Authors: David Whitaker
‘I admire bravery, sir. And bravery and courage are clearly in you in full measure. Unfortunately, you have no brains at all. I despise fools.’
Arriving in the Holy Land in the middle of the Third Crusade, the Doctor and his companions run straight into trouble. The Doctor and Vicki befriend Richard the Lionheart, but must survive the cut-throat politics of the English court. Even with the king on their side, they find they have made powerful enemies.
Looking for Barbara, Ian is ambushed – staked out in the sand and daubed with honey so that the ants will eat him. With Ian unable to help, Barbara is captured by the cruel warlord El Akir. Even if Ian escapes and rescues her, will they ever see the Doctor, Vicki and the TARDIS again?
This novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 27 Mar – 17 April 1965.
Featuring the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell, and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicki
Also available from BBC Books:
DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS
DOCTOR WHO AND THE CYBERMEN
DOCTOR WHO AND THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN
DOCTOR WHO AND THE AUTON INVASION
DOCTOR WHO AND THE CAVE MONSTERS
I have a confession to make. This is the first
book I have ever read. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a huge fan of
, but just not quite enough of one to have ever been tempted to read any of the books. I guess that probably makes
, as someone who’s actually bought a book, a bigger fan than me (next time write your own introduction!). So you’ll know the story of how writers like Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts and Paul Cornell kept the
flame burning all those years when the Doctor wasn’t on our screens by writing new adventures, and how under the leadership of Russell they went on to relaunch the TV series so spectacularly.
And it’s really down to the literary efforts of those guys that
is still here, that these books are being published once more, and that I have been given the privilege of writing this introduction.
I got my first glimpse into the alternative universe of
novels via Mark Gatiss when I was making
Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)
with Vic and Bob. I was a big fan of the League of Gentlemen and knew Mark was into all the same brilliant old 1960s fantasy series like
Adam Adamant Lives!
that I loved. I asked him if he’d like to be in an episode and have a go at writing one as well. I’d already nailed my
colours to the mast by specially writing a part for Tom Baker in my series. He’s still one of my favourite actors of all time, and will never be replaced as my
ultimate Doctor. Anyway, Mark suggested I talk to Gareth Roberts. The two of them, it seemed, had been writing these
books, and were part of this sort of little uber-fan club. I was intrigued by Gareth, who not only loved sci-fi but also wrote for soap operas. It was just the combination of fantasy and reality that I was looking for. Sci-fi with human qualities. And it is exactly what Russell T Davies pulled off so well with his reboot of the Doctor. With, it must be said, a lot more success than I managed with Randall and Hopkirk (though with quite a lot of the same personnel, I’m pleased to say).
It was great to see Gareth, and of course Mark, go on to be such an important part of the new series. They are
fans in a way that I will never be, so I’m very pleased for them. And me? All right, so I’m a fraud. I’m not a complete Whovian. It was fascinating for me to read this book, however, and through writing this introduction find out more about the history of the novelisations. Because, unlike the new adventures penned by Gareth, Mark and co in the 1990s, that’s what this is, a novelisation, not a new story. This book is in many ways a mini-TARDIS. A time machine that can take us back, not only to the time of the Crusades, but also to the early days of
. We all know about how the BBC systematically destroyed its legacy by taping over, or simply wiping, old series as a (disastrously short-sighted) way of saving money, so not very much of the original
still exists. I remember watching the very first series and being hooked on the Doctor along with every other kid in the country, but back then once a show had been on air that was it, you never expected to see it again. Things weren’t automatically repeated, and of course there were no videos or DVDs. Now every new
episode will be followed up by a ‘making of’ on BBC Three, and will then have a very
long afterlife being repeated across the various different BBC channels until the end of time itself. There will also be a DVD in the shops even before the series has finished airing.
In the early days of TV, programmes sort of wiped themselves out as they went along, so back then if you wanted to enjoy more of
all you had were the original Target novelisations. Target put out dozens of these books and I’m sure some
fan somewhere has read every single one (maybe you are that fan, determined to buy yet another incarnation of the original novels, just so that you have the complete and utter set of absolutely everything
-related – sci-fi does that to people. In which case, as I say, next time write your own introduction). I don’t remember this story, and don’t know whether I watched the serial when it went out, it was a very long time ago, and I must confess I had to look up who the Doctor’s companions – Vicki, Barbara and Ian – were. I remember vividly his original companion, Susan, but she’s not in this story, which comes from the second season, just after she’d left.
I was fascinated to find out that the original aim of the show had been educational, to teach kids about science and history, so the series alternated between sci-fi stories and costume dramas. To that end Barbara is a history teacher and Ian a science teacher. It’s also clear that David Whitaker, who wrote this book based on his original TV serial, had a bit of a thing for Barbara. By the time we get to the slightly dodgy ending of the book, she’s dressed in a Princess Leia-style harem outfit and being whipped by twelfth-century Palestine’s very own Jabba the Hutt, the scar-faced El Akir. I think Stephen Moffat must have a similar thing for Amy Pond – that policewoman kissogram outfit is equally dodgy!
As I say, this book is a fantastic little time machine (though, as with all books, it’s much bigger on the inside
than it looks from the outside. A book can contain a whole universe in it.) and gives a very vivid sense of what the TV series (most of it now lost) must have been like and also just how much
has changed over the years. The original Doctor as played by William Hartnell was a stern, white-haired old man, a far cry from the strapping physicality and youth of the three most recent Doctors. In fact, one of the most striking things about this book is how little the Doctor actually appears in it. He is only in about three scenes and doesn’t really do very much. His famous mighty brain and clever wit are not much in evidence. This book is very much one of the historical stories, there is virtually nothing in it of a sci-fi nature beyond the opening prologue where the Doctor discusses the nature of time over a game of Martian chess (why is it always Martian chess?!) with his companions. There is no sonic screwdriver, no psychic paper, no flux capacitor, not even an explanation of how the Doctor and his companions are able to converse in perfect English with not only Richard the Lionheart (who spoke French) but also Saladin and a motley bunch of Arabs. In the historical film conventions of the day everyone just speaks English, and they speak it with a funny accent if they’re foreign.
None of this really matters, it’s a great little adventure story in the Arabian Nights mode. It’s also very well written, and pretty grown-up for what, I guess, would originally have been published as a children’s book.
I hope you enjoy it.
novel features the very first incarnation of the Doctor. When the Doctor was younger, he was an older man. It seems strange now, but when television audiences were first introduced to the Doctor, nothing was revealed about his origins and background. We knew only that together with his granddaughter, Susan, he has fled from his own planet in the TARDIS – which he cannot control. Every trip is a mystery and a surprise as the TARDIS could take him anywhere and anywhen.
Brilliant but crotchety, the First Doctor did not suffer fools gladly. He took his first companions – Barbara and Ian – with him out of necessity rather than choice. It was more of a kidnapping than a privilege. Over time, and perhaps because of his contact with human beings, the Doctor mellowed and became less irascible. But his brilliance and his passion for justice remained undiminished…
In the television series, Ian Chesterton is a science teacher at Coal Hill School. While his occupation is altered in this novelisation, his character remains very much the same.
As a science teacher, Ian Chesterton believes when he can see the proof. This makes him initially a sceptic when he finds himself inside the TARDIS, asked to believe that it can travel in time and space. But once he has proof, once he has seen and convinced himself, he proves to be the most practical of the travellers.
Ian is not short of common sense, or of bravery and courage. He eventually wins the Doctor’s respect to the point where the old man treats him almost as an equal, almost as a friend. Before long he is revelling in his new-found life – and is even knighted by King Richard the Lionheart. But he never loses sight of the fact that he wants more than anything else to get home.
History teacher at Coal Hill School, Barbara Wright accepts the apparent impossibilities of travel through time and space more readily than Ian. She is practical, realistic, but also more instinctive, and once she realises the truth she accepts it entirely.
This combination of intuition and practicality makes Barbara the ideal mediator in the TARDIS. From the start it is Barbara who manages to smooth the way between the Doctor and Ian. But when she is convinced of something, she is more than capable of standing up for it. She enjoys her adventures in space and time – especially those that take her back into Earth’s history, but like Ian she never loses her determination to get home.
Vicki is the sole survivor of a spaceship crash in the late 25th century, and was rescued by the Doctor and his friends from the planet Dido. Her relationship with the Doctor is very similar to that between the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan – who has recently left the Doctor to get married.
Throughout her travels with the Doctor, Vicki retains her sense of wonder and awe. It is an enthusiasm that more than once will get her into serious trouble…