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Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos was a novelisation based on the 1971 television serial The Claws of Axos.

Publisher's summary[]

1979 Target Books edition[]

`Axos calling Earth, Axos calling Earth...'

The creatures stood before them, beautiful golden humaniods, offering friendship and their priceless Axonite, in return for - what?

Only DOCTOR WHO remains suspicious. What is the real reason for the Axon's sudden arrival on Earth? And why is the evil Master a passenger on their spaceship? He very soon finds out...

Chapter titles[]

  1. Invader from Space
  2. The Landing
  3. The Voice of Axos
  4. Enter the Master
  5. The Doctor Makes a Plan
  6. Escape from Axos
  7. The Axons Attack
  8. The Power Robbers
  9. The Sacrifice
  10. Brainstorm
  11. The Feast of Axos
  12. Trapped in Time

Deviations from televised story[]

  • Many cut scenes are reinstated, including Bill Filer meeting Jo and trying to find a "Joe Grant" (although Jo dropping her files and Bill picking them up was added for the novelisation); Chinn demanding that the Doctor is suspended from his duties as he does not officially exist.
  • In the opening scene, the tracking station is a separate building, whereas on-screen it is part of UNIT HQ. Likewise the two operators, who are given the names Harry and Ransome (unnamed on-screen), are not part of UNIT. They are looking over star charts. They have a  list of names and numbers to contact about unidentified flying objects including UNIT which Harry is not familiar with. Ransome phones their director (who does not appear), who is home in bed.
  • For later scenes the tracking room scenes resumes to UNIT HQ as on-screen with unnamed radio operators.
  • Chinn is given the first name of Horatio.
  • The reason for Chinn's investigation is for the newly created Ministry of Security, an organisation designed to put together all of Britain's intelligence organisations under one central umbrella. He has been sent in due to the Brigadier's refusal as they report to Geneva.
  • UNIT is part funded by the British government.
  • It is Chinn's second day with UNIT. He appears to be on his own, unlike on-screen where there are at least three non-speaking assistants looking at files.
  • The Brigadier daydreams of having Chinn taken out the back and shot by a firing squad. He thinks Chinn is a horror of peace.
  • Chinn looks at Jo's file and deems her too young and inexperienced for security work, which he sees as a mark against the Brigadier.
  • There is an empty folder marked 'The Doctor' whereas on-screen Chinn looks through several files marked 'Top Secret'. The Brigadier intended to be assemble a dossier of the Doctor since he joined UNIT during the Auton Invasion but never got around to it.
  • The business of the Doctor bumping the door into Chinn is omitted. They are introduced to each other by the Brigadier.
  • Woods and lawns surround UNIT HQ.
  • When Jo enters the office to introduce Filer, the Brigadier bellows irritably at her whereas on-screen he is calm.
  • The brief scene of Yates asking Benton about the UFO as they walk through the UNIT corridor is omitted (this was a scene worked out in rehearsals of the televised story)
  • Some of Benton's dialogue in the operations room is given to a technician.
  • Corporal Bell does not appear and her role is given to a technician (the inclusion of the Corporal was a later addition to the televised story). Also, the dialogue about freak weather conditions is omitted (again, something added later to explain discrepancies in filming).
  • Pigbin Josh is renamed Old Josh. He has different dialogue (mainly internal narration) and his yokel ramblings are removed. He doesn't look through rubbish tips as on-screen. He is travelling from his tumbldown cottage to his local pub, a journey that has been extended two miles longer due to the building of the science complex in the middle of the marshes. The pond that Josh falls into is named Duckett's Pond.
  • The Doctor and Jo travel to the landing site not in a UNIT vehicle, as on-screen, but in Bessie (which does not feature in the televised version). Similarly, the Brigadier doesn't arrive with them but travels in the staff car with Chinn, Hardiman and Winser.
  • By the Axos landing site, there is a clump of trees in which Filer hides and watches the approaching UNIT vehicles; and where Benton and Yates find Josh's body.
  • The toad that is experimented on grows much bigger than on-screen, towering over the humans and making Chinn scream.
  • The Axonite is put in a golden casket rather than a transparent spherical container.
  • The Doctor alludes to Greeks bearing gifts and reminisces about Troy, saying he used to have a villa by the sea before the Greeks destroyed it.
  • Jo suspects the Doctor having betrayed them, more confrontational (and much earlier) than on-screen.
  • In the initial laboratory scene, differences to the on-screen version include: Chinn and Hardiman watch the Doctor from the observation window; some of the dialogue between Winser and the Doctor about the particle accelerator are swapped around with the Doctor saying Winser's lines and vice-versa.
  • The Master's TARDIS is described as a plain white dome (rather than a rectangular cabinet), the same size as a police box, which is its basic uncamouflaged form.
  • When the Master escapes Axos, he is confronted by an army sentry in the nearby clump of trees. There is brief dialogue between them and when the sentry goes to help the Master to his feet, he is knocked unconscious. On-screen, the sentry is guarding directly outside, there is no dialogue and the Master shoots him with his laser weapon.
  • The laboratory scene with the fake Filer is slightly reworked: the Doctor uses Venusian Aikido on the fake Filer whereas on-screen his attempts to stop don't work; during the fight, the real Filer attempts to hit his duplicate with a lab stool; the duplicate Filer is destroyed when the Doctor switching on the accelerator rather than simply falling into it; at the end of the scene, an armed guard enters too late to help but the Doctor asks him to to take him to the Brigadier.
  • The Master jumping from the bridge onto the lorry occurs after the above scene.
  • As a ranking member of UNIT, the Brigadier is confined to one of Nuton's VIP guest suites. The Doctor tries to get past the guarding sentry with Harker eventually letting the Doctor and Filer, after showing his ID, through. On screen, the Doctor and Filer are already talking to the Brigadier and Jo in the office. Also, there is no bugging device and Harker re-entering to confine them to the suite with the Doctor having to persuade Harker to confine him to the laboratory (on-screen, Harker has already been given order for the Doctor to be confined there).
  • Winser is killed by the Axonite sucking him into the accelerator and absorbing him rather than being flung to the ground and disintegrating.
  • The scene of when the Brigadier pursues the Axon is reworked: when the first soldier is killed he falls to the ground and then the next soldier is totally obliterated. On-screen, it is the other way around and, whereas all three soldiers are killed, here one of the soldiers flees and bumps to the Brigadier, informing of him what has happened.
  • The Axon is seen blasting the Nuclear Reactor doors and the Brigadier follows, witnessing the creature being absorbed into the reactor. Hardiman then arrives in his car and the Brigadier tells him to go with him to reactor control. When in the room, a technician watches on as Hardiman checks the reactor readings and Yates enters later. On-screen, Hardiman is already present when the Brigadier enters the room and there is no technician, instead it is Yates and Benton (the latter not present at all in the novelisation's scene).
  • During the Doctor and Jo escape from Axos, they encounter a part humanoid, part tentacled Axon lurching towards them. The Doctor gives it a shove and it hits the wall, dissolving into a shapeless puddle.
  • The Axos exit starts to shrink and close as an attempt to prevent the Doctor and Jo from escaping.
  • Hardiman disconnects the reactor wearing goggles, where on-screen he wears a head covering with his eyes exposed.
  • The meeting in the office is implied to be longer with those present eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. The Master watches on, handcuffed to the table.
  • Unlike the televised version, the technician who takes over from Hardiman is given a name, Ericson.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Title page includes: THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO. The cover illustration of this book portrays the third DOCTOR WHO whose physical appearance was altered by the Time Lords when they banished him to planet Earth in the Twentieth Century.
  • The 1979 cover by John Geary portrays the tentacled form of Axons as green rather than reddish-orange colour as they appear on-screen.

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

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


1979 Target Books with a new cover by John Geary priced 75p (UK)
1989 Star Books with The Mind of Evil priced £2.95p (UK)


This Target Book was released as an audiobook 2 June 2016 complete and unabridged by BBC Physical Audio and read by Richard Franklin.

Reading produced by Neil Gardner.

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[]

to be added