This is the story that was released to coincide with the 20th anniversary (seems a long time ago now) of Doctor Who in 1983. The story was innovative for its time in attempting to incorporate all five of the Doctors into the story. Unfortunately, William Hartnell had passed away by that time so the very capable Richard Hurndell stepped into his role as the First Doctor. Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee revised their roles as the Second and Third Doctors respectively. Tom Baker could not be persuaded to appear as the Fourth Doctor, so footage from the incomplete Shada was used to portray him and Romana. And of course Peter Davison was the Fifth Doctor. Companions who joined the story included Susan, the Brigadier, Zoe, Jamie, Liz, Mike Yates (or images thereof), Sarah Jane Smith and the current companions Tegan and Turlough. Bad guys in the story included Cyberman, Yeti, a Raston Warrior Robot and the Master.
In novelised form, this story still works really well. The author has captured the movement from the scenes with the different Doctors in different scenarios with different companions/bad guys very well, and the story flows well, even though the narrative is by its very nature somewhat disjointed with so many protagonists and action points. The story has the Doctor (all his selves) being taken out of time and removed to the Dark Zone on Gallifrey – but who by, and why remains the central point of the mystery of the story. This is great stuff; incorporating Doctor Who history, Gallifreyan history and culture and is a great opportunity to revisit some of the favourite Doctor moments. Well worth reading, and well worth watching as a visual medium.
One by one, the earlier four incarnations of the doctor are being plucked out of the space-time continuum, and placed into the dreaded Death Zone. Originally used by the Time Lords for organizing gladiatorial matches between various races, Rassilon closed the Death Zone, and forbade the use of the Time Scoop. So, who is doing this, and more importantly, why? It's up to the Doctor (all of them) to figure it out. This Doctor Who book is based on the episode of the same name. Although "based on" might be generous. This book is the episode in print, which means that it does not contain any surprises for anyone who has seen the show. That said, it is an exciting, well-written book, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Fast, fun and informative. This book seeks to sort out the flaws in the televised episode from 1983. The Five Doctors was a missed oportunity in terms of story but it did set up future events. Not only did we at last see the other mysterious founder of the Time Lord society, Rassilon (previously mentioned in The Deadly Assassin) but we see future seeds being sown for use later in the Seventh Doctor's story 'Remembrance of the Daleks.'
This book however expands upon what is seen in the 20th Anniversary television special 'The Five Doctors' and includes some explanations for little niggling plot hole and unexplained story elements.
This is the novelisation of Doctor Who’s Twentieth Anniversary special. Both of which were, of course, written by Terrance Dicks who probably has a better understanding of the first five Doctor’s than anyone. Unlike other Target novelisations, this one was virtually released in conjunction with the airing of its onscreen counterpart (in fact, oddly enough, slightly before).
The novelisation isn’t as much fun or as involving as the televised version. In the main part, this is due to it being published alongside it. It renders the novelisation little more than a fleshed out script at times. This also sadly means that the scenes between the Second and Third Doctors lack some of the fascinating dialogue. This is probably because of adlibbing by Troughton and Pertwee during filming.
On a similar note, the affectations of Richard Hurndall’s portrayal of the Doctor’s first incarnation, which almost make a new alternative version of the First Doctor, are also lost; Dicks writing as if it were Hartnell.
The scene with Sarah Jane clinging to a cliff is infinitely better in the novelisation and there is a far clearer explanation for why the Cybermen are still pursuing the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane after they’ve passed the Raston Warrior Robot.
A few other notable differences to that seen onscreen include the loss of the opening speech by the First Doctor. As this was lifted from ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ it was probably a later edition and not part of the original script. Instead the novelisation opens with the mysterious figure using the Timescoop. There is extra material involving Susan, however, including her own capture by the Timescoop. This scene allows for some insight into Susan’s life since parting company with the Doctor. It would have provided a nice link to the First Doctor’s speech from ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ if that had been included.
Dicks knows his characters really well and gives most of them some cracking lines of dialogue. His characterisation of the Doctors is superb but he does refer to them as Doctor One, Doctor Two, etc which just sounds odd.