This book presents the final shooting scripts for all 13 episodes
of the series that launched Doctor Who into the 21st
century. Relive the Doctor's encounters with the creepy Nestenes
and the monstrous Slitheen, Rose's disastrous attempt to save
her father's life, the apocalyptic showdown with the deadly
Daleks, and all the other great moments from the 2005 series...
was a time, back in the early to mid-1990s, when new episodes
of Doctor Who were thin on the ground, that seemingly
everything got novelised: every little snippet of new Who
drama, from the Jon Pertwee radio serials to the spin-off
videos Shakedown and Downtime.
there's really too much material out there, primarily in the
form of audio dramas, for any company to conceive of novelising
the lot. Perhaps more surprisingly, though, there are no plans
to adapt the new television series, making these the first
episodes not to undergo such a process.
the fact that the show now predominantly comprises individual
episodes, rather than longer serials, is off-putting to BBC
Books' fiction department. (Personally, though, I can see
two ways in which the new series could be novelised. Obviously,
the two-parters could become one book each. The one-episode
stories could be released as novellas, like the young adult
X-Files range. Alternatively, they could be grouped
thematically. The first three episodes - Rose, The
End of the World and The Unquiet Dead - could become
a Rose-themed collection, detailing her first encounter with
the Doctor and her first trips to the future and the past.
Another volume, comprising Dalek, The Long Game
and Father's Day, could be entitled Stupid Apes,
its theme being the Doctor's continual despair at human selfishness
and stupidity, which reaches its climax when, in Father's
Day, Rose appears to be just as culpable as Adam. Boom
Town could be collected with Bad Wolf and The
Parting of the Ways as a volume called Bad Wolf,
since it is in Boom Town that Rose and the Doctor first
notice the words that have been following them through time,
and all three episodes deal with the consequences of the Doctor's
previous actions. But I digress...)
Justin Richards, Creative Director of BBC Books' Doctor
Who output, has indicated that he sees no need to novelise
the new episodes, and that this script book serves the purpose
of presenting the show in prose form just as well. He has
a point. Though the sentence structures of the stage directions
are more concise than you would get in your average novelisation
(well, apart from those by Pip and Jane Baker), we are presented
with passages that really do communicate what the writer wanted
to put on the screen - and, for the most part, what the production
team succeeded in showing us. Check out the description of
"the valiant TARDIS" at the beginning of The Parting of
the Ways or, even better, Rose's joyful dash into the
ship at the end of Rose.
The reader is also made party to cost and production considerations.
From time to time, you see the writer addressing or questioning
a practical concern, such as "(greenscreen the floor)" or,
rather amusingly, in The Parting of the Ways: "(can
a Beetle have a tow-bracket?)."
scripts presented here are the versions that where taken into
the studio or on location as filming took place. By this stage
the scripts had already evolved considerably, but they would
change again during the recording and editing processes. You
may therefore notice slight differences between these scripts
and the episodes that were broadcast and released on DVD,
such as the fact that the wheelie bin that swallows Mickey
in Rose doesn't burp. However, unlike the script books
released by Big Finish, there are no notes to indicate exactly
what changes took place.
more annoying is the presence of the word "OMITTED", which
indicates a scene that was cut after the scene numbers had
been finalised. For example, five scenes are omitted from
Father's Day between scene 5 (the registry office segment
set in 1982) and scene 12 (a TARDIS scene that is described
as taking place in 1986). Evidently, some of the action was
due to take place in 1986. Wouldn't you like to know what
that action would have involved? Well, you won't find out
Despite its shortcomings, this is an undeniably attractive
and weighty tome. Bound in hardback, its 512 pages are richly
illustrated with photographs and screen captures from the
series. Each story is prefaced by an idiosyncratic introduction
by its author.
cannot honestly tell you whether these scripts would stand
up to being read in their own right, since my reading of them
is inevitably coloured by my knowledge of the series. But
then again, this book isn't aimed at the uninitiated. If you
laughed at the Doctor's witticisms, were thrilled by the return
of the Daleks, shed a tear at the end of Father's Day
and The Doctor Dances, then chances are that this book
will push all those same buttons again.
So maybe we don't need novelisations after all.
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