The Day She Saved The Doctor is a collection of four stories, published on International Women’s Day (March 8th, 2018) and has a simple unifying idea: four female writers each write a story focused on a different incarnation of the Doctor (all male this year while we await Jodie Whittaker) and told from the perspective of a female companion. The cover design is also by a female designer (Kelly Wagner).
The set starts with Jacqueline Rayner’s Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith story, Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes. Set in the time of the Roman Empire, Sarah Jane and the Doctor are faced with mysterious disappearances of wives of prominent Romans who then reappear with memory loss and other, more serious problems. As the title suggests there’s skulduggery in the temple, and with men forbidden entry, Sarah Jane comes to the fore. It’s a creepy tale and very nice to have Sarah Jane back again, if only on paper.
Next is Jenny T. Colgan’s Rose and the Snow Window. It’s a Ninth Doctor and Rose story set in a pair of locations strangely connected across time. Snow features heavily as Rose gets to dress up for a Russian ball, and there’s more than a hint of romance for Rose as she helps the Doctor save the day. Like the first story, this has a historical setting but isn’t a purely historical story.
The next two stories are by writers new to Doctor Who. Susan Calman may have hung up the sequins of Strictly Come Dancing, but if Clara and the Maze of Cui Palta is anything to judge by, she will soon be earning several 10s if she gets to write more Doctor Who. It’s an Eleventh Doctor story, and as the title suggests there’s a maze for the Doctor and Clara. The story starts quirky, then hits downright eerie before frightening is on the table and the Doctor is faced with a problem he can’t solve. Clara (of course) saves them both, and it’s a lovely story with a nice pace.
Last up, Dorothy Koomson takes the Twelfth Doctor and Bill in hand for Bill and the Three Jackets. Set wholly in Bristol, it is told very much from Bill’s perspective and gives plenty of time for internal monologue. It also perfectly captures the Bill/Doctor dynamic and gives good insight into the companion as she attempts to save the Doctor from a deception in which she has played a part.
It’s a nice set of stories, and great to see some new writers given the chance to explore the show’s richness. It’s perhaps overpriced as a hardback, but well worth a read if you get the chance.
THE DAY SHE SAVED THE DOCTOR / AUTHOR: JACQUELINE RAYNER, JENNY T COLGAN, SUSAN CALMAN, DOROTHY KOOMSON / PUBLISHER: PUFFIN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 8TH