Book Review: The Day Of The Doctor By Steven Moffat

Doctor Who is a British institution, spanning almost 58 years of TV, movies, novels, audio dramas and comics. Once thought of as a niche science fiction shows for ultra-nerds (like myself) the 2005 reboot made Doctor Who a global phenomenon, which arguably peaked with the show’s 50th Anniversay special which aired in 2013––which brought back fan favourite Doctor and companion duo David Tennant and Billie Piper.

A little known tradition in Doctor Who history (outside of the fans base that is) was the publishing of novelisations of fan-favourite episodes under the Target publisher. Classic episodes like The Deadly Assassin and The Five Doctors were written as short adventure stories, often by the writers of the original TV script.

In 2018, the BBC decided to bring this back to life with a new series of novelisations, including this one. The Day of The Doctor, written by former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat himself––his first ever published novel. So, for Doctor Who fans who have seen the anniversary special a hundred times, is this book worth picking up?

Absolutely! This book is a gem, greatly expanding on the original episode with a whole new meta-narrative and new content that could never make the screen. It’s playfully written, with an adventurous but suitably dramatic flair perfectly in keeping with Target tradition.

There are some great extra details and jokes for fans: one of my favourites that I wouldn’t want to spoil, and many of the plot points from the episode are expanded and improved upon. There’s some great callbacks that Classic series fans will love, and it does feel like a belated part of the anniversary celebrations.

As a Moffat story there will of course be twists and turns even in this familiar tale––you won’t be surprised to learn that the whole book takes place in the wrong order. Chapter Nine in particular blew my mindb.

This book is a great fun and a real treat for fans of Doctor Who. Nostalgic, sad, funny and exciting—like the best of the show itself! Highly recommended.

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