The Eight Doctors

Roots: Everything is highly derivative of other Doctor Who stories, and all the various roots thereof. There are references to Sherlock Holmes and Humphrey Bogart.

Goofs: Sam knows her teachers' full names, but teachers are always referred to by their surnames (even in kids' nicknames). [She also knows these particular teachers from another context.]

Some of the memories the Doctor recovers from his first incarnation differ from what we know about his early history. In particular, being on the Council on Gallifrey and Susan catching up with him just before he left Gallifrey. [These are self-imposed memory blocks to cover up the memories of events in Lungbarrow or his amnesia takes a while to lift completely] Dicks both references and contradicts his own Blood Harvest.

The trap left by the Master is bonkers, even by his standards - he presumably engineers it from inside the Eye of Harmony, but all it does is give the Doctor amnesia, rather than say, kill him.

The Eighth Doctor's interference in his past lives would cause massive paradoxes, especially when he gives the Fourth Doctor some of his blood. And yet fans complained about Interference...

Why does the Doctor need to go through all seven past incarnations to regain his memories? Surely he could just go straight to number seven.

The master claims to have become vicar after murdering the old vicar. However, the Church of England usually leaves a six month "interregnum" between the departure of one vicar and the installing of another. Was no-one suspicious?

Jo doesn't know about chameleon circuits until the Doctor explains why the Master's TARDIS is disguised as an altar in Devil's End, and claims that she thought they all looked like Police Boxes. I know she's thick, but did she really not notice that it looked like a horse box in Terror of the Autons and a spaceship in Colony in Space? She also appears to be unaware of the effects of the Tissue Compression Eliminator.

The eighth Doctor thinks that the Brigadier is still a colonel, based on his memories up to The War Games. However, by that point the second Doctor had seen his promotion in The Invasion. [The Doctor is still sorting out some of these memories.]

On meeting the Third Doctor, the Eighth remembers all of his television stories from Spearhead from Space to The Sea Devils, but none of his novel adventures. [Fair enough that references to the Virgin Missing Adventures weren't allowed, but you'd think the editor would have asked for a reference to The Devil Goblins from Neptune to promote sales.]

The Master gleefully notes that his chameleon circuit is fully functional, whilst standing in front of its grandfather clock exterior - in the middle of a laboratory. His plan to use the deathworms makes no sense whatsoever, even if we take into account the fact that Dicks has ignored First Frontier and that this Master still has no more incarnations [he's one of the Tzun's clones] this rather risky venture seems bonkers even by his usual standards.

Oh, and the Eighth Doctor meeting the Brigadier means that he shouldn't have been surprised when the Brigadier recognises him in The Dying Days. [Another bout of amnesia?]

The Fourth Doctor's scarf is described as 'impossibly long'. I always thought that its length was perfectly possible for a scarf to achieve.

Although it is artistic license, as in Blood Harvest the revelation of other Lords and villages on the planet of the Great One flatly contradicts State of Decay.

Romana has to go salvaging amongst the Hydrax's medical supplies for a blood transfusion kit. Doesn't the highly advanced medical technology in either TARDIS include such a thing?

How can the eighth Doctor's TARDIS materialise in the same place as the fourth, fifth, and seventh Doctors'? Surely that would cause a time ram.

The Time Scoop was destroyed in Goth Opera, but is intact here. [Flavia and Spandrell were able to get the destination co-ordinates from it to track Romana after its destruction, so it may only have been damaged. Alternatively, only one of two control rooms may have been destroyed. The CIA apparently prevented its destruction following the events of The Five Doctors, so another alternative is they may have somehow copied it, c.f. The Nine Gallifreys (see The Ancestor Cell)].

In the aftermath of The Five Doctors the Fifth Doctor claims that it's unlikely he'll meet any of his future incarnations, despite the fact that three of his past incarnations have just met one or more of theirs [this also possibly contradicts Cold Fusion, which he and Tegan should both recall]. And he then recognises the Eighth Doctor from their previous meeting. [He could have course just been trying to end the conversation with Turlough, which, in retrospect, seems the most likely explanation...].

Turlough meets the Sontarans here, but in Lords of the Storm, which is later in his timeline, he meets Sontarans, but only recognises them from his schooling - he hasn't met any yet. [As the Sontarans' appearance is due to events in the Doctor's future, this story changes the Doctor's and Turlough's timeline, and Lords of the Storm depicts the timeline before it was altered. After the alteration, Lords of the Storm still happens, but Turlough recognises the Sontarans from experience as well as schooling].

Speaking of Turlough, the Fifth Doctor mentions his two-headed Trion coin, despite not actually knowing at this point where Turlough comes from.

The explanation of why the Sixth Doctor that we see is not the same as the one in the middle of the trial doesn't make much sense. How can the Valeyard just create this timeline and then hope that it happens?

Oh, and for a while, there are two Sixth Doctors in existence, so the title's wrong.

Technobabble: A Temporal Reverse Feedback Field can reverse the polarity of the temporal flow. Whenever the Eighth Doctor intersects with a previous incarnation, it creates a time bubble that temporarily freezes everyone around the Doctor in place.

Double Entendres: The fifth Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are talking about cricket, and Tegan says 'And I'll be fielding all day.'

Dialogue Disasters: The handy information about crack cocaine on p23 is unintentionally hilarious - who exactly does Dicks think is likely to be reading this?

Sam and Baz had eyes only for each other - and it wasn't because they were in love.

The description of the Doctor as 'feeling quite peckish'

The Eighth Doctor: 'Thanks for the memories'

The Third Doctor: 'We haven't done too brilliantly against the Master ourselves, have we? He's a tricky devil.'

The Master: 'You interfering old besom.'

The Fourth Doctor: 'Every man must keep a sharpened stake to hand - in fact, what you need here is a stakeholder's economy!'

The Eighth Doctor: 'If he dies, I'll never live, and I'm not having that.'

Fortunately, the Doctor stops himself from commenting on someone's claim that 'The Shobagans are revolting.'

'Yes, it's me - your old ally, the Master! What have you got to say for yourselves, you stupid tin boxes!'

And a great deal more, especially during the Presidential Inquiry.

Dialogue Triumphs: The police interview scene.

The Eighth Doctor: 'Now I know what you know - but no more.'
The First Doctor: 'Then you know a good deal more than most.'

Tarin: 'This particular emergency appears to concern the Doctor'
Flavia: 'Yes, they usually do.'

The Brigadier: 'But if you're the Doctor...'
The Eighth Doctor: 'Let's just say that I'm a Doctor. There's more than one, you know.'

Turlough: 'There's nothing much to do here.'
The Fifth Doctor: 'Then that's what we'll do. Lots and lots of nothing!'

Vrag: 'We are indeed Sontarans. Resistance is useless!'
The Fifth Doctor: 'That's what they all say'

Vrag: 'Sontarans do not ally themselves with inferior alien species'
Tegan: 'How do you know we're inferior?'
Vrag: 'You are not Sontarans.'

Continuity: The new, gothic TARDIS control room is not the same as the old white panelled control room [and is therefore probably the secondary control room with new décor - see The Masque of Mandragora]. The old control room contains a chaise-longue, an antique table, a hat-stand, and a tall column with a statue of a bird on top. It also contains lockers in the wall [presumably those seen in Planet of the Daleks]. The Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS is not the same as the one on Gallifrey (The TV Movie, The Deadly Assassin), but is linked to it to provide the TARDIS with its power source (see Cold Fusion). The TARDIS takes the Doctor into E-Space without any difficulty, presumably as a result of whatever the Seventh Doctor did to permit this in Blood Harvest.

Immediately following the events of The Sea Devils, the Master abandons the stolen hovercraft further down the coast and hitches a lift with a man called Jack Harris, whom he murders (using his TCE) and briefly impersonates, stealing his Ford Cortina in the process. His TARDIS remained disguised as the Stone of Sacrifice in Devil's End when he was captured by UNIT (The Daemons). Having regained his TARDIS, he materialises it in the Doctor's lab at UNIT HQ intending to kill the Doctor with his TCE, but the Eighth and Third Doctors overpower him: he escapes, but loses his TCE, which the Third Doctor pockets but later gives to the Eighth.

The Master meets the Eighth Doctor during the Presidential Inquiry [but doesn't recognise him, despite having already met him in Legacy of the Dalek]. According the Master, the High Council brought the Valeyard into being. [At some point] following the events of Survival, the Master arrives on an unnamed desert planet on the remote fringes of Mutter's Spiral inhabited by the Morgs, ferocious, skeletally thin humanoids with warped, bony faces, who live on roots, insects, fruits and small animals. The Morgs also worship jewels and precious metals: the Master uses the chest of treasures he once tried to bribe Glitz with (Trial of a Time Lord) to persuade them to reveal the secret of how they cheat death. The Morgs' secret is the deathworm, several samples of which the Master takes and uses to engineer a "super-deathworm" in his TARDIS' laboratory: his plan is to get himself killed so that he can take over the Doctor's body using the super-deathworm in order to gain revenge, which is why he materialises his TARDIS on Skaro.

The Doctor finishes reading The Time Machine (The TV Movie). The Master left a trap behind when he was sucked into the Eye of Harmony, in the form of a crystal at the edge of the Eye that wipes the Doctor's memory. The Doctor has what is apparently a vision of Rassilon telling him to "trust the TARDIS", which results in him visiting his past incarnations at key points in his life, so that he can meet all of his previous incarnations and in doing so regain all of his memories up to that point. Each of the Doctor's past incarnations recalls the Eighth Doctor's previous visits to them. The Eighth and Fourth Doctors drink wine together in E-Space. The Eighth Doctor has tea and toast whilst recovering from giving blood.

The Doctor uses Venusian aikido again. He once more adopts the alias Doctor John Smith and notes that he was nicknamed Theta Sigma at school (The Armageddon Factor). He later pretends to be an Imperial Legate in the Roman army. He drinks tea and eats a bacon sandwich whilst in Coal Hill police station. His fingerprints are apparently "weird". He once attended a Shobogan feast. He and the Master used to occasionally visit Low Town and possibly the Golden Grockle. Low Town is a Gallifreyan shanty town that has grown up between the pillars that support the Capitol. Most of the inhabitants are Shobogans and other Outsiders, but young Time Lords occasionally visit. The Golden Grockle is a tavern in Low Town with a reputation for villainy. Gallifreyan currency includes golden guineas.

The Fifth Doctor drinks fruit juice in the TARDIS and decides to continue his holiday on the Eye of Orion following Borusa's defeat (The Five Doctors). He rigs up a Temporal Reverse Feedback Field generator which sends anything sent via Timescoop back to the Timescoop's operator.

The Eighth Doctor's rescue of the Sixth from a pseudo-timeline created by the Valeyard results in a temporally unstable version of the Sixth Doctor who accompanies the Eighth to the Presidential Inquiry on Gallifrey until he disappears.

At the Academy, the Doctor played truant to drink with the Shobogans (The Deadly Assassin, as well as to visit the hermit.

Samantha Jones (known as Sam) attends Coal Hill School. She runs three miles every morning and is a gymnast. She doesn't smoke or drink Coke, and is a vegetarian. Her eyes are blue. She has been grassing up school bully and drug dealer Basil "Baz" Bailey up to the police since he started dealing crack cocaine. She asks the Doctor for one trip in the TARDIS after he rescues her from Baz, and is unfazed by the technology because she's seen lots of science fiction.

Foreman's junkyard has been closed for years and has gained a sinister reputation relating to disappearing and reappearing police boxes, people disappearing, and strange silvery monsters (An Unearthly Child, Attack of the Cybermen, Remembrance of the Daleks). Sam is aware of these rumours.

Trev Selby and Vicky Latimer are young teachers at Coal Hill School. Marilyn Simms is a year five student. Baz's gang includes Little Mikey, Pete and Mo (short for Monster).

Romana apparently knows that her blood is not compatible for transfusions with the Doctor [so Gallifreyans have different blood types]. The Eighth Doctor's blood is compatible with the fourth [so different incarnations of the same Time Lord have the same blood type].

Flavia has regenerated several times since The Five Doctors and is now President in her own right [Her presence here suggests that the non-'Trial' sequences on Gallifrey take place between Blood Harvest and Happy Endings], having previously been deposed for not being elected.

Niroc is President of the High Council during the Doctor's trial - some of the jurors at the trial are actually members of the High Council. It is a privilege of ex-Presidents that they can call Presidential Inquiries if they believe matters of Gallifreyan security are involved. The Doctor read the Presidential Charter one afternoon. In order to restore order to Gallifrey following the Sixth Doctor's trial, the Eighth Doctor persuades Rassilon to release Borusa from imprisonment to help Gallifrey in its time of crisis: Rassilon agrees, causing Borusa to reappear in the incarnation who helped the Doctor defeat the Vardan/Sontaran invasion (The Invasion of Time. After the Eighth Doctor departs, Borusa remains to help Gallifrey, using the magnetron to put Earth back in its proper location (The Trial of a Time Lord: The Mysterious Planet) and erasing the timeline in which it became Ravalox, before returning to join Rassilon. Flavia is elected President again following his departure.

Time Lords can always remember a route between two places once they have used it.

Spandrell has also regenerated since the Doctor last met him but is again Castellan. Councillor Ryoth had suspected links to Borusa (The Five Doctors) and Goth (The Deadly Assassin), and was marginally linked to the Committee of Three (Blood Harvest), as well as having links to the CIA. A Drashig eats him and most of the Timescoop machinery. Spandrell's men teleport the Drashig into the Death Zone. Spandrell has files on those who have been politically indiscreet. The Black File contains those who have been or are about to be arrested, tried, imprisoned, exiled, or executed. The White File contains those who have been pardoned or whose service is considered to have redeemed them. The Grey File contains those whose fate is undecided, and nobody stays in it forever.

The Doctor's visits to previous points in his own time stream are monitored on a tempograph on Gallifrey. The CIA use the tracer planted in the Doctor's TARDIS to track him (see Arc of Infinity). All time travel creates disturbances in the space-time continuum and it requires proper supervision and regulation [the laws of time] to keep them to a minimum. Temporal disturbances like meeting yourselves create the biggest disturbances, and require tremendous amounts of temporal energy to repair. They can only be allowed in the direst emergencies.

According to legend, Raston Warrior Robots are the product of a race that was old when the Time Lords were young. They devoted themselves to making super-weapons and then vanished without trace. The robots themselves extrude javelins from their bodies and their other weapons are also built in. They feed on the atomic radiation in the atmosphere, so they never run down. If their heads are removed, they can reattach them. They are programmed to consider anyone except their Makers "the Enemy". They attack by locking onto the electrical activity of its target's brain - the fact that the Fifth and Eighth Doctors have the same brain patterns confuses one into immobility.

The Sontaran Medal of Pacification is only awarded to teams that have destroyed at least 10,000 alien lifeforms. They have a recognition manual called Know Your Alien, which includes details of human females [guess what it says...]. The Doctor has a Sontaran Alien Recognition Manual to himself. Capture of the [or a] TARDIS is a top Sontaran priority.

Following the deaths of the Three Who Rule, the Fourth Doctor and Romana faced other Vampires on the planet (see Blood Harvest), including Lord Zarn. Zarn and his fellows refer to Zargo and Camilla as their King and Queen and Aukon as their High Priest. Garil is a flower with similar effects on Vampires to garlic. The Doctor and Romana drink wine with Zarn. It takes several exposures to a Vampire for a human to become one of them: they convert those they desire by bringing them to brink of death again and again, the process causing cardiovascular and muscular changes and slowing the ageing process, and producing the intense craving for protein that fuels their blood-lust [see Goth Opera and Vampire Science for more on this]. Zarn and his followers drink some of the Doctor's blood. Ivo and his men kill Zarn and his Vampires.

Rassilon's Red is Gallifrey's finest wine vintage. Best Old Shobogan is an Outsider beverage (Shobogans are established to be a sub-group of Outsiders here). The Panopticon's roof is so high that clouds form inside, just below the roof.

Engin (The Deadly Assassin) is no longer Co-ordinator: the role has now been renamed Keeper of the Matrix after Niroc became President. The space station on which the Sixth Doctor's trial was held was called Zenobia. It was purchased by the CIA with secret funds and moved to a storm belt in the intergalactic void as a headquarters for Operation Ravalox.

Links: The eighth Doctor recalls the events of The TV Movie. He also remembers meeting HG Wells (Timelash) and being taught Venusian Akkido (see particularly Venusian Lullaby). He mentions that he used to live in the Totter's Lane area (An Unearthly Child, Remembrance of the Daleks) and claims to be Doctor John Smith (Spearhead from Space).

Flavia mentions the Doctor's previous meetings with himself (The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors). However, she misses out at least one more - Cold Fusion. Spandrell mentions Blood Harvest.

The Doctor's visits to his previous selves takes place in the middle of An Unearthly Child (where he persuades himself that bludgeoning a caveman to death with a rock isn't terribly sporting - [note that as a result of this, Ian doesn't seem to realise what the Doctor was up to - this doesn't reflect what was seen on screen, meaning that the Doctor is changing his own past]) and The War Games (where he persuades himself to contact the Time Lords), just after The Sea Devils (where he persuades himself not to steal his future self's TARDIS), just after State of Decay (where he saves himself from either dying or becoming a Vampire by giving him a transfusion with his own blood), just after The Five Doctors (where he helps himself to escape from a Raston Warrior Robot and a squadron of Sontarans deposited there by Ryoth using the Timescoop), towards the end of The Trial of a Time Lord (where he disrupts an attempt by the Valeyard to force an alternate timeline in which he executes the Doctor), and not long before the regeneration in The TV Movie (where he saves himself from some surviving spiders left behind on Metebelis 3 after the Great One's demise (Planet of the Spiders by shooting one with the Master's TCE, snapping the Seventh Doctor out of an ennui that has been depressing him recently in the process).

The memories recovered from the Third Doctor include Spearhead from Space, The Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, Inferno, Terror of the Autons, The Mind of Evil, Colony in Space, The Dæmons, Day of the Daleks, The Curse of Peladon, and Planet of the Spiders.

At the Presidential Enquiry, the Doctor mentions his service to Gallifrey in The Three Doctors, The Invasion of Time, Arc of Infinity, The Five Doctors, and Engin mentions The Deadly Assassin.

Jo notes that the Master once hypnotised her (Terror of the Autons). The Eighth Doctor mentions his first meeting with Lethbridge-Stewart (The Web of Fear). There are references to Omega and Rassilon, Quarks (The Dominators), Ice Warriors, Daleks, Alzarius (Full Circle), and Turlough's deal with the Black Guardian (Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment). Ryoth sends a Drashig to the Eye of Orion using the Timescoop (Carnival of Monsters).The Eighth Doctor is briefly attacked by a Roc on Metebelis III (The Green Death).

Location: The TARDIS, I.M. Foreman's Junkyard and other parts of Shoreditch c. 1997, Gallifrey, Earth c.100,000 BC, The War Lords' planet in the far future, Fortress Island, Portsmouth, Devils End, and UNIT HQ (all in the UNIT era), the Vampire planet in E-Space, The Eye of Orion (date unknown), Gallifrey at the time of the Sixth Doctor's trial, Metebelis Three some time after Planet of the Spiders, and Skaro.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor (1-7) discovers that HG Wells has an enthusiasm for the ladies. The fourth Doctor claims that, after Waterloo, Wellington told him that 'the only thing sadder than a battle lost is a battle won' and meeting Churchill [see World Game. The Doctor (1-6) claims to have studied the Presidential Charter 'one dull afternoon'. At the academy, the Doctor and the Master [Koschei] used to sneak out of the Capitol to drink with the Shobagans. The Doctor acquired his signed first edition of HG Wells' The Time Machine when they last said goodbye.

Q.v. The Master post-Survival (Prime Time)

The Bottom Line (prosecution): 'It's all a farrago of preposterous nonsense!' Imagine that you've been following the New Adventures for the last few years, and then imagine what it was like when The Dying Days was followed by this, the first of the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures. Presumably somebody thought it sounded like a good idea to get Terrance Dicks to write a multi-Doctor story to launch the new range, not realising that the result would be illogical, badly-written, childish fanwank that recycles the past to such an extent that it offers absolutely nothing new except additionally levels of complexity to The Trial of a Time Lord. It was a disappointment then, it's an embarrassment now, and it's still one of the worst Doctor Who novels ever written.

The Bottom Line (Defence): 'It had been a weird, fantastic adventure, full of improbable, illogical events.' The Eight Doctors has been widely derided, and with some justification. The novel is definitely a step down from the standards of the New Adventures it was supposed to replace. The plot is fairly silly, with a lot of holes and a lot of the book is poorly written. However, it is not as bad as its reputation. There are a lot of places where the writing and dialogue sparkle, and several of the previous Doctors' stories work quite well. If it had been structured as a short story collection, but otherwise unchanged, The Eight Doctors would have been thought of much more highly.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

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Comments

I found The Eight Doctors to be a crisp, fun read. It's rather slight after Timewyrm: Revelation but I found the moment with the Seventh and Eighth terrific. That said, the segment about the Doctor taking care of riots on Gallifrey dragged on far too long and the Sixth Doctor no longer seemed relevant by then; Dicks should have focused on a different Sixth Doctor story to give him more to do. Also, Ryoth was badly ultilised. It seems like he wants revenge on the Doctor for Borusa's downfall but how would he know what happened to Borusa at all? As funny as his death was it comes too abruptly. If the Ainley Master was given new regenerations in The Five Doctors then why does he need the super deathworm to steal the Doctor's body for that matter? Was he not given a new cycle of regenerations after all? I liked this book but it raises some questions after reading...

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