The Target Novelisations are a cherished medium in the world of Doctor Who fandom that have endured the test of time. In an era before VHS, DVDs or streaming, these novels offered fans a chance to experience missed episodes or relive their favorite moments. Although they may have been particularly popular among older fans, this is the first time newer enthusiasts are getting to enjoy these unique works of storytelling.
They offer an in-depth look into the Doctor Who universe with extended scenes, character development, and insights into the Doctor’s thought processes that might not have been possible to convey on screen. Moreover, they provide a nostalgic view into the show’s past and present a distinctive opportunity for fans to experience classic episodes in a fresh way.
Steven Moffat’s novelisation of The Day of the Doctor is a remarkable expansion of the source material. Created for the show’s fiftieth anniversary, Moffat takes advantage of the opportunity to add new scenes and a structural gimmick, which enhances the story and makes it even more enjoyable.
The narration in the novelisation smoothly switches between using “I and me” to “him and he,” emphasizing the Doctor as an idea, a significant theme throughout Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. However, Moffat’s inclination to show off his cleverness can be distracting.
The numbered chapters in a non-sequential order feel unnecessary, but the framing device between each chapter is a highlight. The narration shifts again, gradually revealing that the person whose voice we are reading is also the Doctor. The final reveal that it is the Curator, played by Tom Baker, is a satisfying conclusion to the novelisation.
Overall, Moffat’s novelisation of The Day of the Doctor is a valuable addition to the Doctor Who universe, expanding on the original episode in creative and innovative ways. the novelisation delves deeper into the Time War and the impact it had on the Doctor’s psyche, which was only briefly touched upon in the original episode.
Moffat also explores the relationship between the Doctor and his companions, particularly Clara, and how it evolves over the course of the story. These additional insights offer a more nuanced and complex view of the Doctor Who universe, making the novelisation a valuable addition to the canon.