DW: The Star Beast (Audio Version) Review

DW Star Beast

Well, this is odd! Only a few months ago I wrote a review for the original comic version of this story as part of the Audio/Comic Companion Debut Marathon, and now here I am reviewing the audio adaptation! Well, some of this review, particularly the look at the story itself, are copied and pasted from that, but with some extra thoughts on the audio side of things, obviously. So let’s once again take a look at “and the Star Beast”, or just “The Star Beast” for simplicities sake…

Synopsis:

1980 AD! In Yorkshire, the authorities have dismissed reports that an Unidentified Flying Object was seen plummeting towards the ground… moments before the explosion that destroyed the Blackcastle Steel Mills. After all, Blackcastle is the last place on Earth aliens would ever want to visit…

Local teenagers Sharon and Fudge know better. ‘Cos they’ve found an actual space alien hiding in the allotments. He’s their alien. Their secret. And his name is… The Meep.

He’s not the only alien in Blackcastle, though. His pursuers, the terrible Wrarth Warriors, are on his trail, along with their unwitting accomplice: The Doctor!

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (Tom Baker) – The Doctor is travelling alone at the moment, Romana having been dropped off somewhere unspecified. Still, it gives him time to take a nice trip to the beach! … maybe… though, let’s face it, probably not.

Sharon Davies (Rhianne Starbuck) – A regular school girl from the town of Blackcastle who, along with her friend “Fudge”, are on the lookout for a recently sighted UFO crash…

Fudge (Ben Hunter) – Fudge is a huge sci-fi fan, so when it seems like a UFO might have crashed in his town, he’s all over it! … as long as his friend Sharon comes with him…

Beep the Meep (Bethan Dixon Bate) – Beep the Meep is a tyrannical mass murderer who happens to look what Earthlings consider “cute”. He must take advantage of this and hide and regroup after his forces were wiped out…

Constable Zreeg and Sgt. Zogroth (David Schaal & Chris Walker-Thomson) – Members of the Wrarth Warriors, intergalactic police army that have been tracking down and eliminating the Meep threat across the galaxy. All that’s left is their leader Beep, who has crashed on Earth…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW Star Beast Cover

Nice cover again, though the story does specifically state Beep’s blood as being green, but hey-ho…

The audio version of the story is very faithful to the comic, it keeps the silly “Beano vibe” going, and the actors / actresses chosen did the characters justice. Tom Baker was once again having a great time with it all as well. As for the story? Well, this is what I wrote for the comic version, and it remains much the same:

“The central premise of the story, as I’m sure you can tell via the character bios, is having a super-cute fuzzy character called Beep the Meep and have him turn out to be a mass-murdering psychopath, and the story does it well. It starts off with just an innocent creature being hunted by the scary insect men, and then he starts internally monologuing to himself about wanting to slowly kill the innocent children for treating him with such disrespect, and then we just get full on cartoon evil tyrant and his slave army for a finale. It’s a fun read, and in tone with these early  DWM comics and their lighter, more… well, comic approach to the series (and something the Fourth Doctor was well suited for!)

Sharon is a good companion, especially for the time. Young intelligent black girl who comes from a modest background may be quite common in Who in the last decade or  two, but this was written and published in 1980, so it’s nice to see. I mean, she doesn’t get to do much beyond shelter Beep, get possessed by Beep, and then help put a stop to Beep, but for an eight four-page-long comic story, that’s fine! The main thing is that she boards the TARDIS and goes off on some adventures with the Fourth Doctor, something no-one else has done outside of TV stories (again, until early 2019…)

I do also like some of the side characters, especially the Wrarth Warriors, whose names of Zreeg and Zogroth can only be gotten away with in this kind of comic story. They start off as “evil”, even planting a bomb in the Doctor’s body and trying to detonate it when he’s near the Meep, so they’re not the nice kind of police, but in the end they’re trying to put a stop to someone far worse, so… I guess that’s okay? Hmm… an interesting topic for such a light and silly comic strip!”

So overall, a fun time, the little bits to expand the story were good, including an increased role for Fudge and introducing his mother.

The Bad:

Once again, not much! It’s two hours of silly fun with a cast that get it and make it come to life. The only thing I can think of is that Fudge doesn’t sound young enough, but given younger actors and how hard it is to find one that’s any good, I’ll take it!

Also they expanded on the home life to stretch the first two episodes or so before we got any evil monologues or any real action, where as I would have preferred to add to the climax. That’s personal preference, and might not have even worked, so…

The Continuity:

DW Comic Strip Vol1 Cover

Once again the overall cover… for no real reason this time…

Beep the Meep returns in the Fourth Doctor comic aptly named “Star Beast II”, and then makes his acted debut in the Sixth Doctor audio drama freebie “The Ratings War”.

Overall Thoughts:

The audio version of The Star Beast is just that, a very faithful audio version of the comic. I enjoyed the comic, and I enjoyed the audio! I’d probably still prefer to read the comic, it’s shorter and the aliens involved are very visual, but at the end of the day you can’t go wrong with this or Iron Legion. It’s been a great boxset!

4 Star Listen

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