, Amy takes charge of transporting the wounded to hospital – but the rescue mission becomes a terrifying ride as the pylons come to life and begin to walk and the road rears up, erupting with boiling tarmac… The Doctor, meanwhile, has even more than metal monsters and rebellious roads to deal with. Who is sucking the life out of the power company’s employees – and just what is lurking inside the Astra-Gen headquarters?
The Jade Pyramid by Martin Day
Intercepting a distress call, the TARDIS is drawn to a Shinto shrine in medieval Japan, where the Doctor and Amy are met by village elder Shijô Sada. He explains that the ogre-like mannequins surrounding the holy site are harmless guardians, called Otoroshi. At the heart of the temple is an ancient jade pyramid, so sacred that only the monks may look at it. But the Shogun, the ruler of Japan, wants to possess the pyramid and has ordered seven samurai and a band of soldiers to come to Kokan and seize it. Whilst the Doctor is tracked by a ninja assassin, Amy discovers what happens to trespassers at the shrine. Soon the secrets of the jade pyramid – and the towering Otoroshi – will be known…
The Hounds of Artemis by James Goss
When Lord Woolcroft and his team break open the fabled Tomb of Artemis, sealed for thousands of years, they are astonished by what they find inside…
The Doctor and Amy have come to Smyrna in 1929 to investigate a mystery. The Doctor knows that something very bad happened there: something that caused a lot of people to die and an entire, magnificent Temple to be found and then immediately lost again. But he doesn’t know what is picking off the archaeologists one by one, or how it is connected to the terrifying howling in the night. And as he and Amy get closer to the terrible truth behind an ancient evil, he begins to wish he’d never found out.
The Gemini Contagion by Jason Arnopp
The ice-planet Vinsk, in the year 2112. The all-new anti-viral handwash, Gemini, has been laced with Meme-Spawn: a sentient micro-organism which makes the user fluent in every language in the universe. However, manufacturer Zalnex made one crucial mistake. They didn’t test Gemini on humans, who are seized by the violent urge to communicate but speak every language all at once – with a manic, garbled shriek – and pass on the virus by touch. The Doctor and Amy arrive on an Earth-bound cargo-ship loaded with Gemini, where a human crew are succumbing to the virus which has nasty second and third phases in store. When the Doctor and Amy are separated, they both know that it’s only a matter of time before Amy is infected. With the ship locked on course, and no way of curing the sufferers, the Doctor is faced with a terrible decision: does he save Amy, or Earth?
The Eye of the Jungle by Darren Jones
The Amazon rainforest, 1827. The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive in the jungle near a hurriedly abandoned campsite, where they are surrounded by hungry black caiman – huge lizards. Only the arrival of a man with a rifle sees off the giant beasts. Oliver Blazington has come to the forest to bag big game, and his companion Garrett is a naturalist, collecting exotic creatures for London Zoo. But the Doctor soon discovers that another very different hunter is stalking the Amazon. Animals and people have been disappearing without trace, and local villagers speak darkly of ‘The Eye of the Jungle’. Amy senses that the all-seeing Eye is watching them – but she and Rory are powerless to intervene when it sets its sights on the Doctor…
Blackout by Oli Smith
November 9th, 1965. New York City is plunged into darkness, a taxi driver has bad dreams, and an invisible spacecraft hovers ominously above the skyline. As an extra-terrestrial disease sweeps the populace, Amy and Rory must sabotage the city’s water supply to slow the spread of infection, and a dying Doctor holds another man’s life in his hands. With the death toll rising, and his companions stalked through the streets by alien businessmen, the Doctor is forced to make a terrible decision. How far must he go to save his friends?
The Art of Death by James Goss
‘Don’t be alarmed!’ the Doctor cried through gritted teeth, ‘It’s simply sucking the life out of me. Nothing to worry about…’
When the Doctor falls through a crack in time he finds himself in the Horizon Gallery. But it’s no ordinary art gallery, because this one has the best view of the most impossible wonder of the universe – the Paradox. Tour parties are eager to see this stunning, hypnotic portion of sky that’s beyond description, and it’s Penelope’s job to stop people staring up at it for too long. For the Paradox’s beauty drives people mad. The Doctor, Amy and Rory are about to discover that the Paradox also contains a giant and frightening creature with a taste for death…
Darkstar Academy by Mark Morris
When the TARDIS is buffeted by ‘time slippage’, the Doctor experiences a terrible vision of the end of everything. Tracking the source of the disruption, he takes Rory and Amy to what appears to be an English public school in the 1950s. But as the friends are about to discover, there are some very unusual things about Darkstar Academy. For a start the prefects carry guns, and then there is the strange forcefield that surrounds the perimeter. Not to mention the foot-long, crab-like creatures with spiny, armoured bodies… When the Doctor learns the truth about the Academy, he also discovers that the whole place is in terrible danger. But with a swarm of carnivorous creatures on the loose, what can he, Amy and Rory do to help prevent a terrible disaster?
Day of the Cockroach by Steve Lyons
The TARDIS materialises in a pitch-dark tunnel, where the Doctor, Amy and Rory stumble on the dead body of a soldier. Questioned by his superior officer, Colonel Bowe, they learn that they’re inside a British nuclear bunker, in the middle of an atomic war – in 1982. Amy and Rory weren’t even born then, but they know the bomb didn’t drop that year, and so does the Doctor. The friends also know they had nothing to do with the death of Sergeant Trott – so who, or what, was the killer? And why does the Doctor’s psychic paper not work on the Colonel? The Doctor, Amy and Rory soon learn that something else is lurking in the shadows. Something deadly…
The Nu-Humans by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright
The Doctor, Amy and Rory are awe-struck by their first sight of Hope Eternal, a super-earth bigger than Earth itself with heavy gravity, volcanoes and a crust loaded with mineral deposits. But their wonder is cut short when they discover a body dumped on the ground – a huge figure with extraordinarily long arms covered in thick, purple scales. Yet the corpse is not alien: he’s human, albeit unlike any human Amy and Rory have ever seen. The Nu-Humans have adapted their genes to fit their new environment, and formed a thriving colony. But now they are facing a terrible threat. Can the Doctor find out who is killing Nu-Humans and why – before he, Amy and Rory are themselves tried for murder?
The Empty House by Simon Guerrier
Thrown off course by a howling storm, the TARDIS lands in a bleak, desolate stretch of countryside. The Doctor deduces that it has arrived in Hampshire in the 1920s and, sniffing the air, he smells a distinct odour of sulphur – indicating that a spaceship has crashed in the area. While Rory goes to fetch an umbrella, Amy and the Doctor brave the rain to find the stricken craft. It is huge, shiny, silvery-blue – and completely empty. A set of footprints leads to a cosy-looking, old-fashioned cottage: but the house, too, is deserted. However, the Doctor and Amy can distinctly hear people talking – and one of the voices sounds like Rory’s. How could he be in the cottage when he was last seen heading back to the TARDIS? Where are the residents of the empty house? And what has happened to the inhabitants of the spaceship?
Sleepers in the Dust by Darren Jones
The TARDIS touches down on Nadurniss, a planet under quarantine. A joint Nadurni/human mission has recently landed on the planet to survey it for possible re-colonisation. Two millennia have passed since the Nadurni Empire fell at the end of the Prokarian War, and Nadurniss seems to be a lifeless, barren world – but a mysterious illness is infecting the Nadurni, and now the whole team is in danger. The nature of the infection becomes clear when the sickest Nadurni dies and an amorphous creature emerges from its dried-up body. A shambling mound of bacteria, acting as one being – a Prokarian – it has been on the planet all along, sleeping in the dust. As the Prokarians attack, Amy is infected. The Doctor can do nothing to help her – until he realises that the cure could lie in the past. He and Rory must travel back more than 2000 years to try and save her life…
Snake Bite by Scott Handcock
Doctor Elehri Mussurana has spent a lifetime on her work. She’s guarded her pet project close to her chest, letting only one person share her secret – her husband and lab partner Ernst Wharner. As their experiment reaches its final, glorious fruition, they watch in awe as sparks fly in a sealed chamber and specks of sapphire light begin to join together into a shining haze. A wormhole in time and space is being created… But then something unexpected appears inside the swirling vortex: a tall blue box with the words ‘POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX’ on the side. The TARDIS has arrived in the far future, in a scientific research facility – just as reality is ripped at the seams and the universe tears in two…
The original audios were originally released between 2010 and 2012, and make up an absolutely huge set, ideal for those missing the Eleventh Doctor. I’ll be getting this set, just to indulge in my favourite era of Doctor Who again.
The Eleventh Doctor Tales is out now, with an RRP of £35 – that’s a bargain, considering each CD is about £10 separately, but even more so as you can generally pick the set up for less than £30.