Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Doctor Who - The Complete Adventures

Doctor Who- The Complete Adventures

This is one of my favorite Doctor Who websites. It simply is fantastic!

Andrew Kearley provides a complete and exhaustive chronology of where each Doctor Who story takes place in the life of the Doctor. He does not limit himself to televised stories, but includes not only the novels and audios, but the comics, annuals and even such obscure spin-offs as the Give-A-Show Projector stories and the Sky Ray Ice Lolly cards! He makes a great defence of his canon inclusivism:

'My basic rule of thumb was to treat every story equally, regardless of its source. Why, I asked myself, should we regard an annual story as somehow less real than a Missing Adventure novel? The former, written by an hack author with little concern for the overall continuity of the show, just working to complete his commission and move on to his next project, is probably a damned sight more "traditional" Doctor Who than a novel written by a fan author and scrupulously cross-referenced to the series continuity. We should also remember that for the Doctor Who fan growing up in the sixties and seventies, before the continuity police took over, those comic strips and annual stories were just as much a part of the series as the television episodes - and indeed more accessible than a once-only tv broadcast - and just as eagerly devoured. So who are we to suddenly declare that they no longer exist?'

Andrew Kearley uses a lot of creativity in considering where to set stories. He places the Dr. Who and the Dalek sweet cigarette story early in the Doctor's life and offers some interesting speculation about that story:

'The notion of the Doctor serving as an ambassador has precedent in the series - it is presumably in this capacity that he first met Dastari. In the two missions presented here, the Tardis is nowhere to be seen - presumably the Doctor travels by Time Ring. In the first mission, he is dressed in some sort of spacesuit. The second assignment could be some considerable time later - the Doctor has now adopted an Edwardian costume. The fact that he encounters the Daleks here, and indeed makes peace with them, is forgotten later on.'

A number of stories in the annuals feature adventures with both Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith. Kearley sees no problem in setting these in between Robot and Ark in Space. While most fans assume that Robot is immediately followed by Ark in Space, he rightly concludes that there is no reason to think that the TARDIS departure at the end of Robot is any more than a short hop.

The First Doctor TV Comic stories featuring John and Gillian have always been difficult to place, though there are a number of possibilities. Kearley places these in a period in between The Dalek Masterplan and The Massacre. He argues that The Massacre suggests some passage of time, with no reference to the previous traumatic story. He makes no guesses as to where Steven was left during this period. A number of solo Hartnell stories are placed within this gap.

There are not many chronologies of the Doctor's life that don't include a Season 6B and this one is no exception. The simple truth is that if one takes continuity seriously, there is no alternative but to see the necessary of this gap. The Second Doctor TV Comic stories are placed in 6B, which is pretty much the only place they can go.

A huge number of comic stories are fitted in between The Green Death and The Time Warrior. This answers the ludicrous criticism of those who complain that the Third Doctor is still on Earth working with UNIT after Jo's departure. For all we know, Dr. Who might have been travelling for centuries in between those two stories.

Remarkably, both A Fix with Sontarans and Dimensions in Time included in this chronology. Kearley treats the former as an insidious attempt to turn the Doctor into a fictional character. He suggests that the appearances of the past Doctors in Dimensions in Time are probably manifestations of the Doctor's subconscious. I was also surprised by the inclusion of Death Comes to Time, which most fans consider to be apocryphal. I would have appreciated a note to address some of the difficulties of relating that story to Doctor Who continuity.

I was a little disappointed that The Infinity Doctors is treated as a genuinely apocryphal story. I consider that novel to be canon and would argue that it is an early First Doctor story. I was also disappointed that the author makes no attempt to place the Doctor's first contest against Fenric. I actually emailed him about that. He replied that as we don't know which Doctor was involved, any attempt to place it would be speculation. That is true, but it's not like he does not do a lot of speculation with other stories. It would have been interesting to see his guess on that.

What is wonderful about this chronology is to see the sheer volume of adventures that the Doctor has had. It is mind boggling. It is especially nice to see how many Fourth Doctor and 1st Romana stories there are. Mary Tamm's Romana was such a lovely companion that it would be awful to think the Doctor only travelled with her during the quest for the Key to Time.

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