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The Scripts: Galaxy 4

By William Emms

Book review by Paul Scoones

From a researcher's perspective, there can be no better choice than Galaxy 4 to publish as a script book, since it is the most under-represented Doctor Who story in the audio/video medium (it is down to this reasoning that the runner-up', The Crusade, is currently in preparation).

A comparison with the novelisation reveals that the two are similar but not identical - the novel contains extra sequences, but it is only now that these become evident - so a researcher would be unwise to rely on the novel. The script book contains a further asset comes in the form of Stephen James Walker's detailed guide to the story's production, based in part on a first-hard account from director Derek Martinus.

Putting aside the filling of an information gap, this story itself is nothing special. A reading of the scripts provided a strong visualisation of how the production might have looked. Galaxy 4 must be a strong contender for the archetypal studio-bound alien planet run-around-and-get-captured Doctor Who serial. Alarmingly little happens over the course of four episodes; the story could easily have been covered in half the time.

The theme - that it is wrong to judge by appearances - lacks complexity. The Doctor, Steven and Vicki encounter representatives of two alien races stranded on a doomed planet. The Drahvins are beautiful, the Rills are hideously ugly. Guess which group are the aggressors? The story is perhaps best viewed as a counterpoint to The Daleks, where the beautiful race (the Thals) were good, and the mutants inside the casings (the Daleks) were evil.

Galaxy 4 will never be labelled a 'classic', but as a record of a story hitherto unavailable as anything other than a novelisation, the script book is worthy of a place in the collections of serious-minded followers of Doctor Who's early years. I know that at least one TSV reader's research will be that much more complete for the advent of this book.

This item appeared in TSV 40 (July 1994).

Index nodes: Galaxy 4