The Dying Days was the final release of the Virgin New Adventures line of Doctor Who novels (however, see "Notes", below) and the only one featuring the Eighth Doctor.

Publisher's summary

6 May 1997

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.

As the Eighth Doctor and Professor Bernice Summerfield discover, all these events are connected. However, soon all will be overshadowed.

This time, the Doctor is already too late.


to be added




  • Bernice excavated Mare Sirenum on Mars when she was twenty-four. This established her reputation as an archaeologist.


  • Bernice nicked parts of her diary describing events around the UNIT/Rebel assault on Martian held London from a "tattered old paperback with a creepy eye on the cover". [1]

The Doctor

  • The Doctor refers to himself as the Eighth Man Bound, the champion of Life and Time, the Bringer of Darkness to the Daleks and the Oncoming Storm to the Draconians. And the guy with two hearts.
  • The Doctor is calm about dying after blowing up the Martian War Rocket.
  • 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.

Cultural references from the real world



  • David Staines is Home Secretary of the United Kingdom government.



  • Lord Greyhaven makes a deal with the Ice Warriors which leads 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.
  • The Brigadier mentions debriefing Jo Grant after her adventures with the Doctor, one involving the Ice Warriors and Peladon. (TV: The Curse of Peladon)
  • Alexander Christian knew Jo Grant when she was studying her A levels.
  • Winifred Bambera is married to Ancelyn, who has gone with the Crown into exile, as befits a Knight of the Realm.
  • 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 and K9 to Doris.
  • Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is promoted to General by the end of this story.





  • Mars has a perfectly breathable (though a bit chilly) atmosphere, but the soil is almost completely infertile.
  • Water is a source of great wealth on Mars.
  • The Arcturan Treaty of 2085 is the official date of peaceful first contact with aliens.
  • The Sword of Tuburr is mentioned.


  • Xznaal, despite being an Ice Lord, doesn't wear the traditional armour. He wears the shell of a Warrior. This makes him eccentric and is an insight into his mindset according to Benny (he's militaristic and close-minded).


  • The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reflect a Ice Warrior sonic blast.
  • Bernice knows how to isolate electrics from the fuel supply of a 20th century helicopter.



  • The Brigadier kept Bessie in mothballs for the Doctor and waits for the Doctor in the UNIT parking bays with the car.


  • Although officially considered the last release of the Doctor Who New Adventures line, it was in fact not the last to be published. Due to production delays, a novel featuring the Seventh Doctor that had been intended for release several months earlier, So Vile a Sin, was not published until a month after this novel came out, making it, technically, the final Doctor Who NA release.
  • This was the only New Adventures book to feature the Eighth Doctor, and is the last Doctor Who book to be published by Virgin.
  • Rather than using the McCoy era Doctor Who logo on the spine, or the later New Adventures logo intended for the Summerfield novels, The Dying Days features the Virgin Books logo on the spine.
  • For over ten years (before the release of The Company of Friends) this was the only appearance of Professor Bernice Summerfield with the Eighth Doctor.
  • Virgin would continue to publish The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield. The Dying Days ends leading Bernice to her new home at the University of Dellah.
  • At the Mars landing party there are a few notable guests: Jeremy Paxman, Richard Dawkins, Chris Evans, Gillian Anderson, Richard Branson, Alan Yentob, Emma Peel and Lalla Ward (who appears as herself and "in character" as Romana II at the end of the book).
  • Benny's knowledge speciality of the 20th century actually ranges from 1963 to 1989 (which is the length of the TV series' original continuous 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 eles's point of view Parkin refers to Xznaal as "it". As in, "Xznaal moved its scaly body".
  • The human names are also written (when viewed from the Ice Warrior's point of view) as they would pronounce them, ie: Gerayhavun/Greyhaven, Xztaynz/Staines.
  • Supposedly Philip Segal 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 does an alien invasion with three Ice Warriors (there are never more than two Ice Warriors in a room together throughout the book). [2]
  • The book's concluding chapter has been interpreted as showing Benny initiating a romantic encounter with the Doctor.
  • This book is notable for not having the Doctor Who logo anywhere on the cover, spine or interior, due to Virgin not having the rights to the logo introduced for the Eighth Doctor (the rights to which were owned by BBC Books) and not wanting to use the Seventh Doctor's logo. Instead, Virgin Publishing's logo is used instead. In addition, the title Doctor Who appears nowhere on the back cover or interior pages until one gets to the copyright page. There is also a brief mention on an acknowledgements page.
  • The book concludes with the afterword, "The End and a new beginning", signed by the editors of the New Adventures line, acknowledging this as the final Doctor Who novel and promoting the start of the Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures line.
  • There was a "final chapter" released by Lance Parkin and posted on rec.arts.drwho some time in 1997. It was Parkin's original epilogue / final chapter to The Dying Days.
  • The novel's title was originally inspired by the lyrics from A-Ha's The Living Daylights.

E-Book illustrations



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