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The Twin Dilemma was a novelisation based on the 1984 television serial The Twin Dilemma.

Publisher's summary[]

1986 Target Books edition[]

The Doctor has regenerated, having sacrificed his fifth persona to save Peri's life. But things are not going well...

On this occasion the process of regeneration is by no means smooth, for the even-tempered, good-humoured fifth Doctor has given way to a rather disturbed and unsettled successor.

In a particularly irascible moment the new Doctor comes dangerously close to committing a shocking crime. Overwhelmed with guilt for his violent behaviour, the repentant Time Lord decides to become a hermit...

1993 Target Books edition[]


Sacrificing his fifth persona to save Peri's life, the Doctor has regenerated again. But this time his regeneration is by no means smooth, for the new Doctor is strangely disturbed and unsettled in his personality.

In a particularly irascible moment the new Doctor comes dangerously close to committing a shocking crime against Peri. Overwhelmed with guilt for his violent behaviour, the repentant Time Lord decides to become a hermit...

The first story to feature Colin Baker in the role of the Doctor, The Twin Dilemma was written for television by Anthony Steven. This novelization by Eric Saward, one-time script editor of the series and author of several other Doctor Who novelizations and television stories.

Chapter titles[]

  1. Home Time
  2. The Maladjusted Time Lord
  3. Enter Professor Edgeworth
  4. Mestor the Magnificent
  5. Titan Three
  6. An Unsafe Safe House
  7. The Reunion
  8. Jaconda the Beautiful!
  9. End Game, Part One
  10. End Game, Part Two

Deviations from televised story[]

  • Saward adds a detailed description of how regeneration works, detail not supported by other novels or televised stories. However, Saward's creation of lindos, the hormone which kickstarts the regenerative process, is significant to the plot of AUDIO: Unregenerate!
  • Azmael's departure from Gallifrey is said to have attracted the attention of the High Council who considered him too knowledgeable to be allowed free passage in the wider cosmos. To that end, they dispatch an assassination squad of Seedle warriors to execute him. The warriors track him down to Vitrol Minor where he had been hiding and massacred the population in search of the missing Time Lord. However, by the time that they had realised his absence, he'd escaped and returned to Gallifrey. Enraged and grief-stricken, he attempted to get the President and the High Council indicted, but both escaped charge. Azmael is forced to gun down the politicians, but disgusted by the act, declares himself an outcast and condemns himself to exile beyond Gallifrey. There is no mention of this in the televised story. He expresses regrets about leaving Gallifrey and becoming a renegade. In the televised story, his only regret is not being able to stay on Jaconda.
  • The Doctor reminisces about his times with Jo, Tegan, Leela, Zoe, Jamie, Turlough, Nyssa, Romana, Liz and more prominently, Adric. The novelisation goes further and says that the memory of Adric was the most painful of all, with the boy going to his death without the Doctor being able to fully praise or even like him.
  • The acid in the vials is referred to as Mosten acid, which doesn't burn or corrode, but ages whatever is immersed in it by a unique process of dehydration.
  • Professor Sylvest is given the first name "Archie" and his wife named as Nimo Sylvest. There is much back story added about how he dreams of killing the twins and has spent much time with his colleague Vestal Smith until he is threatened by her "Neanderthal" husband, Reginald Smith.
  • Several mentions are made of an alcoholic drink called Voxnic.
  • The Doctor's cowardice on meeting the Jacondans and attacking Azmael are omitted. Much of his initial dialogue with Azmael is given to Peri.
  • Azmael's full alias is given as Bernard Edgeworth. His true identity is revealed shortly after he kidnaps the twins.
  • It is stated that the corrupt Time Lord High Council sent sadistic Seedle Warriors after Azmael who wiped out the population of Vitrol Minor.
  • There are several stories about characters tangentially related to the plot: Counciller Verne (a Time Lord who rose to high office after regenerating into a handsome man, took multiple regenerations to recover his good looks and ended up deformed), a group of scientists from Maston Viva who set up the base on Titan Three (Titan Melancholia so depressed them that they missed a radiation pulse that wiped out their planet), Professor James Zarn (the inventor of the revitaliser who cured a space plague that made people too honest but was turned into a giant glass of Voxnic by a revitaliser accident and drunk by his guests) and Professor Vinny Mosten (who discovered the acid that was named after him when he exposed an attempt to artificially age supposed archaeological relics and died when it was spilled on him).
  • The Chamberlain is named as Slarn and only appears at the conclusion of the tale as he tries to bribe Hugo and the twins to take him off the planet.
  • The Doctor does not meet the twins until he arrives on Jaconda.
  • Hugo Lang fails to realise Azmael's ship should not be capable of warp drive and needs the Doctor to tell him to use his gun to cut himself out of the slime trail. He is a less sympathetic character than on screen, dreaming of becoming a celebrity by rescuing the twins without any real personal risk, considering abandoning the Doctor and Peri on Jaconda and staying behind because he thinks Slarn will pay him highly to be his bodyguard.
  • The kidnap of the twins is partly told from the point of view of a cat, said to be the most intelligent creature on Earth. Azmael injects the twins with a drug rather than placing discs on them.
  • The characters of Fabian and Elena and the sequences at police headquarters are omitted, as is the scene of Mestor executing a Jacondan prisoner.
  • The Doctor does not meet Mestor in person until their final confrontation, communicating with him via a hologram until that point. Peri only meets him off page.
  • Hugo is taken to the laboratory by Noma and his guards, removing the oddity in the televised version where he is knocked unconscious and then left to walk around freely when he recovers.
  • The gastropods are named as Sectoms. The Doctor mentions that the Jacondans are forming militias to dispose of the remaining gastropods after Mestor's death.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • When Colin Baker's agent questioned the payment arrangement for using the actor's likeness on the cover, it was wrongly assumed by the publishers that the usual fee was being questioned. Rather than get into another complicated discussion regarding payments for using likenesses, the decision was taken not to feature the Sixth Doctor on the cover of his debut story's novelisation, instead commissioning another piece of artwork. (Ultimately this dispute meant the Sixth Doctor would not appear on the cover of the first editions of any of the novelisations of his stories, the only classic Doctor for whom this was the case.)
  • Dedication: For Katia, with fondest love
  • Included inside the back cover are details of Fantastic Doctor Who Posters Offer.

Cover gallery[]

British publication history[]

First Publication:

  • Hardback
W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


  • Paperback


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 5 January 2012 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Colin Baker.

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[]