This story is from what to many is the golden age of Doctor Who.
Tom Baker was at the height of his powers and he had iconic companions in the shape of K-9 and the wonderful Mary Tamm as Romana.
The Ribos Operation was the first in a series long arc of stories that had the Doctor scooting around the universe trying to locate and reassemble the six constituent parts of the Key to Time. I was but a young lad when this was on television, but even then I remember watching the final episode of the arc and wondering just what the hell the point had been… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves now! Let’s deal with this one first.
First off is the audiobook itself, which is written by Who stalwart Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan in the series) and based on a script by Robert Holmes. Because of the nature of this particular adventure- being the first in a long arc- things start off rather slowly as we have to set up not only the Ribos storyline, but the whole Key to Time thing as well. In and of itself, when it gets going, the main plot is not that bad.
That is not to say it is without problems. The plot revolves around a pair of con men pulling a scam on the deposed dictator of a planet, which is fair enough. The problem is that the scam itself is so simplistic, unoriginal and transparent that I could not help but think that if he was this stupid, the dictator deserved to be deposed.
However, apart from that the writing is very good. The characters as all very well written, with the Doctor and Romana sparking off each other instantly and at times hilariously.
The story is read by John Lesson, who of course is famous for providing the voice of K-9. So when I now talk about his voice acting on this, you will know which character he manages to nail effortlessly. I think that because Baker has such a distinctive voice it is hard to hear anyone else trying his lines, but Lesson does it well nevertheless.
All in all this is a fine recording, and hopefully Audio Go will follow it up with the rest of the Key to Time season.