August 27, 2021
To celebrate the release of The Essential Terrance Dicks you can read an extract of his story Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion, the Target novelisation of Spearhead From Space.
In the High Court of the Time Lords a trial was coming to its end. Then accused, a renegade Time Lord known as the Doctor, had already been found guilty. Now it was time for the sentence.
The Doctor looked very out of place standing amongst the dignified Time Lords in their long white robes. To begin with, he was quite a small man. He wore an ancient black coat and a pair of check trousers. He had a gentle, rather comical face and a shock of untidy black hair. But there was strength in that face, too, and keen intelligence in the blue eyes.
A hush fell as the President of the Court rose, and began to speak. ‘Doctor, you have been found guilty of two serious offences against our laws. First, you stole a TARDIS and used it to roam through Time and Space as you pleased.’
‘Nonsense,’ said the Doctor indignantly. ‘I didn’t steal it. Just borrowed it for a while.’
The President ignored the interruption. ‘More important, you have repeatedly broken our most important law: interference in the affairs of other planets is a serious crime.’
Again the Doctor interrupted: ‘I not only admit my interference, I am proud of it! You just observe the evil in the galaxies. I fight against it.’
‘We have accepted your plea, Doctor, that there is evil in the Universe which must be fought. You still have a part to play in that great struggle.’
At once the Doctor began to look hopeful. ‘You mean you’re going to let me go?’
‘Not entirely. We have noted your interest in the planet Earth. You have visited it many times. You must have special knowledge of that world and its problems.’
‘I suppose I have,’ agreed the Doctor.
‘You will be sent to Earth in the Twentieth Century Time Zone. You will remain there for as long as we think proper. And for that time the secret of the TARDIS will be taken from you.’
The Doctor was indignant. ‘You can’t condemn me to exile on one primitive planet, in one particular time.’
The President’s voice was cold. ‘We can, and we do. That is the verdict of this Court.’
A new thought struck the Doctor. ‘Besides, I’m known on Earth already. It could be most embarrassing for me.’
‘Your appearance has changed before. It will change again. That is part of your sentence.’
The Doctor continued to protest. ‘You can’t just change what I look like without asking me!’
‘You will have an opportunity to choose your new appearance,’ said the President patiently. ‘Look!’
As if by magic, a huge screen appeared on one wall of the Court. Upon it the Doctor saw a wide variety of faces and forms...