The Deadstone Memorial

by Trevor Baxendale

BBC Books 8th Doctor Adventures, 2005

With all of Dr Who now seen in the light of the new series, Trevor Baxendale's "The Deadstone Memorial" seems both brighter in parts, yet duller in others.

The opening chapters of this contemporary story show us a Doctor and a style that both seem to fit very well with what we've seen in episodes like "Rose". The energy, the realist grounding and the family entertainment all seem right for what Russell T Davies is trying to do with the television series.

However, what "The Deadstone Memorial" lacks is enough story. Several middle chapters just involve running back and forth, people being captured, escaping and being re-captured. Too often, "The Deadstone Memorial" treads water and some occasional nice prose is insufficient to sustain interest. When the TV show is so compact and fast-moving, such extended 'corridor running' is all the more pained. Trad stories like this, which once lasted 100 minutes on TV but are now told in 45, do not fill the length of a novel.

The 9th Doctor Adventures (and presumably 10th Doctor Adventures) have gone for a shorter length, but the 8DAs/PDAs need to recognise that they need more. Slice "The Deadstone Memorial" to a third its length and you have a rollicking Dr Who tale, something fitting to accompany the new TV series and appeal to a younger audience. If that's what the 9DAs are like, I won't be disappointed. However the novels can be so much more. Longer prose Who has produced some marvellous books and there is a market for them, if they can offer rather more "The Deadstone Memorial".

Henry Potts, 10 May 05

Originally posted to the Jade Pagoda mailing list.

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