‘LAST OF THE GADERENE’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Gaderene and the Master with the Third Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier and U.N.I.T.
I’ve greatly enjoyed reading and listening to this amazing Third Doctor adventure!
‘Last of the Gaderene’ is a Past Doctor Adventures novel published by BBC Books in 2000. The book was by Mark Gatiss, who would go on to a new series ‘Doctor Who’ writer for the Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat eras and he would star in ‘The Lazarus Experiment’ as Professor Lazarus himself.
Mark Gatiss contributed to the world of ‘Doctor Who’ before he contributed to the TV series. He wrote a number of ‘Doctor Who’ books first for the Virgin range and then for the BBC Books range. ‘Last of the Gaderene’ is a book that’s from the wilderness years before the show returned in 2005.
The book was first published in 2000 before it was later reprinted in 2013 for the 50th anniversary collection of ‘Doctor Who’ books featuring the Eleven Doctors. ‘Last of the Gaderene’ represents the Third Doctor era with Jon Pertwee for that era and it’s clear that it’s one of the best books of the era.
I purchased the 2013 reprint of ‘Last of the Gaderene’ for me to enjoy and read as well as to listen to, since there is now an audiobook of the story that was released in 2015. The audiobook is read by Richard Franklin who played Captain Mike Yates in the TV series. I enjoyed Richard reading the story!
I’ve now had the CD cover of the ‘Last of the Gaderene’ audiobook signed by Richard Franklin at the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in May 2018. I was surprised to discover from Richard that he recorded this audiobook in one day. Usually it takes two days, doesn’t it? Richard found it so rushed.
The 2013 reprint book includes a new introduction by Mark Gatiss. This includes one for the 2000 publication and one for the 2013 reprint. I was delighted to see a passage from the Bible at the beginning of the book. The passage was from Mark chapter 5 verse 8, which helps to set up the story so nicely in this.
The book ‘Last of the Gaderene’ is divided into 35 chapters with a prologue at the beginning. The audiobook has the story spread across 8 discs with plenty of narration by Richard Franklin. I was amazed with how much story there was in the audiobook, especially as I was reading the book in hand too.
‘Last of the Gaderene’ is one of the finest Third Doctor adventures by Mark Gatiss in book/audio form. It has everything that a fan of the Third Doctor era could wish for. The story is set on Earth; has U.N.I.T. in it; features action-packed scenes; an English village; a politician; alien monsters and more.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book with Richard Franklin reading it on audio in the background. Richard Franklin delivers a rich storytelling performance with his reading of the story. He’s no stranger to reading a ‘Doctor Who’ story, as he had done this before with ‘Vengeance of the Stones’.
Richard Franklin knows the Third Doctor era so well from having being involved with it himself playing Mike Yates. He gets into Mark Gatiss’ story and brings it to life with its rich characters featured in it and doing the voices for the Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier, Benton, Yates and the Master.
‘Last of the Gaderene’ is set on Earth in an English village called Culverton. It takes place during the 1970s when the Doctor was exiled to Earth by the Time Lords but has now been freed from his exile since ‘The Three Doctors’. This takes places between ‘Planet of the Daleks’ and ‘The Green Death’.
The story features an aerodrome in Culverton, which provides the setting for an exciting action-packed showdown with planes and everything. The village gets invaded by aliens called the Gaderene wanting to take control of the Earth and are using black-shirted troops and lorries to do it.
But not everyone in Culverton is blind to this alien invasion, as former Spitfire pilot Alex Whistler becomes suspicious. He contacts his friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and he, the Doctor, Jo and the rest of U.N.I.T. visit Culverton to solve the mystery. Will they get to stop the Gaderene’s plans?!
From reading the book and listening to the audio, there was a lot of building up into how the mystery gets unravelled and how the Doctor, Jo and U.N.I.T. get involved with things. Very soon, they become concerned for the villagers and they unravel more about ‘Legion International’s cover.
The village of Culverton put me very much in mind of the village Devil’s End in ‘The Dæmons’ as well as Stockbridge village in the ‘Doctor Who’ comics. I’m sure Mark Gatiss homed in on his love for the Third Doctor era in this story. I’m sure he watched ‘The Dæmons’ to create the setting for this story.
Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in ‘Last of the Gaderene’ is great to read and listen to. It’s interesting from reading the story how the Doctor, who is now released from his exile on Earth by the Time Lords, is still on Earth helping U.N.I.T. and defeating alien invasions when he could be exploring the universe.
Early on in the story, the Doctor has an adventure on Xanthos and he has a run-in with a treacherous villain called Gogon. It’s not too dissimilar from him having his little adventure on Metebellis III which takes place later on in ‘The Green Death’. Very soon, he leaves and returns to Earth in the 70s.
I like the Doctor’s interaction with the Brigadier when he seems to be ridiculing him on his military methods in the story, as they both banter with each other. I equally enjoyed the Doctor’s relationship with Jo in the story, as he’s very caring of her which reflects the relationship well on TV.
I mustn’t forget the Third Doctor’s action-packed sequences in the story when he’s fighting with a black-armoured solider in a huge wind-tunnel at the aerodrome in Culverton. There’s also an exciting sequence where the Doctor actually gets to fly Whistler’s Spitfire plane for the aerodrome.
Jo Grant was a joy to read in the story too. I liked how she’s fiercely loyal to the Doctor and concerned for him when he goes off into dangerous situations. Jo forms some nice friendships and connections with Mrs. Toovey and Noah Bishop, whilst everybody else is getting into some trouble.
I liked it when Jo doesn’t obey the Doctor’s instructions by going back to Mrs. Toovey’s house to stay out of trouble and instead goes off to the marshland close to the aerodrome. Jo gets to ask the right sort of questions when learning of the Gaderene’s plans and hearing more about Whistler’s Spitfire.
The Brigadier was equally a joy to read in the book too. I could hear the Brigadier’s clipped military tones and moustache, even when Richard Franklin was reading the story. It was interesting when he’s concerned for the Doctor’s whereabouts at the beginning of the story as he clearly misses him.
It was good when the Brigadier gets into the heart of the action with his U.N.I.T. men at Culverton. The Brigadier as ever relays important information about Culverton and the political situation to the Doctor. There are also some nice moments when the Brigadier’s moral stance goes before his duty.
I enjoyed reading Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton in the story too, although they don’t have much of a larger role to play in the story compared to the Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier. It’s good that they got to take part in the action along with the other U.N.I.T. soldiers and to carry out the Brig’s orders.
The Master makes a return appearance to ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘Last of the Gaderene’, presumably following his previous appearance in ‘Frontier in Space’. I was delighted when the Master makes an appearance in this story, although he does appear halfway and I wish there was more of him in this.
In the story, the Master is working with the Gaderene on their invasion plans for Earth. I liked those moments when the Master gets to use his hypnotic powers of persuasion on human beings, as this is clearly the Roger Delgado version of the Master in the story. He’s well-written by Mark Gattis in this.
The Gaderene are a parasitic race of aliens that come to invade the Earth and rid the human population. They cling onto the human villagers of Culverton and the signs of controlling them are that they grin a lot. The Gaderene’s one weakness is reacting to bright light as it’s shown upon them.
The leader of the Gaderene is Bliss, who takes on the human form of a fat businesswoman of ‘Legion International’, the cover for the Gaderene’s base on Earth. Bliss gradually gets revealed as a cold-hearted and cruel woman, who is determined to see the Gaderene’s invasion of Earth as a success.
Other characters of importance in this story include Alec Whistler, the former Spitfire pilot who contacts the Brigadier for help when he sees Culverton run by the busy-bodies of ‘Legion International’. Whistler is a proud war veteran, but could his bravery defeat the Gaderene’s plans?!
There’s also Noah Bishop, a young man who gets involved with Whistler when trying to break into ‘Legion International’s headquarters at Culverton’s aerodrome. Noah gets badly injured when he’s found by his father, the Doctor and Jo. But Noah could have the answers to help the Doctor and Jo.
There’s Charles Cochrane the MP; Jocelyn Strangeways; John Trickett and Captain McGarrigle of Bliss’ military forces. There’s Stephen Darnell; Ted Bishop, Noah’s father; Max Bishop, Ted Bishop’s brother and Noah’s uncle and Mrs. Toovey, Whistler’s housekeeper at his little house in Culverton.
The story ends with a dramatic showdown between the Doctor and the Master at the aerodrome and where the Master actually sacrifices himself to save the Doctor. This could be the showdown for Roger Delgado’s exit from ‘Doctor Who’ on TV by producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.
I really wish that ‘Last of the Gaderene’ could have been a TV story for Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’. It has all the elements in it from the Third Doctor era on TV and it could easily have been made for TV in those days with such a strong story and wonderful characterisations of the era.
‘Last of the Gaderene’ is a fantastic Third Doctor adventure for fans to enjoy! I enjoyed reading the book and listening to the audio by Richard Franklin. This book defines the Third Doctor era well and it’s not so hard to see why it was chosen for the 50th anniversary collection of ‘Doctor Who’ books.
Splendid job, Mr. Mark Gattis! Splendid job!
‘Last of the Gaderene’ rating – 9/10
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