(2018) Jenny T. Colgan, BBC Books, £6.99 / Can$14.99 / US$9.99, pbk, 169pp, ISBN 978-1-785-94327-0
True confession time, I didn’t like Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. Why? Because he took over from the Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton, who was my Doctor, playing the part when I was that age when it was all perfectly believably and quite, quite terrifying. Cut to almost 50 years later and Jenny T. Colgan’s “author afterward” where she admits to having misgivings about David Tennant playing the part after Chistopher Eccleston’s triumphant return. I had similar misgivings, but like Colgan grew to love Tennant in the part.
Apart from a brief regeneration appearance at the end of the Eccleston reign, 'The Christmas Invasion' episode was the first chance to see the Tenth Doctor in action, but with the Earth under attack by power-hungry aliens, this is no time for the Doctor to be out of action. When a British space probe is intercepted by a sinister alien vessel on the eve of Christmas, it marks the beginning of an audacious invasion of the Earth by the Sycorax – horrifying marauders from beyond the stars. Within hours, a third of humanity stands on the brink of death with not a single shot fired. Our planet needs a champion – but the Doctor is not fit for service. He has just regenerated, delirious in a new body and a dressing gown. Forced into his battered shoes is his friend, Rose Tyler, a girl from a London council estate. Will she save the world from this nightmare before Christmas – or see it destroyed?
Here, in this novelisation of the script, Colgan gets the chance to embellish proceedings in a story that is turned into twenty chapters, each one using the title of a Christmas song as the title of the chapter so we start with chapter one “Joy to the World” through other chapters with titles such as “Stop the Cavalry” and “A Spaceman Came Travelling” until we reach the end with “All I Want for Christmas is You”.
Colgan is a huge Who fan and well known as a writer of romances as Jenny Colgan, but when she adds the first initial of her middle name – 'T' (for Tardis, I blame the parents), she has been responsible for penning Doctor Who short stories, spin-off novels and even audio adventure scripts, so we are in safe, knowledgeable hands here, with Colgan able to expand the story by giving some of the supporting characters more of a back story and filling in the blanks between the love triangle of the Doctor, Rose and Mickey and foreshadowing some future adventures involving the Doctor and Rose. This is a story that is funny, and sad, and well told, and had me reaching for the DVD cabinet for a viewing of the original, and you can’t offer higher praise than that.
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