65,215 Pages


The Dying Days was the final release of the Virgin New Adventures line of Doctor Who novels and the only one featuring the Eighth Doctor. After this novel was published, Virgin Books forfeited the rights to produce novels featuring the Doctor to BBC Books. This marked a transition to a new series of novels featuring Bernice Summerfield as the main character while BBC Books made their own series of novels featuring the Eighth Doctor.

Publisher's summary

6 May 1997

The Dying Days of the Twentieth Century

On the Mare Sirenum, British astronauts are walking on the surface of Mars for the first time in over twenty years. The National Space Museum in London is the venue for a spectacular event where the great and the good celebrate a unique British achievement.

In Adisham, Kent, the most dangerous man in Britain has escaped from custody while being transported by helicopter. In Whitehall, the new Home Secretary is convinced that there is a plot brewing to overthrow the government. In west London, MI5 agents shut down a publishing company that got too close to the top secret organisation known as UNIT. And, on a state visit to Washington, the British Prime Minister prepares to make a crucial speech, totally unaware that dark forces are working against him.

As the Eighth Doctor and Professor Bernice Summerfield discover, all these events are connected. However, soon all will be overshadowed.

This time, the Doctor is already too late.


to be added



The Doctor




  • Water is a source of great wealth on Mars.



  • The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reflect an Ice Warrior's sonic blast.
  • After being blown out of the Ice Warrior's War Rocket, the Doctor creates several balloons to slow his descent out of bin bags, curtain rings and a cannister of helium.


  • The Arcturan Treaty of 2085 is the official date of peaceful first contact with aliens.


  • The Brigadier kept Bessie in mothballs for the Doctor.

Cultural references from the real world


  • This is the Eighth Doctor's only appearance in the Virgin New Adventures book series, with his first line being "Sorry I'm late. You wouldn't believe the state of the traffic around the Horsehead Nebula", and his last line being "What would that-" before he is interrupted by Bernice's kiss.
  • Although officially the final release of the Virgin Doctor Who New Adventures line, it was in fact not the last to be published. Due to production delays, a novel featuring the Seventh Doctor that had been intended for release several months earlier, So Vile a Sin, was not published until a month after this novel came out, making it, technically, the final Doctor Who NA release.
  • Rather than using the McCoy era Doctor Who logo on the spine, or the later New Adventures logo intended for the Summerfield novels, The Dying Days features the Virgin Books logo on the spine.
  • Prior to the release of The Company of Friends, the novel held the distinction of featuring the only appearance of Professor Bernice Summerfield with the Eighth Doctor for over ten years.
  • Virgin would continue to publish The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield. The Dying Days ends leading Bernice to her new home at the University of Dellah.
  • This novel was the first to be re-released by BBCi on the official Doctor Who website in ebook form, accompanied by extensive notes and commentary from author Lance Parkin and new illustrations by artist Allan Bednar. It became inaccessible in 2010.
  • At the Mars landing party there are a few notable guests: Jeremy Paxman, Richard Dawkins, Chris Evans, Gillian Anderson, Richard Branson, Alan Yentob, Emma Peel and Lalla Ward (who appears as herself and "in character" as Romana II at the end of the book).
  • Benny's knowledge specialty of the 20th century actually ranges from 1963 to 1989, a reference to the period of the TV series' original run.
  • When Xznaal is seen from the point of view of Greyhaven, the Doctor, or Benny, the pronoun Parkin uses for Xznaal is "he". From anyone else's point of view, Parkin refers to Xznaal as "it", as in "Xznaal moved its scaly body".
  • The human names are also written (when viewed from the Ice Warrior's point of view) as they would pronounce them, such as Gerayhavun/Greyhaven, Xztaynz/Staines.
  • Philip Segal reportedly stated that a big alien invasion couldn't be done on the TV movie's budget because of the cost of multiple prosthetic costumes and the cost of showing a full alien invasion. The Dying Days features an alien invasion with three Ice Warriors; there are never more than two Ice Warriors in a room together throughout the book.
  • The book's concluding chapter ends with Benny initiating a sexual encounter with the Doctor, a first for the franchise in any licensed media. Debated for many years by fans, the event was again referenced in the Big Finish audio drama Benny's Story, furthering its controversy.
  • The book was notable for not having the Doctor Who logo anywhere on the cover, spine or interior, due to Virgin not having the rights to the logo introduced for the Eighth Doctor (the rights to which were owned by BBC Books) and not wanting to use the Seventh Doctor's logo; Virgin Publishing's logo was used instead. In addition, the title Doctor Who appears nowhere on the back cover or interior pages until one gets to the copyright page. There is also a brief mention on an acknowledgements page.
  • The book concludes with the afterword, "The End and a new beginning", signed by the editors of the New Adventures line, acknowledging this as the final Doctor Who novel and promoting the start of the Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures line.
  • Parkin later released his original epilogue to the novel as a "final chapter" to the novel in 1997.
  • The novel's title was inspired by the lyrics of Gladys Knight's License to Kill.
  • Parkin would create an "alternate ending" to this novel of sorts with his short stories Worm and Fishy Business, published in 1998's Perfect Timing and 1999's Perfect Timing 2, respectively. Both stories portrayed an alternate timeline where the Doctor and Benny became lovers and continued to travel together for years following the Martian invasion. Benny would be seen pregnant in the Doctor's memories in Parkin's The Infinity Doctors.

E-Book illustrations


External links