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Summary

Peter Purves reads John Lucarotti's novelisation of his classic First Doctor TV adventure.

The TARDIS lands in Paris on 19 August 1572. Driven by scientific curiosity, the Doctor goes to meet and exchange views with the apothecary, Charles Preslin. Before he disappears he warns Steven to stay 'out of mischief, religion and politics'.

But in 16th-century Paris, it is impossible to remain a mere observer, and Steven soon finds himself involved with a group of Huguenots.

The Protestant minority of France is being threatened by the Catholic hierarchy, and danger stalks the Paris streets. As Steven tries to find his way back to the TARDIS, he discovers that one of the main persecutors of the Huguenots appears to be...the Doctor!

Peter Purves, who played Steven in the original BBC TV series, reads this novelisation of a fondly remembered classic story, the original episodes of which are lost from the BBC archives.

©2015 BBC Worldwide (P)2015 BBC Worldwide

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The Massacre - a lost gem

The Massacre is one of those stories sadly junked by the BBC long ago, and so it cant now be watched as a television programme. Anyone wanting to get a feel for what the original television production was like should listen to the BBC release of the recording made by fans off air (beautifully restored and narrated for release). This novelisation is not a faithful reproduction of the television series. It is a different thing altogether - a reworking of the story by the original author, John Lucarotti. That brings strengths and weaknesses. It gains a clarity that the television version lacked but at the expense of ambiguity. In particular, in the television version, it is unclear for a long time whether the Abbot is actually someone who looks just like the Doctor, or whether he is the Doctor in disguise, and that lack of certainty is a real strength. Here, there is no such uncertainty. Nonetheless, this is a well written and accomplished book that manages to be more than a mere novelisation.

Peter Purves is a strong narrator - he manages to bring a degree of characterisation and feeling to the reading without being excessive and overwhelming the story.

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The next best thing to watching the episodes...

Peter Purves does a perfect job here.

The story and performance are well paced.

Highly and enthusiastically recommended

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Profile Image for Robert J. Carson
  • Robert J. Carson
  • 16-07-15

A good adaption of a great story

Would you listen to Doctor Who: The Massacre again? Why?

Yes. They are always a good listen

What other book might you compare Doctor Who: The Massacre to and why?

I would suggest you also listen to the BBC Audio version of the tv series. It is the story that aired with linking narration by Peter Purves.

You will find differences. This audiobook adds a lot for the Doctor to do while the original was a Steven centric story. Listen toboth and find the differences.

Have you listened to any of Peter Purves’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Peter Purves is a great reader and perfomer Listen to all of his Doctor Who stuff

Any additional comments?

Even though I already own the BBC Audio version I bought this because the story is a great one and I enjoy Peter Purves work.