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Illegal Alien was the fifth novel in the BBC Past Doctor Adventures series. It was written by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry, released 6 October 1997 and featured the Seventh Doctor and Ace.

Notably, it was originally a television story that would have been part of Season 27 of Sylvester McCoy's era of Doctor Who.[1]

Publisher's summary[]

1997 BBC Books edition[]

Britain is at war. Night after night the Luftwaffe are bombing London. A serial killer dubbed the Limehouse Lurker is stalking the rubble-strewn streets. But a deadlier threat falls from the sky in the shape of a sinister silver sphere...

Cody McBride, ex-pat American private eye, sees the sphere crash-land and split open — and glimpses something emerging from within. But the military dismiss his account of events — the sphere is simply a new German secret weapon that has malfunctioned in some way. What else could it be?

Arriving amid the chaos, the Doctor and Ace are the only people to believe McBride. The sphere bears all the hallmarks of sophisticated alien technology — and whatever was inside it is now loose in London.

Before long, they have embarked on a trail that brings them face to face with hidden Nazi operatives — and some very old enemies...

2014 BBC Books edition[]

The Blitz is at its height. As the Luftwaffe bomb London, Cody McBride, ex-pat American private eye, sees a sinister silver sphere crash-land. He glimpses something emerging from within. The military dismiss his account of events — the sphere must be a new German secret weapon that has malfunctioned in some way. What else could it be?

Arriving amid the chaos, the Doctor and Ace embark on a trail that brings them face to face with hidden Nazi agents, and encounter some very old enemies.


Cody McBride, a private detective, witnesses a large metallic sphere fall from the sky. He investigates and falls unconscious. Later, the Doctor and Ace approach McBride about an article that ran in 'tomorrow's' newspaper.

London is being terrorised by a serial killer known as the 'Limehouse Lurker', a terror who brutally 'squishes' their victims. McBride gathers evidence from underworld contacts he has, notably former military intelligence man George Limb. The Doctor assumes the Lurker to be a time-travelling Cyberman that has been damaged by a bomb from the Blitz and is seeking blood plasma to heal it's damaged organic components.

McBride and the Doctor investigate the factory of Dr Peddler, a murdered businessman, where they discover a covert operation to improve the effectiveness of British foot soldiers using captured cybertechnology.

Out on her own investigations, Ace fends off a Cybermat attack at a bar and takes shelter at George Limb's house. Ace discovers Limb has been sheltering the Lurker and it attacks her. Captain Hartmann, a Nazi officer, turns up and destroys the Lurker but kidnaps Ace and takes her to his Nazi base in Jersey.

George Limb is revealed to be the mastermind of the cyber-operation, having given cybertechnology to both the British and the Nazis to kick-start a technology race. The Doctor recovers the Lurker's cyber command unit, a mobile computer that directs the Cybermen. He travels to Jersey and uses the command unit to seize control of the Cybermen and sets them against Limb and his Nazi allies.

A Nazi captain damages the control unit, all hell breaks loose and the Cybermen can no longer be controlled. Limb flees using the Cybermen's time capsule, however the primitive device can't cope and time is slowed down. The Doctor is able to resist the effect and pulls Ace free. They both escape. The cyber control unit explodes and destroys the factory on Jersey. The Doctor assumes Limb to have been shredded through time and space, dead.

The Doctor and Ace leave, not knowing that McBride has found hundreds of Cybermen cocoons underneath London.



The Doctor[]

  • When he is talking about the Daleks, the Doctor's voice develops a harder edge, which disturbs Ace.
  • The Doctor is fond of baseball and once watched a game that included Babe Ruth in 1926.
  • The Doctor doubts that Captain Hartmann would be able to pronounce his given name.

The Cybermen[]

  • The Cybermen that were featured in the story were capable of repairing themselves.
  • The Cybermen have used different types of Cybermats which attacked in different ways, such as the injection of poison and a sonic scream. The Cybermats present in the story have metal teeth used for cutting flesh.
  • The Cybermen are from the 30th century, where they still have a limited control of time travel.
  • A baby is among those converted by the Cybermen at the end of Part Three. It is given regular-sized Cyber-arms but has the tail of a Cybermat.
  • In a similar scene a Cyber-Conversion is witnessed, in which Cybermats are used for surgical instruments.



  • In a moment of contemplation, the Doctor admires the achievements of some of his greatest enemies, thinking of the Daleks as the creators of amazing technology and the Sontarans as great geneticists.


  • This novel was originally submitted as a television story for Season 27 of the original series of Doctor Who. It was initially submitted under a pseudonym as Mike Tucker had been known within the BBC as having predominantly worked with special effects.[1]
  • Illegal Alien (the unproduced TV story) was a Cyberman story set in the 1940s, originally submitted just prior to the production of The Curse of Fenric. Tucker and Robert Perry were asked to re-submit it for the following season as Fenric was also set in the 1940s.[1]
  • The novel was released on 6 March 2014 as the Cyberman entry for The Monster Collection. Its new cover featured a 2006 Cybus/Cyber Legions-style Cyberman, with the 2013 variant introduced in Nightmare in Silver on the spine. The publisher's summary misspells 'McBride' as 'McBridge'.
  • Mike Tucker noted in Doctor Who Magazine about the writing of the novel (and its TV heritage) that the novel's opening two parts were "damn near" what was in the scripted version. He also said that in making the novel, he effectively novelised the unmade TV story's script and dialogue.[1]
  • The novel was originally released the same day as War of the Daleks which was also the fifth novel of its line, the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures. War was also adapted from a scrapped TV story featuring a popular recurring enemy and is also split into four parts.
  • As part of the epilogue, a hidden chamber full of dormant Cybermen is found beneath the streets of London waiting for a call that would be eventually activated in the television story The Invasion.
  • Loving the Alien serves as the sequel to this story.
  • This story is set after Survival.


Additional cover images[]

Editions published outside Britain[]

  • Published in Germany by Cross Cult in 2021 as a paperback edition.


External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DWM 255 - Article: 27 up