Doctor Who - Paradise Towers
|ISBN||0 426 20330 5|
|First Edition Cover||Alistair Pearson|
|Back cover blurb: Much in need of a holiday, Mel and the Doctor head for Paradise Towers: a luxury man-made planet with sparkling fountains, sunny streets, exotic flowers and a shimmering blue swimming pool. But when the TARDIS materialises in a dark, rubbish-filled, rat-infested alley it seems that this particular Paradise has turned into Hell! Pursued by rogue cleaning machines, authoritarian caretakers and old ladies with strange eating habits, the Doctor and Mel track down the source of the chaos to one mysterious character - the designer of Paradise Towers, the Great Architect himself...|
Paradise Dull by Matthew Kresal 15/10/12
The later books of the Target range of Doctor Who novels are notable for giving the writers of many stories from the eras of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors a second crack at their stories. On the surface at least, that is exactly what writer Stephen Wyatt did when he novelized his 1987 story Paradise Towers for the range about a year after broadcast. Yet, given the reputation of Paradise Towers as a TV story, does the novelization improve it?
The novelization allows Wyatt to show the story he originally intended, before casting and production values potentially harmed it on its way to the screen. The Kangs are teenage girls rather than the considerably (and obviously) older versions seen on in the TV version. The Caretakers ineffectiveness and the obsession with their rulebook is given a new dimension as they are portrayed as fat, often middle-aged men rather than coming across as a bad rip-off of the Keystone cops. Pex isn't the wimpy, would-be action hero of the TV version but instead is as physically different from the TV version of the character as one can get. The result of all this is that Wyatt's original vision of Paradise Towers shines throughout the book.
Yet that vision isn't necessarily a good one. The basic idea at the heart of Paradise Towers is an intriguing one and really an idea worthy of a classic Doctor Who story. The execution of the story itself is anything but. Wyatt's second crack at the story might fix a whole number of issues in the story but it doesn't fix the two basic problems with the story: it's a runaround with no real threat and it's a badly written black comedy. In fact, the comedy comes across worse in here than it did on TV. Wyatt's original idea is all but buried amongst a poor execution.
So does Paradise Towers the novelization improve upon Paradise Towers the TV story? Yes and no. Yes, it does improve upon the characters seen in the story by allowing Wyatt's original intentions to come across. No, it doesn't fix the issues with the poor execution of a bad idea. This novelization of Paradise Towers therefore is really only for the Doctor Who fan seeking to fill in a gap in their Target book collection.