Edited to add: It's failed miserably, even on my own home view. I am going back to tables, which I at least understand.
I've shifted on this as a result of my recent rewatch of the Third Doctor stories. I used to be a big fan of The Curse of Peladon, which speaks to a lot of my interests and is a little untypical of the Third Doctor era. But in fact I now find myself torn between The Dæmons and The Green Death, the closing stories of Seasons Nine and Ten, both largely written by Barry Letts. In the end, I have picked one for my TV choice and one for my novelisation choice: The Green Death ends the longest ever era of stability among the regular cast affectionately, with a certain sensitivity to politics, with a closing scene that brings a tear to the eye.
(I am divided from fan opinion on this; consensus seems to be that Inferno is the best of Pertwee, but I think that the rebooted show is still coming together at this point.)
Having chosen The Green Death as my top TV story, I'm going for Doctor Who and the Dæmons as my favourite Third Doctor book. It was the only novelisation of a TV story written by Barry Letts, who was producer of the show throughout the Pertwee years, and he has taken his own script and given it a very good treatment, injecting and subtracting elements to make the story work better, and really drawing the reader in, to the extent that I was a bit disappointed when I finally watched the original TV version and found it was not as good.
There are other good novelisations from this era - Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters, Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons, Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks, Doctor Who and the Three Doctors, Doctor Who and the Space War, Doctor Who and the Green Death, Doctor Who and the Planet of the Spiders, the first of which has just been republished with a foreword by Terrance Dicks.
|2a) Other books|
A slightly unusual choice here - I rate the 1971 Doctor Who annual as the best of the entire run of annuals from 1966 to 1986. Somehow the writing, the illustrations, and the presentation all came together in a way that had not been reached before and was not equalled subsequently. The Doctor/Brigadier relationship is particularly well done. (The annual is included as a freebie on the Inferno DVD.) For some reason there was no 1972 Annual and the 1973 one was not as good.
My second choice among Third Doctor books is also not in the usual series - David Bishop's Who Killed Kennedy?, written as by Bishop and his narrator James Stevens, has loads of fun continuity and is available online.
Not completely abandoning my affection for The Curse of Peladon, Big Finish have done a couple of very effective audios set on the planet. One is a Fifth Doctor play in which we say farewell to Erimem, an audio-only companion, but the other is a tale of the Third Doctor returning to Peladon which is being swamped by Ice Warriorts as a result of a refugee crisis, told by the tremendously effective David Troughton, son of Patrick and also of course King Peladon in the original TV story. I liked it a lot (much more than the Pertwee/Sladen audios of the 1990s which I felt were rather rambling).
|4) Dishonourable mention|
The Mutants has almost nothing to recommend it - poorly told and acted, with a political message that while basically sound is rammed home tediously over six episodes, and an additional task for the Doctor from the Time Lords which makes very little sense - why not just deliver the damn thing directly? The best thing in it is Geoffrey Palmer who is killed in the first episode; the second best is the location for the misty marshy planetary surface, which has since been concreted over and is now England's largest shopping centre.