The Eleventh Doctor Audios: 1 - The Runaway Train
Written by: Oli Smith
Read by: Matt Smith
The first in the unrelated series of Eleventh Doctor audio exclusives, ‘The Runaway Train’ sees the Doctor and Amy arrive in the Wild West. Stepping outside the TARDIS doors they find guns pointed at their head by three cowboys, all apparently having met the Doctor before. They’ve been recruited, but what for?
This audio feels a little undone now because of it’s similar plot strands to ‘The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon’ with the Doctor leading himself to a certain place, which is a shame as it’s played out to good effect here and this audio was published last year to coincide with Matt Smith’s first series of the show.
The CD was released early on, but I’m not sure when it was recorded (before, during or after filming the first series) but it feels like Matt Smith’s recorded it early into filming. His Doctor impersonation isn’t as convincing as it is onscreen, especially as he doesn’t distinguish his voice between Doctor dialogue and narration but there’s definitely something strong lacking from his Doctor as he’s transferred to audio.
Smith isn’t in complete confidence with audios at this point either, as previously said his narration and Doctor voice isn’t distinguished and he doesn’t put on another voice for Amy Pond until much later into the hour-long adventure. What Smith does excel at, however, is impersonating cowboy voices. You can tell whilst listening how he loves doing Wild West accents and the characters needing one of these voices are the ones that really shine.
Writer Oli Smith provides a great story here too, that arguably could’ve done with another twist to complete the hour, but it’s a shame the story was on audio as I’d love to see the eleventh Doctor in this setting on screen, especially on a moving train. The adventure really is a fun one, although the problem is the eleventh Doctor’s character is incredibly hard to pin down, near impossible at the time this would have been written, but Smith gives it a really good go and it’s not too noticeable through the great storyline.
The audio could’ve definitely done with some sound effects, although this is the promotional release with the Telegraph I’m listening to when I think it was later released officially it was given some sounds to make it more audio-friendly. The main thing this adventure does for me is want to hear Matt Smith read another of these a year later to see how much he’s moved on in confidence with his character.
Smith does indeed record another two adventures (to date), the third and fourth in this series of audios, which will be reviewed in the future.