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Arc Watch: 2023 Specials Novelisation Update, plus a correction

Well, alright, with the ideas from Arc Watch in mind, I’ve read through the novelisations of the 2023 anniversary specials, and come up with… exactly one and a half idea.

Outside of the usual narrative expansion — an hour of TV doesn’t tend to fill 120 – 200 pages of prose — the novelisations do sometimes shed some additional light on things we’re looking out for. They’re not1Don’t say canon. true to the continuity of the television series, and I don’t think we can use them for new arcs, new information, but I do think think there may occasionally be bits and bobs worth noting here.

The Star Beast

  • Gonkage: The novel includes some memos, articles, emails from characters on- and off-screen between chapters to fill in some details about the world of the story. One of these emails reads as follows.

    18 November

    To: Rose Noble

    Re: Latest shipment

    Hey lovely Rose

    Just wanted to say the latest shipment of your toys has safely arrived in Abu Dhabi. Thank you for packing them so well.

    I’ll let you know how soon I need another shipment, though probably not until early in the New Year. Everyone here absolutely loves them, especially my friends in Fujairah and Dubai. Even my dad says to tell you that, and I quote, ‘Rose has an amazing, imaginative product that is unique.’ See, told you! Your designs are going down a treat and everyone is talking about them.

    Happy Christmas to you and your mum

    Leila x

    I think that’s good enough to close the book on Gonkage — the idea that there’s any mystery to the woman in Abu Dhabi buying Rose’s toys is clearly not something this book is thinking about.

The Giggle

  • The Mavity of the Situation: Even the Toymaker, who you might almost expect to be “above” that kind of change, refers to it as mavity in his narration.
  • While reflecting on her inability to ever talk about her job outside of work, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart recalls:

    Every now and then, she’d crack and start to talk about how she was brokering a fragile peace with the Earth’s Original Owners and she was losing sleep about how long it could be maintained. She’d start to explain it all — how the leader of a junta somewhere had broken into a nest to steal ancient weapons to finish a grubby civil war. How she’d had to attend a Silurian funeral then sit down with the leader of the nest and stop him from wiping out an entire country. The words just poured out of her and down the conversational sink. Awkward looks, coughs, nervous silences. ‘It’s a metaphor, isn’t it?’ someone would say. ‘Oh, you are clever, Kate!’

    This goes on into a further reflection on the Sunnydalian tendency of Earth’s humanity to just… not really want to talk about the things that don’t add up, but I’ll be god-damned if this doesn’t feel like setup for the as yet officially unannounced UNIT spinoff The War Between the Land and the Sea, which, and I know I said the novelisations aren’t good for New Threads, I’m sure we’ll get more hints towards in due course. Let’s call this thread Original Owners.

A small correction

I said in the Arc Watch post for The Church on Ruby Road that I didn’t think Susan Twist, who’d played Mrs Merridew, also playing the woman in the crowd at Ruby’s gig meant anything. In the words of the released script:A WOMAN in the CROWD - a woman we’ve seen as Mrs Merridew in Special 2, a woman we’ll see a lot more of - YELLS: WOMAN: Give it some welly! TRUDY: All right, I said sorry! Okay?! WOMAN: Give’s a bit of Steeleye Span! Can you do Gaudete?I stand corrected. I still think the idea that it’s a twist to do with Susan just because she’s called Susan Twist is patently ludicrous, but let’s keep an eye out for Mrs Merridew going forward.

(I’ve just read three novels for this blog, so it’s not gonna be me, but if anyone wants to pick through the rest of the scripts to see if there’s anything interesting in there, go ahead and file your report with me.)

  • 1
    Don’t say canon.
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