The novel “The Bandril Invasion” by Wink Taylor was published for the first time in 2019.
Billy Bandril is the TV star of the moment and his show has huge ratings. Even Lucy Wilson finds it very funny and always watches it, although she is embarrassed to admit it to Hobo, who considers it very mundane and doesn’t like the influence it has on the audience.
Almost by accident, Lucy Wilson participates in a casting for Billy Bandril’s show and is selected. The team that is supposed to write the scripts seems inept, so Lucy has to come up with her own ideas of what to tell on television and she decides to focus on the stories that her grandfather Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart told her.
The series “The Lucy Wilson Mysteries” tells the adventures of the granddaughter of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, a character who became famous in the TV show “Doctor Who“. It’s a series aimed at young readers with novels that are much shorter than the normal series connected to this saga. The stories almost exclusively include fictional characters created for other short stories and novels, and only occasionally characters that appeared in the TV show.
The novels that tell Lucy Wilson’s adventures usually contain some references to her famous grandfather, whom she considers a source of inspiration. In “The Bandril Invasion” there’s a far greater amount of those references because the stories Lucy heard when she was a child are central to the plot. For readers familiar with the classic “Doctor Who” series, recognizing the various serials is part of the fun.
“The Bandril Invasion” takes Lucy Wilson not on an alien world but into the television world and at least apparently there are no evil forces at work. However, the influence of Billy Bandril and his puppet show seems out of the ordinary, even to the adult audience. Lucy’s experience in that world leads her to risk turning the stories that her grandfather told her into trivial means to obtain good ratings. Her friendship with Hobo is also tested because he’s suspicious of Billy Bandril.
The stories of the series “The Lucy Wilson Mysteries” are mainly oriented to younger readers, so ethical and moral issues can’t be developed very thoroughly but that doesn’t mean that they’re absent. In this case, author Wink Taylor takes a look behind-the-scenes of the world of television showing its dark sides. Important stories are trivialized by making them spectacular just to obtain good ratings. Human relationships are totally sacrificed in an environment full of cutthroats where only ratings matter.
The plot concerns the world of television and is developed for a good part of the novel as if it were a normal story linked to that environment. This can leave the reader puzzled for a while because the only oddity is the success of Billy Bandril’s show, which can be interpreted as a satire. One can suspect where the plot goes and in the second half discoveries and revelations begin.
“The Bandril Invasion” is much more linked to the classic “Doctor Who” series than the previous Lucy Wilson novels, even the first ones, in which the bond between Lucy and her grandfather had a lot of room. For this reason, it’s particularly enjoyable for fans of the classic series, even if they are older. To other readers, especially the younger ones, Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart’s stories will sound like fairy tales.