(ISBN 0-563-53845-7)







 The greatest book

 ever written.

 Professor Reginald

 Tyler's True History

 of Planets  was a 20th

 century classic; an

 epic of dwarves and

 SWORDS AND wizardS.

 And No poodles. Or at

 least there weren’t

 when the Doctor read


 Now it tells the true

 tale of how the Queen

 of the poodles was

 overthrown, AND it's

 been made into a hit

 movie THAT's going to

 cause a bloodbath on

 the dogworld - unless

 the Doctor, Fitz and

 Anji can sort it out.

 The Doctor TRIES TO

 infiltrate Tyler's

 Cambridge writing

 set IN the early 20TH

 century; Fitz falls

 for singer Brenda

 Soobie in 1960S Las

 Vegas; and Anji HAS

 TO experience some

 very special effects

 in 1970S Hollywood.

 Their intention is to

 prevent the movie 

 being made. But there

 is a shadowy figure

 present in all three

 time zones who is just

 as determined to see

 it completed...

  the poodle

 revolution can begin.


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                                                                      NEXT (IRIS WILDTHYME)




Mad Dogs and








There’s an old adage that Im tempted to debunk; something about books and cov-

ers and not judging one by the other. Because with its bubble-gum pink façade depicting

a surprisingly dextrous and implicitly murderous poodle, would-be readers can effectively extrapolate everything that they need to know about Paul Magrs’ fourth Doctor Who novel from a single glance at it: colourful, crazy and incorrigibly camp. Those would-be readers wishing to learn what they don’t need to know about Paul Magrs’ fourth Doctor Who novel should read on.


A story about sentient dogs with hands that live on Dogworld may sound like something that an inventive child might dream up, particularly when that story is punctuated with almost as many smelly dog doings as it is full stops, but a tale that arms Nöel Coward with a pair of trans-dimensional pinking shears and casts him as a time-jumping firebrand who wants to subvert an acclaimed fantasy novel so as to stir up dissent on a planet of pooches can’t be dismissed quite as trivially. Throw a crooning, Weedgie Iris Wildthyme and a still-bearded Doctor into the mix, and the reader is faced with a work of such inspired delirium that even its inimitable author may never top its lunacy.


“I’m investigating killer poodles from another planet…”


In terms of style, Mad Dogs is closer to the Iris Wildthyme spin-off series than it is to any

of Magrs’ Doctor Who works, which is ironic, really, given that Iris spends most of this book under a nom de stage and in a more subdued role than usual. Yet it’s easy to associate the garishly gorgeous cover with that wrapped around Big Finish’s second season of Iris CDs; to recognise Mida Slike and MIAOW - the Ministry for Incursions and Ontological Wonders – who make their debut here; and to be put in mind of Panda whenever Nöel Coward graces

a page. More fundamentally though, Mad Dogs is playful and irreverent, lovingly poking fun at not only Doctor Who but at everybody from JRR Tolkien to Shirley Bassey and George Lucas and his toy-fuelled direction. The world of this novel is one where plot points hang on the decline of stop-motion animation; where the TARDIS can apparently crush a person by landing on them; where Nöel Coward summarily psychoanalyses the Doctor; and where the Time Vortex is redundant thanks to the easily-swimmable Very Fabric. Quite appropriately for a universe free of stuffy Time Lord governance, Magrs’ world is one of fun and frivolity; one where the reader genuinely feels that anything can happen – and it invariably does.


What really makes this book

such an extraordinary read

though is not so much its silly

satire of a narrative, but the

manner in which it is relayed

by the author. Anyone who

has ever read – or, as is now commonly the case, heard – anything by Paul Magrs will be able to attest as to the virtues of his plush prose, and this book proves that even when he’s describing a dog turd on a pink carpet in a space station he can still imbue it with a certain level of romance. With Mad Dogs though, Magrs’ writing seems to dwell as much on flavour as it does on substance. The text is littered with many witty asides and caustic critiques, as evidenced by the opening page’s wry Dracula and Alice in Wonderland barbs. No doubt some will find this distinguishing trait exasperating, but for me it is these little flourishes that always make reading this book such an enriching experience.


However, when read as part of the eighth Doctor’s ongoing adventures, Mad Dogs doesn’t sit very well with the books around it. I can’t help but wonder whether it was shuffled about late in the day just to claim its “100th BBC Doctor Who novel” gimmick, as it would have fit much better prior to The Adventuress of Henrietta Street. The Doctor is remarkably chipper for a fellow who’s just rooted himself to the Earth and (literally) lost a heart, and what’s more he doesn’t seem to have digested some of the preceding novel’s monumental reveals – he still believes himself to be the last of his kind, for instance, and that the Vortex is his home, as opposed to the Earth. In isolation, of course, this doesn’t matter at all, and is more than made up for in any event by wonderfully grotesque characters such as the cheating, money-grabbing Enid Tyler; the man with a poodle for a paramour, Cleavis; and even the haughty Smudgelings. Within the range, however, Mad Dogs stands out like… well, like a big pink book with a poodle on its cover and a feather boa draped around it.


All the same, in my view Mad Dogs is right up there with The Wormery, Ringpullworld and Find and Replace as being one of the finest Magrs-penned Doctor Who stories out there, and it’s certainly his most idiosyncratic. Indeed, as the 100th Who novel to be published by BBC Books, it couldn’t have been any less representative of the range. But then, it couldn’t have been any more fun either.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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