Doctor Who, Hornets Nest - The Stuff of Nightmares, by Paul Magrs (BBC Audiobooks, £9.78)

THOUGH there was no new Doctor Who TV series in 2009 there has been much in the way to whet fans appetites with new releases of stories old and new via DVD's and audio books.

And no audio book from the Doctor Who stable has been more eagerly awaited than Paul Magr's Hornets Nest - The Stuff Of Nightmares. Here, we have the return of arguably the most popular actor to portray Doctor Who (pre-David Tennant). Tom Baker was The Doctor on television for seven years between 1974 and 1981 and this audio adventure signifies his return route to the role since hanging up his trademark six-foot long scarf some 28 years ago.

A scene setter for further instalments in the Hornets Nest Series, The Stuff of Nightmares is far more than a glorified bookend. Here, the Doctor has been reunited with his former UNIT colleague Captain Mike Yates, and is trapped by a horde of vicious creatures in an apparently innocuous English country cottage. As the Doctor relates his recent escapades to his old friend, it becomes clear to Mike that they are facing an enemy of unimaginable power and horrific intent.

Tom Baker steps back into the role of the Doctor with ease, the edginess and humour he originally brought to the role are still there, while his rich vocal tones have also matured like a fine wine and should be savoured as such! Richard Franklin also returns to his role as the retired Captain Mike Yates and is a good pairing to Tom Baker’s Doctor, of which a partnership in the mould of Holmes and Watson begins to forge throughout this story.

Susan Jameson and Daniel Hill also provide great character support, making this tale an essential listen for any Doctor Who fan, young or old, and like myself, looking forward to future instalments!

Andy Howells