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The audio version actually adds to the story, and it's appropriate to the season too. I like John Leeson's voice. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
This Doctor Who Christmas book is not very festive. K9 and Company novelizes the first and only episode of the television programme of the same name, "A Girl's Best Friend." It takes place in the week prior to Christmas, climaxing on the winter solstice; there are a couple of vaguely Christmassy events happening-- kids home from school, soirees to attend-- but otherwise few Christmas trappings. (K9 does sing a carol. In the show it's "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," but here it's "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks," though we only get the first line. I wonder if John Leeson did more of the song when he recorded the audiobook?)

All that said, it's utterly dull for the most part. Sarah Jane is vaguely concerned something is going on, and looks into it, but doesn't discover much, again and again. There are also a lot of boring conversations between K9 and Sarah's aunt's ward, Brendan, a pretty misconceived 1980s geek character. The only good part is the lead-up to the climax, a nighttime chase scene across the countryside. Otherwise there's not much to recommend here, and we can all remain grateful it remained a one-off special (the titles are especially charmingly terrible), though at least the pairing of Sarah Jane and K9 was maintained into the new series.
  Stevil2001 | Feb 7, 2016 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1230505.html#cutid1

Long, long before Torchwood or the Sarah Jane Adventures, the BBC made a pilot for a possible spinoff series, K9 and Company, which lasted for precisely one 50-minute episode in December 1981. The novelisation, by Terence Dudley who also wrote the script, wasn't published until 1987, as the third the last in another series of spinoffs, Target's Companions of Doctor Who (the two earlier books being Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma and Harry Sullivan's War). I picked it up the other day as a quick leisure read (more my thing than Elizabeth Spencer).

Dudley also wrote novelisations of his two other two-episode Who stories. Doctor Who - Black Orchid is possibly the best Fifth Doctor novelisation; Doctor Who - The King's Demons is one of the worst. Of the three stories as televised, Black Orchid was OK, K9 and Company dull and The King's Demons pretty dire, so I was curious to see how Dudley would manage turning this one into print.

It's not too bad, in fact. The beginning is a bit ropey, with Dudley insisting on giving us the exact age of each character, and some dubious descriptions of Sarah's problems in an Ethiopian village; but it settles down and has a lot more oomph than the original. Sarah is explicitly a 'girl' (as compared to Elisabeth Sladen's svelte but mature 33 when this was made). She is tough; she sometimes prays; she has a black belt in karate; she loves driving her MGB (and there is a great chase sequence absent from the original TV version).

Some other things done to continuity: Aunt Lavinia has become an anthropologist rather than a virologist, which gives her an excuse for writing to the newspapers about witchcraft; Brendan is explicitly 14, so the reference to him doing three extra O-levels has been dropped. (As indeed O-levels had been by 1987.) The red herrings of the original (Aunt Lavinia's mysterious disappearance, the not-so-sinister Bakers) are retained without further explanation. For some reason K9 sings 'While Shepherds Watched' rather than 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' at the end.

So, more towards the Doctor Who - Black Orchid than the Doctor Who - The King's Demons end of the spectrum, and without the silly mistakes that marred the former. ( )
  nwhyte | May 31, 2009 |
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