Target Zone September 2014
008 Doctor Who and the Carnival of Monsters
Published by Target
ISBN 0 426 11025 0
Reviewed by Simon Mallinson
The Doctor and Jo land on a cargo ship crossing the Indian Ocean in the year 1926.
Or so they think.
Far away on a planet called Inter Minor, a travelling showman is setting up his live peepshow, watched by an eager audience of space officials...
On board ship, a giant hand suddenly appears, grasps the Tardis and withdraws. Without warning, a prehistoric monster rises from the sea to attack...
What is happening? Where are they?
Only the Doctor realises, with horror, that they might be trapped...
Ah it had to happen, Carnival!!!!
Okay got that out of my system, this is one of the only Pertwee stories I ever watched on BBC in the Eighties as a repeat. As it goes its a weird story, set in a world which everyone is grey and very strange looking, obviously it has two castes, the speaking morons, the bosses, and the downtrodden underclass, the workers who look like they need to get a life and kill the bosses. Okay quite like real life.
As always when you read a story that is on as a TV story, you tend to visualise that, but Terrance Dicks does it again. He takes a mediocre story and works his magic on it. Although the original writer Robert Holmes does his best to make you laugh and cry.
The 3rd Doctor explodes out of the story, and what can I say about a certain Miss Grant, well the book has less screaming, only just. Jo in book form comes out as a capable assistant (yes I am using the 70s term). Okay maybe a bit absent minded but hey wouldn’t we all, faced with her travels.
The great thing about this book is that it takes the two dimensional figures on the boat and makes them come to life just a little more than the TV show. Ah how the mind brushes over the faults.
The Showman and his travelling assistant (again 70s), instead of looking like something you might see on an acid trip, turns into quite likeable creatures that you may find in a Paul Daniels show or one of them Bank Holiday magic shows they used to show.
So for a trip into the twilight zone and a good hearty laugh, I advise you to buy this and escape the horrors of the day.
The TV show, if you do watch it will make you smile and revel in an early appearance of Ian Marter as Lt John Andrews, the sheer brilliance of the triad of bosses in Michael Wisher (Genesis fame), Terence Lodge and Peter Halliday. Never forgetting the fun filled style of Leslie Dwyer (who you be thinking I have saw him in something else) as Vorg and the wonderful cheekiness of Cheryl Hall as Shirna.
As always my special commendation for Jon Pertwee forever the Dandy but ever enjoyable Doctor, and the beautiful and talented Katy Manning whose appearance as Jo Grant never fails to make me smile, laugh, cry and shout NOOOOOOO!!!!!