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Review: Doctor Who – Illegal Alien / Author: Mike Tucker, Robert Perry / Publisher: BBC Books / Release Date: Out Now

Illegal Alien is a Seventh Doctor story predominantly set in World War II London. Originally conceived as a script for the show in the 1980s, it was eventually published in book form in 1997. It has been re-issued, with a new introduction, as part of the BBC’s Monster Collection.

The Doctor finds an embattled capital doing its best to cope with Nazi spies, mysterious government factories, the Blitz and a serial killer on the loose. Into this mix come the Cybermen with the usual agenda of cyber-converting everyone that they encounter.

Coupled with this basic plot are a great range of secondary characters. First up is a private detective from Chicago named Cody McBridge who witnesses the crash-landing of a mysterious silver sphere. The police are on hand, with Inspector Mullen, who ends up entangled with the Doctor’s investigations. There are others – retired civil servant George Limb, with criminal connections and friends in high places; dedicated military men (on both sides); and many more besides. The story doesn’t just focus on new characters, but has plenty for both the Doctor and his companion Ace to do.

Given the origin of the story and the date of original publication, it is also fascinating that in many ways the Cybermen read like contemporary creations rather than the less sinister figures that they were in the 20th century TV adventures. Here and there the story also foreshadows some ideas that have been turned in to audio adventures more recently.

Illegal Alien is a well-constructed, enjoyable book that has plenty for either a fan or a more casual reader.

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