Since 2018, BBC Physical Audio has been releasing a series of one-disc original-to-audio dramatic readings starring pre-Jodie Whittaker Doctors; the range began with Paul Magrs’s Fourth Doctor tale The Thing from the Sea, and has continued with instalments featuring the First, Third, Sixth, Second, and Fourth (again) Doctors. 2019’s The Scent of Blood added the Eighth Doctor to the list in a story by Andy Lane.
Some of the earlier instalments were read by companion actors, but the versatile Dan Starkey takes on narration duties here, reading a tale of the Eighth Doctor hunting vampires in 1890s Edinburgh. Starkey is an enjoyable reader with good energy; I don’t think he’s noticeably doing a Paul McGann impression, but he evokes a range of characters with ease. I should listen to more of his Doctor Who audiobooks, as he has done many by this point.
The story is slight (as it would have to be at this length) but enjoyable stuff, as the Doctor investigates vampires. He gets a bit wrong-footed, and so does the listener, which is nice. Andy Lane’s story won’t knock your world over, but it’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour. Not quite the ambition of some of Big Finish’s Short Trips, but a polished diversion worth hearing.
The Scent of Blood (by Andrew Lane; read by Dan Starkey) was released by BBC Physical Audio in October 2019.