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Doctor Who: the Celestial Toymaker

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Doctor Who: the Celestial Toymaker



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Doctor Who: the Celestial Toymaker
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"Classic Heights for a Lost Adventure"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

As most people who come looking for this already know the original televised version of this four part story from William Hartnell's third season was thrown out by the BBC sometime in the early seventies and only the last episode has been recovered (available on the Lost in Time DVD set, which is no longer available in region 4). This audio version which is professionally constructed from recordings fans made with tape recorders in front of their 1960s TV sets is, baring miracle discoveries, going to continue to be the best that there is ever is of it.

The story is quite odd for Doctor Who of the time. The Doctor (Hartnell), Steven (Peter Purvis), Dodo (Jackie Lane) and the TARDIS are taken out of space by the mysterious immortal Celestial Toymaker (Michael Gough) and forced to play games or face spending an eternity as toys. And it seems the Toymaker really dislikes loosing.

Because producers and Hartnell were mutually thinking of a way for him to leave the show at the time The Doctor becomes, except for a hand to play his game with, invisible and sometimes mute for part of the story. The original plan was for another actor to replace Hartnell when The Doctor became visible again (and yes a similar trick was used to cover Fraser Hine's illness in The Mind Robber three years later). This leaves the cynical Steven, the naive Dodo, The Toymaker and a cast of toys come to life led by Campbell Singer, Carmen Silvera and Peter Stephens all playing multiple roles to carry the story. So do they? Actually, yes they do.

In tone, it's often accused of being light but I disagree, the consequences of loosing a game and the anger and bewilderment Steven and Dodo express at the other side's constant cheating aren't ever far from the surface but there is some comic relief provided by the guests, who do a superb job. Actually given that Season 3 (1966–7), for those of us who collect, was quite a dark season this is a bit of an endearing relief.

This is an utterly charming Doctor Who story and, although I understand (well, from googling) the sets and costumes were quite fantastic I think it does well as an audio version. In fact I think it's one of the benchmarks in quality of “lost” Doctor Who classics and for me, quite unmissable.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


William Hartnell stars as the first Doctor in this classic four episode story from 1966, which pits the TARDIS crew against one of the most powerful enemies they have ever encountered.
Release date NZ
April 2nd, 2001
Created by London Bridge
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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