Authors: John Lucarotti
Tags: #Science-Fiction:Doctor Who
The TARDIS lands in Paris on 19 August 1572.
Driven by scientific curiosity, the Doctor leaves Steven to meet and exchange views with the apothecary, Charles Preslin.
Before he disappears, he warns Steven to stay out of ‘mischief, religion and politics.’ But in sixteenth-century Paris it is impossible to remain a mere observer, and Steven soon finds himself involved with a group of Huguenots.
The Protestant minority of France is being threatened by the Catholic hierarchy, and danger stalks the Paris streets. As Steven tries to find his way back to the TARDIS he discovers that one of the main persecutors of the Huguenots appears to be – the Doctor.
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Science Fiction/TV Tie-in
Based on the BBC television series by John Lucarotti by arrangement with the British Broadcasting Corporation
Number 122 in the
Target Doctor Who Library
A TARGET BOOK
The Paperback Division of
W. H. Allen & Co. PLC
A Target Book
Published in 1987
By the Paperback Division of
W.H. Allen & Co. PLC
44 Hill Street, London W1X 8LB
First published in Great Britain by
W. H. Allen & Co. PLC 1987
Novelisation copyright © John Lucarotti 1987
Original script copyright © John Lucarotti 1966
‘Doctor Who’ series copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation 1966, 1987
The BBC producer of
was John Wiles, the director was Paddy Russell
The roles of the Doctor and the Abott of Ambroise were played by William Hartnell
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Anchor Brendon Ltd, Tiptree, Essex
ISBN 0 426 20297 X
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed upon the subsequent purchaser.
The historical events described in
are factual, as were the 287 kilometres of tunnels and catacombs under Paris, some of which may still be visited. The woodcut engraving of the attempt on de Coligny’s life, which shows a cowled cleric in a doorway, does exist. The author has seen it.
Charles IX, the 22-year-old King of France Catherine de Medici, The Queen Mother and Regent of France
Henri of Anjou, the King’s younger brother Francois, Duke of Guise
The Abbot of Amboise
Simon Duval, aide to the Abbot of Amboise
King Henri of Navarre, Charles’s brother-in-law Admiral de Coligny, Charles’s favourite advisor Viscount Gaston Lerans, aide to Henri of Navarre Anne Chaplet, the serving girl
Nicholas Muss, secretary to de Coligny Charles Preslin, the apothecary
The Doctor sat in the garden which always reminded him of the Garden of Peace when Steven, no, not Steven, his granddaughter, Susan, and that nice young couple, Barbara and Ian, had their adventure with the Aztec Indians aeons ago. But his reminiscences were elsewhere as he browsed through a copy of Samuel Pepys’s famous diary of a Londoner’s life in the second half of the seventeenth century. He chuckled at a succinct observation and laid the open book down beside him on the bench.
He looked around contentedly. His journeys through time and space in the TARDIS had come to a temporary halt. His differences, as he chose to refer to them, with the Time Lords, of which, after all, he was one, were more or less resolved. This celestial retirement was a far from unpleasant condition when one’s memories were so rich.
He had had more than his fair share of adventure and secretly he believed that his fellow Lords were a mite jealous of his achievements.
‘As well might they be,’ he murmured to a passing butterfly.
That was the moment when he heard their voices all around him.
‘Doctor,’ they intoned in unison.
He looked up at the blue sky. ‘Yes, gentlemen?’
‘There is a certain matter we would –’ they continued but the Doctor cut across them.
‘Just one spokesman, if you don’t mind,’ he said testily,
‘I’m not deaf.’
‘The subject concerns your activities –’ one of them began.
‘Ah,’ the Doctor interjected.
‘– on the planet Earth in the sixteenth century,’ the voice continued, ‘the year 1572 Earthtime, to be precise.’
‘My memory’s not quite what it was, gentlemen,’ the Doctor replied, remembering in full his involvement in the momentous events of that year. ‘Perhaps a further indication would help me to recall exactly where the TARDIS landed.’
‘Paris, France,’ the Time Lord said.
‘Paris, France,’ the Doctor repeated slowly as if he were concentrating. ‘Yes, I do seem to remember some kind of technical malfunction in the TARDIS which deposited me there – but only briefly, I think, an hour or so in their time, was it not?’
‘Several days, Doctor.’
‘Really? As long as that?’ The Doctor did his best to sound surprised.
‘We shall accord you a period of time for reflection, Doctor,’ the spokesman continued, ‘but be warned, our research into the affair reveals that your conduct was highly suspect.’
‘Indeed?’ the Doctor replied, and wondered how best to extricate himself from yet another ‘difference’...
The TARDIS landed with a jolt which almost threw the young astronaut Steven Taylor off balance but the Doctor did not seem to notice as he studied the parameters of the time/place orientation print-out on the central control panel of the time-machine.
‘Earth, again,’ he observed and waited for the digits of the time print to stop as they clicked by. But they didn’t, at least not the last two. The first settled at 1 and the second at 5 but the last two fluctuated between 0 and 9
indiscriminately. ‘In the 1500s, we’ll know exactly when in a moment,’ he added hopefully. But it was not to be. The numbers kept flickering by on the screen.
‘No one should allow a kid like me to go up in a crate like this,’ Steven joked but his humour was lost on the Doctor. ‘Perhaps we should ask Mission Control for permission to return for an overhaul.’
‘I am Mission Control,’ the Doctor replied sourly and ordered Steven to open the door as he switched off the main power drives, leaving the interior lighting on the auxiliaries.
Steven obeyed and the stench of putrefaction which hit him in the face almost made him ill on the spot. Under a fierce sun in the clear blue sky the TARDIS stood in the middle of mounds of decomposing rubbish. There was also a wooden fence a little higher than the TARDIS which entirely surrounded them and had a door in it.
‘Perfect,’ the Doctor observed as he looked out. He wore his cloak over his clothes and his astrakhan hat was on his head. In one hand he held his silver-topped cane, in the other a handkerchief to his nose. ‘Putrescence, just what we need,’ he added as someone on the other side of the fence threw several rotting cabbages over it. ‘Couldn’t be better.’
‘Your logic escapes, me, Doctor,’ Steven replied.
‘My dear boy,’ the Doctor said indulgently, ‘people throw their rubbish over the fence rather than bring it in which means that the TARDIS will remain unobserved here whilst we –’ he gestured airily, ‘– explore.’
‘What’s to explore?’
‘The other side of the fence since the aromas on this side of it give me a clue as to where we might be.’ The Doctor momentarily lifted a corner of the handkerchief.
‘Garlic, definitely, garlic,’ he said and then told Steven to fetch a cloak to wear so that they could begin their exploration.
With the TARDIS locked behind them, the Doctor picked his way delicately through the refuse towards the door.
‘We’ll need to use the EDF system when we return,’ he said just before they reached it.
‘What’s that?’ Steven asked.
‘The External Decontamination Function,’ the Doctor replied.
‘A sort of spatial car-wash,’ Steven joked. The Doctor glared at him, opened the door cautiously and peered out.
The fence was on a square of land on one side of the unpaved, pitted street, rutted by carriage wheels. The refuse that had not been thrown over the fence lay there and was being picked at by emaciated dogs. The buildings on both sides were mostly adjoining, between one and two storeys high with overhanging eaves and slated or thatched roofs. The walls were braced with woodenbeams and from most of the small open windows with slatted shutters came pungent odours of cooking.
The people on the street, and they were many, stood or walked under the eaves or in the middle of it. There were hawkers pushing carts laden with meats, vegetables, fish and crustaceous seafoods of every kind. There was a knife-sharpener with his grinding wheel, a carpenter with his mobile lathe and the remainder of his tools in a leather haversack on his back. There were also vendors with their trays slung by straps from their necks, filled with every variety of cheaply-made knicknack, and all of them were selling their wares simultaneously at the stop of their voices. They wore breeches, billowing shirts and clogs.
Most of them had shoulder-length hair, frequently gathered in a bow at the back. Several had gaudy, gipsy-like bandanas on their heads and a few wore curled, wide-brimmed flat hats.
The women to whom they sold their goods wore full flowing skirts and blouses and their hair was mostly tied back with ribbons. Both buyer and seller negotiated with shouts and yells, shoulder shrugs, arms akimbo, the language of hands and the turning of backs, but each side knowing that shortly the bargain would be struck.
The Doctor stood in the middle of the street, sniffed and announced, ‘France.’
Steven smiled. ‘French
what they’re speaking, Doctor,’ he said. ‘But when? And where?’
‘Fifteen hundred and something,’ the Doctor replied as Steven wandered over towards the side of the street, trying to read a sign in the ground floor window. ‘Don’t go there!’