Doctor Who: The Witchfinders, by Joy Wilkinson

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Right now, it was hurtling on a course towards Westminster Abbey on the bright, frost-flowered morning of 15 January 1559. After their tangle with sinister robots and exploding bubble-wrap at Kerblam!, the whole fam favoured a trip into a tech-free era, far enough back to not jeopardise the existence of any close relatives, but somewhere civilised enough to have decent grub and no cesspits to mess up Ryan's new trainers. Graham suggested the coronation of Elizabeth I, as the feast and flooring were bound to be top notch, and also because his recording of Cate Blanchett's film Elizabeth had clashed with his series-linked Bake Off repeats, so it seemed easier to hop back and watch the real deal rather than hunt down a DVD.

This is actually the first novelisation of any Thirteenth Doctor story to be published. I was one of the relatively few who really did not appreciate the televised story it is based on, writing:

This one also fell very flat for me, my personal low point of the series, though a lot of people seem to have loved it; it simply had too many egregious historical errors for me to enjoy it. I was reminded of my similarly hostile reaction to The Plotters, a Who spinoff novel set in the same historical period. Alan Cumming is clearly having great fun as King James; perhaps a bit too much.

I'm glad to say that I liked the novelisation a bit more. As is often the case when bulking out a 50-minute script to 178 pages of novel, Wilkinson has used the extra latitude to give a lot more depth to her setting and characters – particularly the villainous Becka Savage, whose means and motivation are made a lot clearer. She also has the Doctor discovering that being treated as a woman isn't much fun. And the ending is changed, tying in to wider Who continuity. Definitely worth getting hold of, for a Who fan. Not really sure I could recommend to others! You can get it here.


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