July 25, 2024

Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks, by Terrance Dicks. Target, 1976. Number 46 in the Doctor Who Library. 125 pages, paperback. Original script by Terry Nation, BBC, 1973.

This adventure features the 3rd Doctor and Jo Grant.

Chasing the Daleks is a dangerous game but it’s one the Doctor has to play if he’s do discover what mischief his oldest enemy is up to. Setting the TARDIS in flight, he makes a telepathic call to the Time Lords to aid in his search. The combined strain of the telepathic call and the previous adventure, which involved galactic diplomacy between humans and Draconians and the machinations of the Master (see Doctor Who and the Space War, by Malcolm Hulke) seems to be too much for the Doctor and he lapses into a coma, leaving Jo to watch over him.

The TARDIS materializes on the planet Spiridon and, fearing that the Doctor is dying, Jo sets off in search of help. The Doctor wakes to a TARDIS that is running out of air but he can’t get out. Jo finds herself on a planet of hostile plant life and invisible inhabitants but befriends a Spiridon. The Doctor is rescued by a race of familiar people. He recognizes the Thals from Skaro and joins them in fighting the Daleks.

Will the Doctor and Jo ever see each other again? What do the Daleks want on Spiridon? There’s more than one scheme at play. Can the Doctor help the Thals to defeat the Daleks and thwart their plans?

The Planet of the Daleks is quite the adventure. Terrance Dicks brought the televised story to narrative life in this novelization. The pace is good. The calm moments are few and far between. It’s a good Dalek story and well-told. The characters, no matter how briefly in the story, are well-defined and each seems to have a role to play. I can recommend this story.

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