EVOLUTION by John Peel, featuring the Fourth Doctor (w00+!), Sarah-Jane Smith, Rudyard Kipling. Arthur Canon-Doyle and A FERAL HOUND

‘Someone is tampering with the fabric of the human cell’, the Doctor said darkly, ‘perverting it’s secrets to his own purposes’.

No book with features a FERAL HOUND can be a bad book. Think about it. There’s Hound of the Baskervilles, er… the adventures of Spot and Jane and er… oh I can’t think of any others at the moment but I’m sure there’s tonnes AND THEY ARE ALL GREBT. Feral hounds! Black dogs! Eyes like blazing dinner plates, lumiferous aether travelling in their wake, teeth tearing at unresisting human flesh, MARVELLOUS. This adventure starts with the TARDIS materialising in Devon Moorland, where they immediately encounter a huge feral hound being pursued by the Lord of the local Manor and a mysterious companion. Smoothly, the Doctor gains the confidence of the House, and finds that things in the village aren’t as idyllic as they should be; children have gone missing, fishermen have been pulled from their boats and mutilated and Ship’s Surgeon Doyle has been called in the capacity of a pre-Grissom era CSI pathologist.

The Doctor dons a deerstalker hat and then teams up with Doyle to investigate the mutilations whilst Sarah looks into the case of the missing children. All paths end up leading to the local captain of industry, with a super human rights history – but who is the mysterious companion of the Lord of the Manor who always appears to be lurking in the background? Joining forces with village urchins, the Doctor and Doyle find a macabre scheme to change human evolution with the aid of some looted Rutan salve, while Sarah and Rudyard Kipling face terrifying levels of innuendo – oh, and there’s something about fusing Sarah with a baby seal too – all for the best if you ask me, after Sarah’s silly screaming in the prior TV adventure to this The Brain of Morbius…. but AHEM.

Unlike the previous two Missing Adventures reviewed, Evolution is much more of a ripping yarn with extra historical characters – the late involvement of alien properties is just that, the story is insistently that of humanity and it’s attempts to meld it to fir their own desires, no matter what the cost. While remaining a well-told story, it never really feels like a Dr Who story, which is especially odd given this author is the one behind the very first Who adventure, reviewed back in the mists of time by a certain Mr…. Dan… Pe… perr…? Oh, I don’t bloody know anymore.

8 transmogrified canines out of 10!!!