The Greatest Show in the Galaxy was a novelisation based on the 1988 television serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. The title of this story carries a certain irony as this novelisation was the first to be published after the broadcast of the final episode of the original 1963-89 TV series.
1989 Target Books edition
What has reduced Segonax to an arid wasteland? Why have the happy-go-lucky circus folk stayed here for so long? And why are they no longer happy? Above all, what is the dreadful truth about the "talent contests" run by the Ringmaster and his robot clowns?
The Doctor and Ace need all their death-defying skills in the big top to uncover a brooding, ancient evil that has broken the spirit of the Circus and demanded the sacrifice of so many lives.
1991 Target Books edition
'CREEPY,'THOUGHT ACE. YOU NEVER SAW THE CLOWN'S REAL FACE...
But the Doctor insists on entering the talent contest at the Psychic Circus, the self-proclaimed Greatest Show in the Galaxy.
What has reduced Segonax to an arid wasteland? Why have the happy-go-lucky circus people stayed here so long, and why are they no longer happy? And what is the sinister truth about the Ringmaster and his robot clowns?
The Doctor and Ace need all their death-defying skills in the Big Top to uncover a brooding, ancient evil that has broken the spirit of the Circus and demanded the sacrifice of so many lives.
- Welcome to Segonax
- Captain Cook
- The Hippy Bus
- The Psychic Circus
- Nord's Finest Hour
- The Well
- The End of Bellboy's Dream
- That Old Devil Moon
- The Gods of Ragnarok
- Positively Last Performance
Deviations from televised story
- Instead of Ace being unable to find her rucksack, she states there is no nitro 9 in it.
- There is more dialogue between the Doctor and Ace as the advertising satellite approaches, with the Doctor believing the TARDIS defences will stop it.
- The novelisation includes much material that was scripted and/or filmed but not included in the finished programme such as dialogue for the robot in the desert (first begging to be released and then threatening), Cook and Mags parting company with the Doctor and Ace after the encounter with the robot and running into them again at the bus, a suggestion Bellboy was electrocuted as punishment, Ace trying to use Nord's motorbike outside the circus and her telling Kingpin she's glad he's stopped singing.
- Other short scenes and dialogue, such as Cook being found alone in the cage, are omitted or skimmed over in the text. Notably, there is no mention of the Ringmaster silencing Mags' scream, meaning the scream that Ace hears suddenly stopping is unexplained.
- Cook ignores Mags pointing out they didn't run from the Psychic Circus rather than dismissing it.
- There is an extra sequence of Whizzkid meeting the Chief Clown and asking him, the Ringmaster and Morgana for their autographs.
- The Chief Clown and Morgana see Ace and Deadbeat heading for the bus in the crystal ball and assume the Bus Conductor will deal with them.
- The hearse collides with the stallholder's cart rather than having to stop for it.
- More details of the Doctor's final performance are given, including fire-eating and a bed of nails.
- Morgana has a poster of the Psychic Circus on Eudamus.
- to be added
Additional cover images
British publication history
First publication: Paperback (December 1989)
- Target / W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. One single paperback edition, estimated print run: 22,000, priced £1.99 (UK).
Re-issues: (December 1991)
- Target / Virgin Publishing. One single paperback edition, priced £2.99 (UK).
to be added