The Doctor, Chris and Roz land in London, 1987, to find a city in the middle of a crisis. There is a drug epidemic, chaos on the streets and a young boy with an unusual gift. But how do they all fit together?
This story is notable for being Russell T. Davies' first major published Doctor Who story, a full decade before he re-introduced the TV series to a new audience. He also happily had some input with a full-cast adaptation by Big Finish, starring Sylvester McCoy, Yasmin Bannerman and Travis Oliver.
- Compelling Voice: Gabriel Tyler has this ability, but fortunately limits it to do menial things like making a neighbour take him for a drive.
- Creator Thumbprint: A family of Tylers living in an estate in London? Yep, it's a story by Russell T. Davies all right!
- Darker and Edgier: Easily the darkest story by Russell T. Davies, by far. The Virgin series has pulled no punches with their releases. This story features very strong drug themes and sex, and neither really are recurring elements in the TV series. Hell, this could be an episode of Torchwood.
- Drugs Are Bad: Don't take drugs, or you'll turn into a giant scary space monster!
- Entitled Bastard: When Mrs Jericho discovers that her dying, adopted son is actually one in a pair, she decides to trade off the dying son for the healthy one. Virtually every character points out that they are children, not a faulty cardigan. Unfortunately, her madness prevents her from listening.
- Glamour: Gabriel has one, giving him traits of whomever looks at him in order to make them more sympathetic towards him, though it's debatable on whether he's aware of that particular gift.
- Mundane Utility: Gabriel's Compelling Voice is typically used to hide at a neighbour's house when his mum is angry, or to score a free car ride. His glamour also gives him small gifts from his neighbours, be it sympathy or bits of food when he's hungry.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: A rare non-time travel related example. Gabriel and Steven were originally part of a gestalt entity, but their long separation corrupted their link and caused Gabriel to start drawing from Steven's life. The two meeting would, and does, have disastrous consequences for the pair, instantly killing Steven. Gabriel's saved in the audio version of the story, albeit without the abilities the gestalt granted him.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The Capper's (pretty rubbish) reasons for killing off his schoolmates-turned drug cartel.Capper: Neil Cotter, you still owe me 50 Quid! [Cotter is vaporized] Jamie Docherty, remember when we used to bunk off school and go shopping together? [Jamie is killed] Richie Solomon, I took a beating for you! [Richie is killed] Scott Delaney! I've been doing your girlfriend behind your back! [Scott is vaporized]
- Mythology Gag: Near the end of the novel there's a scene where a UNIT investigator named Marcie Hatter tries to make sense of what happened. Marcie Hatter, as a child, was the heroine of Davies' earlier SF series Dark Season.
- Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Dr Greico is said to look a bit like Neil Tennant.
- Title Drop: Mrs Jericho constantly refers to her dying son as damaged goods, comparing him to a faulty shirt that can be replaced at a shop.
- Waxing Lyrical:The Doctor: Everybody needs good neighbours.
Tropes specific to the audio adaptation:
- Arc Welding: The Big Finish adaptation is a rare trifecta between the audio, books AND TV series, done by setting a Virgin Novels story in the Big Finish universe, and replacing the plot arc of a time traveling conspiracy with Torchwood. The Last Great Time War is also alluded to, whereas it wasn't in the original book.
- Foreshadowing: Foreshadows Torchwood's arrival to Big Finish. They were previously not allowed to use concepts from the rebooted TV series or even mention them, but if Torchwood is mentioned, that means they are now allowed to incorporate the organization into Big Finish releases. A Torchwood series was announced around the same time as the audio release of Damaged Goods.
- Dr. Greico is revealed to be working for Torchwood, a name the Doctor will become all too familiar with in a few incarnations.
- The N-Form is also activated from a Time-Lord based conflict in the near future.
- Lighter and Softer: The audio version, while still dark and tragic, does soften some things down a bit. The cocaine in the novel is instead renamed "Smile", neither of which the Doctor takes to confront the waveform, Bev and Gabriel actually live at the end, Chris and David merely make-out rather than have sex, and Mrs. Jericho is allowed to sacrifice herself to save Gabriel/Steven from her new waveform protocols rather than being torn apart by her unborn child.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Since this novel was in the middle of a self-contained arc featuring baddies "The Brotherhood" among other things, they were removed in favour of replacing them with concepts the modern audience would be familiar with, such as Torchwood and The Last Great Time War.