The Black Archive #35: Timelash by Phil Pascoe (Obverse Books, 2019) Pascoe approaches Timelash without an obvious agenda to push, motivated by a fondness for the story yet making no attempt to proselytise. His exposition is centred around the use of HG Wells as a character, and evinces the creative bleed-through between texts.
Dr. Seventh by Adam Hargreaves (BBC, 2017) Though drawing a pretty faithful Seventh Doctor (and Ace), Hargreaves manages the almost inconceivable feat of making his Cheetah People less threatening than those of the original serial. In mitigation, the Master’s cameo is era-appropriate in its preening reveal and blustering fizzle.
The Black Archive #33: Horror of Fang Rock by Matthew Guerrieri (Obverse Books, 2019) Guerrieri is clearly an erudite writer and diligent researcher. However, the four constructs by which he interprets Horror of Fang Rock seem associatively rather than directly relevant; the non-Who works he analyses tend rather to dominate, relegating Horror itself to the background.
Doctor Who, Series 12 BBC, 2020 Series 12 shows tremendous diversity and production values, top-notch acting and highly imaginative storylines, albeit that some of the most promising scenarios boil down to heavy-handed moralising (‘Orphan 55’, ‘Praxeus’) or egregious dei ex machina (‘Spyfall, Part 2’, ‘Can You Hear Me?’).
Doctor Who: The Wormery by Paul Magrs & Stephen Cole (Big Finish, 2003) The experimental storytelling doesn’t always pay dividends, but at least the writers aren’t stuck on the bog-standard. Colin Baker holds himself in fine fettle (and is afforded an uncommon depth of character). Former Pertwee-era companion Katy Manning runs rampant as Iris Wildthyme.
Dr. Eleventh by Adam Hargreaves (BBC, 2017) Hargreaves, in his usual clumsy way, has Matt Smith’s Doctor and River Song run a pointless gamut of monsters… but can only think of three (Zygons, Silurians, Weeping Angels) before resorting to snakes and spiders! The ending is as tiresome as ever.
Dr. Ninth by Adam Hargreaves (BBC, 2017) As if inspired by a particularly insipid Terrance Dicks novelisation, Hargreaves doesn’t so much attempt a mash-up here as a clumsy retelling of Rose’s first story. The text is belaboured and even the pictures offer little. Jack Harkness is a middling highpoint.
Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles – Find and Replace by Paul Magrs (Big Finish, 2010) This short, tightly plotted story makes clever use of both Huxley (an alien narrator) and Iris Wildthyme (quasi Time Lady, owner of a transdimensional bus) in transporting Jo Grant back to the 70s and giving her one last scene with the Doctor.
Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward (BBC, 2019) At last, lagging thirty-five years behind the TV serial, former Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward has novelised Revelation of the Daleks. If only he’d spent some of that time learning to write! This is BBC-endorsed beige-wallpaper fan fiction without the heart.
Dr. First by Adam Hargreaves (Puffin, 2017) Doctor Who purists may not approve of this playful rewriting of the programme’s origin story. There’s no denying, however, that the characters are beautifully drawn – from Susan, to William Hartnell’s cantankerous purple and grey Doctor, to the jiving, sports mascot, continuity-defying Cybermen!