P.R.O.B.E. – The Zero Imperative by Mark Gatiss (BBV, 1994) A creepy Doctor Who spin-off that sees Liz Shaw investigating supernatural deaths at a psychiatric hospital. Liz, however, doesn’t actually feature that much, and it’s a little difficult to reconcile the other Who actors (four ex-Doctors, no less!) with their new roles.
Running Through Corridors: Rob and Toby’s Marathon Watch of Doctor Who, Volume 2: The 70s by Toby Hadoke & Rob Shearman (Mad Norwegian Press, 2016) The perfect viewing companion for 70s Who. Hadoke and Shearman are not uncritical but their focus is very much on the good bits; that is, making the most of whatever is on screen and recognising…
Doctor Who: Scratchman by Tom Baker with James Goss (BBC Books, 2019) A novelisation of the film script that Tom Baker and Ian Marter wrote back in the 1970s. The content is dark verging on horror, yet the tone is very much Baker’s latter-day staple of bemused, gently deadpanned, Doctor as lost man-child comedy.
Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time by John Nathan-Turner and David Roden (BBC, 1993) A 14-minute charity special mashup with EastEnders seems a rather sad way for Doctor Who to have celebrated its 30th anniversary. The interchanging multi-Doctor, multi-companion plot is impossibly silly, but amidst all the rattling snippets some of the acting is surprisingly good.
Doctor Who: Time in Office by Eddie Robson (Big Finish, 2017) Four mostly self-contained episodes revisiting the notion of the Fifth Doctor as President of Gallifrey. Robson plays around with tropes and there are some amusing moments, albeit that the overarching narrative wavers between comedy and drama and cops out in an anti-climax.
Doctor Who: The Paradox Planet by Jonathan Morris (Big Finish, 2016) Disappointingly, this story is not self-contained but rather one of a separately issued brace. The titular paradox, though inventive, is thus hard to gauge. Character-wise, Romana seems overly supercilious and the Doctor a bit too faux-affable (yet without the underlying moral authority).
Doctor Who: The Last Day at Work by Harry Draper; audiobook read by Nicholas Briggs (Big Finish, 2018) Draper writes well for the Second Doctor and Jamie, crafting a short story with a neat premise and a mood very much in keeping with its valedictory nature. Narrator Nicholas Briggs joins in by giving a passable impersonation of the two leads.…
Doctor Who: Ghost Ship by Keith Topping (Telos, 2003) Told in the first person, supposedly from the perspective of the Fourth Doctor, this serviceably atmospheric, potentially wonderful novella reads, unfortunately, as if a 40-year-old Englishman has sat down with a framed picture of Tom Baker on his desk and started rambling.
Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who, Volume One, 1963-1989 by Paul Kirkley (Mad Norwegian Press, 2015) A derivative though informative critique of Doctor Who’s original run. Kirkley admits that his only original contribution is the humorous slant he brings, but unfortunately this is facetious in its execution and grows old very quickly. The title…
River Song: The Eye of the Storm by Matt Fitton (Big Finish, 2016) In and of itself, this is a mess. As the conclusion to a four-part adventure it’s an even bigger mess. Big Finish again sacrifices coherent storytelling for clickbait casting. Yes, a ménage à trois! But the plot is forced and borderline nonsensical.