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on 10 May 2012
It's the year 2000 and a South Polar military base is tracking a manned capsule probing Earth's outer atmosphere. The TARDIS crew of an ailing Doctor, accompanied by Ben and Polly arrive at the base just as the capsule begins malfunctioning, seemingly affected by a strange force.
By the time this one came out I'd already witnessed my first Time Lord regeneration when Jon Pertwee bowed out, so the big surprise at the end of the Tenth Planet shouldn't have been much of a shock. What it did do to my understanding of the show, that I'd drifted into loving through Jon Pertwee's tenure, was to make me aware that regeneration had occurred before and that sooner or later it was going to happen again. The story also introduces the Cybermen in their original, almost unrecognisable, though very creepy, cloth masked version. I was a month old when The Tenth Planet was first broadcast and by the time this book got into my hands the BBC had already junked much of their pre-70s episodes including that crucial regeneration episode.
Gerry Davis' novelisation sticks close to the original script. There's a few minor changes like the year being 2000 instead of the original 1986, a Roger Moore James Bond cameo (sort of), some teasing lines from the newly regenerated Doctor at the conclusion and most noticeably the reinstatement of the Doctor's lines from episode three which were delivered in the televised version by Michael Craze (Ben) , somewhat confusedly, when William Hartnell missed filming due to ill health. Even though the Doctor doesn't have much of presence in this story it's still a very enjoyable affair and one of the first times the base-under-siege scenario that would soon become familiar was used. Let's face it, in the 1970s most little boys, when they weren't staging dinosaur battles, were probably launching Lego rockets into space - after that all important Thunderbirds countdown of course, so stories with astronauts are something that was sure to grab the imagination of young minds. Much of the tension throughout is generated by the astronauts in peril. The Cybermen on the other hand, though creepy, are a little too easily defeated. There's no mention of a weakness to gold at this stage but it's not needed as their real Achilles heel is not keeping track of their weaponry. They might be 'pretty advanced geezers' as Ben puts it but tacticians they aren't. Then when we find out that radiation makes them keel over like bowling pins, their battle cry of 'Resistance is useless' seems a little misguided. The real threat of the piece comes from the increasingly erratic and trigger happy base commander General Cutler who seems bent on sacrificing half the world's population to save his son.
Aged ten I couldn't really think of anything better than walking home with a book like this under my arm - I loved it.
Original artwork , features on script to novel, Gerry Davis and a new introduction by Tom MacRae.
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on 30 December 2015
The general storyline of ‘The Tenth Planet’ is somewhat overshadowed by the two game-changing events it contains; the introduction of the Cybermen and the first regeneration (as it comes to be known). The early stages of the plot are quite interesting with the concept of the Cybermen and the idea of a tenth planet. However, the story tends to dwindle a bit as it goes on, especially when the Doctor and Polly are shoved out of the way and almost forgotten about before the regeneration comes in almost as an afterthought

Although the novelisation sticks pretty close to the plot there are some major alterations. Originally set in the 1980s the novelisation alters the era to the start of the millennium. The regeneration sequence is also radically different. With a lot more references to how tired the Doctor looks and feels the novelisation provides a better build up to the regeneration. But it then completely changes the actual process itself, for some reason, and has the Doctor enter some kind of casket to rejuvenate himself (a bit like the Star Gate sarcophagus???).

The portrayal of the Cybermen within the novelisation is decidedly different to that onscreen. Gone are the iconic cloth covered faces and flesh hands and the sing song voices are replaced by the usual monotone ones. They seem very much like the later fully metallic Cybermen. There are also several Cyberleaders with the partial black head affectations; not seen onscreen until many years later. And their home planet is now referenced as being Telos rather than Mondas although this is a story essentially about Mondas. Most of this is due to the book being written around a decade after the original aired. By that time ‘The Moonbase’ had already been novelised as ‘Doctor Who and the Cybermen’ with the author using that story to introduce the Cybermen to the Target range. ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ had also recently aired and seems to have been fresher in Davis’ mind.

There is a strange anachronistic anomaly in that Ben recognises Roger Moore as James Bond when he sees a recording playing of ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. As Ben comes from 1966 he shouldn’t be aware of this film or Roger Moore playing the part. There is an explanation offered at the back of the republication that this pertains to Gerry Davis altering the dates of his stories for his Target novelisations. As Ben joins the Tardis at the end of the last episode of ‘The War Machines’ which was supposed to be set on the day it aired in the real world in 1966, this feels a little wrong.
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on 8 August 2013
Speedy delivery. Item as described. Great fun to watch. This brings back very happy memories of hiding behind the sofa!!
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on 3 January 2013
I have a first edition of my own from back in the mists of Who. One of the best of the old stories. Bought this for a young reader who knows of nothing more than the Eccleston, Tennant, Smith years
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on 14 February 2015
Captures the creepiness of the Cybermen well in this one, interesting to see the changes in the Doctors regeneration compared to the TV version.
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on 17 June 2012
of course, seeing the title The Tenth Planet flash up at me, i had to get it. The only doctor regeneration i havnt seen and i can imagine it in my minds eye. Not the massive explosion of golden artron energy we get today (although that is very impressive) but the Doctor skulking off to go quietly into his next body. No-one witnesses the change but we all no its happened. This book has certainly fullfilled a 21 year old guys fantasy of witnessing something he thought long lost. Brilliant book for Doctor Who fans
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on 11 July 2015
Fab little re-release of a classic story that is lost in time.
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on 11 November 2012
I have inherited loads of these old Dr Who books on my Kindle. Im not a fan, I used to watch in the late 70's and early 80's. So i thought id have a look... Can't stop reading them now. The story starts in the first couple of pages, and is action all the way through. If you've got the spare time, one of these in a day is easy and great reading. I can recommend all the old target books. Great stuff
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on 2 October 2015
A great present for my grandsons.
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on 9 June 2012
The majority of people buying these will already have at least one version of the original Target editions, and it is ironic that there will be more people buying this book that already technically have it, than the younger fans who may not already have a copy. For the older fan, if it is a choice of creasing the spine on this edition or re-reading the old, then the latter will occur. For a significant proportion of fandom the £4.99 RRP price is for the "variant-edition" with modernised cover layout and the introduction.

Whilst the book itself is good, as is the cover, the introduction is not. The writer has clearly only caught the very tail end of the Target phenomenon, and whilst it just about captures the sentiment, it is so late in the day that most older fans will simply frown at the anecdote. What is doubly worse is that the anecode has nothing whatsoever to do with The Tenth Planet; it is about Battlefield, a mere 23 seasons later. The anecdote by a more appropriate contributor should have been about the regeneration and the fact that The Tenth Planet episode 4 does not exist in archive and therefore the importance of the novel.

It is nice that a modern "name" is writing about Target novels, but in this instance it is entirely inappropriate. I hope BBC books are a little more careful with their future introductions, as for many of us, this is the majority of the reason we are buying them. The Target novelisation range was probably the most significant range of Doctor Who merchandise there ever was and the perspectives of legendary Whovians on that collecing era is very welcome, if it is an appropriate and relevant sentiment.
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