Doctor Who, the long-running cult science-fiction television programme show, returned to television in 2005 after a nine-year break since 1996. On its return, the Doctor was played by a new actor: Christopher Eccleston, commonly referred to as The Ninth Doctor, as he is the ninth actor to play the role on television after William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.
The BBC, having had great success with their Doctor Who books based on the initial eight Doctors, decided that they would accompany the new TV series with a series of novels. These stories would take place between episodes of the television series. The main recurring characters are the Doctor and Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper in the television series, with Captain Jack Harkness1, played by John Barrowman, joining for the last three novels.
The books were all initially published as hardbacks and later republished as paperbacks. They have about 250 pages of writing inside, shorter than the previous Eighth Doctor novels. The covers of all the books are in the same format with photographs of the Doctor and Rose dominating the top half above the 'Doctor Who' logo, and a novel-specific image in the bottom half. On the spine of all the books is a hexagonal logo based on the Gallifreyan writing that appeared in the series during the Ninth Doctor's tenure.
The first three books were all published together in May 2005. They are set between the television episodes 'World War Three' and 'Dalek'. The latter three books were published in September 2005, set between episodes 'The Doctor Dances' and 'Bad Wolf'. These would be the last Ninth Doctor novels due to Eccleston leaving the television series. Most of the novels contain the phrase 'Bad Wolf', which appeared in every story of Eccleston's Ninth Doctor television series except 'Rose', the first episode of the series. 'Rose' featured the Autons and is frequently referred to in the Ninth Doctor novels.
None of these novels feature the Doctor's original enemies such as The Master, Silurians and Sea Devils, Sontarans, Ice Warriors or Zygons, or other companions such as K-9, although many of these characters would later return to the Doctor Who television series and book range within five years. Instead, the novels feature new villains, with the exception of The Monster Inside, which features the recurring Ninth Doctor enemy, the Slitheen.
These six novels were all later published by AudioGo as audiobooks, read by members of the Doctor Who cast.
Although almost every episode of Doctor Who's original run between the First and Eighth Doctors has been novelised, to date none of the Ninth Doctor's television episodes have received this treatment.
The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards
This story features regular characters the Doctor and Rose.
The front cover has the Houses of Parliament shown in the bottom half.
Bad Wolf is a phrase used by the Painted Lady, who says that the Doctor and Rose 'do keep turning up. Like a Bad Wolf.'
The TARDIS materialises in London, 1924.
The audiobook is read by Nicholas Briggs, most famous for being the voice of the Daleks and Cybermen. He has also written, directed, produced and acted for both Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas and BBV (Bill & Ben Video) Doctor Who fan video series.
Justin Richards is the only author to have written more than one Ninth Doctor novel. He had previously written 18 Doctor Who novels for both the Virgin Publishing2 and BBC ranges, featuring the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors. He also wrote the Ninth Doctor novel The Deviant Strain.
Plot and Review
The Doctor and Rose meet members of the Russian Royal family in exile in London in 1924, including Anastasia. Separated from his sonic screwdriver and with the TARDIS taken, will the Doctor be able to prevent the destruction of London?
In this, the first Ninth Doctor novel, there are two tributes to 'An Unearthly Child', the first ever episode of Doctor Who. The TARDIS' first materialisation is into a scrapyard in London 1924 – in the BBC Television Series, the TARDIS is first seen in Foreman's Scrapyard, 76 Totters Lane. Secondly, the Doctor says 'That's not right' when spotting a painting of the French Revolution, just as Susan said 'That's not right' when reading a book on the same subject.
The story is intriguing and mysterious, a good beginning to the new series of books.
The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole
This story features the Doctor, Rose and the Slitheen.
The front cover shows an alien landscape with a flower and an alien planet.
Bad Wolf is a phrase used by the character of Daneel, who says 'The big bad wolf's ready to blow our house down' to Rose as the ship they are in is about to crash and they are under attack by a Slitheen.
The TARDIS materialises inside Justicia, a prison occupying seven planets, in 2501.
The audiobook is read by Camille Coduri, the actress who played Jackie Tyler in two episodes featuring the Slitheen.
Stephen Cole has also written several Doctor Who novels, including for the First, Sixth, Eighth and Tenth Doctors, as well as Doctor Who audio dramas.
Plot and Review
The TARDIS lands in the Justicia system for Rose's first visit to an alien planet. However, every planet in the Justicia system is a penal colony for criminals of the Universe. The Doctor and Rose are arrested for trespass and sentenced to different planets. Can they discover not only the truth behind the gravity experiments being conducted, but also what Raxacoricofallapatorians the Blathereen family, the same species as the Slitheen family, are up to?
The 2005 series episode 'Boom Town' mentions the Doctor and Rose's trip to the Justicia system, making it the first direct reference to adventures outside the television series. In that episode, Rose says: It's all very well going to Platform One and Justicia and the Glass Pyramid of San Kaloon, but what if we end up in Brazil? when given her passport by Mickey Smith at the beginning of the episode.
This novel would also influence The Sarah-Jane Adventures where the Blathereen family were mentioned in 'Revenge Of The Slitheen' and appear in 'The Gift'.
Winner Takes All by Jacqueline Rayner
This story features the Doctor, Rose, Rose's mother Jackie Tyler and Rose's ex-boyfriend Mickey Smith, with a few minor characters.
The front cover shows on the bottom half the blocks of flats that comprises the Powell Estate.
Bad Wolf is the name of a computer game owned by Mickey.
The TARDIS materialises in the Powell Estate a few weeks after the events of 'World War Three'.
The audiobook is read by Camille Coduri.
Jacqueline Rayner had previously written the Eighth Doctor novel EarthWorld, Fourth and Eighth Doctor story Wolfsbane and would later write two Tenth Doctor books The Stone Rose and The Last Dodo. Additionally, she has written Professor Bernice Summerfield novels and audio dramas, and edited the Eighth Doctor book range.
Plot and Review
On the planet Toop, the porcupine-like Quevvils are fighting the insect Mantodeans. In the Powell Estate they are using scratchcards to recruit soldiers for two different tasks in this war. They need foot soldiers to do the fighting and controllers to direct them. Scratchcard winners either win a game console with the game Death To The Mantodeans built in, or a holiday. Those who go on holiday never return and whenever you play 'Death To The Mantodeans' you usually have to start from scratch.
Soon Jackie has won a holiday, Mickey disappears shortly after getting the high score and Rose has been turned into a living sprite in the game, with the Doctor controlling her every move...
The initial idea of aliens using computer game-playing humans in their wars is not new3, and the idea that people going on holiday are disappearing is also not new, it was used in the Second Doctor serial The Faceless Ones. However, that the game-players are controlling real people trapped in life-or-death situations is a new twist, and the story is very effectively written.
The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards
This story features the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack Harkness.
The front cover shows in the bottom half a desolate, Arctic landscape with a research station in the background, with a shadowy, stumbling figure in the snow in the foreground.
The TARDIS materialises in present day Russia on a small, isolated island in the Arctic Circle.
Bad Wolf – Georgi, a blind man who predicts the future says he fears 'the bad wolf... the man who will kill me. The man with the wolf on his arm.'
The audiobook is read by Stuart Milligan. Although he did not appear opposite the Ninth Doctor, he was the voice of Colonel Stark in the Tenth Doctor animated adventure 'Dreamland' and US President Nixon in the Eleventh Doctor episodes 'The Impossible Astronaut'/'Day of the Moon'.
Justin Richards – this is the second of his two Ninth Doctor stories. He would go on to write Tenth Doctor books The Resurrection Casket and Martha In The Mirror, and Apollo 23 featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
Plot and Review
The Doctor intercepts a distress call coming from an abandoned Soviet nuclear submarine base. Here, rusting, fully-armed nuclear submarines have been left to decay next to a struggling fishing village near an ancient stone circle4. Joining a Russian Special Forces investigative team they discover that something is attacking the locals and draining them of all their life-force, leaving them empty husks.
Set outside England, this wonderful adventure has an exciting backdrop and, thanks to the wonderful innovation of psychic paper first introduced for the Ninth Doctor, he, Rose and Jack are able to get straight into the action rather than having to explain their presence.
Only Human by Gareth Roberts
This story features the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack Harkness. Jackie Tyler does reportedly flirt with a Neanderthal.
The front cover shows in the bottom half a Neanderthal surrounded by a time-distortion.
The TARDIS materialises in Bromley, UK, Earth in 2005.
This is the only Ninth Doctor book not to mention Bad Wolf.
Audiobook read by Anthony Head. Best known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Little Britain and Merlin, Head appeared opposite David Tennant in 'School Reunion'. He was the voice of Baltazar in animated Doctor Who adventure 'The Infinite Quest' and he has narrated episodes of Doctor Who Confidential.
Gareth Roberts has written several other Doctor Who novels featuring the First, Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Doctors. He has also penned numerous television episodes for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors as well as many The Sarah-Jane Adventures episodes. He has novelised Douglas Adams' 'lost' Doctor Who story, 'Shada'5.
Plot and Review
In 2005 the Doctor discovers that a Neanderthal named Das has been brought forward into the 21st Century by an extremely dangerous method of time travel. Any attempt to return him to the past will kill him. Leaving Jack to rehabilitate Das to allow him settle into a normal life in modern Britain, Rose and the Doctor travel backwards in time to discover a group of humans from the 439th Century have travelled back to 29,185 BC. But what is the truth behind their mission, and has the future of the human race lost its humanity and the ability to be humane? How will Rose react to being separated from the Doctor in prehistoric times while wearing a Raquel Welch-style fur bikini, being hit with the Great Fish of Matrimony and becoming Mrs Rose Glathicgacymcilliach with only her manicuring skills to fall back on?
Gareth Roberts portrays a realistic vision of the past, present and future and has created an often-inventive story largely devoted to humour, especially within domestic settings. Sometimes the humour seems at the expense of characterisation or plot and makes little sense, such as the Doctor claiming that he and another character can take off their heads, when actually swapping hats. Yet this story is full of wonderful moments that more than make up for any that fall flat.
Stealers of Dreams by Steve Lyons
This story features the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack Harkness, although Rose does phone her mother Jackie.
The front cover shows in the bottom half a crowded and cramped city comprising skyscrapers and blocks of flats, the picture of which is behind the blurry interference of static.
The TARDIS materialises on Colony World 4378976.Delta-Four in 2775.
Bad Wolf – Cal Tyko, duty nurse at the Big White House, says 'We've good reasons to be afraid of the big bad wolf', an unusual use of a metaphor from someone who knows too well that careless imagery costs lives.
Audiobook read by Camille Coduri.
Steve Lyons has written Doctor Who novels featuring the First, Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, and several audio dramas.
Plot and Review
Rose, Captain Jack and the Doctor land on a world without government in a society so oppressive that even the true name of the planet is classified6. The technology is stuck in the 27th Century, over 90% of the planet is jungle with only 10% dedicated to the millions of people crammed in basic, dull, multi-storey concrete flats. Imagination, fantasy and fiction are forbidden and the boundary between day-dreaming and dangerous delusion is blurred. Those who let their imagination run riot are taken to the Big White House for treatment.
One man, named Hal Grydon, broadcasts fiction on a pirate television channel named Static, urging the people to dream of a better world and rise up. But will the Doctor learn the truth behind the planet's hidden secret before it is too late to save Jack and Rose?
Doctor Who Annual 2006
The Ninth Doctor appeared in a number of spin-off books, many of which contain facts and figures about the fictional worlds and creatures met by the Doctor. The Doctor Who Annual 20067 contains short stories by highly experienced Doctor Who authors:
'Doctor vs Doctor' by Gareth Roberts. He wrote Doctor Who novels featuring the First, Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Doctors. He has also written numerous television episodes for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors as well as many The Sarah-Jane Adventures episodes.
'The Masks of Makassar' by Paul Cornell who wrote the Ninth Doctor episode 'Father's Day' as well as Tenth Doctor episodes 'Human Nature'/'The Family of Blood' and novels featuring the Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors.
'Pitter-patter' by Robert Shearman, who had written Ninth Doctor episode 'Dalek' based on a Doctor Who audio play he had previously written called 'Jubilee'.
'What I Did On My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow' by Steven Moffat. This later become the basis for the acclaimed Hugo and BAFTA award-winning Tenth Doctor episode 'Blink'. Sally Sparrow is younger in the story in the annual, which revolves around the Doctor leaving messages under the wallpaper in order to regain his TARDIS, and does not feature the weeping angels. Steven Moffat had written the two-part adventure 'The Empty Child'/'The Doctor Dances' and would later become show runner on Doctor Who during the Eleventh Doctor's tenure. To date he has won four Hugo Awards8.