Doctor Who: A Big Hand For The Doctor – 7GPPs
Penguin Books Ltd
A charming self contained adventure. Very well aimed at a younger audience.
Hardcore fans may be disappointed by the portrayal of the first Doctor.
A Big Hand For The Doctor is the first in a series of e-shorts celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Each one will feature one of the Doctors and are written by a children’s author. Naturally this adventure revolves around the 1st Doctor and his granddaughter Susan. With all the hi-jinx and adventure we have come to expect from The Doctor, this story already has the advantage of being written by a personal favourite author of mine, Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl series, The Wish List) and I certainly recognise his style.
The story is easy to read and combines a seemingly lovely little Peter Pan-esque tale with a gruesome twist of organ snatching, patchwork Soul Pirates, whom have already had this Doctor’s hand (yes it seems the Doctor has a habit of losing hands). Throw in some bio hybrid tech in the form of a temporary left hand and a little peril and you’re left with a neat stand alone adventure.
I have very limited experience of the William Hartnell’s portrayal of the first Doctor but did feel the mannerisms conveyed in the story to be much like the Doctor we have seen of late and I found it harder to imagine the first in this role. The Doctors inner monologue rang a little more true, reflecting his cranky old gentlemanly style, and I certainly enjoyed the insight into his relationship with his granddaughter. His protective and genuine concern is touching; plus we also get a tiny glimpse into his own childhood.
As well as the obvious historical references appropriate for the era we also find a little out about other aliens living in the London area. I won’t spoil it with details but I very much enjoyed the negotiations between the Xing surgeon and the Doctor, very telling of a time before the Time War and a less lonely Doctor.
Interestingly the story gives a nod to the 11th Doctor and I can only presume it is someway connected to the much anticipated anniversary episode on 23rd November. Similarly, like the very recent episodes, the theme is focused on rescuing children. Now, I’m not at all saying it is significant but I will certainly be looking out for this in the next books.
The story is soaked in pop culture references such as Harry Potter, which felt a little cheap, but then I am an adult reading a story that I believe is aimed at a younger audience. This is no taxing piece of literature but an whimsical short adventure that is a must read for Doctor Who fans and anyone who enjoys a touch of swashbuckling in their day. Plus there may be clues to upcoming story lines and that is something I wouldn’t want to miss.