Image Credit: Simon Brett (Used with Permission)
Image Description: The cover of Professor Howe and the Holy Hotel
By James Ashworth
After a classic Who parody in the form of Professor Howe and the Furious Foam, it’s time for some satire of the modern era with Professor Howe and the Holy Hotel. With the Professor finally giving Mo and Oliver Lake some time for their honeymoon, they’re hoping they’ve finally got some time to relax. However, with the hotel constantly changing, and monsters stalking the corridor, it’s time for the trio to make some new allies, and kick into action.
I must admit, The God Complex was not exactly a Doctor Who story I thought was crying out for a parody, but I was very much wrong, as the book is an entertaining adventure from start to finish. Unlike Furious Foam, it’s less satirical and instead much more broadly funny, with a range of innuendo, jokes and bakery-based humour. Yet while it is very funny, that’s not to say it’s not very affecting in other ways. The best parodies take the spirit of the source material with them, and Holy Hotel certainly does this, managing to embrace the nature of the fears that underlie The God Complex and bringing some poignant moments that I didn’t expect.
However, the parody goes beyond just The God Complex, and takes aim at many aspects of the Pond era in general. This isn’t always to its advantage, as it feels a little overstuffed in places. Sometimes, the desire to satirise another Eleventh Doctor story means the main narrative takes a back seat, but these moments, when they happen, are relatively brief. Furthermore, these asides have a surprisingly high hit rate, finding levity in a broad range of Smith episodes.
The choice of inspiration for Professor is also important to ensure these parodies hit the mark, and the selection of a character not unlike Miranda Hart’s character in the self-titled sitcom is inspired. The spontaneous breakouts into song work really well in context, and seem like a very Doctorish thing to do in certain incarnations – a rendition of ‘Take Me to Church’ is a particular highlight. Putting up with these antics are the Lakes, whose marital strife, and antagonism with the Professor, also work well in the Shining-light atmosphere of the hotel.
With a great story, emotional moments, and a cracking cover, Professor Howe and the Holy Hotel is well worth picking up. And with it raising money for a great cause, why wouldn’t you want to read this tale of psychic goldfish, menacing dummies and fantastic flans?