Out Now: Doctor Who – The Complete History #32

Over 53 years after Doctor Who first debuted, it’s nice to return to those early days – and the latest issue of Doctor Who: The Complete History does just that!

Issue 32 of the collection regales the behind-the-scenes details of four First Doctor stories, the first of which is commonly known as The Edge of Destruction (though The Complete History elects to call it Inside the Spaceship instead…). Here’s what’s in Volume 2 of the partwork:

Inside the Spaceship

Following an explosion, unexplained events occur inside the TARDIS. The Doctor and his companions turn on one another as they attempt to discover who – or what – is at fault…

Marco Polo

The TARDIS has arrived on the Plain of Pamir in 1289. The crew join Marco Polo and his caravan on a long journey to Peking to meet the mighty Kublai Khan.

The Keys of Marinus

The Travellers are compelled to find the keys to the Conscience of Marinus which have been hidden from the evil Yartek.

The Aztecs

When Barbara is heralded as the reincarnation of the high priest Yetaxa, she decides to change history for the better.

These were experimental days for that TARDIS team and that’s certainly for the better. Here, we’re presented with two pure historicals in Marco Polo and The Aztecs, generally considered classics, a two-parter largely resulting from budgetary constraints, and an unconventional narrative that’s a strong mix of sci-fi and fantasy.

For many, our only exposure to Marco Polo is either through the soundtrack or the Target novelisation (or both), as it’s the first chronological casualty of the BBC’s junking policy; for me, it’s the latter. The Target book is brilliant, and highly recommended – in fact, I bought it from the Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff, way back in the mid-2000s.

Okay, so The Edge of Destruction and The Keys of Marinus split opinion (I rather like the former because it’s an injection of something completely different and cements the TARDIS as alive and a somewhat-dark presence in the series as a whole), but The Aztecs is pretty universally praised!

All in all, a strong entry to the collection.

Doctor Who: The Complete History #32 is on sale now, priced £9.99 in the UK, and $24.99 in Australia and New Zealand.