18 December, 2006
Completing the Key
Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet, a novelisation written by David Bishop, is now available online as an ebook.
This adaptation of a television serial by Douglas Adams was one of a handful of Doctor Who TV stories never published by Target Books (I'm talking about the 1963-1989 run here). The omission of The Pirate Planet was particularly irksome to avid Target collectors - and I count myself as one - as it formed part of the six story Key to Time sequence. I still recall as a young and uninformed fan staring at the back of The Armageddon Factor novelisation and wondering why there were only five, not six, books listed in the Key to Time sequence.
The novelisation was first published in 1990 by the New Zealand Doctor who Fan Club. The author was David Bishop, an unknown name in fandom at the time, but now well-known as the author of several Doctor Who novels and Big Finish audios. Seventeen years ago this month, David was hard at work writing the first draft of this book.
I revised and expanded the novelisation for a new edition in 2001, with David's approval, incorporating a large number of sequences from the rehearsal scripts that had been cut from the televised story. For the new ebook edition, I dug out the notes I made in 2001 and attempted to document the changes for a editors' commentary.
After struggling through a few chapters, trying to convert numerous notes into readable prose, I decided that a far simpler solution was to present the deleted scenes from the rehearsal scripts as extracts from the novelisation and leave it at that. This proved to be a fairly straight-forward task, but to my surprise I discovered that I'd omitted a few of those scenes from the 2001 edition, so these segments appear for the first time ever in this ebook.
The ebook is also available as a downloadable PDF file and is accompanied by several 'special features', including an article about the book's publication history, a guide to the 'deleted scenes', a gallery of cover artwork, and David Bishop's notes from the original edition.