Mission to Magnus

Mission to Magnus
Author Philip Martin
Cover artist Alister Pearson
Series Doctor Who book:
Doctor Who Missing Episodes
Release number
Subject Featuring:
Sixth Doctor
Set in Period between
The Nightmare Fair and
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
12 July 1990
ISBN 0-426-20347-X
Preceded by The Ultimate Evil
Remembrance of the Daleks
Followed by None
Ghost Light

Mission to Magnus is a story originally written to be part of the unfilmed 1986 season of Doctor Who. It was novelised by its scriptwriter Philip Martin, who had previously written the television stories Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp.

The story is set after another unfilmed story, The Nightmare Fair.

A novelisation of the story was published by Target Books in 1990 as the third volume of its Missing Episodes series. A Big Finish audio adaptation of the story was published in 2009.


The Sixth Doctor and Peri find themselves being threatened by Anzor, an old school bully from the Doctor's time on Gallifrey, who locks the TARDIS in orbit above the planet of Magnus. On this planet, Anzor has been working with the female upper caste to his own ends, alongside the Doctor's old enemy Sil. When the Doctor investigates further, he discovers that the polar icecaps of the planet hide an even darker foe — the Ice Warriors.


It was announced in 1985 that Michael Grade, controller of BBC1, had cancelled a number of long-running programmes in order to help fund the launch of a new soap opera named EastEnders. Of the many programmes that were cancelled, Doctor Who was the most high-profile. A campaign was quickly launched by the national press to see about its return and Grade very quickly confirmed that Doctor Who would be returning in 1986.

Several stories had already been in the planning stages for the 23rd Season of Doctor Who, three of which were in the middle of being scripted when the announcement was made. Writer Philip Martin, who had seen mild success with his script for Vengeance on Varos the previous year, was asked by producer John Nathan-Turner to write a script containing the return of the popular Sil, introduced in that story. He also requested the inclusion of the Ice Warriors, who hadn't been seen in Doctor Who since The Monster of Peladon in 1974. As the third in production, this script was the least complete at the time of the cancellation, and no director had yet been announced (evidence suggests it might have been Ron Jones, who helmed both of Martin's other scripts for the series).

In 1988, Target Books, which had been successfully publishing novelisations of Doctor Who stories for many years, saw itself quickly running out of available televised material (although a number of serials remained unadapted, most of these were off-limits due to licensing problems). While negotiations went forward with the BBC for the publication of all new adventures, the decision was made to resurrect three of the cancelled scripts and publish them in book form. The writers of all three were approached, and all were signed on to write the novels.


As it was the least complete of the three scripts, Mission to Magnus required a great deal more work in adapting it to novel form. Martin would later recall that everything up to the point where Anzor vanishes from the story was more or less scripted, and the material that followed that had only been storylined at the point the series was rested. One thing that he took advantage of in the process of "finishing" the story in novel form was to include a reference to the Mentor Kiv, a character seen in this story's eventual replacement in the produced Season 23 The Trial of a Time Lord story, Mindwarp.

Audio Adaptation

Mission to Magnus
Album cover
Big Finish Productions audio drama
Series Doctor Who: The Lost Stories
Release no. 2
Featuring Sixth Doctor
Peri Brown
Written by Philip Martin
Directed by Lisa Bowerman
Executive producer(s) Nicholas Briggs
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Production code 6Y/AB
Release date December 2009

Mission to Magnus is a Big Finish Productions audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who.

In February 2009, Big Finish announced plans to track down and record seven of the cancelled serials from the original season 23 of Doctor Who. Mission to Magnus was the first of these to be recorded after being adapted by original author Philip Martin.


Cast notes



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