The English Way of Death
By Gareth Roberts
Adapted By John Dorney
Starring Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and John Leeson
The Doctor has bypassed the Randomizer on the TARDIS to return a couple of library books back to London in 1930. But all is not what it seems as a biscuit millionaire is hiring assassins and a sea side hut holds a secret that is beyond strange. The Doctor’s plans might be forced to change as trace of time pollution is detected. There is also a strange smell in the air a smell The Doctor deuces could mean the death of everyone on Earth.
I did not care for The English Way of Death. I’m not a big zombie fan and this audio adventure was purely a zombie story and I just did not care for it. I remember reading the book back in 1996 and I did not care for the novelization either. But I did like the audio better because the stars of the show brought the book to life and added that something extra that the book could not. Actually voices and sounds of action plus the vocals of Tom Baker were superb. But it did not disguise the fact that it was still a zombie story which as you guessed it was not my cup of tea.
Another problem I had with The English Way of Death is that it is set during one of my least favorites eras of Doctor Who and that would be Season 17. I did not like the Graham Williams era of Doctor Who as it was too silly and the stories were just not up to the standard that came before in previous Tom Baker seasons. This story fits in perfectly with season 17 and it is another negative for me. Now since I’m not a fan of season 17 that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of Lalla Ward as she was really good and did not miss a beat returning as Romana. Both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were terrific and it felt like you were back in 1979 when the two were on television.
I am glad Big Finish is making audio adaptations of the Virgin Publishing Doctor Who books from the New and Missing Adventures. Like they did with Love and War and The Highest Science this range will bring to light some of the Doctor Who stories during The Wilderness Years that helped bridge the gap for us diehard fans that was waiting for the show to return. Even though I did not like The English Way of Death it was still pretty cool to hear Tom Baker and Lalla Ward together again and to have a book from The Wilderness Years reimagined for a new audience.