Mac Hulke’s 1974 novel has always been one of my favourites from the early releases – it takes the sometimes stodgy six part TV adventure and reworks it into a fast-paced adventure. Hulke has no qualms about rewriting whole chunks of the story to the extent that for many people, seeing the VHS release came as something of a shock. Governor Trenchard’s last mistake, for example, is nowhere to be found on screen, while the Master makes reference to adventures he’s yet to have (or he’s giving the Doctor one hell of a clue about the Ogrons ready for Frontier in Space!) There’s even an early reference to something Ian Briggs was told to remove from his later novelisation – dirty underwear!
Geoffrey Beevers is carving out a nice niche narrating the Delgado Master stories, and he imbues the Time Lord with a silkiness that is reminiscent of the charm that the first incarnation possessed. He also captures Pertwee’s occasionally odd inflections, and his Trenchard is exactly the “hale fellow, well met” of the original. He’s also got a wide range of accents for the other characters which ensures that you can follow the story easily.
One place that the story scores immeasurably in this form is the music score – although there’s the occasional cheeky electronic burble to accompany the appearance of a Sea Devil, perhaps in acknowledgement of Malcolm Clarke’s distinctive TV version.
Verdict: All in all, a great addition to the range. 8/10