(ISBN 0-563-40563-5)






 Recuperating after

 the trauma of his

 recent regeneration,

 the Doctor falls foul

 of a final booby-trap

 set by the Master.


 When he recovers, the

 disorientated Doctor

 looks in a mirror and

 sees the face of a

 stranger. something

 deep inside tells him

 to trust the TARDIS,

 and his hands move

 over the controls of

 their own accord.


 The TARDIS takes him

 to a junkyard in late-

 1990S London, where

 he is flung into a

 conflict between drug

 -dealers and Sam


 teenager from Coal

 Hill School.


 But the Doctor soon

 finds the TARDIS

 transporting him to

 various other places

 in order in order to

 recover all his

 memories - and that

 involves seeing seven




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The Eight Doctors

JUNE 1997






Looking back on The Eight Doctors with more than a decade’s hindsight is an interesting experience to say the least, particularly given how the world of Doctor Who literature has changed so fundamentally in the intervening years. When The Eight Doctors was released, many readers were in uproar; me included. Following hot on the heels of Virgin’s progressive, adult and predominantly fantastic output, Terrance Dicks’ babyish

offering felt like a million steps backwards. Today though, read amidst the likes of The Darksmith Legacy and the Quick Reads, how does Dicks most scalded-effort hold up?


Well for starters, the plot is thoroughly absurd - and that’s what little of it there actually is. For no apparent reason, the TV Movie-Master left a devastatingly fiendish booby trap behind for the Doctor. Did it kill him? No. Did it blow his TARDIS into a billion pieces? No. It wiped his memory. Thatll learn im.


And so as a consequence of this, Rassilon inexplicably allows the Doctor to break the laws of time and go back and meet each of his first seven selves in turn. Each time that he meets a past incarnation, he regains all of their memories up until that point. Thus the Doctor sets off on seven mini-adventures with all his former selves, the bulk of which are either pillaged directly from the television series or follow on directly from the aftermath of a televised story.


There are two exceptions to this, in the cases of the sixth and seventh Doctors. Eight’s meeting with old sixy, for instance, takes place in Gallifrey’s past. I wouldn’t get too excited though - the two Doctors don’t travel back to the Intuitive Revelation or anything remotely interesting that that; au contraire. The eighth Doctor simply travels back to the Gallifrey of

the sixth Doctor’s epoch - a Gallifrey before Romana returned from E-Space to claim the Presidency; a Gallifrey ruled by the CIA through their puppet President Niroc. It’s easy to

see why so many of us were completely disillusioned by this book, as after all the wonderful Gallifreyan history that was slowly and painstakingly explored over the course of the Virgin books, Dicks went and dug up the likes of Borusa, Flavia, and Elgin again. Even bloody Castellan Spandrel rears his head…



Another major gripe I had at

the time was that The Eight

Doctors went out of its way to

gainsay the New Adventures.

Believe it or not, back in 1997

the Doctor’s timeline wasn’t

the sprawling, multi-range

tapestry that it is today – in

fact, for the most part it made

sense. And so when this tome

came along with the seventh Doctor’s unjustly short, dull, and outrageously incompatible chapter, “Holiday with Danger”, many readers hit the roof. The Master still suffering with the Cheetah infection? And ingesting Deathworms? Looking at the book today though, I really couldn’t care less. Later novels in the range would repair the damage done here – and do

so quite innovatively, it has to be said – and there have been a spate of worse offenders since across the mediums.


As for the Doctor himself, it’s no secret that Dicks hated the TV Movie and boy does it show here. Paul McGann’s Doctor is appallingly portrayed; an utterly blank slate. Hes not even a rough, shapeless medley of all his former selves – he’s just the crudest outline of a character.


However, at least one good thing came out of The Eight Doctors - the range’s inaugural companion, Samantha Jones. Her chapters are quite easily the most entertaining of the whole book, the unwitting amnesiac Doctor getting caught up in the middle of a drug feud in a familiar junkyard in Totters Lane. This small thread of the plot is much more contemporary, and more much more interesting than the rest of the book put together. I especially like how Sam is not phased by the Doctor and his TARDIS, apparently taking it all in her stride.


In summary then, whilst I still wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone other than the most hardened of completists, it doesn’t seem half as offensive as it did back in the day. All else aside, The Eight Doctors is a breezy, lightweight read; a celebration (and debasement!)

of the legacy of the series, written very much in the spirit of the Target novelisations.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



Shortly after the events of this novel, the Doctor drops Sam off at a Greenpeace rally for a few hours. When the Doctor returns, he is three years older. We posit that the Doctors adventures with Charley (and others) take place during this three-year period.


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