Doctor Who And The Daleks by David Whitaker (book review)

When the Doctor meets Ian and Barbara for this first time, he decides the sensible thing to do is take them with him to avoid his secret being found out. The fact that he could have deposited them outside the police box and disappeared with his granddaughter Susan never to return is best brushed over as we would never have had 50 plus years of exciting adventures.

It is night and Ian is parked on Barnes Common as fog has rolled in. He ponders whether he should walk home but spots a pale young woman who explains she has been in an accident and he needs to help ‘Susan’ The crash has involved a lorry and its driver is dead. ‘Susan’ is missing, so the pair look for her only to encounter a silver haired man who seems anxious to be rid of them. Ian is relieved to find a police box and steps inside to make a call.

The next day they meet the Daleks and the rest they say is history.

Those of you paying attention will notice the opening to this story is rather different to the TV series. Here Ian does not yet know Barbara or Susan. Ian works at Coal Hill School but is obviously unhappy there and Barbara has been tutoring the extraordinary Susan. Both are unconscious when the Doctor makes the decision to leave the planet to avoid detection. They have no choice about their abduction.

I think the rest of the story follows the TV plot and what is noticeable in this novel is the romance in the TARDIS is no new thing and the growing relationship between Ian and Barbara is dealt with delicately and is rather sweet, complete with misunderstanding and defensive behaviour.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel and I was obviously too taken up with Enid Blyton as a child to notice these Target books. Shame on me. I’d be running the BBC now if I read them first time round.

‘Doctor Who And The Daleks’ is the first adventure with the first Doctor and is based on the plot of ‘The Daleks’ first broadcast in 1963. This is a novelisation of that story. Novelisations originally began to experience the film again way back in the 1920s and someone somewhere took the decision at the BBC to do this for ‘Doctor Who’. This cemented the series in the popular imagination and meant pocket money was saved up for this. This edition has been beautifully reprinted in an age where some people think we don’t read anymore. I beg to differ.

Sue Davies

March 2017

(pub: BBC Books/Ebury. 160 page hardback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78594-055-2)

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