July 18, 1991 in Doctor Who: “Battlefield” novelisation published

Only a few years from now, a squad of UNIT troops is escorting a nuclear missile through the English countryside. At the nearby archaeological dig, knights in armour are fighting battles with broadswords – and guns and grenades.

The Doctor arrives on the scene and meets two old friends: Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, called out of retirement to help in an emergency, and Bessie the souped-up roadster. Ace escapes from death by drowning in a submerged spaceship, only to find herself at the mercy of a demon known as the Destroyer.

The action is fast and furious, as expected in a script by Ben Aaronovitch, who wrote the classic Remembrance of the Daleks. And why do the knights address the Doctor as ‘Merlin’? What is the power of the sword that Ace retrieves from the bottom of the lake? Will Morgaine carry out her threat to destroy the world?

This novelization is by Marc Platt, who both scripted and novelized Ghost Light, the story that immediately followed Battlefield in the 1989 season.”

Battlefield was a novelisation based on the 1989 television serial Battlefield. The novel features a prologue in which the Doctor takes the wounded King Arthur aboard the spaceship beneath the lake following the last battle as well as additional information about the current version of U.N.I.T. and Morgaine’s dimension. The final scene also implies that the Brigadier is planning to go with Ancelyn back to the other dimension to help restore order, a similar plot point to the ending of the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Shadows of Avalon.

It was the last novelisation of a televised Doctor Who serial to be published in the traditional “short paperback” format Target had been using since 1973. After one more novelisation based upon the audio story The Pescatons, all remaining novelisations would be published in paperback editions with greater page counts and a different format.

The novel completed the Seventh Doctor story adaptations, with the exception of the 1996 TV movie which would be adapted by BBC Books five years later.

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