Moffat, Steven

About the Author:

Steven Moffat has worked variously as a writer, producer and showrunner for TV series such as Doctor Who and Sherlock.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

5 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor

An adaption of Moffat's own script of the 50th Anniversary Special.  Amid an invasion by shapeshifting Zygons, the Doctor's Tenth and Eleventh incarnations (David Tennant and Matt Smith, respectively) have to team up with each other and face someone far more terrifying; the War Doctor (John Hurt).  The Doctor's warrior incarnation meets his older selves amid the last day of the Time War, as he prepares to commit genocide to save the universe itself.

Although it wasn't universally loved, the TV version of 'The Day of the Doctor' is my personal favourite episode of Who.  I've always enjoyed multi-Doctor stories and this one seemed to go to the most effort to make the most of having more than once iconic incarnation of the character on screen.  It didn't hurt that the late, great Sir John Hurt put in a performance with such gravitas that he instantly jumped to the top of my list of favourite Doctors.

So, how does the book fare in comparison?  Well, with this new bunch of Target-style novelisations, Moffat and Russell T. Davies ('Rose') are in the unique position of writing novelisations of their own scripts from a period when they were the showrunner.  This means that they have almost total creative control of how these stories are brought into print version, without fear of contradicting the original writer's intention or that of the series as a whole.  Moffat chooses to very much make the most of that opportunity and gives us a novel which is far more than a novelisation.  Here we get additional scenes, expanded minor elements, unexpected perspectives and an interweaving with wider Who lore than the TV episode could ever have managed.

The first interesting thing you encounter here is the way in which the story is told, through a series of recollections from various perspectives that you soon begin to realise are, in essence, the same perspective.  Interspersed throughout are historical notes from a source whose unique viewpoint on the Doctor makes for some great retrospectives.  Here Moffat really dives head-first into the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff that was so characteristic of his writing for the series.  There are also numerous times that the book becomes pretty meta, including the revelation that the Doctor loves that his story had been leaked and turned into a couple of movies starring Peter Cushing.  One point (and this may be a minor spoiler, so skip the rest of this sentence if you're worried) where this element became a bit too on-the-nose was where Chapter Nine disappears from the narrative (a not-so-subtle reference to Christopher Ecclestone's decision not to return for the 50th anniversary special).

On top of all of this are some great moments of pure fan service, which mostly aren't gratuitous and instead can be taken as the author's attempt to weave this story through the fabric of the entire franchise.  Among them are the fact that the mini web episode 'The Night of the Doctor' (featuring the Eighth Doctor) is included in the novelisation, getting to see more of River Song's relationship with both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors and learning a bit more about Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and her relationship with her father, the iconic Brigadier.  There's also something to do here for every incarnation of the Doctor up to and including the brand new (as of this review) Thirteenth.  Personally, my favourite was the scene where the Twelfth Doctor intimidates the Gallifrey War Council with a combination of Scottishness and eyebrows.

To my surprise, I loved this book even more than I loved the original TV version.

5 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies

Doctor Who: The Cruel Sea (here)

Read more...

Doctor Who (here)