The Murder Game
by Steve Lyons

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 40565 1


    The TARDIS crew join in a murder-mystery weekend in space. But a real murder is about to happen... and a sinister force is waiting out in space.


    Ben and Polly.

    The Hotel Galaxian, a Selachian warcraft, a police ship and a planet with volcanoes, all in 2136.


    Pg 1 "HMS Teazer was caught in a ravenous grey whirlpool" Ben dreams of his ship, The War Machines.

    "Thus had it been since he had stepped into that blue box in Fitzroy Square in the summer of '66" The War Machines.

    Pg 2 "No more alien or incomprehensible than the swinging socialites who inhabited the Inferno nightclub in London." The War Machines.

    Pg 3 "Polly Wright clung to the door frame and screamed with each unexpected jolt." Polly's surname was never given on TV, but Gary Russell made a case for it in the introduction of Invasion of the Cat-People.

    Pg 7 "She was still stinging from the comments drawn by her style of dress on Vulcan, some time ago." The Power of the Daleks.

    Pg 11 "Some sort of T-mat equipment" T-mat was a popular form of travel in The Seeds of Death.

    Pg 15 "And what would you prefer Ben Jackson? Some bluff old sea captain with an eyepatch and a parrot on his shoulder, barking out orders? [...] Shiver me timbers against these Cybermen, me hearty!" One of the original concepts for the second Doctor was for Patrick Troughton to play him as a bluff old sea captain. Ben and Polly met the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet.

    Pg 16 "Polly had dragged him round the spaceport bar, mixing freely with Venusians, Draconians and those suspicious-looking things from Alpha Centauri" Venusian Lullaby, Frontier in Space, The Curse of Peladon.

    Pg 22 "You were more likely, he considered, to hear whale song." This may be a reference to an abandoned second Doctor story, The Song of the Space Whale.

    Pg 23 "It was supposed to be a Cyberman, Ben realised, but it bore scant resemblance to the monsters he had fought at the South Pole. It was too metallic and the zip down its front was too obvious." The Tenth Planet. The design of the Cybermen Ben will later encounter in The Moonbase have an obvious zip down the front.

    Pg 30 "And when I turned around, they were all wearing bowler hats" Reference to Nicholas Courtney's oft-told convention anecdote about eyepatches from the filming of Inferno.

    Pgs 54-55 "'What's a better word for "old-fashioned"?' '"Archaic"?' [...] 'I'll use "antediluvian".' Nevile and Dorothy Adler are apparently a husband and wife writing team who seem based on Pip and Jane Baker, eighties script writers.

    Pg 62 The second Doctor has jelly babies and a yo-yo in his pocket, just as the fourth later would.

    Pg 92 "Your mentions in the UNIT files, particularly." The Doctor won't encounter UNIT for some time (but see Continuity Cock Ups).

    Pg 106 "Ben collided with Daphne, who careened through the door to the docking level as if an army of Daleks were after her" Ben encountered Daleks in The Power of the Daleks.

    Pg 148 "When I met the Doc, he was fighting these war machine things in London. Then there were the Daleks, the Cybermen, the -" The War Machines, The Power of the Daleks, The Tenth Planet.

    "Any schoolkid could have made this up! Everyone's heard of the Cybermen since they attacked the moon in twenty-whatever-it-was" The Moonbase. The reference to "any schoolkid" is likely a reference to Hobson saying "There were Cybermen, every child knows that" in The Moonbase.

    "I mean, there really are green men on Mars." The Ice Warriors.

    "But who do you think stopped the Cybermen from taking over Earth in 1986?" The Tenth Planet.

    "And you ask the colonists on Vulcan about Daleks." The Power of the Daleks.

    Pg 159 "Then the Selachians had a falling out with the rulers of Terra Alpha" The Happiness Patrol, although this likely took place some time before that as most sources date that story to centuries later.

    Pg 186 "The Cybermen are more civilised than you! At least they're interested in a bit more than just acquiring weapons, waging war and building up the illusion of importance in an otherwise insignificant, backwater race!" This is indeed true in The Tenth Planet, but by Revenge of the Cybermen the same description could apply to the Cybermen.

    Pg 193 "The monotonous routine of a secretarial job with Professor Brett" The War Machines.

    "She had to pinch herself sometimes to be sure that she was awake, not simply dreaming on her parents' sofa while an action movie or Professor X flickered across their monochrome TV screen." Professor X was a fictional TV series in many NAs that bore a number of resemblances to Doctor Who.

    Pg 221 "I was Professor Brett's personal assistant in London." The War Machines.

    Pgs 227-228 "The Doctor congratulated himself and resolved to begin work on a permanent version of the device when he got back to the TARDIS." This becomes the sonic screwdriver, first seen in Fury from the Deep.

    Pg 241 "Nobody would end up as cinders floating around in Spain if he could help it." Reference William Hartnell's infamous fluff in The Chase.

    Pg 278 "Hornby had found the most awful shirt in the TARDIS wardrobes: a clashing patchwork affair, none of the squares on which quite matched his yellow trousers. The Doctor grinned inwardly. He might not have Polly's fashion sense, but at least he would never dress like that." He later does, for the duration of his sixth incarnation.


    Geoff Hornby (real name John Smith), Daphne McAllister, Dorothy Adler (real name unknown).

    The Selachians (who were mentioned in Killing Ground, as the Cybermen had stolen a Selachian weapon in that book), who later appear in The Final Sanction.

    Pg 246 The Terran Security Force also appear in The Final Sanction


    1. Back cover: "It is the year 2146." Page 92 (amongst numerous others) makes it clear that it is the year 2136.
    2. Pg 92 "Your mentions in the UNIT files, particularly." This shouldn't be found in the database, as the seventh Doctor destroyed all references to himself in Earth's files in 2109, in Transit.
    3. Pg 93 ""Adler" was the name of one of my old friend Conan Doyle's fictional characters." The Doctor doesn't meet Conan Doyle until his fourth incarnation, in Evolution.

    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    1. The early BBC Books were notorious for their typos, so the back cover is clearly one of them.
    2. The Doctor's adjustment of Thomas's systems may have let him access data that was wiped.
    3. The Doctor may be name-dropping out of habit.

    The Selachians, aquatic creatures who mutilate themselves to fit into suits that have shark faces painted on them for intimidation. They look a bit like pink dolphins inside and collect advanced weapons to wage war against air-breathers.

    The Space Hotel Galaxian, a Selachian warcraft and a police ship, all in 2136.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    The Murder Game is a fun little novel, with a neatly unfolding mystery, the introduction of the big bad Selachians and some decent character development for Ben and Polly. The in-jokes range from the clever to the groan-worthy and even the notoriously difficult second Doctor is captured reasonably well. Recommended.