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Doctor Who | News | 01 June 2004

Craig Hinton

Interview: Craig Hinton talks about his favourite books.

What's you favourite Target novel?

If I'm looking at the novelisations from the later years, it would have to be Remembrance of the Daleks. Basically a prototype New Adventure, it fleshes out what was already an outstanding story with tantalising glimpses of Dalek society and the Doctor's past. The latter would become one of the backbones of the NAs; the former was sadly bulldozed over in later novels and ignored.

From the earlier books – and I vividly remember the excitement of seeing each new one arrive on the shelves in Cromwell's bookshop in Hounslow as a child – it would have to be The Auton Invasion. As well as being the first ûnewú novelisation, it was the first novelisation of a story that I remembered watching. It must be where I got my love of Autons from!

What's your other favourite Who novel?

There are so many! For a good, traditional Doctor Who story, few books can beat Mark Gatiss' Last of the Gadarene. The quintessence of the Pertwee era, I've read it so many times, and each time I'm transported back to the 1970s.

If we're being a little more radical, Lawrence Miles's The Adventuress of Henrietta Street beats everything else hands down. Who would have thought you could have a book where the Doctor marries a prostitute and lives in a whorehouse?

Finally, for trad in rad's clothing, another of Mad Larry's is on the re-read list: Alien Bodies. Only he could make the Krotons a credible villain!

The most fun Doctor to write for?

I've written for three Doctors – the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh. But I'd have to say that the Sixth Doctor has offered me the most to work with. There are so many different aspects of his character to choose from: the rude, arrogant Doctor pre-Trial, who blunders and blusters his way through the story, and the versions that myself, Steve Lyons, Gary Russell and Justin Richards mapped out in the books and audios.

Both Millennial Rites and The Quantum Archangel depict a brooding, passionate character, terrified of becoming that which he fears the most – the Valeyard. This finally develops into the Doctor seen travelling with Evelyn and Mel in the Big Finish audios, where he has faced and fought his demons, and now embraces the universe as a place of wonder and beauty – and fun!

Colin's Doctor was handed a raw deal on screen – not least of all the costume – but I believe he's been redeemed by the books and audios, and his performances for Big Finish are definite proof of that.

The Doctor you dread writing for?

An interesting one. Consciously, I've never avoided a Doctor, but since my proposals keep coming back to the colour era, I suppose it must be both Hartnell and Troughton. The former because I don't think I could write the layered, measured plots his Doctor demands if one is being true to the era; with Troughton, because so much of his performance is in the grace notes, I'm terrified that I lack the subtlety to convey him properly. Then again, Millennial Rites was originally a Second Doctor story!

What's the Doctor Who book you wish you'd written?

That's easy: the Sixth Doctor's regeneration. Given all the work that has been put into the rehabilitation of his character, I'd have liked to have written a fitting send-off, rather than the dreary rubbish that Pip and Jane Baker came up with in their novelisation of Time and the Rani.

Banging his head? Be off with you! It would have tied up all of the loose threads, such as the origin and purpose of the Valeyard, and brought in all of the cosmic stuff – the Guardians, the Time Lord Gods, and Time's Champion – touched upon in some of the Virgin novels. And it would have been a heroic victory for him on both a personal and a universal scale. Sadly, it was rejected.

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