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This is the collected Fifth Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Monthly #61-87, all written by Steve Parkhouse and with the best art done by Dave Gibbons (Mick Austin and Steve Dillon also contributing). It's a very impressive effort - Big Finish fans will have heard Peter Davison a year or so ago admit that he had had no idea these existed, and then more recently saying how much he had enjoyed them once he finally got hold of them. What DWM and Parkhouse managed to do here was to establish a completely different Fifth Doctor continuity, where he has two spiritual bases - the quaint late twentieth-century English village of Stockbridge, and a high-tech, sinister, somewhat mystical Gallifrey - and has adventures being dragged between the two, and to other places. I remember now thinking at the time that one of the disappointments of Arc of Infinity was that the TV Gallifrey was so much less awe-inspiring than the Gallifrey that Parkhouse and Gibbons had summoned into being in the pages of the magazine. The whole sequence of stories has more unity of style and spirit than the TV series was managing at this point, and is all the better for it; and I may now go back and listen again to the recent Big Finish stories set in Stockbridge with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa (which were all rather good - the "Autumn" segment of Circular Time, and the Castle of Fear / The Eternal Summer / Plague of the Daleks sequence).

In a later story here we also have the Meddling Monk returning, in alliance with the Ice Warriors, not so different from his alliance with the Daleks in the recent Big Finish audios (though obviously played by Peter Butterworth rather than Graeme Garden). Otherwise the Fifth Doctor has various male hangers-on - two warriors of different time periods (Sir Justin and Angus Goodman), übergeek Maxwell Edison, and the sinister Time Lord construct Shayde, with brief appearances from the mysterious psycho-military group SAG 3; almost no female characters at all here. (Someone who looks a bit like Zoe makes an appearance but doesn't speak.)

NB also a short sequence at the end featuring the Fourth Doctor regressing to the First Doctor, originally published in 1980 in Doctor Who Weekly #17-18, presumably having escaped from the earlier collected volumes, and also rather good.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
What impressed me was that, from what I heard, Steve Parkhouse was in no way a DW fan (indeed, may even have hated it), but wrote such an excellent storyline. Sir Justin was one of my favorite characters, despite having only appeared in comics issues. Shayde was a fascinating construction.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
The Erimem freebie audio No Place Like Home also makes use of the concepts of these stories.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Yes; it has Shayde but no Stockbridge.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
I reread this just the other day, along with the two 4th Doctor ones. Excellent stuff - took me right back to DW Weekley days :-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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