The Whoniverse Guide to "Canon"

The word "canon" is often used to describe which stories count as part of the Doctor Who Mythos. Although we do not accept that there is any official canon, and the correct word for the scope of Doctor Who stories is most probably "continuity", the word "canon" is widely used to mean "the stories I consider to count". This page, therefore, describes the extent of the "canon" of stories which this site may cover in at least some of its guides.

Criteria for Inclusion

There are three issues which define whether a story is in continuity.

Official Sanction

If a story is officially licensed by the BBC as a Doctor Who story, then it is almost always considered in continuity. If the story does not have a BBC license, but does feature characters who were created for a Doctor Who story, then it also counts if it is officially licensed by whoever owns the relevant rights. Hence the Bernice Summerfield spin-offs, which do not need to be licensed by the BBC, can also be counted.

If a story falls into a grey area, then we should probably give it the benefit of the doubt. For example, Jim Mortimore's novel Campaign was dropped by the BBC after they had signed the contract for it. Although the novel was published independently, it still has a good claim to be officially approved. Craig Hinton and Chris McKeon's novel Time's Champion was never officially licensed, so does not. However, as it wraps up continuity threads ignored by the novel featuring the Sixth Doctor's official regeneration and serves as a tribute to the late Craig Hinton, we like to pretend that it was.

A story can also be made official by association. Jon Blum's fan video Time Rift was not officially licensed. However, the eighth Doctor novel Vampire Science is very clearly a sequel to that story, hence we can assume that Time Rift is in continuity.

Release Status

If a story (or scenes from a story) has not been released, then it is not yet in continuity. So we do not include leaks and spoilers about forthcoming stories (and, generally speaking prefer to watch new stories without being spoilered). Nor do we include material that was written, recorded, or filmed, but which has never been made available to the public.

Unbound Stories

Some officially licensed stories were never intended to be part of the ongoing story of the Doctor, or the universe in which he lives. Such stories are not considered strictly in continuity. We will cover them, but these "Unbound" stories will usually be clearly marked and categorised as such. The most prominent examples of such stories are the Peter Cushing Dalek movies and Big Finish's Unbound series of audios. Comedy skits about the series and stories where the actors step out of character are considered out of continuity rather than unbound.

List of In-Continuity Stories

The following sets of stories are considered part of the main continuity. If we have missed anything off the list, please let us know in the comments.

Televised Stories

  • The Classic TV Series from 1963-1989, including the unfinished fourth Doctor story Shada
  • A Fix With Sontarans, a short sketch from Jim'll Fix It
  • The Children in Need charity specials Dimensions in Time, Pudsey Cutaway, and Time Crash. Though Dimensions in Time is a dream sequence.
  • The 1996 TV Movie
  • The New TV Series from 2005 onwards
  • Attack of the Graske, the interactive story broadcast at Christmas 2005
  • Animated stories broadcast by the BBC
  • Short in-continuity tie-in scenes released on the BBC website or DVD extras.

Novels

  • The Target novelisations of televised stories. However, as retellings of the TV stories, they are considered alternative versions which may not be entirely true. If a novelisation contradicts that in the TV story, the televised version takes precedence.
  • The Companions of Doctor Who novels (though K9 and Company counts as a novelisation)
  • The three missing season novelisations
  • The four K9 picture books
  • The 1980s Find Your Fate books (although it's anyone's guess which version is the one that "actually happened")
  • The Virgin New Adventures, published from 1991-1997
  • The Virgin Missing Adventures, published from 1993-1997
  • Who Killed Kennedy, a one-off novel by Virgin
  • The 15 Doctor Who novellas published by Telos
  • The BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures published from 1997-2005
  • The BBC Past Doctor Adventures published from 1997-2005
  • The BBC New Series Adventures and other new series tie-in novels published from 2005 onwards.

Webcasts

  • Death Comes to Time
  • Real Time
  • Shada (the eighth Doctor version)

Audios

  • Doctor Who and the Pescatons LP from 1976
  • Slipback, broadcast in 1985
  • The Paradise of Death, broadcast in 1993
  • The Ghosts of N-Space, broadcast in 1996
  • Big Finish's monthly series of Doctor Who audios
  • Big Finish's Eighth Doctor audios, originally broadcast on BBC7
  • All of Big Finish's Doctor Who miniseries except for the Doctor Who Unbound audios
  • All stories on the free CDs and Big Finish downloads given away with Doctor Who Magazine
  • The Tom Baker audios
  • Big Finish's Companion Chronicles series
  • Big Finish's Lost Story series (though some versions may be taken as the novelisation to the original novelisation)

Short Stories

Note that any short stories within a collection which tie into an Unbound story are considered Unbound regardless of the status of the rest of the collection.

  • Virgin Books' first three Decalog collections
  • BBC Books' three Short Trips collections, including the stories only available on the audiobook versions, and on the Earth and Beyond and Out of the Darkness audiobooks
  • Big Finish's Short Trips collections
  • All short stories from the Doctor Who Annuals and the Doctor Who Storybooks which have been published since 2005

Comic Strips

  • All comic strips written for Doctor Who Magazine and associated specials, yearbooks, or storybooks
  • All comic strips written for Doctor Who Adventures and the associated annuals
  • All comic strips written for Battles in Time
  • Some or all of the TV Comic and TV Century 21 era comics (those featuring John and Gillian are clearly stated to have happened within the Land of Fiction. It's unclear what the status of some of the other stories is).
  • All comic strips written for IDW, with the exception of the Star Trek crossover.

Stage Plays

  • The Ultimate Adventure (one of the short stories establishes that the versions with all three lead actors are somehow in continuity)

Miscellaneous Stories

  • The stories collected on Sky Ray Ice Lolly wrappers
  • The Destiny of the Doctors computer game
  • The Adventure Games downloadable from the BBC website

Unbound Stories

The following sets of stories are considered to be Unbound

The Cushing Movies

Dr Who and the Daleks and Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD are both retellings of televised stories with a clearly different lead character to the one on TV. Hence they are Unbound stories.

Big Finish Unbounds

Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound audios are clearly intended to be outside the canon.

Alternate Ninth Doctors

Although The Gallifrey Chronicles establishes that there are three ninth Doctors running about the Whoniverse, we are treating the stories starring the two alternative ninth Doctors as Unbound. These stories are The Scream of the Shalka and The Curse of the Fatal Death.

Stage Plays

Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday featured an alternative Doctor, and hence is Unbound.

In-Continuity Spin-Offs

There are a number of Doctor Who spinoffs which we count as being in continuity. If we've left anything out, please say so in the comments.

K9 and Company

This one-off TV pilot from 1981 is unquestionably in continuity

Torchwood

The "adult" TV spinoff starring Captain Jack Harkness, including the Torchwood novels, audios, and comic strips.

The Sarah Jane Adventures

The "children's" TV spinoff series starring Sarah Jane Smith, including audios

Bernice Summerfield

There are a number of spinoff series starring Bernice Summerfield

  • The New Adventures published by Virgin books from 1997 to 1999
  • Decalog 4 (an anthology actually featuring the ancestors of Roz Forrester, included here for convenience, despite not featuring Benny or any of her supporting cast)
  • [[The Judgement of Solomon]] from the Decalog 5 short story anthology. The other stories in the anthology do not tie in to the Doctor Who Universe, so may or may not be in continuity.
  • Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield novels, short stories, and novellas
  • Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield audios (with the possible exception of Season 1, which are rewrites of previous stories, and so follow the same rules as Doctor Who novelisations)

Time Hunter

Telos's Time Hunter novellas follow on from their Doctor Who novella The Cabinet of Light, although as it features an unknown future Doctor, they might technically be Unbound. The DVD Daemos Rising ties into this series.

Kaldor City

The Kaldor City audios follow on from The Robots of Death and Corpse Marker

Faction Paradox

The Faction Paradox books, audios, and comic strips pick up the story of the War in Heaven which was dropped (and possibly unhappened) from the Eighth Doctor novels.

K-9

The TV series featuring a heavily redesigned K-9 is probably in continuity.

Other Fictional Universes

There have been a number of official crossover stories between the Whoniverse and other fictional universes over the years. We aim to chronicle most, if not all, of these crossover stories. In certain cases the whole of that other fictional universe might be considered to be in continuity, and we might cover them in more detail. If a fictional crossover is not listed here, the chances are that we simply haven't decided which category it is in yet.

In-Continuity Universes

The following fictional universes are considered fully part of the continuity

Blake's Seven

Corpse Marker and the Kaldor City audios clearly follow on from Blake's Seven and there is no evidence to deny that this is the same universe.

The Quatermass Continuum

There have been a number of sly references to the Quatermass stories. The most blatant was the appearance of Bernard Quatermass in The Dying Days. There have been no indications that these are not the same continuity.

Out-of-Continuity Universes

The following fictional universes are considered out of continuity. We may cover licensed crossover stories, and will note the occasional reference to them, but do not consider them part of the Doctor Who continuity.

Star Trek

There have been a few novels which make sly references to Star Trek as if it were part of the Whoniverse, and one cross-over comic strip by IDW. However the evidence overwhelmingly shows that it is a TV Show within the Whoniverse. These include Benny talking about one of the films in The Dying Days, both Izzy and Destrii watching the show in Oblivion, and Rose Tyler commenting about Mr Spock in The Empty Child.

The Marvel Universe

When Marvel Comics owned Doctor Who Magazine there were occasional stories where the Doctor would meet characters from the Marvel Universe, most famously Merlin and Death's Head. There have also been a few sly references to Marvel characters within some of the books, and a few characters originally from Doctor Who Magazine later turned up in stories clearly set in the Marvel Universe.. References to various Marvel comics as being comics aren't conclusive, as these exist within the Marvel Universe as well. However, it is quite obvious that contemporary Earth is not crawling with Marvel-style superheroes (or DC ones for that matter). The local galactic/intergalactic empires that are a huge part of the Marvel Universe are similarly absent from the Whoniverse. Furthermore, putting the UNIT dating issue aside, there is no evidence that the Earth of the Whoniverse is suffering from the "sliding timescale" that slows down ageing within Marvel's comics. The simplest way to treat these references is to assume that the Doctor occasionally pops across into the Marvel Universe/Multiverse, since many of these crossovers do involve at least one character travelling between different universes, and since that is also the explanation for various Marvel/DC crossovers.

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about the site, or any technical problems with it. You may also want to check out our Privacy Policy. There is also an About Us page, if you really want to read one.

Comments

What about the various BBV/Reeltime Videos and Audios featuring officially licensed characters such as the Sontarans, Autons and Liz Shaw? What about the Iris Wildthyme stories? What about the short stories drom Doctor Who/Weekly/Monthly Magazine(and its various specials, yearbooks etc?) What about the Radio Times Comics featuring the Eighth Doctor and Stacy?

Although if we're being technical, the only stories we can definitively say are not "canon" are the Virgin New/Missing Adventures, Decalogs, and the DWM comics that directly tie into them(ie. the ones with Benny and leather-wearing Ace).

How, exactly, can we say that the Virgin novels are "not 'canon'"? Even taking into account Lawrence Miles' bottle universe theory, surely they are at least as canonical as Kaldor City or Faction Paradox? Interestingly the discrepancy between Corpse Marker/Kaldor City and Robophobia can be resolved with a reference to the EDAs War in Heaven, in the course of which the Fendahl were retroactively destroyed. (Or at least that was how I interpreted the line in The Taking of Planet 5.)

When Doctor Who began in 1963 it was as a television series(well, obviously). The beginning of Doctor Who is the creation of the Doctor Who Production Office. In addition to this, the BBC sold the rights for other companies to make Doctor Who stories(eg. in the 60's it was TV Comic and World Distributors Annuals). However, the "core"(for want of a better word) was the Doctor Who production Office. Along the way there were stage shows, audios(eg. The Pescatons), original novels(such as Harry Sullivan's War), comics, a spin-off show(K9 and Company) and others.

The turning point came in 1990 when the Doctor Who Production Office was closed down. There was still official ongoing Who(such as the comics and short stories in Doctor Who Magazine). However, in 1991 the BBC signed a movie deal with another company. A key clause in that deal stated that as long as the movie deal was in effect....no other official ongoing Doctor Who could be made. This is the reason that a)The Dark Dimension was scuppered b)Dimensions in Time was aired as parts of two other programmes, and is of dubious canonicity at best c)All sorts of special gifts and jumping through hoops had to be achieved to allow the Pertwee audios to be made(and the second one didn't air until 1996). During this time the ONLY official ongoing Doctor Who was the (never-made) movie. And it's only when the movie contract expired(which actually resulted in a lawsuit) that official Who was allowed to commence. During this time, DWM had their comic run with the VNA continuity rather than the tv continuity, and once the movie contract expired, DWM abandoned the VNA continuity. The TV Movie, the BBC Books, the Ground Zero and on comics, all took place AFTER the movie contract expired. And all deliberately contradicted the VNA continuity.

peaking of which, the big myth about the VNA was that they were the story that "would have been" Season 26-, made by the last Production Team. JNT said that he never read them, and in any case both JNT and Cartmel had left the show before the Doctor Who production Office shut down in 1990. There was NO "Last Production Team". And can we believe that stuff like Transit would have been made for tv? In any case, the truth is that in 1973 Target Books acquired the rights to novelise television stories, which sometimes differed from the television episodes themselves. In 1988 Virgin books made a hostile takeover of Target's parent company WH Allen. By this stage the Target Books themselves had become largely irrelevant. In 1991, AFTER the movie deal had been made, with no television stories left to novelise, Virgin started publishing original fiction, which wasn't part of the contract they had taken over. However, the BBC viewed it as merchandise not canon. And check out the details of the launch of the EDAs in '96/'97,,,,the EDAs are spoken of as being the original canonical ongoing novel series. The VNAs are equivalent to TARDIS biscuit tins, not to canonical stories.

One of the last things JNT did whilst he was still officially producer of the show was to say that the Virgin New Adventures were the official continuation of the TV show. He man not have read them, but he made that proclamation whilst he was still the person in charge of Doctor Who. Whilst they were ongoing, fandom almost universally saw them as the current ongoing series - even those portions of fandom who hated them. Furthermore, the New Adventures have, in fact, had far more impact on the new series than any of the other wilderness years material. For the most blatant example, look at the list of writers for the 2005 series. The only one who hadn't written for Virgin was Rob Shearman. For some of them (most notably Paul Cornell), Virgin was the first step in their career as professional writers.

When it comes to BBC books, the very first one contains explicit references to the Virgin novels, so the idea that contradictions between the two (or a publicity line you recall from their launch) mean that one somehow invalidates the other is somewhat ridiculous. Their initial policy was to neither confirm nor deny the stories Virgin had published. But it wasn't long before the references to Virgin's novels made that policy impossible. And the final Eighth Doctor novel even makes a plot point of referencing something from the second Virgin novel.

With Big Finish, they began by adapting some of the Virgin novels, and anybody familiar with the New Adventures can see Virgin influences all over the range (and not just in things like Romana being the Time Lord President). The only real justification for your claim that writers in subsequent ranges were deliberately contradicting Virgin continuity is the DWM strip Ground Zero.

Incidentally, as I state in the article, I don't think there is an official "canon" in Doctor Who. If by canon you mean something along the lines of "a list of stories that are officially in continuity with each other", then no such thing exists. The TV series references TV stories, novels (both Virgin and BBC), audios, and comic strips. But it also directly contradicts stories from all those media. The only indication that anybody at the BBC thinks about things in terms of canon is a single press release that declares that a set of four computer games are part of the canon. Unless you are using the term canon to mean "officially-licensed Doctor Who story", the concept is one that is highly problematic. I only use it in the article because it is so widely used (misused?) amongst fans.

1)When did John Nathan Turner ever say that the Virgin Books were "the official continuation"? Your comment is even stranger as you say he stated it "while he was still officially producer of the show". Yet he left the show after Season 26. The Doctor Who production Office was officially closed in early 1990. But the first Virgin Novel didn't come out until more than a year later. And even if it was possible that JNT had somehow broken temporal laws to achieve that, and even assuming he ever said it(which he never did)...it wouldn't have counted for anything anyway, as he was in no position to make such a pronouncement. This is what people fail to grasp, Doctor Who's Producer is not equivalent to the role that Roddenberry had with Star Trek or Whedon had with Buffy. The Doctor Who Producer's role is that (s)he is a hired BBC employee whose job it is to produce the television series. He/she has no call whatsoever when it comes to "canon".

2)The very first BBC Book was The Eight Doctors, written by Terrance Dicks. It contradicts several Virgin Novels, perhaps most significantly Blood Harvest, written by Terrance Dicks. This is done in such a way that the two stories can not possible co-exist in the same reality. Many Virgin authors would whine and complain online about how the BBC explicitly told them that the EDAs must not contain references to the VNAs. As far as getting to write for the Nu Series, well i)that doesn't mean it's any good ii)Whither the two Human Natures?

3)The original Big Finish audios were adaptations of Virgin Novels which often contradicted the novels they were adapting. So which Birthright(as one example) is the "real" one? The Benny stories also show their true "canonicity" by making references to things they aren't allowed to use, eg. "Braxatiel's people" rather than 'Time Lords'. Stories like Shadow of the Scourge and The Dark Flame were explicitly stated to be Side Steps, and when Big Finish released their first guidebook, the Benny stories wre not counted among the various Doctor Who and spin-off ranges.

I would also like to comment on some of your reasons for including/excluding certain stories.

1)"those featuring John and Gillian are clearly stated to have happened within the Land of Fiction." Er, what? At the time the John/Gillian comics were written(ie. the 60's) they were canonical. However, in the 1990's people who may not even have been born when the Doctor Who Comic was launched make this absurd statement, and you stick to it? The very first John/Gillian comic is referenced in Placebo Effect, so what does that make Placebo Effect?

2)"Though Dimensions in Time is a dream sequence." Again, a Doctor Who story that starred all five(at the time) living Doctors, aired on BBC1 and was watched by 13.8 million people, is somehow "decanonised" by a rubbish book that the BBC officially regarded as 'merchandise' not 'story'...

3)Quatermass...well it is explicitly stated in Autumn Mist that Quatermass in a BBC telelvision show.

4)"A story can also be made official by association. Jon Blum's fan video Time Rift was not officially licensed. However, the eighth Doctor novel Vampire Science is very clearly a sequel to that story, hence we can assume that Time Rift is in continuity." The very first Big Finish Audio The Sirens of Time makes reference to several Audio Visuals.

5)You yourself state that there is no single continuity, and that it can't all fit together neatly, but it's if it's licensed by the BBC. And then give a list of officially licensed stories(some made by the BBC themselves) that aren't "canon" because they can't be slotted into a single continuity with everything else....

Replying to the the points in the first of your two comments,

1) JNT has been repeatedly quoted as saying this by people who generally know what they are talking about, such as Paul Cornell. A quick google for the source only brings up that the license Peter Darvill-Evans obtained from JNT in 1990 for publishing the New Adventures included the phrase "continue Doctor Who in book form". Yes, this was in 1990 - remember that it takes time to write and publish a book, and starting a new multi-author series of books adds even more time onto that.

2) This will be The Eight Doctors that explicitly references Blood Harvest, won't it? Do you think that a story necessarily invalidates another if it gets a reference wrong?

As for the two Human Natures, go and read the discontinuity guide entry for the TV story.

3) I'd place the audio adaptations of Virgin Benny stories in the same category as target novelisations of TV stories. And of course Big Finish won't list them as Doctor Who stories in their guidebook, since they are a separate range under a separate license. The fact remains, though, that Virgin had a huge influence on the Big Finish range.

On your second comment

1) The novel Conundrum very explicitly states that John and Gillian only exist in the land of fiction. The comic strip The Land of Happy Endings very explicitly states that they are part of the Doctor's dreams. Since the stories clearly feature a very different Doctor than the one that we see in pretty much any other media, I think that's a better way to explain how they fit together in a shared universe than anything else. Therefore, all I have to do is explain away the odd throwaway reference to them that can't be attributed to one or the other. Whether Steve Lyons or Scott Gray were born when the John and Gillian stories were written is irrelevant.

2) Nobody's "decanonising" Dimensions in Time. But First Frontier - which was a fairly good novel, and part of the range that was officially licensed as the continuation of the series - referred to it as a dream the Doctor had. And, actually, if you watch Dimensions in Time, the plot very clearly follows the logic of a dream. This allows it to remain in continuity, whilst also explaining every single one of the plot holes. And you have to admit that story has more plot holes than the vast majority of Doctor Who stories.

3) And yet Quatermas himself shows up in The Dying Days, having been referenced as a real person in Remembrance of the Daleks. I'm inclined to pretend that any references to his TV series are either to a documentary based on his experiences, or a mistaken reference to the similar TV series Nightshade (mentioned in the novel of the same name).

4) I hadn't spotted those references. Point out the specifics, and I might amend that section. Though a handful of references are obviously less conclusive than an outright sequel.

5) The conceit of a site like this is that we try to fit as much of Doctor Who (across all media) into a single continuity as possible. However, it is clearly madness to try to fit in things like Big Finish's Unbound series. I'm not going to apologise for the broad scope of what I've written in this article (also, note that in the section about licensing I start by saying that licensed stories "almost always" count as being in continuity), it's a guide to the scope of what I'm willing to cover on this site.

However, if you have a well-informed critique of the details, I'll be happy to amend this piece, and any other relevant material on the site (except the TARDIS Technical Index, which isn't my material to amend).

1)The only people who have said this are Peter Darvill-Evans and Paul Cornell. Is there any quote from JNT himself, or just people saying "JNT said,,,"? In any case, again, it is the job of the BBC itself, not the Producer, to state what counts. It doesn't matter what JNT said, or Steven Moffat says etc. And it certainly doesn't matter not a jot, not a tittle, not a scrap, what Paul Cornell says. Cornell has no authority whatsoever to claim what is 'canon'. Yes, he may state what his personal canon is, but he has no say over either what "real canon" is, nor may he speak for a dead man who did far more for Doctor Who than Cornell can ever dream of.

2)The Eight Doctor doesn't specifically reference Blood Harvest. Quite the contrary, it clearly goes on the belief that Blood Harvest never happened. As an example, in Blood Harvest Borusa is freed from Rassilon's trap(after The Five Doctors) for the first time veer, and then goes on. However, in The Eight Doctors, Borusa is freed from Rassilon's trap(after The Five Doctors) for the first time ever under totally different circumstances, and then goes off.....Or the two totally contradictory sequels/explanations to State of Decay. it's not "an incorrect reference". it's a new story that can not possibly exist in the same continuity as another story. And Blood Harvest is far from the only VNA that is simply ignored/rejected in this way.

3)Not sure what you're getting at. They're under a separate licence, they aren't allowed to use Doctor Who copyrighted/trademarked terms like 'Time Lord', 'TARDIS', 'The Doctor' etc. Virgin had a big influence on Big Finish...well that's debatable. But having an influence on something doesn't mean it's part of the same whole, after all J. Michael Straczynski was heavily influenced by Who when he made Babylon 5, but it's not part of the same continuity.

4)So they both only exist in The Land of Fiction AND were just a dream the Eighth Doctor once had, yet all three exist in a shared universe? Why not just accept that they aren't SUPPOSED to be happening in the same "shared universe"? The people's age does matter. People who wrote new Who in the 60's laid the groundwork, and established the show, the characters etc. Then later people who had nothing to do with that came along and tried to retcon away years worth of adventures. You may ahppily accept that. i find it distasteful.

5)Again, someone wrote a story(however bad it may be), then someone else came along and said "That story someone else wrote before this one was all a dream!" And again, how does First Frontier stand up when there's stories like Prime Time and Dust Breeding?

6)Quatermass is never directly referenced in Remembrance of the Daleks. And again, Autumn Mist-EDa, The Dying Days=VNA. Speaking fo which, in the Dying Days the newly-regenerated Eighth Doctor is 1200 years old, but Vampire Science written later by two previously VNA authors gives his age as 1012. And that "he doesn't know his age!" bollocks doesn't work. That explanation only came about when RTD messed it up with "900" many years later.

7)References are made to the temperon, Calfadoria and the Drudgers.

8)I have nothing against that. it's just odd that someone can happily try and force ANYTHING involving the Twelve(Thirteen, Fourteen with Hurt and Meta Crisis) into a single continuity, when it is impossible, and just pretend that the multitude of contradictions don't exist, and yet then dismiss other officially licensed, and even BBC-produced material, because of contradictions. The fact is Scream of the Shalka fits into the EDA continuity far easier than either Death Comes to Time or The Dying Days.

1) The source I found referred to the wording on the contract, not to what somebody said years later. It's also likely that there was wording to that effect when it was announced in Doctor Who Magazine, though I don't have any issues from around that era.You are claiming that the New Adventures were not considered stories based on the wording of a contract that post-dated their license, clearly didn't invalidate that licence, and which doesn't even mention them.

2) Page 44 mentions the Council of Three from Blood Harvest. Page 111 implies that there are more vampires in hiding on the vampire planet, as we saw in Blood Harvest. Page 121 mentions garil, a plant on the vampire planet seen in Blood Harvest but not State of Decay. Incidentally, the vampire planet seen both here and in Blood Harvest has other villages and towers in, which was not the case in State of Decay. If Dicks was intending to write one of his previous vampire planet stories out of continuity, then he must logically have intended to write both of them out.

3) I was pointing out that your example of the guidebook is due to licensing issues, rather than continuity ones. As for Big Finish taking on New Adventures continuity, why do you think they made Romana the Time Lord President? If they were deliberately ignoring New Adventures continuity she'd still be in E-Space. Also, Ace's surname in the audios would not be McShane. And that's just the first two examples that come to mind.

4) Because firstly that's no fun, and secondly the whole point of this site is to play the continuity game of trying to fit it together. Also, if you really find the idea of later writers changing continuity to be distasteful, then you really need to stay away from long-running shared universe series like Doctor Who. With such series, it is only a matter of time before somebody does that. And said person probably wouldn't have any direct connection with the original production team. Far better, if you think like that, to be a fan of series which have a definite end point. Do you find it distateful that Russell T Davies directly contradicted The Ark when he wrote The End of the World? Because both stories show the Earth being destroyed onscreen in very different timezones, and obviously different manners.

5) You don't like that. I think that in this particular instance it's a great idea, because it means I can appreciate Dimensions in Time much more. A retcon that makes a nonsensical story make sense without changing as much as a single line or shot is surely an improvement. Given that the author in question was David McIntee, I'm absolutely certain that he put that line in from love, rather than spite.

As for how First Frontier fits with other post-Survival Master stories, I think there's another essay about that on this site (though I think the essay may pre-date Dust Breeding), but I'll let you go and find it this time.

6) So who exactly do you think Bernard from British Rocket Group is supposed to be? It's clearly and unambiguously intended to be a Quatermas reference.

There's nothing in The Dying Days that implies the Doctor is newly regenerated. In fact, the figure of 1200 is clearly intended to imply that this is a long time into the Eighth Doctor's lifetime. The figure in Vampire Science, however, is clearly intended to imply that Vampire Science takes place early in that lifetime, given that Virgin had established that the Doctor's 1000th birthday happens during one of their novels. Incidentally, the "he doesn't know his age" thing first came up onscreen during the later Tom Baker years, in banter between the Doctor and Romana. And if you want room for uncertainty here, there's even a line in Vampire Science which establishes some uncertainty (the problems in calculating it means the Doctor prefers to count his age from his last regeneration, rather than in the conventional way).

7) Thanks for that.

8) If you have an issue with trying to fit anything and everything into continuity, it's probably not a good idea for you to hang around on a site like this which is here to play the game of trying to find ways for everything to fit together. Yes, it can't be done without ignoring or retconning some evidence, even if you restrict yourself to the TV series alone (and, generally speaking, the non-TV stuff tends to solve more continuity problems than it introduces). But that doesn't mean that we can't have fun in trying. This page is trying to outline an approach that casts the net of stories to play with as wide as possible without veering into complete insanity. I would only use contradictions to exclude something I can't see any way at all of working around them. To date, the only story that I've ever even considered chucking out because of continuity problems is Death Comes to Time. And let's not forget that, in this discussion, you're the one arguing that stories should be chucked out of continuity. The most I'm saying is that we should interpret stories in the light of what other stories say about them. Dream sequences are as real as any other part of a fictional work. And the land of fiction is an actual place within the Doctor Who Universe. Saying that a story is a dream sequence or happened in the land of fiction means that it is still part of continuity, just in a slightly different way than you previously thought.

As for the comparisons you make about EDA continuity, there are substantial issues with Death Comes to Time (though most of those can be solved by assuming that it's the final Doctor, who has taken on the form of the Seventh - in a similar way to what was hinted at in the Tom Baker scene Day of the Doctor). There aren't any such issues with Scream of the Shalka, given that it clearly happens after the range ends. By comparison, I don't see any substantial continuity issues between The Dying Days and the EDAs. If the figure given for the Doctor's age is the biggest problem that you can find, then you must really hate the Graham Williams era, where the Doctor's age is sometimes given as a few years younger than the last time they mentioned it.

i have read lots and lots of differing comments about what constitutes canon. most people seem to fall in to the camp of 'if its not tv it doesnt count'.....my BIG problem with this is - why would any so called who fan NOT wish to include the books and the audios in the 'canon'. sorry, but if you just stick to the tv show, you are not a true fan in my opinion

It's more what the content is than what they are.

On the face of it, a series of books, audios etc. that expands the Doctor Who experience is brilliant.

However, the reality is novels like Transit, and audios like Nekromanteia. Of course, it's absolutely wrong to use those as 'typical' novels or audios, but the fact is that stuff like that exists.

Then we get to the petty and immature stories that try to remove other stories(or even other whole ranges) from the continuity. So in one of the New Adventures it's stated all the TV Comics and all the Cushing stories only exist in The Land of Fiction(from The Mind Robber). Another New Adventure then tells us that Dimensions in Time(and I'm guessing all the stories that are directly linked to it, and there are quite a few) was/were just a nightmare the Doctor once had.

Then the Doctor Who Magazine Comics did a story(Ground Zero) that ignores all the new Adventures.

And the Eighth Doctor Adventures did a story which told us that all the New and Missing Adventures take place inside a Bottle Universe, separate from the main continuity.

And then the EDAs and Big Finish Audios both explicitly told us that their continuity was the Main One, and even gave us explanations for how/why the other one exists.

Then we got the 100% official and canonical continuation of Doctor Who, with the Ninth Doctor, as played by Richard E. Grant.

But then Russell T. Davies told us that that "doesn't count" and the REAL Ninth Doctor is the one played by Christopher Eccleston(this was before the John Hurt reveal, of course...)

And Russell T. Davies told us there had been the Last Great Time War(but totally different to the War in Heaven) where history had been rewritten several times over, allowing to contradict anything that happened before the episode 'Rose'.

But then Steven Moffat said there were Cracks in Time which erased whole other stories, characters and planets, including much of Davies' era. Oh, and he completely rewrote the history of the Last Great Time War, including how it ended. And apparently, Time Lords can now change gender!

Thus, while the fans want a series of stories that all complement each other, and can be a much greater whole, the reality is that since the Virgin novels, there has been a spiteful and unpleasant series of people all telling us exactly how and how other peoples' stories "don't count".

Minor nitpick: Time Lords changing gender has been an idea for much longer than Steven Moffat. Exile and I.M. Foreman are obviously outliers, but the Doctor says he's not a glamorous woman "at the moment" in Seasons of Fear. Circular Time: Spring talks about cross-gender and cross-species regeneration.

Add new comment

BBCode

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • You may use these tags: [annual], [audio], [bbv], [bennyna], [bf], [bfbenny], [bfst], [decalog], [dwm], [eda], [ext], [fp], [link], [ma], [na], [nsa], [pda], [reeltime], [ref], [reference], [rt], [sja], [st], [target], [televised], [telos], [timehunter], [torchwood], [ttv], [tv], [tvcomic], [twnovel], [unoff], [virginbenny]
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Copyright Statement

Doctor Who is both copyrighted and trademarked by the BBC. The rights to various characters, alien races, and other fictional elements from the series are owned by the writers who created them. In particular, the Daleks are owned by the estate of Terry Nation. No infringement of any copyright is intended by any part of this site, which is an unlicensed reference and review site. All credited material on this site is copyright © the named author. All Wiki pages are copyright the site members who edited them. All other material is copyright © Stephen Gray 2004-2014. The whoniverse logo and design were created by Tom Hey (that link is to his band's site). The site was constructed using Drupal. All comments are owned by, and are the sole legal responsibility of, the individual posters. You may not reproduce any material from this site without the permission of the relevant author(s). If you want to use what we've written, ask us and we might just say yes.