The Three Doctors
Target novelisation
Doctor Who - The Three Doctors

Author Terrance Dicks Cover image
Published 1975
ISBN 0 426 10938 4
First Edition Cover Chris Achilleos

Back cover blurb: Jo glanced up at the Doctor 'Things must be pretty serious then.' 'They are, Jo. Very serious indeed. The whole of the Universe is in danger!' The most amazing WHO adventure yet, in which Doctors One, Two and Three cross time and space and come together to fight a ruthlessly dangerous enemy - OMEGA. Once a Time Lord , now exiled to a black hole in space, Omega is seeking a bitter and deadly revenge against the whole Universe...


One of the best by Tim Roll-Pickering 24/12/03

The first novelisation I ever owned, Doctor Who - The Three Doctors has always had a special place in my mind. It's clear that the story also had a strong influence on Terrance Dicks as he pulls out all the stops to make this a truly dangerous adventure in which there is a real sense of despair. Forget the plastic blobs, crude video effects and pantomine sets from the television story, here we get strong descriptions that make Omega's servants and his world seem truly alien and frightening, making the menace seem ever more dangerous.

Dicks has for the most part followed the corse of the television story, so no attempt is made to give a greater role to the earliest Doctor, but he does make subtle modifications such as removing the scene where the Time Lords are informed of the Doctors' plans, instead having them completely drained of energy at this point. The scene at the end of chapter 8 as the President uses the last of the Time Lords' energy to send the Doctor into the black hole before collapsing totally drained is a truly dramatic moment emphasising Omega's power.

Although the book has many strong moments, there are occasional weaknesses. For much of the time Dicks refers to the Troughton Doctor as "Doctor Two" as per the script, explaining tht this is how Jo chooses to think of him to distinguish between the two. However there are times when he lapses and instead refers to him as "the Doctor". Whilst "Doctor Two" may be a handy way to avoid confusion, it seems a very weird term to use and it is hard to avoid the feeling that Dicks could have found a better way to avoid confusing the readers. Proving this is the fact that the Hartnel Doctor is at one point referred to as "the third Doctor" (again following the script) but is otherwise generally described to as the old man on the screen and hardly ever called "the Doctor".

Throughout the book Dicks works in little character moments, such as Hollis (a name change from the television story's Ollis) reflecting on how all the women in his wife's family can never stop talking or the Brigadier's reflections as he slowly comes to terms with the fact that UNIT's headquarters has been transported to another world and not, as he initially tries to tell himself, Cromer. The consequences of the Doctor meeting with other incarnations is generally brushed over, with the impression being given that the Time Lords regard the First Law as a social rather than a scientific one. Nevertheless the Brigadier's difficulty in accepting that there are two Doctors running around until he actually sees both of them together (and then realises that the man on the screen is a third one) helps to demonstrate the difficulties of understanding that someone can be in two places at the same time.

This book is one of Terrance Dicks' best novelisations and still stands up well to this day. However I fail to understand why the late 1970s and 1980s editions had to retitle it to the repetitive Doctor Who and the Three Doctors. Fortunately the 1991 final reprint restored order. 9/10