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It was a good attempt, but ultimately came up wanting.
on 19 July 2000
It was often said that towards the end of the TV series that Dr Who became too self aware and the same charge could be levelled at this novel. The plot that involved being taken over by your TV screen was also a little unoriginal, although it was a clever look at how you can get the masses to watch any old rubbish. Ogron Hospital, anyone?
Ace's character doesn't really develop, as it hasn't really done since Illegal Alien. It's almost as if she's been stereotyped and that's a shame. Since Curse of Fenric she's had the potential to do so much more, but none of the writers seem to know what to do with her.
However, in its favour was the satirical look at the way the BBC itself is run, including I assume, the Dalek-General himself, Lord Birt. Also making a welcome return is the Master, and it was nice to see him on the receiving end for once. But once again, he is in danger of becoming nothing more than a stereotype (I know he's a baddie, but baddies always used to have the best parts).
The Fleshsmiths were a nice development on the replacing worn out body parts theme, but I felt more could have been done to stimulate our horror of them, and also our pity for them.
In fact most of the characters here were one dimensional. There were no surprises in any of them. It's almost as if the PDA authors are reluctant to develop their characters beyond what was achieved on TV. I think it was this more than anything that spoiled an otherwise excellent Seventh Doctor story.