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Timewyrm: Revelation (1992)

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DOCTOR WHO Timewyrm: Revelation by Paul Cornell Publisher Virgin Books Price £3.50 Published: Dec '91

THE Timewyrm saga draws to an end, but its success should bode well for the continuation of these new 'Doctor Who adventures'.

All four stories have had their merits, and have been diverse and frequently innovative examples of storytelling.

Revelation is a bizarre tale from Paul Cornell, a Who fan turned writer, who has taken the plunge and written the novel for the adult audience the publisher intended.

The book is very attention grabbing, starting on the Time Lords' home planet, Gallifrey, as a young Doctor meets with his mentor on the mountainside — some subtle and pleasing continuity with the Jon Pertwee era there. Then to the village of Cheldon Bonniface, with the Reverend Trelaw and Saul, the mysterious entity which dwells in his church. A couple of pages later we're experiencing Ace's schooldays, and witness her murder at the hands of another child, Chad Boyle. Then Chad is taken from his bedroom at night in a Space-Time machine...

The juxtaposition of these events, together with Cornell's attention to detail, makes fascinating and unsettling reading. We know that Ace cannot really be dead, and sure enough she appears aboard the TARDIS at the beginning of the next chapter, as the ship lands in Cheldon Bonnifice. Or does it? As each page passes, one becomes aware that little is as it seems, as the travellers discover their true location and Rupert Hemmings (last seen in Terrance Dicks' Exodus) reveals himself.

Cornell has written a novel that steers clear of traditional Doctor Who. It is a nightmare in print, with some startling imagery; the dwarf astronaut, the grisly 'death' of Martha, Ace's journey to the afterlife... The recurring imagery is fascinating and colourful; snow falls on Gallifrey and the Moon, roses symbolize the afterlife and the Doctor's motivation, and the Time Lord dances with Death, which then crumbles into Moondust. The pages are layered with description, such as in Ace's classroom where 'brown leaves were stuck to a chart with great dollops of white glue', while her bedroom includes a 'row of soft toys looking down at her and the pink bedspread tucked neatly up to her chin'.

Characters are lovingly crafted, particularly the odious Chad, a school bully who despises Ace for being a 'Paki-lover'. Peter and Emily Hutchings and Reverend Trelaw provide a welcome glimpse of normality amongst the potpourri of weird set pieces, and the Timewyrm herself is finally given centre stage and explored in some depth. Cornell also explores the Doctor's conscience, and the tempestuous relationship between him and his companion finally reaches boiling point, as Ace has to come to terms with the fact that the Doctor caused her death. We've seen arguments between the pair before, but this time the feelings run much deeper...

Revelation is another Warriors' Gate, with elements of Clive Barker and Stephen King thrown in for good measure. Perhaps its only fault is the frequently incestuous continuity (old companions, old Doctors...), but despite the fact that it becomes irksome (Katarina, Sara Kingdom and Adric begin to get really annoying after a while) there is a logical reason for it being there.

If the Timewyrm series has proved one thing, it is that Doctor Who is not dead there are still many original stories waiting to be told. Such a pity that the BBC isn't trying to find them.

Richard Houldsworth


MYTH MAKERS Sophie Aldred (#23) Reeltime Pictures Price £16.99 Released: Late '91 Hi-Fi Stereo

This is the latest in a series of video-taped interviews with the stars of Doctor Who. Since the third tape, the interviewer has been Nicholas Briggs -- er, that's me (as a glance at the end of this review will reveal). Of course. I'm not the point of these tapes, the featured guests are!

To many fans of Doctor Who. Sophie Aldred, who played nitro-nine touting Ace, represents one of the best aspects of the lust (possibly final) twenty-odd episodes of the programme. Script editor Andrew Cartmel and his team of writers obviously took to the character of Ace in a big way, making her a vital part of the plots, rather than the screaming cipher every other Who companion became. Another factor which has made Sophie Aldred popular with fans is her genuine 'personability' at conventions/autograph signing sessions. There's not a hint of pretension about her.

The Sophie Aldred Myth Makers works because, like the Colin Baker tape (released a year or so ago), there is a strong element of real communication between the celebrity and me. Presenter-driven programmes are mostly fairly 'cringe-making'. and past Myth Makers have certainly featured their fair share of ingratiating and nervous behaviour on my part. It occurs because I am desperate to make the programme work and have a relaxed feel about it; I have learnt that the true effect is the opposite!

Luckily, overlaid 'niceness' does not rear its off-putting head in this tape. There is an anarchic edge to the proceedings, as Sophie takes me on a tour of her old childhood haunts. Gone are the usual Myth Makers trademarks of vanishing / materializing celebrity / presenter 'gags' and contrived 'plots' about mysterious, lurking strangers/monsters. All those elements have been fun in past releases, but rather than an effective technique for onscreen interviews, they have been more an indication of the production team's hidden wish to produce drama.

This tape unashamedly borrows techniques from 'Youth TV' (hand-held camera, clever graphics), tells you virtually everything you wanted to know about Sophie Aldred and quite a lot about Doctor Who — I even give her a bit of a grilling about Who scripts. Also on view.., some unique behind-the-scenes photographs, great driving by Sophie and a minimum of stupid questions from me. It was great fun to make, Sophie Aldred was a joy to work with and the finished product contains some inspired editing (not by me!). I could even bear to watch it again... and I reckon that must be some kind of strong recommendation!

Nicholas Briggs

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Briggs, Richard Houldsworth, Nicholas (issue 26 (January 1992)). Timewyrm: Revelation. TV Zone p. 46.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Briggs, Richard Houldsworth, Nicholas. "Timewyrm: Revelation." TV Zone [add city] issue 26 (January 1992), 46. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Briggs, Richard Houldsworth, Nicholas. "Timewyrm: Revelation." TV Zone, edition, sec., issue 26 (January 1992)
  • Turabian: Briggs, Richard Houldsworth, Nicholas. "Timewyrm: Revelation." TV Zone, issue 26 (January 1992), section, 46 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Timewyrm: Revelation | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Timewyrm:_Revelation | work=TV Zone | pages=46 | date=issue 26 (January 1992) | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Timewyrm: Revelation | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Timewyrm:_Revelation | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 November 2017}}</ref>