Puffin digital, out now
A break-in at a museum leads the Doctor and Jo into an encounter with an old friend…
Marcus Sedgwick provides an enjoyable self-contained story for the third of Puffin’s unusual series. It’s firmly set in 1973 (the year in which it would have been broadcast had it been made as an episode of the show), after the Doctor’s exile has been lifted by the Time Lords, although the Brigadier has a surprisingly detailed knowledge of their machinations. Setting the occasional overuse of “old boy” aside, he’s captured the essence of Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning’s portrayals, and there are some nods to the way their relationship was portrayed in the original Target novels depicting that period. We also get another outing for Roger Delgado’s Master, and Sedgwick nails his air of superiority.
There’s an interesting trend developing through these Puffin short stories, with a respect for the show’s past without a slavish observance of continuity. Marcus Sedgwick’s tale relies in part on a particular piece of continuity (first established in a Tom Baker story) that has been thrown open to question by a Matt Smith episode, but which, until then, was a mainstay of fiction. However, it’s nothing more than a slight speedbump for devoted fans and the show itself has always obeyed the dictum that if continuity gets in the way of telling the tale, then continuity is rewritten – and Sedgwick has given us a good story.
Verdict: The Puffin series continues to provide some interesting perspectives on the Doctor’s past. 7/10