Synopsis: It was just a police box, but Ben and Polly are amazed to discover the truth when the Doctor’s TARDIS takes them to 17th-century Cornwall. Soon they are drawn into the machinations of a ring of murderous smugglers and a very sinister squire…
- 1. A Shock for Polly and Ben
- 2. The Frightened Man
- 3. Longfoot’s Friends
- 4. Pike
- 5. Pirate Treasure
- 6. Kewper’s Trade
- 7. Captured
- 8. The Squire’s Plan
- 9. Pike’s Revenge
- 10. Treasure Hunt
- 11. Cherub’s Move
- 12. The Treasure
Background: Terrance Dicks adapts scripts by Brian Hayles for the 1966 story, 21 years and just over eight months earlier.
Notes: Terrance Dicks explains what a police box is (the target readership is now far too young to have any memory of them). The events of The War Machines are summarised and we’re told that it was Dodo’s decision to remain behind and leave the TARDIS. The Doctor, though old, is ‘still alert and vigorous and the eyes in the heavily lined face blazed with fierce intelligence’. Polly is wearing a ‘fashionable denim trouser suit [with] her long blonde hair tucked beneath a denim cap’ while Ben is in his uniform, ‘bellbottomed trousers, blue raincoat and jersey… and a sailor’s hat with HMS Teazer on the ribbon’.
‘Cherub’ is a nickname bestowed upon him because of his bald head with a little tuft of hair behind the ear. The sailor who tells Pike that Cherub is no longer aboard the ship is given the name ‘Crow’. The Doctor tells Ben that he feels he has a ‘moral obligation’ to fix the situation as he’s become ‘involved in the affairs of this village’ and fears that ‘my interference may even have brought about the threat of destruction’ (a slight clarification of the words said on screen). The final scene sees the TARDIS materialise in its next destination, but it’s not specified where.
Cover: Beautiful – Alister Pearson paints the Doctor dwarfing two views of a Cornish village, the beach and a ship at night and the church, separated by the TARDIS.
Final Analysis: We’re nearing the end in more ways than one and Terrance Dicks manages to imbue the Doctor with much more vitality than William Hartnell was sadly able to in his final months on the show. We have a Doctor who is alert and analytical at all times, bad tempered with his new young friends but still with a sense of responsibility for their well-being (how far we’ve come since his first stories!). Dicks sticks to the story as usual, so there’s really not much more to report here, but we should still savour every word – there are only two more Dicks novelisations to come!