The Greatest Gamble
Continuity: The Celestial Toymaker often ventures into space and time and challenges suitable players to games, tricking them into venturing back into the Celestial Toyroom with him. As in The Celestial Toymaker, losing players are transformed into his toys; all the toys seen here are life-size, immobile statues. He transforms the amusingly named Gaylord LeFevre into a toy here when LeFevre tries to cheat, the Toymaker declaring the game void. He's seen luring a Roman Centurion to a game at the end of the story.
Links: The Celestial Toymaker's sole television appearance was in The Celestial Toymaker. Since then, he's appeared in the novels Divided Loyalties and The Nightmare Fair. He also appears in the short story Brief Encounter: Games. This is first comic strip appearance; he'll later return in the Eighth Doctor's comic strip debut, Endgame.
Location: The Mississippi, America, during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century; the Roman Empire, exact date and location unknown; and the Celestial Toyroom.
The Bottom Line: This is the first of several back-up strips written by John Peel, better known to Doctor Who fans as the author of several quite good novelization of Dalek television stories, and two astonishingly bad original Dalek novels, as well as one New Adventure and one Missing Adventure, both of which are quite dull. This first script shares with his others a rigid adherence to the continuity of the television series and as such does little new with the Toymaker, relying purely on what was established about him in The Celestial Toymaker. Nevertheless, it's rather entertaining and is given a significant boost by McMahon's always distinctive artwork.