Doctor Who: Return of the Living Dad [Book Review]

Doctor Who: Return of the Living Dad
By Kate Orman / Virgin / August 1996

‘It’s me, daddy. It’s Bernice.’

Bernice Summerfield was seven years old when her father disappeared. They said he turned and ran from the Daleks in battle. They said he was a coward.

They were wrong.

For years Benny has searched for her father. Now a clue snatches her from her honeymoon, back to the TARDIS, and on to England in the year 1983. There she at last discovers Admiral Isaac Summerfield, leading a motley crew of aliens, psychics and fanboys. Their mission: to save extra-terrestrials stranded on Earth.

But what is Benny’s father doing five hundred years in his own past? And why has he been waiting for the Doctor to arrive? Can Benny really trust the man she’s been looking for all her life?

Although I had to pan Kate Orman’s efforts on So Vile A Sin, I think Return of the Living Dad has to be one of the best New Adventures I have read since the series began.

Orman has proven to have the ability to weave humor, adventure and good storytelling together to create a great NA, and Return of the Living Dad is no exception.

At last, Bernice has the opportunity to find her father, and the result is a novel strong on both characterization and plot. There are also plenty of surprises in store for everyone, including Chris and Roz.

As usual, Orman writes the Doctor as a three-dimensional character, and uses the entire NA cast to their fullest, including Jason Kane. This book is also a good indicator of what’s possible with the character of Benny as she sets out as the main star of the NAs beginning with Oh No It Isn’t! by Paul Cornell.

The verdict: Read it!