‘THE GOOD DOCTOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Humans and Loba with the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz
The Good Doctor religion becomes messed up in the telling on Lobos!
I’ve enjoyed reading/listening to ‘The Good Doctor’, the first of three ‘New Series Adventures’ featuring the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team in ‘Doctor Who’. It’s a great novel/audiobook to have! I found myself gripped into the story from its beginning to end and didn’t find myself bored throughout.
As we speak, Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ is currently underway on TV with the show being helmed under Chris Chibnall’s supervision as showrunner. It also currently stars Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor with Bradley Walsh as Graham; Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gil as Yasmin. And I’ve found it good so far!
For the most part, I love Series 11. It’s not a perfect season so far and I know there is still division among fans who are getting accustomed to a woman playing the role of the Doctor. But I find the writing a huge improvement and the character development very good compared to the previous era.
So while Series 11 is currently underway, I’ve decided on what story from the Thirteenth Doctor era I should choose to review for my 55th anniversary celebration season of ‘Doctor Who’ reviews. I choose to take a read and listen to the first ‘New Series Adventure’ of ‘Doctor Who’, starring the Thirteenth Doctor.
‘The Good Doctor’ is a book by a newcomer to the ‘New Series Adventures’ range of ‘Doctor Who’ books – Juno Dawson. This is the first time I’ve come across Juno Dawson as an author. Her other contributions to the ‘Doctor Who’ universe are two ‘Torchwood’ audio episodes through Big Finish.
They are ‘The Dollhouse’ and one of the episodes for the ‘Aliens Among Us’ series called ‘Orr’. Juno Dawson is also well-known for being a young adult fiction and non-fiction author on LGBT issues. I must admit, I felt anxious on coming across this new author writing this ‘Doctor Who’ book adventure.
But after reading/listening to ‘The Good Doctor’ all the way through, I found how compelling this adventure was. It might be due to the fact that Juno wrote so well for the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team. She manages to capture the four main characters’ essences as they’ve appeared in the TV series.
Like with ‘The Crawling Terror’ in 2014, I suppose Juno Dawson was given hints and tips from Chris Chibnall on how to write the four TARDIS regulars and was probably given scripts of the early episodes of Series 11 to help her along. She might have visited the set of Series 11 to see the four leads in action.
As for me in terms of reading/listening to the novel/audiobook, I’m still getting to know the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz as characters. It’s just as well that I’ve seen them on screen to get an idea of what they’re like and it was so nice to find continuity references made in relation to their characters.
The book is divided into 27 chapters with an epilogue at the end. The audiobook is read by Clare Corbett. I purchased the audiobook as a download from Audible. Clare Corbett is well-known for reading many ‘Doctor Who’ audiobooks as well as performing in two of the BBC Fourth Doctor audios.
This did make me wonder why Clare Corbett was chosen to read the audiobook of this ‘Doctor Who’ story since she doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Series 11 at this point. But of course, the reason why Clare was chosen to read this was that she was a perfect choice to voice the Thirteenth Doctor.
Even when I was hearing the audiobook in the background whilst reading the book in my hand, I felt Clare sounded convincing as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor in the series with the Northern accent. There were even times when I thought Jodie Whittaker was in the room. Really good for this book adventure! 😀
Anyway, the story itself. The Doctor and her friends visit the planet Lobos. There has been a war between the native loba and the human colonists. The Doctor halts the violent war between these two species, brokering a peace treaty between them. She has her friends helping her out to achieve this.
But as the TARDIS leaves Lobos, Ryan finds he has left his mobile phone behind. When the TARDIS returns to Lobos, the Doctor and her friends find that hundreds of years have passed and something is very wrong. The loba population have now become slaves and they’re now serving the human zealots.
It also becomes a shock when the Doctor and her friends realise that the humans are also serving the godlike figure known as the Good Doctor. And he happens to look a lot like Graham. Can the Doctor and her friends resolve the consequences of their last visit and restore a peace between the humans and loba again?
This is a very interesting and compelling story about slavery and religion on the planet Loba. It’s astonishing how much time has passed since the Doctor and friends’ last visit to Lobos and how the Doctor has been made into a religion. But things have been messed up in the translation of the telling.
The journeys of the TARDIS characters have been a joy to read/listen to in this novel/audio. As I find them likeable anyway from the TV series, it’s easy for me to become engaged with them like I do with the Fifth Doctor TARDIS characters. Each of the TARDIS crew has something to do throughout the tale.
The Doctor’s journey has been enjoyable, as she desperately tries to restore peace between the humans and loba. For a while, she takes a backseat, adopting the alias of the Good Nurse whilst Graham’s the Good Doctor. But when she outright tells people that she is the Doctor, it causes trouble.
Mykados, the High Priest of the Temple of Tordos (derived from TARDIS) reacts angrily to the Doctor’s words, calling her a blasphemer. She’s soon put into an arena to fight the monstrous Tromos, reminding me of Jon Pertwee’s combat fight in ‘The Curse of Peladon’. Will the Doctor get to escape?! 😀
Graham has an interesting journey in this story too. He gets considered a as godlike entity for a while, being called the Good Doctor, with his image framed in a glass window in a church. Graham’s not too comfortable with having to play the role of the Good Doctor for the priests. He clearly isn’t good at it.
But Graham does so in order for him, the Doctor, Ryan and Yaz to find out what’s going on. I liked some of the pop culture references made in this story in connection to Graham. This includes the game shows ‘Pointless’ and of course…‘The Chase’ which Bradley Walsh has been the presenter of. 😀
I enjoyed Ryan’s journey in this adventure too. His dyspraxia gets touched upon in this story, but it doesn’t stop him from being a competent character. It was fun to see him interact with Brother Tempika and how he learns about something on Loba before he shares it with the Doctor and Graham.
Ryan gets separated from the Doctor and Graham for a bit before he reunites with Yaz who’s with the rebels. He also gets taken by the hulk-like Tromos during a rescue mission on the Doctor. I was anxious for Ryan, but thankfully he gets to tame Tromos and prevent him from causing harm to people when free.
Yaz has an interesting journey too. She gets separated from the Doctor, Graham and Ryan early on in the story. Poor Yaz! She meets up with the rebels on Loba, led by Pry. She gets to know who these rebels are; becomes friends with them and discovers humans and loba intermingling with each other.
It’s interesting how Yaz notices history being built on the bones of slavery and how she was once called an ‘Islamist terrorist’ when she went to high school. Yaz helps the Doctor in stopping Pry from causing trouble and I liked that scene where she manages to get through to Pry in stopping him killing anybody.
The supporting characters have also been compelling and interesting to read/listen in this novel/audio. Mykados is the fanatical religious leader who is convinced the Good Doctor is a man and seems backward thinking on women. It was intriguing how his character development occurred in this story.
There’s also Brother Tempika, a human monk who falls in love with Jaya, who is a cross between human and loba, due to being the daughter of Pry, a loba and Mairya, a human. Oh by the way, I should’ve mentioned that loba are more dog-like in appearance compared to humans which was very intriguing.
Pry’s journey as a character is interesting, especially when he’s unstable in his anger management and hatred towards the Temple of Trodos and its religion. It gets worse Pry loses Mariya and he seeks revenge on those who killed her. Pry is a quite good person really, but he does need to be calmed down.
I also liked Tromos as a character, who seems a monstrous hulking presence at first but turns out to be a troubled soul with anger issues when being injected chemicals at the insistence of Mykados. You can almost see him as a Hulk-like character and it’s intriguing how he grows out of his temperament issues.
‘The Good Doctor’ has been an excellent ‘Doctor Who’ novel/audio to read/listen to. I enjoyed it from beginning to end and found it compelling with the Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS team. It’s an interesting tale about slavery; religion and prejudice and I liked how our TARDIS heroes came back to resolve that on Lobos.
I highly recommend giving this one a try. If you’re enjoying Series 11 so far and have now become a fan of the Thirteenth Doctor, then this is the ‘Doctor Who’ story for you. It’s well-written by Juno Dawson; well-read and well-performed by Clare Corbett and features great journeys for our main heroes.
‘The Good Doctor’ rating – 9/10
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