The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

Doctor Who Monthly's
Stars Fell on Stockbridge

Script: Steve Parkhouse, Art: Dave Gibbons, Editor: Alan McKenzie

From Doctor Who Monthly #68-69; Reprinted (coloured) in Doctor Who Classic Comics #18


Keeping up the Pace by Tim Roll-Pickering 10/10/98

Unlike most writers, Steve Parkhouse’s first post-Tides of Time story does not act as an aftermath (other than the opening panel which mentions that things are back to normal) but instead sets out to story does not act as an aftermath (other than the opening panel which mentions that things are back to normal) but instead begins preparing the ground for the next epic story, The Stockbridge Horror. This is essential, given events in that story, and it is welcome to see the Doctor not solving every mystery immediately, but instead being more fallible and human.

The main guest character in this story is Maxwell Edison, known as ‘Mad Max’, who is every bit the clichéd paranormal freak, but this is over a decade before The X-Files. Armed with diving rod and his ‘bio-kinetic energising ray’ (which, when opened, turns out to be ‘an empty box with a few loose wires’), he is something a rarity in the Doctor Who world--a character who is more recognisable today than at the time of the story’s original printing. On this occasion, however, he does discover something--the Doctor. And this leads to the one minor plot hole in this story. It seems strange that the Doctor, who has been residing in Stockbridge for some time, and Max, an amateur investigator, are not aware of each other so far. However, this can be avoided as the TARDIS heads for the mysterious spaceship, and into a plot that could easily fit into an episode of the The X-Files. Max’s strong assertions that there is a presence on the ship, and the Doctor’s attempts to prove him wrong are well-handled, and the reader is left asking for more as the Doctor and Max are forced to leave due to the ship breaking up in the Earth’s atmosphere, thus neatly leading into the next story.

Dave Gibbons’ artwork is as good as ever on this, his last contribution to the strip (apart from drawing the covers for the American Doctor Who comic when the material was reprinted). It is a pity to see him depart at a time when the comic strip was at an all-time high, but at least his final work is amongst his best.

All in all, a good story both in it’s own right and as part of the great odyssey of this golden age for the strip. 8/10