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re­leased 7 de­Cem­Ber 141 min­utes | Cd/down­load

Pub­lisher BBC au­dio

For any­one who grew up a Doc­tor Who fan in the ’60s, ’70s or ’80s, the Christmas an­nual was a fes­tive de­light – colour­ful pic­tures in lurid shades, puz­zles, quizzes and, of course, short sto­ries.

Now BBC Au­dio has put to­gether a col­lec­tion of tales from an­nu­als rang­ing from 1966 to 1985. There are six sto­ries and two es­says in to­tal, all read by ac­tors from the show. For the most part they do a good job and it’s a great way to evoke the eras the sto­ries hail from.

The sto­ries them­selves un­for­tu­nately fall short. It’s fun lis­ten­ing to ear­lier tales re­fer to the char­ac­ter as “Doc­tor Who”, and his ship as “TARDIS” rather than “the TARDIS”. And the de­scrip­tion of the Sec­ond Doc­tor in 1968’s “The Phoenix In The TARDIS” as “more with it, more switched on” raises a smile. But sto­ries such as “Co­nun­drum” (1982), which comes across like the au­thor had just learned of Mo­bius strips, or “The Penalty” (1983), a de­scrip­tion of the Doc­tor’s night­mares, aren’t that com­pelling. Pyra­mid-based tale “The King Of Golden Death” (1968) is the best of the bunch, with an in­ter­est­ing dis­cus­sion on the re­la­tion­ship of ethics to timescale as Ben and Polly try to con­vince the Doc­tor to let them take sou­venirs from a pharaoh’s tomb.

Not an es­sen­tial pur­chase, but a fun lis­ten for Christmas af­ter­noon when you’re wait­ing for the spe­cial. Rhian Drinkwa­ter

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