Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



Black Orchid was a novelisation based on the 1982 television serial Black Orchid.

Publisher's summary[]

On a lazy June afternoon in 1925 the TARDIS materialises at the tiny railway station of Cranleigh Halt. Warmly welcomed by the local gentry, the time-travellers look forward to a well-deserved rest from their adventures.

After a stunning performance at a friendly cricket match, the Doctor, together with Tegan, Adric and Nyssa, is invited to the splendid masked ball by Lady Cranleigh and her son, Charles.

But a dark menace haunts the secret corridors of Cranleigh Hall. And before the ball is over, the quiet summer will be shattered by the shocking discovery of a brutal murder...

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue
  1. A Doctor to the Rescue
  2. Nyssa Times Two
  3. The Doctor Loses his Way
  4. The Doctor Makes a Find
  5. The Pierrot Unmasked
  6. The Pierrot Reappears
  7. The Doctor Stands Accused
  8. Under Arrest
  9. The Secret of Cranleigh Hall
  • Epilogue

Deviations from televised story[]

  • This story refers to the events of The Kings Demons, despite this story lying in the Doctor's future.
  • Anne is convinced not to give the Doctor an alibi.
  • Digby survives George's first attack on him, dragging him back into the annexe when he tries to enter Ann's room, and is killed off page later. He is given the first name Raymond.
  • Charles Cranleigh becomes Charles Percival Beauchamp, Tenth Marquess of Cranleigh, with his brother George Beauchamp having been the ninth marquess.
  • There are scenes of Charles chatting with the opposing captain, who is present in some of the scenes at the house and is given one of Muir's lines.
  • There is more material of Tegan explaining the rules of cricket to Nyssa and Adric.
  • Muir says the Doctor has broken the record for the fastest century.
  • Charles' friend Smutty Thomas is renamed Smutty Handicombe.
  • The Doctor says he learned cricket from a young Don Bradman and is unaware of his later fame.
  • Tegan sees Latoni at the cricket match before he sneaks into the house.
  • There is an extra scene of Charles and Ann selecting costumes while George watches from the shadows.
  • Adric initially has no trouble telling Nyssa and Ann apart, although as on screen he is thrown by Nyssa knowing the Charleston.
  • Ann sees George when she comes round after being kidnapped and is told by Lady Cranleigh that he is a German or Swiss explorer that George brought home for them to look after.
  • It is the Doctor who finds James' body and convinces Charles to call the police.
  • The Doctor admits to Muir that he is not the true replacement before Charles makes the phone call.
  • The Doctor wonders if the Time Lords have sent him.
  • Tegan and Adric discuss the punishment for murder in England in 1925.
  • Lady Cranleigh suggests to Charles that Muir could cover up George's involvement.
  • Latoni, who appears to die in the televised version, survives the novelisation: George carries him out of the blaze unconscious and he is carried to safety by Muir and the others. The relationship between them is generally more tender than on screen, with no mention of George being tied up.
  • The Doctor goes straight up to the roof during the climax, using the secret passage, rather than going outside with the others first.
  • George falls to his death after reaching out to Ann on the ground below.
  • It is specified that three days pass between George's death and the TARDIS departing, and there is no mention of the crew keeping their costumes.
  • The Doctor is allowed to change back into his own clothes on being arrested, rather than continuing to wear the Pierrot outfit.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • The publication of this title completed the Fifth Doctor's novelisations with the exception of Resurrection of the Daleks which wasn't novelised until 2019.
  • Back pages include colour details of Fantastic Doctor Who Poster Offers.

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 4 June 2008 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Michael Cochrane.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power

External links[]