The Twin Dilemma

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The Twin DilemmaThe Twin Dilemma


Pages 138
ISBN 0-426-20155-8
Publication Date 13 March 1985


1986 Target Books edition

The Doctor has regenerated, having sacrificed his fifth persona to save Peri’s life. But things are not going well…

On this occasion the process of regeneration is by no means smooth, for the even-tempered, good-humoured fifth Doctor has given way to a rather disturbed and unsettled successor.

In a particularly irascible moment the new Doctor comes dangerously close to committing a shocking crime. Overwhelmed with guilt for his violent behaviour, the repentant Time Lord decides to become a hermit…

1993 Target Books edition


Sacrificing his fifth persona to save Peri’s life, The Doctor has regenerated again. But this time his regeneration is by no means smooth, for the new Doctor is strangely disturbed and unsettled in his personality.

In a particularly irascible moment the new Doctor comes dangerously close to committing a shocking crime against Peri. Overwhelmed with guilt for his violent behaviour, the repentant Time Lord decides to become a hermit…

The first story to feature Colin Baker in the role of the Doctor, The Twin Dilemma was written for television by Anthony Steven. This novelisation by Eric Saward, one-time script editor of the series and author of several other Doctor Who novelisations and television stories.




  1. Home Time
  2. The Maladjusted Time Lord
  3. Enter Professor Edgeworth
  4. Mestor the Magnificent
  5. Titan Three
  6. An Unsafe Safe House
  7. The Reunion
  8. Jaconda the Beautiful!
  9. End Game, Part One
  10. End Game, Part Two


  • Saward adds a detailed description of how regeneration works, detail not supported by other novels or televised stories. However, Saward’s creation of lindos, the hormone which kickstarts the regenerative process, is significant to the plot of Unregenerate!
  • Azmael is said to have gunned down the High Council before leaving Gallifrey. There is no mention of this in the televised story.
  • Azmael expresses regrets about leaving Gallifrey and becoming a renegade. In the televised story, his only regret is not being able to stay on Jaconda.
  • The Doctor reminisces about his times with Jo Grant, Tegan, Leela, Zoe, Jamie, Turlough, Nyssa, Romana, Liz Shaw and more prominently, Adric. The novelisation goes further and says that the memory of Adric. was the most painful of all, with the boy going to his death without The Doctor being able to fully praise or even like him.
  • The acid in the vials is referred to as Mosten acid, which doesn’t burn or corrode, but ages whatever is immersed in it by a unique process of dehydration.
  • Professor Sylvest is given the first name”Archie” and his wife named as Nimo. There is much back story added about how he dreams of killing the twins and has spent much time with his colleague Vestal Smith until he is threatened by her “Neanderthal” husband.
  • Several mentions are made of an alcoholic drink called Voxnic.
  • The Doctor’s cowardice on meeting the Jacondans and attacking Azmael are omitted. Much of his initial dialogue with Azmael is given to Peri.
  • Azmaels full alias is given as Bernard Edgeworth. His true identity is revealed shortly after he kidnaps the twins.
  • It is stated that the corrupt Time Lord High Council sent sadistic Seedle Warriors after Azmael who wiped out the population of Vitrol Minor.
  • There are several stories about characters tangentially related to the plot: Counciller Verne (a Time Lord who rose to high office after regenerating into a handsome man, took multiple regenerations to recover his good looks and ended up deformed), a group of scientists from Maston Viva who set up the base on Titan Three (the atmosphere so depressed them that they missed a radiation pulse that wiped out their planet), Professor James Zarn (the inventor of the revitaliser who cured a space plague that made people too honest but was turned into a giant glass of Voxnic by a revitaliser accident and drunk by his guests) and Professor Vinny Mosten (who discovered the acid that was named after him when he exposed an attempt to artificially age supposed archeological relics and died when it was spilled on him).
  • The Chamberlain is named as Slarn and only appears at the conclusion of the tale as he tries to bribe Hugo and the twins to take him off the planet.
  • The Doctor does not meet the twins until he arrives on Jaconda.
  • Hugo Lang fails to realise Azmael’s ship should not be capable of warp drive and needs The Doctor to tell him to use his gun to cut himself out of the slime trail. He is a less sympathetic character than on screen, dreaming of becoming a celebrity by rescuing the twins without any real personal risk, considering abandoning The Doctor and Peri on Jaconda and staying behind because he thinks Slarn will pay him highly to be his bodyguard.
  • The kidnap of the twins is partly told from the point of view of a cat, said to be the most intelligent creature on Earth. Azmael injects the twins with a drug rather than placing discs on them.
  • The characters of Fabian and Elena and the sequences at police headquarters are omitted, as is the scene of Mestor executing a Jacondan prisoner
  • The Doctor does not meet Mestor in person until their final confrontation, communicating with him via a hologram until that point. Peri only meets him off page.
  • Hugo is taken to the laboratory by Noma and his guards, removing the oddity in the televised version where he is knocked unconscious and then left to walk around freely when he recovers.
  • The Gastropods are named as Sectoms. The Doctor mentions that the Jacondans are forming militias to dispose of the remaining gastropods after Mestor’s death.

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