June 8th, 2008

doctor who

June Books 8-15) The last Sarah Jane Novelisations

This is the end (at least, for three decades) for Sarah Jane Smith as a regular character in Doctor Who. There is only one really bad one out of these eight, and it is the one which is not based on a televised story.

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What struck me almost for the first time as I read these books is that this is the period when the basic format of the show as we now know it was first tried - a single, female, companion, who has a life of her own (remember that Sarah first met the Doctor while impersonating her own aunt, and her journalistic career is mentioned in both The Android Invasion and The Seeds of Doom), and the Tardis travelling from adventure to adventure, without any real fixed base for the Doctor (the last proper UNIT story is just before this sequence, and the first proper Gallifrey story immediately after). Previous companions were either a larger ensemble (with minor male exceptions - Steven in The Massacre, Jamie in a few episodes but no complete story) or part of UNIT. Sarah Jane Smith (followed by Leela, Romana, Peri, Mel and Ace) is the first real predecessor of Rose, Martha and Donna. And unlike a lot of others, the printed page does her justice - perhaps because so many of her books were written by Terrance Dicks, who after all invented the character as script editor. All decent enough reads (apart from the Pescatons).