THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
BIG FINISH AUDIO
MALTESE PENGUIN" AND
"THE HOLY TERROR."
DAVID A. McINTEE
OFFICIAL BBC 'PAST
RELEASED IN JUNE 1998.
Pursued by bounty
hunters, The Doctor
and Frobisher run
into old 'FRIENDS'
Glitz and Dibber -
notorious rogues Who
have become involved
in something big...
“Mission: Impractical” is a much more daring novel than I would generally expect from BBC Books. I say this because it is brave enough to include a companion from another spin-off medium – Frobisher, of the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips fame – together with one of the Whoniverse’s most jaded alien races, the Ogrons.
Conversely though, the story itself is far from bold - “Mission: Impractical” is in fact a frolicsome and ultimately pretty tame adventure. In fact, had I not been ‘prepared’ for this by author David A McIntee’s Introduction, then I might well have been brutally disappointed, particularly considering the general quality and weight of most of McIntee’s novels. However, with my state of mind geared towards the lightweight, I actually found “Mission: Impractical” to be a rather charming and thoroughly enjoyable tale.
It is difficult for me to comment on whether Frobisher works as effectively in print as he does in the comic strips as, at time of writing, I have not read any of them. What I can say, however, is that the character certainly comes over well in the prose. Although the Whifferdill appears to heavily rely on a visual gimmick – i.e. his shapeshifting – from reading this book I get the distinct impression that there is far more to the character than just this colourful device; I can really see why Frobisher is so popular amongst the comic strip’s devotees.
Sabalom Glitz also makes the transfer into prose effortlessly. In his writing McIntee captures all those beautiful little nuances that infused Tony Selby’s dynamic performance on television; in fact, of all the characters in “Mission: Impractical” Glitz is the one that works most successfully – he certainly has the best dialogue!
That said, I am especially fond of McIntee’s characterisation of the sixth Doctor here. The Doctor and Frobisher get along far better than the Doctor and Peri or even the Doctor and Mel ever did, and as such there are far fewer of those awkward bickering scenes that punctuated many of Colin Baker’s television appearances. This does not mean that we are deprived of the sixth Doctor’s idiosyncratic brand of intensity though – there are some truly delightful scenes, for example where Doctor attempts to big up his notoriety (his recent trial, etc.) to Glitz’s criminal cohorts in order to get over with them. McIntee strikes the balance exquisitely.
More negatively, the dazzling characters overwhelm the rather straightforward plot, although given how entertaining they all are this can hardly be construed as a serious criticism. In all, “Mission: Impractical” has to be regarded as a success because it does what the author wanted it to and nothing more – it entertains. If you are looking for a heavier read, I would recommend McIntee’s “Face of the Enemy”, though be warned – it is far less fun!
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Authorial intent would seem to place this novel between the comic strips War Game and Funhouse, despite the novel’s dialogue referring to the Doctor’s trial throughout. We have placed it between the Big Finish (post-Trial) audio dramas The Maltese Penguin and The Holy Terror, as the former sees the Doctor reunited with Frobisher after a while apart, and the latter was released later.
Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.
‘Doctor Who’ is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.