I bought all the 'Target' Doctor Who novelizations when I was a kid. This was before the VCR so the only way to re-live Doctor Who was to read it in novel form. I can honestly say that it was the desire to read these stories that was my prime motivation to learn to read when I was in junior school.
I'm so glad these literary treasures are being released on the Kindle. I've bought all of them so far and will probably buy all the subsequent releases. My young son loves to have them read to him for his bedtime stories.
This 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) story is the 10th anniversary special where the 3rd Doctor meets his previous two selves to stop a threat to the entire Universe.
The Three Doctors was a story in the Doctor Who tv series from 1973, written to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program, and featuring, as it was a celebratory story, all three Doctors who had played the role so far! William Hartnell appeared as the First Doctor, but his ill health did not allow him to play a full role, so the First Doctor was written to appear on the Tardis scanner only, allowing him to interact with his other selves. Patrick Troughton appeared as the Second Doctor, and Jon Pertwee of course as the incumbent Third Doctor. The story was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and the novelisation, written by Terrance Dicks, was published in 1975. The novelisation remained faithful to the tv story, with a few minor tweaks, and the novel also carefully differentiated between the various incarnations of the Doctor for the reader’s benefit. The novelisation is now performed in audio (released in 2010) by Katy Manning on this four-cd set, running at 3 hours 30 minutes.
The story begins with the appearance of a scientific balloon, which appears to hold a force capable of removing people from the landscape – but what is it, and where are they going? The Doctor finds himself faced with this entity at UNIT headquarters, and then finds himself faced with an even stranger appearance – that of one of his former selves! For the Timelords themselves are in grave danger on their home planet, and only the Doctor, aided by his former selves, have any hope of saving them all, and the universe itself. The Third Doctor, his assistant Jo Grant, the Brigadier, and Sergeant Benton find themselves having an adventure unlike any they have ever encountered before; and this time the stakes could not be higher.
This is great fun; a wonderful classic 1970s story, featuring UNIT, with the Brigadier and his team, and three Doctors all in one story. A delight for any fan of classic Who, the novelisation and the performance of it here by Katy Manning really bring the story to life again. Katy Manning’s performance and reading of the story is excellent; she differentiates her tone for the different characters, and there is a real enthusiasm and verve in her performance throughout. Wonderful stuff.
A strange creature emerges from a weather balloon with a mission to hunt the Doctor. On Gallifrey the Time Lords monitor a strange power loss, tracking it back to a black hole. In desperation they decide to break the First Law of Time. Whenever I think of the tv version of The Three Doctors I think of it as the one with the 'comedy Brigadier'. Back when I was a kid though it was the one with the 'thingy' that made folk disappear. That 'thingy' scared the heck out of me. Terrance Dicks goes to town on this one. He completely rewrites just about every scene though amazingly without changing the plot at all. So, gone are many of the comedy lines that the Brigadier made famous but he still remains the 'comedy Brigadier' because Dicks just replaces them with his own brand of cheekiness. Dicks is having fun throughout, from the Brig's comment about Omega's domain looking like a quarry, to the over the top huge battle between the Brig, Benton, Hollis (Ollis), Tyler and Jo, all tooled up like the A-Team, waging total war on a horde of blobbies. The blobbies were so awful in the tv version that it's hard to even imagine them as anything remotely dynamic, so Dick's gleeful slaughter of the bobby blobbies, blowing them up with anti tank ordinance and scything them in two with machine gun fire, is a welcome bit of pay back. With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who fast approaching this one really is a fitting release as the original tv story kicked off the tenth anniversary. Original artwork, features on script to novel, Terrance Dicks, Bob Baker/Dave Martin and a new introduction by Alastair Reynolds.
Through a point of singularity at the centre of a black hole exists an anti-matter world with a sole inhabitant, an entity so powerful that he threatens the entire universe. Not even the Time Lords can stop him and the Doctor faces a foe that he alone cannot overcome. Fortunately though he is not alone as this time there are three Doctors.
The novelisation is more or less what appears on screen. Little is added by Dicks but he does expand considerably on Omega’s world. Most notably the appearance of Omega’s ‘palace’ is given far more detail than ever seen in the programme. There is also a touch more opulence to it and it seems more in tune with Omega’s mood. There is also a description of an immense sacred flame not really visualised on screen. Even Omega’s minions, referred to in the novelisation as ‘blob men’, are given more attention. Here they break apart and reform like a living jelly substance. They also seem one and the same with the anti-matter mass that hunts the Doctor and attacks UNIT HQ.
Despite being called ‘The Three Doctors’ it only really extensively features two of them, leaving the First Doctor in a minor adversary capacity. The advantage of this is that it leads to the main joy of the story, the relationship between the Third and Second Doctors. No one probably understands the characters of the Third and Second Doctors better than Terrance Dicks. Thus, amongst his vast multitude of Target novelsations this is, perhaps, the one he is best suited to write. He captures their petty bickering but begrudging respect for each other perfectly. But then much of this is gained from the scripted dialogue and the adlibs of the actors. Dicks clearly enjoys the interaction between these two Doctors and expands upon it in his later script for ‘The Five Doctors’. Interestingly enough the Doctors are not referred to as the First, Second and Third Doctors. Dicks continues to refer to Pertwee’s version as ‘The Doctor’ whilst Troughton’s oddly becomes ‘Doctor Two’ rather than the Second Doctor. This is supposed to be more from Jo’s viewpoint though and it does seem fitting for her character. The First Doctor meanwhile is generally referred to along the lines of being 'an old man on the screen'.
The story is also notable for its expansion on Time Lord society. In the televised version the ranking between President and Chancellor is fairly vague. However, there is no doubt in the novelisation that the Preseident outranks the Chancellor, which was later clarified in the programme during ‘The Deadly Assassin’. The novelisation also states that this president was one of the three judges that presided over the trial of the Second Doctor. It is an intriguing link to ‘The War Games’.
This is a strong novelisation of a very enjoyable story which contains some of the best dialogue to appear in Doctor Who.
If only the BBC would have had the budget to make the TV version as good as this! I love Terrance Dicks' description of the characters and settings of this story, it made me want to read the whole book in one sitting (which I would have if I had more time). It is great to rebuild my Target collection and hope that lots more titles are released soon.
Classic story from Doctor Who. Not old enough to remember the original but pleased for it still being made available. I had the Kindle version so not able to comment on delivery times or condition. Recomend