|“||Hello, I'm the Doctor, and if you can hear this, one of us is going to die.||”|
— A voice heard on an audio recorder found next to Michael Grade's pie-encrusted corpse
|Release date||4 March 2010|
|The Last Voyage||The Ring of Steel|
Dead Air was the final in the series of Tenth Doctor audios published by AudioGo (aka the poor man's Big Finish). It was unusual for an AudioGo release in two ways, first of all because it took the form of an audio drama rather than an audiobook, featuring Tennich narrating in character as the Tenth Doctor, with one backup voice actress whose name I can't find anywhere starring as the BBC presenter at the beginning of the story (Mr. Goss' lawyers would like to make clear that he has never heard of any "Companion Chronicles"), and secondly because it was actually GOAT and not shit.
Less canon synopsis
The story is framed as a lost recording found at the bottom of the sea. It is the voice of the Doctor, broadcasting from Radio Bravo in 1966. He has travelled to Earth in search of the Hush - a living weapon made of pure sound that kills, silences and devours anything that makes noise - and has tracked it to a boat crewed by a team of pirate DJs. Some spooky shit happens.
Even less canon, more detailed, extra-Virgin synopsis
On a serious note, this synopsis contains plot spoilers. Don't read this unless you've already listened to the story or you don't give a shit about spoilers.
The audio starts off with a BBC presenter telling us that we are about to listen to the long-lost final broadcast of pirate radio station Radio Bravo, which was found at the bottom of the ocean
along with a copy of The Power of the Daleks. We then abruptly cut to Tennant's voice informing not to listen to this story on pain of death (see page quote). Cheer up, Tennant, it's a Goss script this time!
The Doctor arrive in a pirate radio ship in the 1960s. There, he meets Layla, a DJ and the last voice broadcast on Radio Bravo. He informs her that he is tracking the Hush, a living weapon made of pure sound. It was designed to attack whatever makes the most noise, which would make it a useful weapon against Ian Levine, but, unfortunately, the Time Lords decided to waste it against the Daleks in the Time War. It went rouge after Gallifrey got blowned up and has been rampaging through the universe indiscriminately attacking anything that made a noise ever since. Also like Ian Levine. The Doctor has tracked this thing to Earth, and destroyed the radio transmitter so that it couldn't use it to escape. Suprisingly, she not only believes him, but also helps him to create a cover story to tell the other two DJs on the boat, Jasper and Tommo.
The rest of the story centres around the Doctor and Layla searching for the creature on board the ship. The Hush can be detected by listening for a pocket of silence, since the Hush has devoured all noise that would have been there. Either that or it makes an incredibly loud noise, as you hear all the sounds it has devoured played at once. At one point, it kills Jasper and possesses a record player playing a recording of his voice to try and use his voice to trick the Doctor into releasing it, but the Doctor tells it to fuck off and stop samefagging.
Darkness falls. The Sonic Screwdriver gets fucking kill, eaten by The Hush. The Doctor leads Layla down a corridor towards the generator. They pass through a ball of silence while Layla tries to direct the Doctor towards. Then the hush uses Layla's voice to trick the Doctor to go into another room, then uses the Doctor's voice to try and trick Layla and Tommo into repairing the transmitter, but Layla lights a candle and realises that she can't see the Doctor. She then tells the Hush to fuck off and stop samefagging.
Layla finds the Doctor in a soundproof booth, hiding from the Hush. Layla explains what just happened to them and the Doctor realises that the Hush tricked him into hiding in there so it could impersonate him elsewhere.
The Doctor decides to hide out on the ship overnight, and sink it in the morning trapping the Hush on a tape. Tommo plays music to lure it in. A pretty comfy scene then ensues, as the trio talk overnight. The only uncomfy bit was when Layla made a joke about the Doctor not having any friends, which was just mean of her! No, it didn't resonate personally with me at all, why do you say that? I have loads of friends, MOM, you just haven't met them yet! Where was I? Ah yes, while Layla sleeps and the Doctor keeps watch, the Hush arrives and kills Tommo, but leaves without killing the Doctor or Layla, who continue to wait through the night.
The story then catches up with real time, as the Doctor, now recording the message, reveals why he's recording this message. THE HUSH WAS LAYLA THE WHOLE TIME AND HE'S NOW TRAPPED IT IN THE RECORDING YOU'RE NOW LISTENING TO! The Hush taunts that, as soon as someone listens to the recording, it will be free. The Doctor says that he has left a warning on the tape so that nobody will play it to the end. Nobody could be that stupid. The Hush disagrees, saying that someone will inevitably play it, and then it shall be free. The story ends with the sound of a tape running out..
- Mark Gatiss later plagiarised the idea of a found-footage/"cursed" recording Doctor Who story for his (s)hit episode Sleep No More.
- Scott Handcock reused the idea of a creature hiding in and distorting (oops guess I forgot to mention the audio distortions) the very audio recording that you're listening to in a Torchwood audio from Big Finish. Both stories were even about piracy! However, unlike Sleep No More, this story gets a pass for actually being good. RADIO BRAVO HANDCOCK!