Doctor Who: The Day She Saved the Doctor

Four female authors write a Doctor Who story each, and each one sees a different female character in the Doctor Who universe stepping up to save the Doctor at some point. Published to mark the occasion of the first female incarnation of the Doctor in 2018, the stories span both the “new” and “classic” eras of the show. While there’s nothing especially revolutionary about any of them, I think they’re all enjoyable enough and sure to put a smile on the face of most fans.

Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes by Jacqueline Rayner

As much as I love the classic era, I have to admit that the Doctor is usually not as appreciative of their companions as they are in the modern era. For this reason, it’s nice to see a story with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane which has him praising how highly he thinks of her, beyond his usual, simple “She’s my best friend.”

In it, you see the two of them landing in Ancient Rome, and the Doctor being kidnapped by an all female cult. The setting is described very vividly and the characters are very true to themselves. I wish there were other classic era stories in this collection, but this is a strong addition and one that tells a nice kind of story that we didn’t get on TV at the time.

Rose and the Snow Window by Jenny T. Colgan

Unfortunately, this was my least favourite story in the collection. It has a window in time connecting 2005 Canada to early 20th century Russia, and has Rose having a loose romantic fling (of sorts) with a historic count. The plot just failed to capture my interest.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Jenny T. Colgan’s writing style, and I appreciate the fact that she chose to do a story with the Ninth Doctor and Rose, because they’re one of my favourite duos and it’s always good to have more of them. The author obviously understands and can write them well – sadly, it just wasn’t for me.

Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta by Susan Calman

Ironically, while the second half of Series 7, with the Eleventh Doctor and Clara travelling together, is one of my least favourite eras of Doctor Who, this is one of my favourite stories in the collection – my second favourite, in fact. In it, the Doctor takes Clara on a day out, and they end up getting lost in a giant, seemingly unescapable alien maze.

While the storyline is a fairly basic one, I think it lends itself well to quite a lot of tension, and even manages to portray the Doctor in quite a vulnerable state. It’s an interesting and unique Doctor Who story and I genuinely wish it could have been a real episode. If it had, it could have been one of the best in Series 7 – if not the best.

Bill and the Three Jackets by Dorothy Koomson

The Twelfth Doctor is my favourite Doctor, so perhaps its not surprising that this was my favourite story in the collection. Although, having said that, the Doctor himself is barely in Bill and the Three Jackets – instead, it’s all about Bill inexplicably swapping bodies with a random person that she meets, then having nobody believe that she is the real Bill.

Not only is it a pretty cool idea for a story, it also leads to Bill learning a lesson about appreciating her body, and realising that she was wrong to judge others based on their appearance. It’s a cool sci-fi story, but it’s also pretty wholesome, and when the Doctor is there, he’s being very kind as well. It’s a definitive high point for the collection to end on.

As Doctor Who books go, I’ve definitely seen others which do some really interesting things with the characters and setting. This doesn’t stray too far from what you’d see on television, and is fairly standard Doctor Who. While that means its not absolutely fantastic, standard Doctor Who is still pretty great, and I think a lot of fans will enjoy it – especially if they just want to dip their toe into the world of the books.

Rating: 7.8/10

Buy it here.

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