Doctor Who: THE TARGET STORYBOOK Save Yourself Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: THE TARGET STORYBOOK Save Yourself Review

Christopher Morley bids a fond farewell to one of Doctor Who's most prolific writers with a look at their final story as included in The Target Storybook.

Time now to say two fond farewells - firstly to Terrance Dicks, the most prolific of paperback writers for Target alongside his small screen work on Doctor Who itself, joining the production team in time for The Invasion, moving into scriptwriting by the time of The War Games, Patrick Troughton's decision to depart after a three year tour of duty in the TARDIS necessitating change. Which would arrive relatively unheralded by the time Part One of Spearhead From Space aired on January 3, 1970....

Its Target novelisation as Doctor Who And The Auton Invasion - published on January 17, 1974 - allowed Dicks a little more wriggle room! The opening chapter offers some explanation of the events that went before through a straight lift from Malcolm Hulke's own print treatment of Doctor Who And The War Games prior to the beginning of the Third Doctor's exile to Earth.

But was that it?

Not according to Season 6B it wasn't! Terrance evidently decided spinning off into a void & getting a bit giddy wasn't much of an end for dear old Pat & had the Time Lords offer him a stay of execution via service with the Celestial Intervention Agency. And having eased himself back into writing for the first of the eccentric bow tied Doctors, Save Yourself, Dicks contribution to the recently released Target Storybook, offers the writer the opportunity to go back & get the Doctor's CIA career off to a proper start.

Offered a straight choice between exile & death by the Lord High Chancellor back on Gallifrey, the Doctor's given a first mission after the point is conceded that actually some of his interventions in the affairs of other worlds & lifeforms have complemented the interests of the race he fled a lifetime ago.

Naturally he won't exactly be working independently - but his intended destination on their behalf is of great interest to them, the Sacred Flame watched over by the Sisterhood of Karn prized by the Time Lords for its restorative properties. Not only that but they have received word that something with potentially disastrous consequences could be about to go down!

Having twigged that nobody else will take on the assignment, he attempts to bargain by putting forward a few conditions. His death sentence cannot be ruled void in return for his co-operation but he is promised a pre-agreed number of missions prior to his eventual change of face & personality.

Having been led back to dear old Sexy to prepare for the journey to Karn, somebody's been tinkering with her console - the modification in question a Stattenheim remote control, which will remain in place for a later Season 6B entry............
Sixth Doctor: A Stattenheim remote control? Where did you get that? I've always wanted one of those.
Second Doctor: Some of us have earned these little privileges.

Evidently, here he doesn't yet have it - informed that he will only be able to get to Karn & at the conclusion of his business there return to await further instruction in the Capitol.

A familiar foe waits in a castle nestled high above the Sisterhood, the Doctor not the only one to have escaped sentencing! Enter the War Lord, who had of course found himself part of one of the little schemer's elaborate bluffs.
WAR LORD: Previously you thought the resistance to be the winning side. What made you change your mind?
DOCTOR: Well, I hadn't realised how small and weak their groups were compared with your might and power.
WAR LORD: You have a silver tongue, just like your friend the War Chief. What contribution can you make to our plan?
DOCTOR: Well, your processing machines. I can make them work more effectively.
WAR LORD: Our scientist is at this moment producing new machines on the home planet.
DOCTOR: Ah yes, but that will take time. I can make the old ones work just as well. Probably better.
WAR LORD: Very well. You shall have the opportunity to prove your ability. You will adjust the machines and reprocess your resistance friends.
DOCTOR: They are no longer my friends. They are our enemies.
WAR LORD: Of course they are. Take him to the processing room. See he has every facility.
And of course another renegade Time Lord will later clandestinely set up a similar base of operations on the planet, Dicks given the job of penning Doctor Who And The Brain Of Morbius for the second man to follow Troughton in 1977.

Much later BBC Books would give him the chance to revisit the gap in continuity between Pat's last stand & the introduction of Jon Pertwee - television audiences given a taste of what was to come with a few Earthly stopovers for the man in the crumpled shirt in preparation for the coming of one with a considerably more foppish mode of dress without so much as a glimpse of any kind of handover between the two.

Step forward once more Season 6B! World Game was presented as the first of his CIA involvements- but now it seems Dicks's final work in print actually shifts it to second, followed by The Two Doctors. Which features another of the Target Storybook authors writing for the Sixth Doctor as played by, well, him! Though we shall come to his entry, Interstitial Insecurity, later. First there's the matter of Matthew Sweet & his attempt at penmanship for Pertwee with The Clean Air Act which in a sense takes its cue from Invasion Of The Dinosaurs while touching on ecological issues as liberally spread throughout the Third Doctor's time in our tiny corner of the wider cosmos, a period Terrance helped to kick-start even after the blow of a budget cut.

A second adieu must surely be bid also to the man who stepped aside prior to Jon signing up & promptly falling from the TARDIS - which also gave Target itself the impetus to look to the future in a sense & start committing the then newest of the Doctors' adventures to print relatively quickly. Such a luxury was not afforded to William Hartnell or his first successor but it helped to usher in the Seventies heyday of the range & kept both the late great Dicks & his presumably by now equally late & great typewriter busy!

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