Business Unusual was the fourth BBC Past Doctor Adventures. It was author Gary Russell's attempt at depicting Melanie Bush's first adventure with the Sixth Doctor and also the Sixth Doctor's first meeting with Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

Publisher's summary

A security force with no official identity... a managing director with no name... a sinister creature on guard patrol resembling some kind of hellhound... SenéNet is no ordinary multinational company.

The Doctor arrives in Brighton, 1989, travelling alone. He soon discovers his old friend, the Brigadier, has gone missing investigating SenéNet, whose new interactive games console is soon to be released at an absurdly reasonable price. He was last seen at their headquarters — based in the picturesque Ashdown Forest...

Investigating further, the Doctor becomes more and more entangled in a deadly web of intrigue. Together with Mel, a plucky computer programmer from Pease Pottage, the Doctor must overcome the conspiracy of silence, rescue the Brigadier and save the world once again — something that would be a lot easier if he just knew where to start...


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  • The Doctor reflects on people he is able to maintain friendship with through multiple incarnations, including Wilkin, the St Cedd's College porter, and "that dotty Welsh beekeeper", presumably Goronwy.
  • The Brigadier considers video game characters the Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The Doctor likes Pink Floyd.


The Chain of Commands

Alternate cover


  • The novel revolves around a "problem" depicted in TV: The Ultimate Foe. There, the Doctor meets Mel for the first time. But that Mel is from the Doctor's personal future. Yet she departs the Time Lord trial room with him, despite the risk of meeting her younger self. PROSE: Time of Your Life had already explained that the Doctor took the Mel of The Ultimate Foe immediately back to her proper place in time. In Business Unusual, writer Gary Russell gave us the obverse of The Ultimate Foe — namely the young Mel's first encounter with the Sixth Doctor. However, now it is the Doctor who's out of synch with Mel.
  • The Sixth Doctor is desperately trying to avoid contact with Mel, because he fears that if she meets him, she will somehow become his companion and he will be set on the path towards becoming the Valeyard. This would lead the Doctor to hide himself in the past in an attempt to settle down. (PROSE: The Spindle of Necessity)
  • Much as Gary Russell's follow-up novel, Instruments of Darkness, contradicted the Big Finish audio history of Evelyn Smythe, this novel treads heavily over the Big Finish history of the Brigadier. Both this novel and AUDIO: The Spectre of Lanyon Moor chronicle the first encounter between the Sixth Doctor and the Brigadier.
  • The Doctor refers to A Fix with Sontarans as a bad dream.

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