ONE of the most influential writers during the early years of classic Who was Malcolm Hulke, whose contributions to the series brought us groundbreaking stories including The War Games (with Terrance Dicks), Colony in Space, Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Frontier in Space.

In introducing a race of hominid reptiles who had ruled the Earth before mankind in The Silurians, Hulke moved the series away from its ‘sixties black-and-white morality to offer alternative perspectives for the “monsters” encountered by the Doctor.

He returned to these concepts in follow-up story The Sea Devils, which explored an aquatic off-shoot of the Earth Reptiles, who are being used by renegade Time Lord the Master in his plans for global conquest.

Once again the Doctor attempts to facilitate peaceful negotiations between mankind and their sub-sea predecessors, but as in the previous story without success, with the Master’s schemes leading to the destruction of the Sea Devil colony…

One of the highlights of Malcolm Hulke’s novelisations of his TV Who stories is his tendency to expand upon on-screen events with background detail and characterisation, and that tradition is continued here with the latest in AudioGo’s series of Target Books audios, particularly the information surrounding the Master’s (off-screen) trial and how the Doctor prevented his execution.

Geoffrey Beevers, who played the Master in The Keeper of Traken, is a worthwhile stand-in for the late Roger Delgado, his rich and powerful tones perfect for an audiobook reading.

One of the original batch of novelisations published by Target, The Sea Devils benefits greatly from its expanded page count, mature treatment of some very adult themes, and interesting protagonists. A worthy addition to the library.