Tales of Trenzalore

tales-of-trenzalore

A collection of four adventures for the Doctor during his centuries-long defence of Trenzalore from the alien hordes.

This BBC book reveals the actual amount of time the Doctor was on Trenzalore, and puts the figure at nine-hundred years. In the televised episode we only know that the duration of his first stint, when he didn’t have the TARDIS, was three hundred years. As the Doctor is a little over nine-hundred when he regenerates for the tenth time, he’s been in this body for well over half his total life so far (there’s also a two hundred year gap between The God Complex and Closing Time in Series Six). He’s certainly looking better on it than the Tenth Doctor did when that body was aged nine-hundred years.

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“When nine-hundred years old you are, look this good you will not.”

It also puts David Tennant’s tenure rather comically into the shade, thanks to Russell T Davies’ policy of having that Doctor only age one year per series. As a mate of mine recently pointed out, it also diminishes the Doctor’s relationship with Clara. He’s known for maybe a year or so at most, out of a two-thousand year lifespan. He’s known some of the residents of Christmas for their entire lives; watched them go from the cradle to the grave.

I was interested in what more we would learn about Trenzalore from this volume, as we’re short on detail in The Time of the Doctor. The glass-domed orchard which features in the second story, An Apple a Day… by George Mann, made me think that there was an industrial society somewhere on the planet, and the town we see is just in a backward, rural place, but the Doctor is explicitly impressed that a primitive society manufactured it. We later learn that Christmas is only one of the scattered settlements to be found the generally very inhospitable planet. We also learn that Trenzalore is an Earth Colony, and this could explain why their technology does not advance beyond pre-industrial rural life. I assume this is a conscious lifestyle decision on the part of these colonists. 

Throughout the tales the Doctor is living in the clock-tower that he ends his days in, with Handles and accompanied on adventures a succession of locals. Interestingly, they are all male, which is a bit of change for the modern Doctors, who generally prefer young girls who they can impress. This adds to the world-weariness and burden of responsibility that hangs around this once carefree, gadabout Doctor. There’s also a shock revelation about an injury he has sustained during his defence of the planet. Other than this and his gradual aging, the character is recognisably the Doctor, with suitably ingenius plans to defeat the machinations of the Ice Warriors (Let it Snow by Justin Richards), Krynoids (The afore mentioned An Apple a Day…), Autons (Paul Finch’s Strangers in the Outland) and the Mara (The Dreaming by Mark Morris). There’s a pleasantly boys own adventure vibe to the escapades, especially the fantastic craft the Doctor voyages on in the Auton adventure. With little to rely on but his wits, even the trusty sonic screwdriver is not relied on too heavily in the technology-free environment.

Essential reading, this book fleshes out an intriguing, and incredibly long, epoch of the Doctor’s existence. Tales of Trenzalore provides an action-packed counterbalance to the rather static The Time of the Doctor, and gives us a glimpse at the adventures in the missing centuries. Hopefully we will one day see a Big Finish Trenzalore series.

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Order Tales of Trenzalore from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Tales of Trenzalore: The Eleventh Doctor’s Last Stand (Dr Who Tales of Trenzalor)

On Kindle:

Doctor Who: Tales of Trenzalore: The Eleventh Doctor’s Last Stand

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