Ghost of Christmas Past (Twelve Doctors of Christmas).

Books It was inevitable that an anthology in the style of the old Big Finish Short Trips books particularly their annual Christmas number would include an Eighth Doctor story to make up the numbers and like The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who this is set in the Time War. Night of the Doctor having given BBC Books and their authors something official to fix their eye on which doesn't involve dodging the decade or so's worth of licensed material else to point of blandness. In this the Doctor finds himself trapped in the final second before Christmas Day 2016 in temporal orbit around the Earth and isn't quite sure why. Stop reading here if you haven't run your eyes across the story yet because it's worth a brief discussion and I don't want to spoil things for you. Having said all of that about the licensing, writer Scott Handcock, perhaps emboldened by Eighth's regeneration speech has written a poignant epilogue to Big Finish's With Lucie adventures and particularly Relative Dimensions, the story in with the Doctor spends Christmas with Lucie, Susan and her son Alex, who in what's becoming increasingly the case in terms of how continuity has recently been treated across the franchise, is named as such here. Anyone who hasn't kept up with those stories will probably just treat her old hypercube's message as new information, but the rest of us will recognise it for the emotional gut punch it must be for the Time Lord remembering Alex's fate.  Handcock has written for Eighth and Charley before and in a Christmas Short Trips book, one of the massively expensive ones, and for Big Finish in general which would account for his fidelity with the material, but it's such a welcome change to have even a short piece of fiction in a BBC Book about Eighth which is deepened if the reader is aware of another corner of the franchise.  Oh and I choose to assume that I was right about the companion's rooms; that the Doctor thought he'd deleted them in Relative Dimensions but the TARDIS later revealed that she'd kept them saved anyway, rather like Lorelei Gilmore putting Rory's Dean box in the closet knowing that they'd be needed again later.  Placement: The descriptions of the Time War are similar to Natural Regression from The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who so it seems right to put them together.

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