‘DAMAGED GOODS’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Goods with the Seventh Doctor, Chris and Roz
This is a special treat for all ‘Doctor Who’ fans in Big Finish!
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard that Russell T. Davies’ first ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘Damaged Goods’, the original novel, was going to be adapted into an audio drama by Big Finish. It was a dream come true for me and I couldn’t wait to listen to this when it got released in May 2015.
The ‘Novel Adaptations, Volume 2’ limited special edition box set is a 5-disc set and contains two stories. This features ‘Damaged Goods’ by Russell T. Davies featuring Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor and it also features ‘The Well-Mannered War’ by Gareth Roberts with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor.
These two stories are based on the original novels published in the 1990s by Virgin Publishing. ‘Damaged Goods’ was a New Adventures novel with the Seventh Doctor, published in 1996, whilst ‘The Well-Mannered War’ was a Missing Adventures novel with the Fourth Doctor, published in 1997.
Big Finish released standard individual releases and a limited special edition of the two stories. I purchased the limited special edition box set which contains a behind-the-scenes disc; production notes and glossy, stunning photos of the cast including Sylvester McCoy; Tom Baker and Lalla Ward.
Inside the limited special edition, there is a special introduction by Russell T. Davies to ‘Damaged Goods’ as well a special behind-the-scenes interview with the man himself found on Disc 5. This makes the box-set extra-special with having the former executive producer of ‘Doctor Who’ aboard.
I’ve now had the limited special edition of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’ signed by the stars of ‘Doctor Who’. They include Sylvester McCoy; Lalla Ward and John Leeson who’ve signed photos in the box set when I met them at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in July 2015.
‘Damaged Goods’ is a 2 by 50 minute story by Russell T. Davies on two discs; adapted by Jonathan Morris. It stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, Travis Oliver as Chris and Yasmin Bannerman as Roz.
I was intrigued about this story once I heard about it from friends who were ‘Doctor Who’ fans and I read reviews on the book. I knew this was a darker and grittier story compared to Russell’s ‘Doctor Who’ stories on TV.
Russell T. Davies is well-known as the head writer/executive producer of the revived ‘Doctor Who’ TV series from 2005 to 2010. And here’s a story by Russell starring Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor! It’s fantastic!
Jonathan Morris, a regular Big Finish writer, was chosen to adapt ‘Damaged Goods’ into audio. He’s the perfect choice to adapt Russell’s novel into an audio drama, since he writes in a similar style to RTD.
I liked the story’s atmosphere, since it has elements of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ in it. The story is set on a council estate in 1987 and features a family living in a flat called the Tylers. Familiar, hey?!
The story is also more adult and mature than any other ‘Doctor Who’ story I’ve encountered. It deals with drug themes and some adult issues that make this audio drama more ‘Torchwood’ than ‘Doctor Who’.
There are also certain references from the new series featured in this audio adaptation of ‘Damaged Goods’. There’s a reference to a certain a future ‘time war’ and even ‘Torchwood’ is involved in this.
Sylvester McCoy is brilliant as the Doctor in this adventure. Russell writes well for Sylvester’s Doctor, balancing the comedy and drama. Sylvester told me he enjoyed playing the Doctor in a story by RTD.
The Doctor is joined by two companions named Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester. These two are former Adjudicators (futuristic policemen) that featured in the New Adventures novels that started with ‘Original Sin’.
Travis Oliver stars as Chris Cwej. Travis has appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ before in the new series episode ‘Gridlock’. Chris is a blond-haired man and is this bisexual character travelling in the TARDIS.
Yasmin Bannerman stars as Roz Forrester. Yasmin also appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ in the new series episode ‘The End of the World’. Roz is this tough woman who is helpful and can easily pack a punch.
The Tyler family includes Michelle Collins as Winnie, who appeared in the new series ‘Doctor Who’ episode ’42’. Winnie has two children including Georgie Fuller as Bev and Tayler Marshall as Gabriel.
There’s also Denise Black as Eva Jerricho. Denise has worked with Russell T. Davies before in ‘Queer as Folk’. Eva is this woman who’s obsessed with her son Steven and goes totally insane in the story.
There’s Richard Hope as Harry and Daniel Brockleback as David, who live together in a flat. There’s also Peter Barrett as the Capper, who gets possessed by an octopus monster with metal tentacles.
There is a brand-new version of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme tune for ‘Damaged Goods’ by Howard Carter. I’m not a fan of this new theme tune, since I prefer the original Sylvester McCoy theme music.
‘Damaged Goods’ has been a fantastic two hours of audio ‘Doctor Who’ to listen to. I’m pleased I’ve heard this story by Russell T. Davies, as it is so well-adapted by Big Finish and is one not to be missed!
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2 of the limited special edition box set of ‘Novel Adaptations, Volume 2’, there is a suite of incidental music from ‘Damaged Goods’ to enjoy!
On Disc 5 of the limited special edition box set of ‘Novel Adaptations, Volume 2’, there are behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews on the making of ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’.
In the first half of Disc 5, there’s a section that focuses on ‘Damaged Goods’. There are interviews with Sylvester McCoy; Travis Oliver; Yasmin Bannerman; Michelle Collins and Denise Black. There’s also an interview with Russell T. Davies, the original author of ‘Damaged Goods’, who was so great to listen to on the disc.
There are also interviews with adaptor Jonathan Morris; producer David Richardson and director Ken Bentley. I immensely enjoyed how Travis Oliver; Yasmin Bannerman and Michelle Collins shared their memories of working in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ and also working with Russell T. Davies.
If you purchase ‘Novel Adaptations – Volume 2’ with ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’ from Big Finish, you’ll get the extended extras of the interviews. These extras total the ‘Damaged Goods’ interviews for 90 minutes whilst ‘The Well-Mannered War’ interviews total for 30 minutes.
‘Damaged Goods’ (Audio) rating – 9/10
‘DAMAGED GOODS’ (BOOK)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The First ‘Doctor Who’ Book By Russell T. Davies
This book is anything but ‘damaged goods’!
Russell T. Davies! How can we not thank a man who revived ‘Doctor Who’ back in 2005? His era of a TV show considered long dead was brought back into the minds of many people. It is now well-loved for generations and I’ll always consider the Russell T. Davies era of ‘Doctor Who’ to be my favourite.
So it’s fair to go right back to the beginning and take a look at Russell T. Davies’ first contribution to ‘Doctor Who’ back in the 1990s. This is of course, ‘Damaged Goods’. And I’m not talking about the audio drama. I’m talking about the original ‘Doctor Who’ book, ‘Damaged Goods’, published in 1996.
I purchased ‘Damaged Goods’ the novel sometime in late 2016 before Christmas. I enjoyed the audio adaptation by Big Finish so much that I wanted to find out how different the story was in the book. It took me a while to get around to reading the book. I read it for two weeks in April 2018. I enjoyed it!
‘Damaged Goods’ was originally part of ‘The New Adventures’ book range of ‘Doctor Who’ by Virgin Publishing. Russell T. Davies contributed the book to the range after a magazine interview he had with future Big Finish producer David Richardson. It’s a book that was well-received back in the day.
Now the thing is, Russell T. Davies was already a TV writer when he contributed ‘Damaged Goods’ as book in 1996. He created many TV shows including the controversial adult soap opera ‘Revelations’ and the acclaimed BBC children’s serials ‘Century Falls’ and ‘Dark Season’. I have not seen those yet.
So it’s amazing to think that an already established TV writer before he became the executive producer of ‘Doctor Who’ wanted to contribute a ‘Doctor Who’ novel to the Virgin ‘New Adventures’ range. It is clear from reading the book that RTD loves ‘Doctor Who’ as well as in the TV series itself.
Mind you, ‘Damaged Goods’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ story both in book and audio form that’s unlike any of the TV episodes he wrote and produced from 2005 to 2010. This ‘Doctor Who’ story is pretty dark and more fitting for mature readers. There are adult themes that are provokingly strong in the book.
This includes drug usage, sexual content, swearing and such. There were times when I thought I was reading a ‘Torchwood’ novel rather than a ‘Doctor Who’ novel. As Timelord007 stated in a review he wrote for ‘Damaged Goods’, if this was made for television, it would have the 18 rating applied to it.
In that respect, I prefer the audio adaptation of ‘Damaged Goods’ rather than the novel. Don’t get me wrong. The novel’s great and it’s very well-written by RTD. But there are things about the book that I’m not happy with and I am glad Jonathan Morris changed things when he adapted it for audio.
The book’s climax feels pretty depressing compared to the audio adaptation of the story. There are certain deaths to characters and shocking twists and revelations that were never featured in the audio adaptation. This will be something that I will get into more as I progress in the review further.
There’s also moments of profanity featured in the book that didn’t please me. Thankfully the ‘F’ word isn’t used in the book, which surprised me since I was expecting it to be in the book. However the sh*t word and Jesus Christ’s name gets used a number of times in the book and not in the audio.
The book itself is divided into 14 chapters. There’s also five pages worth of Appendices on the back of the book, giving more details to the characters. Russell T. Davies dedicates his book to his Mum and Dad as well as to Janet, Susan and Tracy. He also gives thanks to a number of people in the book.
So what differences are there between the book and the audio adaptation by Big Finish? Well, apparently in the audio adaptation, the Quadrant is located in London whereas in the book, it’s located in the north of England. Yeah! Something that did not occur to me as I was reading the book!
I noticed whilst reading the book how rough the Quadrant is as a council estate. Compared to the Powell Estate in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ where Rose lived, that’s heaven whereas the Quadrant is hell. There’s a lot of drug dealing in the area and some pretty violent activities going on.
And yes, this book feels grittier in terms of realism in the story when the Doctor, Chris and Roz visit the Quadrant. Somehow I could visualise that in the story and wonder how RTD managed to gain such information and detail of that gritty realism as I was reading the book. I do admire him for that.
In the book, the Doctor, Chris and Roz are getting a drug called cocaine. Stop! Wait a minute! I thought it was SMILE that the TARDIS trio were getting. Well, apparently that changed when Jonny Morris adapted the book into audio. I suppose SMILE is a better name for a drug rather than using cocaine.
Yeah it seemed that back in the 1990s, it was okay to use lethal drugs like cocaine for a ‘Doctor Who’ book as this. This book was published at a time when the BBC didn’t care about ‘Doctor Who’ and the novelists could do whatever they wanted with their stories. It’s something that can’t be done today.
I actually prefer SMILE as a drug rather than cocaine, since it adds to the fantasy realism element of a ‘Doctor Who’ story. I used a drug myself called Yentias for my Dwaxi stories in ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series. Bob Baker used a drug called Vraxoin for his TV story called ‘Nightmare of Eden’.
In the book, Chapter 2 features scenes with the Doctor, Chris and Roz in New York City. These were cut and not featured in the audio adaptation. I suppose the New York City scenes would have slowed down the story and they only establish that the Doctor notices someone is using cocaine at a café.
Now I was expecting there to be a graphic sex scene between Chris and David in the book as opposed to the audio adaptation. But as I read the book, I didn’t seem to find it. I’m not sure I read the censored version of ‘Damaged Goods’ the novel or whether I had missed that scene completely.
But yeah, Russell T. Davies’ homosexual themes come to the fore in this ‘Doctor Who’ book as well as in the audio adaptation and opposed to his TV episodes. RTD explores the characters of David and Harry as well as Chris in terms of their homosexuality and how it affects their Quadrant neighbours.
The homosexuality themes of ‘Damaged Goods’ are things that will get addressed in the ‘Doctor Who’ spin-off series ‘Torchwood’. It’s interesting how daring Russell T. Davies went to portraying those themes in the book. I’m not sure if it’s done before in other ‘Doctor Who’ books in the 1990s.
Harry’s homosexuality is explored in an interesting way in the book compared to the audio version. In the audio version, Harry and David seem to be like lovers already or at least are on friendly terms with each other. But in the book, Harry tries to distance himself from David ever since his wife died.
Also in the book, Harry gets stabbed violently by the Capper during the attack at the cemetery in Chapter 1. Throughout the book, Harry experiences great pain and doesn’t seek help from David when he tries to cover it up. This wasn’t in the audio drama, as Harry relates to David what occurred.
There’s a character called Mrs. Hearn who features in the book but doesn’t feature in the audio drama, although she does get referred to. It’s interesting how Mrs. Hearn interacts with the Doctor and how she behaves towards Winnie Tyler, since there was this history between them in the book.
Winnie Tyler also comes across as a very bad mother-like figure in the book compared to the audio version. In the book, she tends to get drunk a lot and favours over Gabriel as her son compared to her other two children Bev and Carl. Gosh, I wonder what Jackie Tyler would be like if she got drunk. 😀
Oh yeah, in the book, Winnie has three children as opposed to two in the audio adaptation. In the book, she has Bev, Gabriel and Carl whereas in the audio, she has just Bev and Gabriel. Yeah, Carl didn’t do much in the book. You can see why Jonny Morris didn’t include him in the audio drama.
There’s an earlier scene in the book in Chapter 1 where the Capper jumps off from building to commit suicide before he gets buried and becomes the tentacle monster out from his grave. I’m not sure I understand the scene or how the Capper/Simon Jenkins survived falling off a very tall building.
Chapter 9 focuses on Winnie Tyler and Eva Jericho and how their characters behave in certain situations regarding their children. With Winnie, she becomes distressed and depressed as she’s about to scar herself with a kitchen knife. That was very disturbing to read when I read that chapter.
The scenes where Mrs. Jericho gives her husband his sausages and mash was disturbing in the book as much as it was in the audio drama. In the book, Thomas comes in and Mrs. Jericho stabs him with cutlery in his chest, before she forces and tortures Alfred to eat her food, knowing she’d poisoned it.
Eva Jericho’s journey as a character in the book is interesting compared to the audio version. She recollects a crime she committed when she was a teenager, as she shoplifted some clothes; was caught and it had something to do with a school friend of hers called Sally Hunt whom she despises.
There are also moments when Eva keeps getting a Voice speaking to her inside her head, which causes her to go mad when she’s in frequent contact with her son Steven. It turns out she had a baby inside her, which turns out to be a hideous monster. It comes out after she becomes the N-Form creature.
And yes, the most obvious difference between the book and the audio drama of ‘Damaged Goods’ is that there is no mention of Torchwood and the Last Great Time War in the book as opposed to the audio. The Torchwood Institute and the Last Great Time War references were added by Jonny Morris himself.
Instead of Torchwood however, it turns out Dr. Greco was working for the Brotherhood of the Immanent Flesh. The N-Forms were also activated by the Brotherhood. This Brotherhood is something that was part of an on-going arc occurring in ‘The New Adventures’ book series back then.
The book ends rather differently compared to the audio adaptation. In the audio adaptation, Bev and Gabriel survive. However in the book, Gabriel is the one who survives, albeit in a coma, and Bev is the one dies. I’m not sure if Carl died too in the story, but it’s most likely he did after Winnie died.
The scene where Bev dies was pretty gut-wrenching especially when the Doctor sees her and she calls him ‘a bastard’. Even in that moment, Bev doesn’t get that her seeing him in the snow on Christmas Eve 1977 hasn’t happened for him yet. Bev comes across as pretty whiny and sulky in this.
There’s also no adoption by David and Harry for the two kids Bev and Gabriel in the book as opposed to the audio adaptation. I suppose Jonny Morris was kind-hearted than RTD in the audio adaptation. 😀 This is why I prefer the audio than the book. The ending is less depressing compared to the book.
The book ends with an extra scene set in 1963, showing Eva Dalloway, before she was married as Eva Jericho, shoplifting with Sally Hunt and the other girls watching her before she gets caught. Why was that scene shown at the end of the book? To establish Eva actually did shoplift as a teenager? Huh?!
I’m sure I’ve got more things to say in terms of the differences between the book and the audio drama of ‘Damaged Goods’, but I think it’s time to stop. In summary, ‘Damaged Goods’ as a book is pretty good. It’s well-written; has strong character development and has the Russell T. Davies magic.
I still prefer the audio adaptation compared to the book. I’m very glad I’ve read it and braved my way through the gritty realism that featured in the book. I’m also glad Jonny Morris toned down some of the disturbing imagery and graphic violence featured in the book. But this still holds as a great RTD story.
I doubt that the ‘Damaged Goods’ book will get an audiobook reading by the BBC, since it doesn’t need one. But I wouldn’t mind if this book was read by Sylvester McCoy, Travis Oliver or Yasmin Bannerman for audio. Russell T. Davies can read it! He read an extract for ‘The Ark In Space’ DVD. 😀
‘Damaged Goods’ (Book) rating – 9/10
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