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The Celestial Toymaker

by Gerry Davis & Alison Bingeman

Book review by Michael Mayo

Of the Doctor Who books by Gerry Davis that I have read (The Tenth Planet, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Highlanders), I found The Celestial Toymaker the most enjoyable. The reason for this is probably Alison Bingeman's input, the amount of which is not revealed. As with most Target books, the Doctor and companions are not described at all. The story opens with Steven and Dodo being immediately referred to - there is not even a description of their clothing (there was in The Highlanders and The Tomb of the Cybermen). The plot then advances with references to previous adventures (The Massacre and The Ark) in the first chapter. The Doctor is captured and forced to spend a good part of the story playing the Trilogic game, while his two companions face the Toymaker's deadly dolls. For a comparison, this book reminds me of a slightly advanced recent Terrance Dicks novel.

An interesting fact about The Celestial Toymaker is that it was written originally with a holiday for William Hartnell in mind. Back in the 1960s, the filming schedule was so tough that the regular cast had to be written out of some episodes because the massive workload was too much (52 episodes a year). In this case, the Toymaker turned the Doctor invisible and intangible, thus we could only hear his voice, and that too was soon "turned off" anyway.

The book starts in the same way that Brian Hayles' script starts, just after the TARDIS has materialised and the Doctor has turned invisible. It would have been better to begin the novel with the Doctor visible, and then turn him invisible, but the book keens faithfully to the script.

This is not one of the best in the Target range, but if you are unfamiliar with the plot, it is a good read, along with any other books from the first four years of the show.

This item appeared in TSV 3 (October 1987).

Index nodes: The Celestial Toymaker