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Doctor Who: Last of the Gaderene Mass Market Paperback – 4 Jan 2000
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Another adventure of the time-travelling Doctor, in which Doctor Who and Jo are asked to investigate the suspicious goings-on of the Legion International in the beautiful village of Culverton.
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The Third Doctor's characterisation, which I often believe misses the mark in many Doctor Who novels, is absolutely spot on here. There is also a particularly accurate portrayal of Jo Grant in which you can hear Katy Mannning delivering the lines. Even though they have somewhat smaller roles to play, it is also clear that the author is well versed in the behaviour and mannerisms of The Brigadier, Yates and Benton. The UNIT team shines here as it does in the very best of its television appearances.
This is also Roger Delgado's Master to a tee. Supercilious charm and malicious menace are delivered with equal smoothness. His bickering, mutually untrusting, alliance with Bliss (although similar to all the Master's alliances and thus not particularly original) is perfectly in character and utterly enjoyable. As parasitic, body snatching aliens the Gaderene aren't the most original or unique of science fiction species but there is enough to them to function more than effectively within the confines of this story and alongside the Master.
I'm not often taken with Mark Gatiss' offerings for the television series (apart from the recent `Crimson Horror'), usually finding his Doctor Who novels to be the better stories. That is certainly the case with `Last of the Gaderene'. In another dimension this could have easily been a televised Third Doctor story. As such there couldn't be a better novel to represent Pertwee's incarnation of The Doctor for the fiftieth anniversary.
Set in the early 1970s, there is plenty of nostalgia in this story. The Doctor, starting to get itchy feet with his life on Earth, agrees to go to Culverton when the Brigadier is contacted by a friend who flew in the RAF in WWII, concerned about mysterious goings-on in the village. This is a great story, and a great Third Doctor story. The key to good Doctor Who novels, I thought as I read this, is that the author absolutely must get the characterisation of the appropriate Doctor just right - if that's not done, then it just doesn't scan as a Doctor Who story at all. This story has the Third Doctor down perfectly. And the story is absolutely one that is a Third Doctor story - you can just see it rolling past you on the tv screen as you read.
Absolutely totally recommended as a Doctor Who, Third Doctor, and great story.
Read by Richard Franklin this is a very classic type story with all the ingredients of a 3rd Dr tale of the time.
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