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.



Mawdryn Undead was a novelisation based on the 1983 television serial Mawdryn Undead.

Publisher's summary[]

1984 Target Books edition[]

The Doctor's time-travelling machine is trapped in the flight-path of an alien spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. To avoid the fatal impact of a head-on collision the TARDIS resorts to the only escape possible and materialises onboard the on-coming liner.

This solves the immediate problem, but a new difficulty arises - the TARDIS cannot get off the ship until a radio signal transmitting from Earth has been disconnected.

The Doctor sets off in a Transmat Capsule, having programmed the TARDIS to enable Tegan and Nyssa to follow him once he has dealt with the interference.

Naturally enough, things don't go quite as planned...

1992 Target Books edition[]


Thurlough hated it all: the routine, the discipline , the invented traditions and petty snobbery of a minor English public school. He hated Earth, and when the mysterious Guardian offered him the chance to escape, he jumped at it. Naturally. All he had to do was to kill the Doctor.

This is a novelization by Peter Grimwade of his own original story, first broadcast in 1983 and featuring Peter Davison in the role of the Doctor. Mawdryn Undead was also the first story to feature Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart since Terror of the Zygons (1975).

Chapter titles[]

  1. An Accidental Meeting
  2. A New Enemy
  3. An Old Friend
  4. The Alien in the TARDIS
  5. Return to the Ship
  6. Rising of the Undead
  7. Double Danger of the Brigadier
  8. All Present and Correct

Deviations from televised story[]

  • The Brigadier's decline is explored.
  • Turlough feels contempt for his school.
  • The Headmaster is named as Mr. Sellick and the Matron as Miss Cassidy.
  • The Black Guardian is more obviously controlling Turlough throughout the story than on-screen, causing him to attack the Doctor with the rock.
  • The Brigadier sees Turlough stealing his car as a reason to bring back corporal punishment.
  • Turlough lets the Doctor know he has advanced technical knowledge as a way of tipping him off that something else is going on.
  • The Doctor's explanation of what Mawdryn's people want of him is clearer than the third episode cliffhanger makes it.
  • The Black Guardian criticising Turlough for not getting the 1977 Brigadier to the transmat as the Doctor instructed is left out.
  • The Doctor and Tegan's opening conversation about the Mara, a holdover from the previous story, is omitted.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Early artworked covers were rejected for reasons relating to the use of the likeness of certain actors on covers without permission, approval and remuneration.
  • Featured quotation: "You cannot know or dream just who I am! But every sea and every ocean and every sailor who sails across the world will know this ship, the terror of the godly: the 'Flying Dutchman' is my name!" Richard Wagner
  • Dedication: "For Keith Shand"

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 5 July 2018 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by David Collings.

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[]