It was the final New Adventures novel published before Virgin lost the Doctor Who license to BBC Books, and as such, it represented a shift in focus from the Doctor to Bernice Summerfield. It was the only story in the series to feature the Eighth Doctor.
- 1 Publisher's summary
- 2 Plot
- 3 Characters
- 4 References
- 5 Notes
- 6 Continuity
- 7 External links
- 8 Footnotes
The Dying Days of the Twentieth Century
On the Mare Sirenum, British astronauts are walking on the surface of Mars for the first time in over twenty years. The National Space Museum in London is the venue for a spectacular event where the great and the good celebrate a unique British achievement.
In Adisham, Kent, the most dangerous man in Britain has escaped from custody while being transported by helicopter. In Whitehall, the new Home Secretary is convinced that there is a plot brewing to overthrow the government. In west London, MI5 agents shut down a publishing company that got too close to the top secret organisation known as UNIT. And, on a state visit to Washington, the British Prime Minister prepares to make a crucial speech, totally unaware that dark forces are working against him.
This time, the Doctor is already too late.
to be added
- Eighth Doctor
- Bernice Summerfield
- Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
- Alexander Christian
- Winifred Bambera
- Edward Greyhaven
- David Staines
- Eve Waugh
- Raymond Heath
- Timothy Todd
- Seventh Doctor (dream sequence)
- Penelope Creighton-Ward
- Richard Dawkins
- Lalla Ward (unnamed)
- Lord Greyhaven makes a deal with the Ice Warriors which enables them to invade the United Kingdom.
- Bernice is staying at the Doctor's house in Kent after getting a lift there with Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart and aM!xitsa.
- Lady Creighton-Ward lives not far from said house and Benny has often seen her being driven around the countryside.
- The Brigadier reminds Bambera that he is still technically retired, despite being the figurehead of the anti-Martian/Greyhaven rebellion.
- At the Queen's re-coronation, the Brigadier points out the Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K9 to Doris.
- Bernice knows how to isolate electrics from the fuel supply of a 20th century helicopter.
- Bernice excavated Mare Sirenum on Mars when she was twenty-four. This established her reputation as an archaeologist.
- Benny receives a letter from 2593 offering her the Edward Watkins chair of archaeology at St Oscar's University, Dellah.
- The Brigadier met the Eighth Doctor in Hong Kong in 1988 when they discovered the secret of the Embodiment of Gris.
- Bernice's knowledge of the 20th century ranges from 1963 to 1989.
- Veronica Halliwell is Director General of MI5.
- Bernice can speak Martian.
- UNIT has a branch in Paris called NUIT.
- UNIT in the past has dealt with attempted invasions by the Bandrils and Drahvins without the Doctor's help.
- The Martian Communicators Guild is an Ice Warrior organisation.
- Water is a source of great wealth on Mars.
- The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reflect an Ice Warrior's sonic blast.
- After being blown out of the Ice Warrior's War Rocket, the Doctor creates several balloons to slow his descent out of bin bags, curtain rings, and a cannister of helium.
- The Brigadier kept Bessie in mothballs for the Doctor.
Cultural references from the real world
- Benny looks at a John Smith and the Common Men album when she and the Doctor are searching Todd's flat.
- This is the Eighth Doctor's only appearance in the New Adventures book series.
- Although this story was officially the final of Virgin's Doctor Who New Adventures, it was in fact not the last to be published: due to production delays, the Seventh Doctor novel So Vile a Sin, which had been planned for release several months earlier, was only published a month after The Dying Days.
- Until the release of The Company of Friends over ten years later, this novel held the distinction of being the only appearance of Bernice Summerfield alongside the Eighth Doctor.
- After The Dying Days, Virgin Books continued to release New Adventures novels centered around Bernice Summerfield. The Dying Days ends with Bernice going to her new home at the University of Dellah.
- This novel was re-released by BBCi on the official Doctor Who website in ebook form, accompanied by extensive notes and commentary from author Lance Parkin and new illustrations by artist Allan Bednar.
- At the Mars landing party there are a few notable guests: Jeremy Paxman, Richard Dawkins, Chris Evans, Gillian Anderson, Richard Branson, Alan Yentob, Emma Knight, and Lalla Ward.
- Benny's knowledge specialty of the 20th century ranges from 1963 to 1989, a reference to the period of the TV series' original run.
- When Xznaal is seen from the point of view of Greyhaven, the Doctor, or Benny, the pronoun Parkin uses for Xznaal is "he". From anyone else's point of view, Parkin refers to Xznaal as "it". When viewed from the Ice Warrior's point of view, the human names are written in Ice Warrior pronunciation, such as Gerayhavun/Greyhaven, Xztaynz/Staines.
- Philip Segal reportedly stated that a big alien invasion couldn't be done on the TV movie's budget because of the cost of multiple prosthetic costumes and the cost of showing a full alien invasion. The Dying Days features an alien invasion with three Ice Warriors; there are never more than two Ice Warriors in a room together throughout the book.
- The book's concluding chapter ends with Benny initiating a sexual encounter with the Doctor, a first for the franchise in any licensed media. The event was again referenced in the Big Finish audio drama Benny's Story.
- The book did not feature the Doctor Who logo anywhere on its cover, spine, or interior. Since the Seventh Doctor's logo was thought to be inappropriate for an Eighth Doctor book, but BBC Books had exclusive rights to the new Eighth Doctor logo, the Virgin Publishing logo was used on the spine instead. In addition, the title Doctor Who appeared nowhere on the back cover or interior pages before the copyright page. There is also a brief mention on an acknowledgements page.
- The book concludes with an afterword, "The End and a new beginning", signed by the editors of the New Adventures line, acknowledging this as the final Doctor Who New Adventure and promoting the future Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures releases.
- The novel's title was inspired by the lyrics of Gladys Knight's License to Kill.
- Parkin's short stories Worm and Fishy Business, published respectively in 1998's Perfect Timing and 1999's Perfect Timing 2, followed this novel by portraying an alternate timeline where the Doctor and Benny became lovers and continued to travel together for years following the Martian invasion. Benny would be seen pregnant in the Doctor's memories in Parkin's The Infinity Doctors.
- In an earlier draft, a short scene in chapter 9 included thinly-veiled cameos of Mulder and Scully from The X-Files; this was removed due to editor Rebecca Levene's fears that Virgin Books "might have our arses sued off."
- Parkin wrote several drafts of a scene in the epilogue designed to explain Jason Kane's return to 26th century Dellah. Each one contained information about the Final Dalek War. Later, Parkin made up names for each draft, "in true Nth Doctor style".
- The first draft, Valeyard of the Daleks, showed Kane being returned to Dellah by the 42nd Doctor and his wife Iphegenia but, along the way, being attacked by a Dalek WAR-DIS. However, after observing the draft's unpopularity, Parkin scrapped it without sending it to an editor. He later published it on rec.arts.drwho.
- The second draft, Eulogy of the Daleks, kept the premise of the 42nd Doctor and Iphegenia but was set after the end of the Final Dalek War, with the Doctor giving a eulogy for the last Dalek. It was printed in Matrix 54.
- The third, shorter draft, Basically Eulogy of the Daleks, was similar to Eulogy of the Daleks, but with an old, unmarried Eighth Doctor rather than the 42nd Doctor.
- The fourth, shorter draft, Timewyrm: Apocripha, was very different from the other three. It would have featured Chris Cwej, the Timewyrm, and Iranda, rather than the Daleks. Both the third and fourth drafts were sub-par, so Parkin cut the scene entirely.
- A cameo appearance by Tom Baker was also cut. In the final draft, Lalla Ward appeared at the Mars landing party.
- The Doctor regenerated in TV: Doctor Who.
- The Doctor delivers Benny to Dellah, setting up the events of PROSE: Oh No It Isn't!.
- The Brigadier refers to debriefing Jo Grant after the events of TV: The Curse of Peladon.
- The Doctor remembers having worn a tricorn hat "ages ago", back when he first regularly used the second control room as his go-to control room. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
- Kadiatu and aM!xitsa last appeared in PROSE: Happy Endings.
- Benny asks how Martians can invade Britain now while she also has Martians at her wedding. (PROSE: Happy Endings).
- In TV: The Christmas Invasion there is question of whether or not aliens are Martians and confirmed not to be the case.
- Benny previously met the Brigadier in PROSE: No Future, and, from his perspective, would later attend her wedding in Happy Endings.
- Previous Mars missions are mentioned, including the meeting of the Ambassadors. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death)
- The Doctor states that he left Chris on Gallifrey. (PROSE: Lungbarrow)
- Chris Cwej returns in PROSE: Deadfall.
- Bambera first met the Doctor in TV: Battlefield.
- The fictional book-within-a-book Who Killed Kennedy is mentioned, as are its authors James Stevens and David Bishop. Supposedly, UNIT altered the dates within the book to change them from the actual dates. Stevens is said to have "gone to ground", referring to his disappearance in January 1996. On that occasion, he travelled back in time to Dallas, Texas on 22 November 1963. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) On the other hand, Bishop is mentioned as still being in London.
- In TV: Aliens of London / World War Three the public are again given practically unquestionable knowledge of aliens existing and (again) it is seen as a hoax.
- The Doctor's house first appeared in PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Warhead.
- Veronica Halliwell originally appeared (and died) in PROSE: System Shock.
- Susan was listening to John Smith and the Common Men in TV: An Unearthly Child.
- The Master previously stole the Nestene energy unit from the National Space Museum. (TV: Terror of the Autons)
- Ashley Chapel Logistics (PROSE: Millennial Rites) and I2 (PROSE: System Shock) are amongst the companies that supplied parts for the Mars Probe.
- Christian attempted to get in touch with the Brigadier via his daughter, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. (HOMEVID: Downtime, TV: The Power of Three)
- PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet is the first novel to mention a re-coronation of the Queen. However, this was actually a reference to the presence of a King in TV: Battlefield and the Golden Jubilee of a Queen in PROSE: Head Games.