Further Reading

The mission for this blog was simply to read all of the Target books of the original range. Since 2018, BBC Books has continued the tradition of mixing reprints with new novelisations – some adapted from existing full-length novels, some specially commissioned to cover a selection of stories broadcast since 2005. Like the original intentions of the Target range right at the start, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to create an exhaustive library of novels covering every single story from the 21st Century. With that in mind, and having reached the final novel in a (now) unbroken run of adaptations, it seems that this is the appropriate place to bring this blog to a close. 

Just for completion’s sake, as of 2021, there have been eight further volumes added to the Target range, covering the Doctors who we’ve met this century – all with covers by Anthony Dry.

163. Doctor Who – The Christmas Invasion

Jenny Colgan adaptes Russell T Davies’ scripts from 2005. Yes – scripts, as this novelisation spans three stories! The regeneration scene from Parting of the Ways leads into the Children in Need mini-episode – aka The Pudsey Cutaway – before launching into the feature presentation, an adaptation of Russell T Davies’ script for the 2005 Christmas special. It’s suggested that the Doctor’s Estuary accent may be due to Rose’s influence and that elements of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy other than Arthur Dent also exist in the Doctor’s universe. Aside from the Prologue and Epilogue, the chapter titles all come from Christmas songs.

164. Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor

Steven Moffat very loosely adapts his scripts for the 2013 anniversary special and the mini-episode Night of the Doctor. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character with the overall story narrated by… the Curator! Apparently the first two Doctors were colour-blind, something they only discovered when he became the Third Doctor. The two 1960s Dalek movies exist as films within the Doctor’s universe. The Ninth Doctor smashed every mirror in his TARDIS as a reaction to his predecessor’s actions in the Time War. He also took aboard a therapy robot, which River Song later used to help the Eleventh Doctor forget how many children died on The Final Day. The Twelfth Doctor plays an active part in proceedings, installing himself in the War Room on Gallifrey. 

165. Doctor Who – Twice Upon a Time

Paul Cornell adapts Steven Moffat’s script for the 2017 Christmas Special. We’re told a little more about Nardole’s life (and death), we learn that the Doctor has a collection of VHS tapes of his old adventures (he laments that The Daleks’ Master Plan is missing) and the first Doctor repels an attack of Dalek mutants by using a sonic screwdriver.

166. Doctor Who – Dalek

Robert Shearman adapts his own script for the 2005 episode, with sidesteps and chapter-long short stories inspired by the supporting characters. The torturer Simmons has adopted a new identity to escape his past crimes, while Goddard is an undercover security agent who arrests Van Statten at the end. The Dalek’s backstory is also explained, including an encounter with the War Doctor.

167. Doctor Who – The Crimson Horror

Mark Gatiss adapts his own story from 2013, narrated mainly by Jenny, with additional viewpoints from Strax, Jonas Thursday and the Doctor. We’re offered an ‘origin story’ for how Jenny and the Doctor first met (although this is at odds with what we’re told in The Name of the Doctor) and the Doctor gives perception filters to Strax and Vastra to help them pass unnoticed in London.

168. Doctor Who – The Witchfinders

Joy Wilkinson adapts her own script for the 2018 episode, beginning with a new sequence that explains how the Morax came to be imprisoned on Earth. There’s additional backstory for Becka and Willa, while Willa is revealed to have survived the later Pendle Witch trials thanks to the Doctor’s intervention, as well as an unexpected connection with Clara and Me / Ashildr.

169. Doctor Who – The Fires of Pompeii

James Moran adapts his own story from 2008. A prologue describes a race of beings who are trapped beneath the soil of a planet; though their bodies fragment into dust over thousands of years, their consciousnesses survive and they discover that they can influence the primitives of the planet, who worship them as gods. The chapter titles are not just in Latin, but they’re puns too – shades of The Myth Makers. On first sight of a Pyrovile soldier, the Doctor speculates it might be a Krarg [from Shada]. We’re told of just some of the escapades Donna experienced before reconnecting with the Doctor (including ‘KebabGate’). The Doctor takes issue with Donna’s misuse of the phrase ‘deus ex machina’.

170. Doctor Who – The Eaters of Light

Rona Munro adapts her own story from 2017, with the story divided into three ‘books’, each subdivided into chapters (eighteen in all, plus a prologue, epilogue and Author’s Note). Nardole is distressed by the bet between the Doctor and Bill; he’d hoped for ‘a day off’ and had lined up a box set and popcorn. Bill witnesses the creature slaughtering the prized bull of Kar’s tribe before fleeing the scene and meeting Simon. The second book tells the backstory of how Kar became the gatekeeper and when Lucius ran away from home to join his legion. The framing scenes of the girl discovering the music in the stones is missing, as is the final sequence involving Missy.

Chapter 162. Doctor Who – Rose (2018)

Synopsis: Rose Tyler works in a department store. Exploring the basement one evening after hours, her life changes forever as she meets a man who saves her life by telling her to ‘run!’ He tells her to forget him too, but she begins to investigate and learns that this man has appeared throughout history. He’s called the Doctor – and right now, he’s trying to protect Earth from an alien intelligence with a deadly control of anything plastic…

Chapter Titles

  • Prologue
  • 1. Descent into Terror
  • 2. Enter the Doctor
  • 3. Life at No.143
  • 4. Plastic Attack
  • 5. The Turn of the Earth
  • 6. Life at No.90
  • 7. The Mysteries of Juke Street
  • 8. Shed of Secrets
  • 9. The Pizza Surprise
  • 10. Inside the Box
  • 11 War Stories
  • 12. The Living Statues
  • 13. The Lair of the Beast
  • 14. The Never-Ending War
  • 15. The Army Awakes
  • 16. The Battle of London
  • 17. Rose Says No
  • 18. Death Throes
  • 19. Aftermath
  • 20. The Journey Begins

Background: Russell T Davies adapts his own script from 2005.

Notes: The caretaker (not chief electrician) at Henrik’s Department Store is Bernie Wilson. He’s a short, creepy man who abuses his position to coordinate a mini-crime ring from the basement of the store. In recent years, he’s been running the lottery syndicate and pocketing the money. When a store employee wins the roll-over lottery, Bernie panics and decides to burn down the store to cover his tracks. He is killed by a shop window mannequin. Henrik’s is at ‘the western end of Oxford Street’, backing onto Cavendish Square (so it occupies the exact same space as the John Lewis department store in our world).

Rose Tyler looks back on the events of that day from the beach in another dimension [see Doomsday]. The story takes place between Friday 4th March (‘Chris Rea’s birthday’) and the early hours of Sunday 6th March. She attended Sweeney Street Comprehensive and when she was 16, she dumped her boyfriend Mickey, dropped out of sixth-form college and took up with Jimmy Stone, a flash lad (with a nice car) who turned out to be a disaster. She got back with Mickey and spent six months on the dole before finding work in the female clothing department of Henrik’s, which was a year ago. She remembers meeting a stranger on New Year’s Eve whose face she never saw and who had told her that 2005 was going to be ‘great’ [see The End of Time Part Two]. In the basement, Rose hears the voice of an Irish comedian on a radio somewhere (a beautiful reference to the accidental crashing of Graham Norton over the first TV broadcast of the episode). She thinks the man who rescues her looks like he’s tackling the situation with ‘glee’ and that the bomb he’s holding looks like something from the TV series 24:

He was about 40 years old, tough, hard as nails, she reckoned, lean and fit, with a brutal buzz-cut, dressed in a battered brown leather jacket, tight black clothes and big sturdy boots. And now he turned to face her, his blue eyes glistening with delight, strong cheekbones hollow in the steep fluorescent light, his head bracketed by two splendid ears.

Rose lives at flat 143 on the 14th floor of the ‘Enoch’ Tower on the Powell Estate. The estate was built in 1973 – two towers of 16 floors each with six flats per storey and looming over a selection of shops. ‘Enoch’ is a nickname for one of the towers, as residents wrongly assumed the estate was named after the Conservative MP Enoch Powell; in reality its name comes from the mother-in-law of the developer, who died in tragic circumstances.

Rose’s mum is introduced as ‘a little blonde missile’ in ‘double- denim’:

Jackie Tyler, 5 foot nothing, age not relevant, karaoke champion of the Spinning Wheel, life and soul of the party but a monumental lightning storm when angry, now sobbing and laughing and then, somehow, finding a reason to give Rose a punch on the arm.

On inspecting himself in the mirror, the Doctor is disappointed not to be ginger. Jackie walks in on her daughter straddling the Doctor and holding the (now inert and cracked) mannequin arm; misunderstanding the scene, she calls Rose a ‘tart’. When the Doctor leaves her for the second time, Rose hears a ‘grinding, heaving, aching sound, like some sort of ancient engine lurching into life’.

Mickey is three years older than Rose. His mother, Odessa, took her own life when he was five. His father, Jackson Moseley Smith, was an engineer and part-time singer who went away to sea, leaving Mickey with his Gran, Rita-Ann – and Jackson never returned. Once Mickey turned 18, his Gran arranged for him to rent a flat back on the Powell Estate; she died a few months after Mickey left [as explained in Age of Steel]. Though Mickey’s parents and Gran are now dead, Rose later remembers there’s still an uncle Cliff on the scene. Mickey now lives at flat 90 in the Powell Tower. His one-bedroom flat is a meeting place for his gang – Mook, Patrice and Sally – who have all taken turns sleeping in the living room. They are trying to form a band and are in the process of choosing a name when Sally suggests ‘Bad Wolf’. Later, Sally recalls that the phrase ‘Bad Wolf’ appears in the Jordan Street car park, the graffiti tag of some gang or other.

Clive Finch is an estate agent living on Juke Street, Stoke Newington, North London. He is married to Caroline and they have two sons, Michael and Ben. His website shows photos of people he identifies as ‘the Doctor’, including the one Rose has met and a ‘curly-haired man in a long scarf’. In Clive’s shed, Rose sees his files on UNIT and what she thinks says  ‘Touchwood’. Clive describes the Doctor as ‘he – or she’. There’s ‘an old man with white hair and a black cape’ standing in the street in front of a War Machine; ‘a little man with a Beatles mop of hair’ outside an antiques shop [possibly from Evil of the Daleks]; ‘a man with a fabulous grey bouffant standing next to a small silver hovercraft’; ‘that man in the long scarf again’, dwarfed by an unconvincing monster emerging out of the Thames [see Terror of the Zygons]; ‘a rather hot blond man at Heathrow Airport’ [Time-Flight]; ‘a curly-haired man clearly on his way to a fancy-dress party dressed as a picnic’; a photo from World War II of ‘a short man with an umbrella’ running with some soldiers [The Curse of Fenric perhaps]; ‘a dashing, Byronic man’ at the opening of an atomic clock [the TV Movie]; from a box-file labelled ’09’ comes an old photo of ‘her’ Doctor, shown wrestling with a pterodactyl and visible bruising that she saw him receive only that morning from the plastic hand; a man with two suits, ‘brown and blue’; ‘a man with a fantastic jaw, dressed in a tweed jacket and bow tie’; ‘an older, angry man in a brown caretaker’s coat, holding a mop’ [The Caretaker]; ‘a blonde woman in braces running away from a giant frog in front of Buckingham Palace’ [an unseen adventure]; as well as ‘a tall, bald black woman wielding a flaming sword’ and ‘a young girl or boy in a hi-tech wheelchair with what looked like a robot dog at their side’.

Clive has no idea what the ‘blue box’ is, though it appears in many photos. His father – Second Lieutenant Gary Jonathan Finch – was a soldier who died while on manoeuvres ‘in Shoreditch’ [see Remembrance of the Daleks]. One of Clive’s most treasured photos shows a small tank-like machine, ‘a one-man vessel made of white and gold metal, its lower half studded with balls, odd prongs sticking out of its body’ – which Clive believes was responsible for his father’s death. Rose notices one photo of a ‘giant big tentacled thing’ wrapped around Westminster Abbey [probably a reference to the pioneering 1950s sci-fi drama TV The Quatermass Experiment, which you can’t see as it was never telerecorded, or The Quatermass Xperiment, the movie adaptation of the TV serial], while Clive mentions a theory about ‘a crack in time’ [see The Eleventh Hour and many more]. Desperate to meet the Doctor himself, Clive bursts into tears as Rose leaves.

Rose deliberately doesn’t tell Mickey about the Doctor because she wants something exciting of her own, so she tells him Clive is helping her with an insurance claim. At the restaurant, Fake-Mickey’s eye pops out of his face and into his soup; Rose realises he’s made of plastic just as the replica demands she tells it everything about the Doctor and threatens to kill the other diners. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver once on fake-Mickey’s head, but claims he can’t use it again because the plastic has ‘recalibrated’. The head accuses ‘you lot’ of bringing ‘a war crashing down on our civilisation’ before falling inert. 

We see the inside of the TARDIS for the first time, through Rose’s eyes:

She was standing on a metal ramp surrounded by curved walls arching upwards, studded with hexagons. What she’d thought was a dome was more of a sphere; she could look down, through the metal mesh at her feet, to see the curve completing far below in one vast circle. The whole interior was weathered, rusting, bruised, and yet humming with life, as though huge engines were brooding somewhere beyond the walls. The skin of the sphere was supported by weird buttresses, shaped like … coral? Yes, she could smell ozone, like the seaside, though this was a coral glowing with internal light.

The central console is ‘a coral mushroom out of which a glass pillar containing tubes of light soared up to the roof and down into the depths, like a linchpin holding the entire globe together’. 

Rose notices that the cut on the Doctor’s cheek from her mother’s table has healed since this morning, only for the Doctor to tell her that, for him, that was weeks ago. He briefly explains the ‘war’ between his people and ‘another kind’, a ‘filthy stinking war that changed reality itself, corrupting everything it touched. Ripping life inside out and making it obscene’. The Nestene Consciousness was once flesh and blood with an ‘affinity with plastic’, but the war rewrote its DNA, turning it into ‘an actual living plastic creature’. Rose compares the Doctor to the famous environmental protestor ‘Swampie’, who the Doctor claims to have met. He also identifies the Nestene Consciousness’s foot-soldiers as ‘Autons’ (on telly, they’re only named in the end credits). Some of the ‘living statue’ entertainers on the South Bank of the Thames are revealed to be Autons: One is dressed as a tramp holding a plastic daffodil [see Terror of the Autons]; another takes the form of a ballerina; and a third is a knight in a suit of armour. The Doctor realises the Auton trio has been steering them towards the Nestene lair, a chamber that the creature has clearly chewed its way into from beneath. A second Mickey duplicate tricks Rose into revealing the existence of the anti-plastic. Rose slowly becomes able to understand some of the Nestene Consciousness’s words, such as ‘Time… Lord’ and ‘Doc…tor’.. 

The shop-window Autons in the ‘Battle of London’ include a plastic dog and a boy made out of small plastic bricks, as well as display models from Soho’s adult shops, dressed in leather harnesses and speedos. Some of the Autons turn their hands into blades and hack their way through the crowd, while others morph their hands into gun barrels. Clive recalls stories of ‘monsters from Loch Ness, and wizards in Cornwall, and robots in the North Pole’ [neatly looping in Terror of the Zygons, The Tenth Planet and Russell’s CBBC TV show, Wizards Vs Aliens] before he pushes his family to safety and is killed. 

Rudi Henrik, heir to the Henrik family fortune, comes to inspect the damage to the Henrik’s store, accompanied by his wife and his boyfriend; all three are killed in the Auton massacre. A ‘posh boy’ is knocked over by one of the Auton Living Statues and he and his family are later caught in the Millennium Wheel when it tips over. Rose’s dodgy ex Jimmy Stone has recently moved in with a Ghanaian student, not for love but for her money; he decides to leave her, after stealing some of her valuables, and is hacked to pieces in the street by a gang of Autons. In Chiswick, Donna Noble has been nursing a hangover all day. Put to bed by her grandfather, she sleeps through the whole thing.

Cover: Anthony Dry’s cover shows the Doctor pointing his sonic screwdriver (its first ever appearance on a Target cover!) along with Rose and a pair of Autons.

Final Analysis: This is a perfect example of what a Target book should always be – telling the story we loved on TV, adding insights into the lives of the supporting characters that might not be possible to reveal within a TV schedule timeslot, add a few extra characters and background detail and throw in a couple of scenes too ambitious for even a generous TV budget. Russell is confident enough in the character of Rose to allow her to be selfish, demanding and aware of her own faults, because she’s also determined, brave and compassionate. All of these things made her such a strong, fully rounded woman on TV but here we get to understand more of who she was before we met her. 

This is only Russell’s third novel (he wrote Damaged Goods for the Virgin New Adventures and adapted his first CBBC serial, Dark Season, for BBC Books) and as we’d expect, he brings a more adult approach than we might have seen before in a Target adaptation – even though it’s entirely family friendly. So there are characters who are gay, one in transition, and even just the acknowledgement that people might be sexual beings feels like a brave new world. Jackie Tyler may have photos of her late husband and find herself still mourning him, but she still has ‘understandings’ with various friends around the estate. She’s grown up with nothing and isn’t afraid to take what she feels is owed to her, whether it’s a favour from Rodrigo or a premature spending spree in anticipation of her share of Rose’s compensation. There are a few mild swear words, a couple of uses of ‘bloody’, a ‘sod that’, plus something that wasn’t an issue for British viewers on transmission of the TV episode, but turned out to be controversial elsewhere. The phrase ‘leave the domestics outside’ is retained here. It’s a term commonly used by the police in the UK, meaning ‘domestic abuse’ – threatening or violent behaviour between partners or family members. Unfortunately, some North American viewers incorrectly interpreted this as ‘domestic servant’, suggesting a racially insensitive description of Mickey. This led to a few heated and (for British fans) rather baffling conversations at conventions in the year after Rose was first broadcast. 

I’ve cheated slightly in how I’ve ordered these final chapters as, officially, Rose entered the Target library before The Pirate Planet, the TV Movie, the two Saward Dalek stories and the two Fisher rewrites – but this is the right way to end. At the time of writing, Russell T Davies has not indicated that he’ll be writing any more Targets, happy to leave those adaptations to other writers. It’s a shame, because I’d love to see him tackle some more. But if you’re going to write just one Target book, let it be this one. Marvellous!

Thank you for following this quest to the very end. Although I’m not covering the rest of the 21st century stories, you can find a quick guide to them in this chapter. As a reward / punishment for sticking with me this far, come back on 17th November, when I’ll be releasing something new, one chapter a day, leading up to Doctor Who’s birthday.

Chapter 159. Doctor Who – The TV Movie (2021)

Synopsis: En route to Gallifrey with the remains of his enemy, the Master, the Doctor lands in San Francisco and is promptly shot by a gang of youths. Grace, a talented surgeon, tries to save his life, but is confused by the Doctor’s alien biology and he dies. Put on suspension by her superiors, Grace tries to come to terms with her mistake, only for a strange man to come into her life, a man who claims to be the reincarnation of her lost patient. The Master has also found a way to cheat death and his plans threaten the stability of the entire planet. It’s New Year’s Eve, 1999 – and it’s about time…

Chapter Titles

  • Out with the old
  • … in with the new
  • One for sorrow, two for joy
  • Three for a girl
  • Four for a boy
  • Five for silver
  • Six for gold
  • Seven for a secret never to be told

Background: Gary Russell amends his own novelisation, first published in 1996, based on scripts from the film broadcast the same year. It’s the 2021 version I’m reviewing here.

Notes: Bored from travelling alone,  the Doctor has reconfigured the TARDIS many times in the last few months. The side-rooms around the console room match the specific panels of the console: Opposite the ‘data-bank switches’ is the TARDIS library containing shelves crammed with both antique and modern books; the space/time destination panel faces a wall with ‘every conceivable form of timepiece’; the panel that measures external atmospheric conditions is opposite a garden containing a tiny fish pond full of ‘rainbow gumblejacks’ [see The Two Doctors]; another wall contains a huge a filing cabinet with references in 843 different languages and drawers full  memorabilia collected on his travels. The garden also features a pipe organ that he borrowed at some point from the church in his favourite English village, Cheldon Bonniface [see the New Adventure novel Timewyrm: Revelation]. Although he’s denied his heritage for most of his life, he feels he should at least acknowledge it, which is why the TARDIS now has  seals of Rassilon everywhere

He thinks of Ace, imagining her in various possible scenarios that were depicted in the Virgin novels: Becoming a space mercenary; hanging out in a 19th-Century royal court in France; he remembers offering her the chance to enrol at the Time Lord Academy but instead she returned to her own time to set up an organisation called A Charitable Earth [see The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Death of the Doctor]. He also remembers the Cybermen and the Lobri [from the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip Ground Zero, which offered a further alternative conclusion to Ace’s adventures].

The Time Lord president contacts the Doctor to bring him the Master’s Last Will and Testament and although it’s not spelled out, this is Romana, as established in the Big Finish audios produced by Gary Russell. The Doctor and the Master grew up together and attended the Time Lord Academy at the same time. The Master has prolonged his life by adding ‘alien genes’ to his body. The Master’s execution is overseen by the Dalek Supreme. The Doctor sneaks into the Dalek city on Skaro to retrieve the Master’s ashes. Inside the casket, the Master’s remains are crystalline, the vague suggestion of his eyes preserved. The Doctor realises that his enemy has cheated death by becoming a completely alien lifeform, which buries itself deep in the TARDIS’s systems, and by now the Master must be ‘completely insane’. We’re later told that the Master’s survival is thanks to a ‘Morphic DNA carrier’ that he ingested prior to his extermination and which carries his essence while hunting for an appropriate humanoid form to possess.

Chang Lee first handled a gun eight years ago, when he was nine years old. He lives with his parents, who used to run a shop in the Bay area of San Francisco, and his elder brother, Ho. When the Triads took over their neighbourhood, Chang Ho fell under their influence and began using the shop as a front for money laundering and drug distribution. His parents were killed by a rival gang and Chang Lee found himself drawn into his brother’s activities; Chang Ho was stabbed to death three years ago. A couple of days before the Millennium celebrations, Lee and his two gangmates, a girl called Pik Sim and an older boy called Lin Wang, are being chased by a rival gang.  Chang Lee’s companions are shot dead before the TARDIS arrives [which might be news to anyone who has only ever seen the original, censored UK broadcast]. The new arrival is a ‘Westerner’ wearing a straw hat and ‘checkerboard pants’, with a tweed sports jacket that has leather patches on the elbows, an ‘expensive white silk shirt’ with felt tie, and a ‘burgundy vest’ from which hangs a gold fob-watch; he is carrying a red handled umbrella when he emerges from the TARDIS. The amorphous form of the Master discounts Chang Lee as a potential host as he needs something more ‘mature’ – preferably the Doctor! As a temporary measure, the Master takes control of an ambulance Driver called Bruce Gerhardt.

Grace Holloway has to explain the plot of Madame Butterfly to Brian. She’s said to resemble the actress Grace Kelly, has a ‘luscious cascade of strawberry-blonde hair’ and a figure that ‘most modern actresses would have had to pay a small fortune to have implanted’:

… her face might well have been carved from a marble statue of a Greek goddess. Although not in any way harsh, she had a defined bone structure along with a generous mouth and piercing blue eyes which appeared to be laughing, no matter how serious she was being.

Grace recognises the Scottish accent of her patient and guesses that he might not have insurance – but the presence of the hospital administrator with potential investors drives her to push on with the exploratory procedure that ends up killing the Doctor. On the TV in the mortuary is a ‘cheesy’ Frankenstein movie (but as the scene is told from the point of view of Pete, this is less a damning review of the 1931 James Whale version than a critique of Pete).

Bruce and Miranda Gerhardt have been married for five years. Bruce had been recovering from a recent divorce when he first met Miranda, who he’d accompanied to hospital after a car accident. After her recovery, they struck up a friendship and Miranda discovered he was ‘kind, sincere and attentive… the perfect man’. The new Doctor is ‘much taller’ than his predecessor [continuing a suggestion that ran in the New Adventures that the Eighth Doctor is tall, even if the actor who played him is not]. He finds his old clothes (recognising that they’ll no longer fit him) and experiences a sensation of memory when he picks up the straw hat. He steals items from various lockers to create his new outfit, comprising a wing-collared shirt and grey velvet cravat with a gold pin, a silvery vest, grey trousers and a long tailed ‘forest green’ frock coat that comes from the ‘Wild Bill Hickock’ costume that Pete’s colleague Ted has hired for the New Year’s Eve fancy dress party.

Grace looked at him. He was in his mid-thirties, at a guess. He had rather sad-looking eyes, yet they were bright blue and quite attractive – she was sure the left eye was a darker shade than the right. He had a nice bone structure and a wonderful smile, showing a full set of good teeth. He was about her height, but with swept back hair that looked as if he’d licked his fingers and jammed them into a light socket.

Grace thinks he looks like he’s stepped out of a ‘Victorian movie’. This volume’s mild swear-count includes Grace saying ‘damn’ and ‘crap’. Grace decided to become a doctor when she was a child, after her mother died from ALS and she experiences a flashback to that day thanks to the Doctor. After showering, she changes into blue Levi jeans, a ‘cerise Versace Profuni blouse’ and a pair of Doc Martens shoes. The Doctor remembers spending a ‘warm Gallifreyan night’; with his father; they lived on the south side of Gallifrey (a place that sounds Celtic to Grace, and later to Dr Sullivan, who both assume it’s in Ireland), near a mountain that was ‘covered with the most beautiful daisies’ and ‘the sky was burnt orange, rich and beautiful and the moonlight made all the leaves glow silver’. [referencing details from The Sensorites, The Time Monster and a recurring joke that spans from The Hand of Fear through to the Irish illusions in The Timeless Children’]. Chang Lee notices that the Master is ‘over six feet tall and quite muscular’ (Chang Li is ‘five foot eight and wiry’). The Master tells Chang Lee that the bearded old man whose face is carved into various decorations around the cloister room is ‘Rassilon’, the founder of the Time Lords and (he claims) his ‘mentor’; he also spells out that the ornate decoration around the TARDIS is ‘the seal of Rassilon’ and explains that the TARDIS is powered by ‘artron energy’ [see The Deadly Assassin]. The Eye of Harmony shows Chang Lee images of all the past Doctors with descriptions that might be familiar to fans of the Target books: ‘Long silver hair’, ‘a mop of black hair’, a ‘shock of white hair’, ‘beaky nose’, ‘brown curls and a toothy grin’, ‘a pleasant, open countenance’, and eyes that are ‘cat-like’ with an ‘insatiable curiosity’. 

When he impulsively kisses Grace, the Doctor feels a little embarrassed while Grace feels confused and, caught up in the moment, suggests they do it again but (as in the original novel) the Doctor tells her they don’t have time and Grace is left wondering what prompted her to kiss a man who she doesn’t know. Returning to Grace’s apartment, the Doctor meets one of her neighbours, a cat-owner called Mrs Trattorio. Bruce’s paramedic partner is called ‘Joey Sneller’. One of the reporters for San Francisco’s KKBE news station is ‘Sean Ley’ (a tribute to ‘Shaun Ley’, who acted in the fan-produced audio dramas that Gary Russell used to make, but later became a journalist and news anchor on BBC News). One of the security guards at the New Year’s Eve party is David Bailey – named after the Big Finish author, not the famous photographer. The officers called to investigate Miranda Gerhardt’s death are named after Rona Selby and Nuala Buffini from BBC Books.

The Doctor tells Grace that he has a granddaughter who he intends to get back to one day [see The Dalek Invasion of Earth and then The Five Doctors for how that played out]. The Master explains that the Time Lords added a security element to the Eye of Harmony, requiring it to be unlocked by a human retina to prevent it from being opened, as they assumed none of their number would ever travel with a human. The Doctor points out that the Master cannot use Grace to open the Eye of Harmony when her own eyes are in a possessed state

During the climax, throughout the TARDIS, Grace can hear the peeling of a bell, which is identified as the Cloister Bell [see Logopolis]. The violent lurching of the TARDIS results in one significant casualty – the eagle on the lectern that has been a feature of the TARDIS since before An Unearthly Child, is snapped off.

As the Master begins to absorb the Doctor’s life energy, both his clothes and the body of Bruce fall away from him, leaving him in the form of a silhouette glowing with the energy of the universe, ‘a brilliant white figure of a man, but with no defined edges within its shape’. The face is ‘lumpy, unmade’ with ‘half-closed eyes and a snarling mouth’. 

Having kept his old straw hat rolled up in his pocket since he escaped from the hospital, he presents the hat to Grace as a gift. 

Cover: Anthony Dry’s cover brings together the Doctor, the Master and the TARDIS.

Final Analysis: As he explains in his forward, Gary’s original novel, released to tie in with the movie’s broadcast, was written solely from the scripts and before Gary had either seen the movie or visited San Francisco. Many details were removed from his manuscript for space, or because they referenced the Doctor’s past lives (earlier drafts of the script had included a sequence where all of the past Doctors were shown in the Eye of Harmony, not just the Seventh). Rewritten and published under the Target banner 25 years later, we can enjoy those many ‘kisses to the past’, including acknowledgements of the Virgin Books, which came to an end soon after the TV Movie was broadcast, after which the original novels were brought in house to BBC Books. In the Terrance Dicks tradition, Gary tidies up a few lose strands, such as making it explicit that Chang Lee was ‘mesmerised’, working under the Master’s hypnosis. Most importantly though, he fixes that ending, which was always a little unsatisfying and a bit of a cheat on TV.

There’s one extra detail that’s of a personal interest. Although she knows she’s made the right decision at the end, Grace wonders if she’s now the founder member of the ‘Grace Holloway is Stupid Club’; she’s not – that would be novelist Jacqueline Rayner, who founded that particular group soon after the TV Movie first aired. A good-natured and light-hearted affair, Its members (who all had actual membership cards) included Gary Russell and er… me!