Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
This is the twenty-third novel in Virgin's Missing Adventures series.
Where does this fit?
This story happens shortly after Season 23 (The Trial of a Time Lord) and before the future adventure shown in that story (Terror of the Vervoids).
It is also straight after the Missing Adventure Time of Your life.
Other Guides to this Story
The sixth Doctor is brash, stubborn, and often condescending and arrogant. He wears a bright multi-coloured coat. In The Trial of a Time Lord, he encountered an evil version of his future self called the Valeyard and saw a future adventure of his where he was accompanied by a companion called Mel who was a computer programmer. In Time of Your Life he attempted to retire from his travels to prevent this future from happening.
Grant Markham is a computer programmer who was born on the planet Agora, but grew up on the planet New Earth. He suffers from Robophobia (fear of robots). In Time of Your Life, Grant was accidentally transported to the planet Torrok as part of a TV program. He helped the Doctor to defeat a sentient computer program. This story is his first trip in the TARDIS.
Recurring and Historical Characters
The Cybermen originally came from the planet Mondas, a twin planet to Earth. The planet somehow left its orbit, travelling into deep space. In order to survive its people started replacing their body parts with cybernetics. Eventually they became more machine than man, removing their emotions. Now much stronger than humans they seek only to survive and convert human beings into more Cybermen. The Doctor has encountered them numerous times. In Revenge of the Cybermen, he discovered that gold dust clogs their breathing apparatus, and is fatal to them. There are lots of minor references to their history in this book, not all of which are referring to other stories.
Arc-Hivist Hegelia is an historian from a future civilisation. She was the in-universe author of the Cyberman chronology in David Banks' reference book Cyberman, although that chronology is clearly not her most recent study of CyberHistory. She has never encountered the Doctor before, but is aware of most of his encounters with the Cybermen to date.
None. Though if you are entirely unfamiliar with the Cybermen you might want to watch a story or two which features them. There are plenty of references to Cyberman history, and the Doctor's previous encounters with them, but that is entirely background detail.
Grant Markham was introduced in Time of Your Life, but you do not need to have read his appearance there to follow this.
Arc-Hivist Hegelia was the in-Universe author of the Cyberman chronology in David Banks' reference book Cyberman. Her personality was not established there, but she does occasionally use terminology from that book in describing CyberHistory.