Five new Target novels featuring four stories adapted from the post 2005 era of Doctor Who have been released. These stories are Rose by Russell T Davies, Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat, The Christmas Invasion by Jenny Colgan and Twice Upon a Time by Paul Cornell. Also being released in a Target edition is City of Death by James Goss.
There are a lot of ‘firsts’ in these releases. The first time Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have adapted their own episodes into a novel. The first novel ever by Steven Moffat and the first Douglas Adams Target novelisation. We start our reviews of this collection with Doctor Who: Rose, based on first episode of the show’s return in 2005.
Rose is where it all began again. There was a buzz and excitement about this episode when it aired back in 2005 and now that story has been translated into this new novel. The first Doctor Who episode in nine years kicked off a new era and captured the imaginations of a new audience. But does the novel hold up to the original broadcast episode? And does new Who fit in the traditional style of an old-school Target novelisation?
Who better to write this novel than Russell T Davies, the man who wrote the original screenplay and was the driving force in bringing Doctor Who back. Have no fear, once again RTD is more than up to the task at hand. Rose is a delight and Davies’ playful prose adds new colour to the tale along with several new laughs. You can almost hear him chuckling along to his jokes, asides and new additions to the story.
The novel itself begins in unfamiliar territory as the prologue provides the background of Wilson. Do you remember Rose shouting his name in the basement of Henrik’s? Well, we find out more details about the never seen Wilson and the lottery pool as Davies expands on the peripheral characters resulting in a richly textured plot. The novel balances these new surprises with the familiar moments we know and love from the episode. Once again the reader is transported back to that first time the Ninth Doctor takes hold of Rose’s hand and utters – ‘Run!’
Steven Moffat’s Pandorica and Crack in Time story arc has always seemed to provide an explanation as to why there were frequent Earth invasions in RTD’s era and why no one remembers them. Look out for the moment where Davies addresses this. There are also some excellent cameos that nod to the future of the show, post-Rose and even up to the present day.
There were a couple of areas where the added details didn’t seem to run true. The scene at the London Eye focuses on Rose’s internal struggle as she believes Micky to be dead but conflicts with the humorous dialogue from the scene making her comments with the Doctor seem very bizarre. The broadcast scene works better.
But this doesn’t detract from a thrill ride of a novel that really delivers. The climax builds to an epic battle that could not be achieved on a BBC TV budget. The humour is firing on all cylinders, Russell T Davies not missing a single opportunity to make you smile. It’s a great way to relive the episode and experience the excitement of it starting all over again. Viewers can enjoy that thrill again this Autumn when the show returns with a new show runner and new Doctor to begin the adventures all over again.
The new range of Target novels are available now from Amazon and other retailers.