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4.0 out of 5 stars
4
Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

on 3 March 2016
This is a fairly standardised novelisation but it does what it needs to do and captures the essence of the televised serial.

There is little embellishment, further explanation or clarification and as such some of the more dubious elements of the story are repeated without consideration. Most notably this includes the questionable historical periods Monarch has supposedly visited which has Mayan civilisation reach its height thousands of years earlier than it does (in fact several thousand years before it is estimated to have begun) and an invented Chinese dynasty. However, as this somewhat inventive dating is integral to the plot history is required to be warped around it and changing it in the novelisation would mean significant alteration to the storyline.

In a similar vein Tegan is able to converse in an ancient aboriginal dialect that there is no way she could possibly know. Even if she had any knowledge of aboriginal language it would be radically unrecognisable anyway over the immense period of time mentioned in the story. As silly as this is it remains unchanged or unexplained. However, it does show Tegan in a more positive light than the rest of the story that portrays her as pretty ineffectual and inconsiderate.

The novelisation does give a better impression of why Adric behaves as he does. It makes it much clearer that he is under some type of malign influence of Monarch’s. However, at the same time, he is also portrayed as more sexist.

The novelisation is less wandering and more coherent than its onscreen counterpart. Dicks also instils a somewhat faster pace to events. The story benefits from this and flows better. It also helps to justify the overly dramatic title by making the threat seem more urgent.

There also feels like a touch of humour applied that wasn’t readily apparent onscreen. It seems that the author might even be mocking the story to some extent. However, it does seem to work and Dicks is having fun portraying Monarch, the villain of the piece.

At times the text jumps very rapidly between perspectives and scenes. Often this is quite irritating in most novels but it somehow seems to benefit this story as it is usually applied to create the impression of characters watching others on monitors. It is quite effective.
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on 22 March 2017
Always a slightly tedious TV show, this audiobook version read by Matthew Waterhouse has turned out to be a delight. I listened to this doing a decorating job at home and found myself utterly enthralled, not least because Matthew reads the novel brilliantly, capturing Peter Davison's breathy Doctor particularly well. Aside from the great character renderings, there are some sly asides from Terrance Dicks, obviously insanely bored with the TV version, which can't fail to amuse ('eventually the dragon dance finished. The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief') and many more underhanded delights. Certainly this audiobook is the definitive production of this tale.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 November 2012
Note this is a review of the novelisation of the story by Terrance Dicks

This is second story of Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. In the novelisation of the story which I am reviewing, it seems implied that more time than you would have first thought has passed between the end of Castrovalva and this story; Tegan in particular seems to have been travelling with the Doctor, Nyssa and Adric for more than just a few days. Her repeated scorn at the Doctor's continuing failure to return her to London in her time definitely seems to imply that there was more action between the two stories than was in the original tv series.

This is a good, but not great story - the concept of Monarch, travelling with Persuasian and Enlightenment to Earth for his own purposes; the artificial intelligent lifeforms, and the Doctor and his companions interfering with Monarch's plans, is all okay. Some of the characterisations are rather weak, and parts of the storyline somewhat implausible, even for Doctor Who - the Doctor's antics on the spaceline between the ship and the Tardis stretched even my imagination.

The end of the novel does not feature the collapse of Nyssa which was played on the tv series version.
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on 9 July 2017
from Doctor Who Magazine:

'Matthew Waterhouse's reading of Four to Doomsday is engaging, full of well-drawn characters and is hugely entertaining.... comes alive as an audiobook'

'once again showing attention to detail that is the hallmark of this always excellent range'
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