Scottish writers turn back time to their childhoods

The new Doctor Who novelisations, including those by Scots writers Jenny T Colgan and Steven Moffat

What’s the story?

Acclaimed best-selling romantic comedy novelist Jenny Colgan, from Prestwick, and award-winning TV writer/producer Steven Moffat, from Paisley, have turned back the clock to their childhoods. The pair, both committed Doctor Who fans, have written novelisations of TV episodes in the style of the classic Target books of the 1970s and 80s. They’ve adapted TV scripts into book form, along with the acclaimed Russell T Davies, Paul Cornell and sometime Glasgow resident James Goss.

Highlights

The writing quintet have adapted episodes from the 21st century Doctor Who TV series, adding, changing and revamping the original tales for a new generation in print. Moffat and Davies have adapted their own works, while Jenny has worked on Russell’s The Christmas Invasion, Cornell has adapted episodes starring Scot Peter Capaldi in Twice Upon a Time, and Goss had adapted Douglas Adams’ City of Death. They’re all written in a fast, pacy and witty style, and fans of the TV show will love spotting where changes have been made. Davies’ Rose and Moffat’s Day of the Doctor are particularly of note.

Downfalls

By their very nature, these are Doctor Who books, so will automatically appeal to followers of the BBC show. However, there’s plenty to enjoy, as despite the science fiction trappings, there are human values at the heart of each novel – love, loss, fear and joy.

Audience

The books will definitely appeal to Doctor Who fans, but those who have enjoyed anything written by Davies, creator of TV shows like Queer as Folk and Bob and Rose, or Moffat, co-creator of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, will love these. And Goss perfectly captures the wide-eyed insanity of Douglas Adams’ writing, with this feeling very much akin to his legendary Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series. Colgan’s The Christmas Invasion just oozes love in the prose, while Cornell perfectly captures the emotion of Capaldi’s farewell story.

Verdict
These are five fantastic reads, which will take you back to your childhood, especially if the name Terrance Dicks means something to you. It can only be hoped that these are the start of a new, regular run of novelisations, with the original series teaching many people – including this reviewer – the basics of the English language.

City of Death by Douglas Adams and James Goss, Rose by Russell T Davies, The Christmas Invasion by Jenny T Colgan, The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat, and Twice Upon A Time by Paul Cornell, published by BBC Books, £6.99 each.

5 stars