Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Doctor Who spin-offs
Both during the main run of the series from 1963 to 1989 and after its cancellation, numerous novels, comic strips, comic books, and other material were generated based on the characters and situations introduced the show. These spin-offs continued to be produced even without a television series to support them, and helped keep the show alive in the minds of its fans and the public. The programme is being revived in 2005.
This entry mainly concentrates on "official" spin-offs, that is to say, material sanctioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation, which produces the series. There have been many fan groups who have produced unofficial, amateur video and audio stories featuring the Doctor. A partial listing can be found here.
One aspect of Doctor Who spin-offs which makes them different from spin-offs from other science fictions franchises was that many of the television stars and writers have been directly involved in the production of the spinoffs, and it has become very common for a former television character to reprise their characters in audio.
The degree to which the spin-offs are canon is a topic of much discussion by Doctor Who fans. Although the spin-offs do not intentionally contradict the original television series and the 1996 television movie, the various spin-off series do contradict each other, in chronology, in characters which are in one series and not the other, and in characterization, particularly of the Eighth Doctor. One area of speculation is the degree to which spin-off material will be considered canon by the new show.
Novelisations based upon individual Doctor Who serials were first published in the mid-1960s, the first being Dr. Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks by David Whitaker, a loose adaptation of the show's second serial, The Daleks. Doctor Who novelizations became something of a tradition beginning in the early 1970s when Target Books (initially published by Universal-Tandem, later to become part of W.H. Allen & Co and then Virgin Publishing) began publishing novelisations on a regular basis, initially based upon the then-current Third Doctor's episodes, but soon expanding to include all past Doctors as well.
The initial three novelisations had been published in various editions both inside and outside the United Kingdom (editions appeared in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States). Further foreign editions of the novelisations appeared from the 1970s, with the books being translated for readers in the Netherlands, Brazil, Turkey, the US (where the texts were slightly tweaked to eliminate unfamiliar Anglicisms), Japan, West Germany, Portugal and France. In 1976, two Doctor Who novelisations, Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion by Terrance Dicks and Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters by Malcolm Hulke, were published in Finnish, as Tohtori KUKA ja autonien hyökkäys, and Tohtori KUKA ja luolahirviöt, respectively. The series, however, was never broadcast on Finnish television, and is generally known only in Finnish science fiction fandom.
By 1991, when the final Target book was published, virtually every Doctor Who serial had been novelised, as well as a radio serial (Slipback), stories slated for the "missing season" but never produced due to the 18-month hiatus in 1985-1986 (The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil and Mission to Magnus), and even a 1976 children's story record (The Pescatons), which has the distinction of being the final Doctor Who book published under the Target imprint. (The Target logo was retained for later reprints and intermittent new titles up to 1994 and was by this time used exclusively for Doctor Who.)
Most of these novelisations contained minimal amounts of original material and were (usually) adapted closely from the shooting scripts, with the intent of the books being souvenirs of previously aired shows in the pre-VCR era. Although novelisations became more elaborate in later years, the early books usually followed a set formula and were for a time restricted to a maximum page length as they were considered children's literature. An exception was John Lucarotti's novelisation The Massacre (1987), which completely rewrote the plot of the source serial, The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve . Some guide books (notably 1999's A Critical Guide to Doctor Who on Television by Kenneth Muir) erroneously describe the plot of the novel rather than the original serial.
After Virgin began its New Adventures and Missing Adventures line of original novels in 1991, it also published several additional novelisations both on their own and under the Missing Adventures label. These were two Dalek stories from the Troughton era, The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks, which - along with another radio novelisation The Paradise of Death - are considered to be the last of the Target run.
Later novelisations tended to be included as part of the original novel series from Virgin. The Ghosts of N Space, a second radio serial featuring Jon Pertwee produced in the mid-1990s was novelised, as were several non-official spinoff video productions such as Shakedown (as one section of a larger original novel) and Downtime, adding an air of official sanction to them.
In 1996, BBC Books published a novelisation of the Doctor Who television movie. A one-time return to serial novelisations occurred in 2004 when BBC Books novelised the made-for-Internet adventure, Scream of the Shalka.
Several serials remain unnovelised in large part because the original authors expected more money than BBC is willing to pay, and it is unlikely they will ever see print. Fan-written novelisations of these stories do exist, however. The unnovelized serials are:
- The Pirate Planet by Douglas Adams
- City of Death by Graham Williams, Douglas Adams and David Fisher
- Shada by Douglas Adams (never actually completed or broadcast after production was postponed in 1979)
- Resurrection of the Daleks by Eric Saward
- Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward
From 1988, Titan Books released script books of Doctor Who serials. This included an unproduced serial, The Masters of Luxor (written 1963-1964, published 1992) by Anthony Coburn, which would have been the second serial of the programme if it had not been rejected. The story features the Doctor and his companions encountering an ancient civilization of deactivated robots.
Despite fan requests, the producers of the Big Finish audio dramas and the 2005 TV series have indicated that it is unlikely any novelisations from these two productions will be published.
The earliest Doctor Who spinoff fiction appeared in childrens' annuals from 1964 and short stories also appeared in other venues such as two anniversary specials produced by the editors of the Radio Times. The first of these (1973) was Terry Nation's We Are the Daleks! while the second (1983) had Eric Saward's Birth of a Renegade. The former explains the origins of the Daleks and the latter reveals the background of Susan - but both contradict the series and many other stories on the subject! There were also stories in newspapers and comics, story books and even serials published on confectionary wrappers and trading cards.
The first original Doctor Who-related novels appeared in 1986 when Target launched a series of books titled The Companions of Doctor Who which were original works focusing upon former assistants of The Doctor. The first two books were Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma by Tony Attwood, based upon the character played by Mark Strickson in the early 1980s and Harry Sullivan's War written by Ian Marter who had actually played Harry Sullivan on the series a decade earlier. These books were unsuccessful, and after a third attempt (a 1987 novelization of the 1981 Doctor Who spin-off, K-9 and Company) the series ended. Other novels would have been dedicated to Tegan, the Brigadier, Victoria and Mike Yates. The latter would have appeared in The Killing Stone by actor Richard Franklin, an unlicensed abridged reading of which appeared in 2002 though the novel itself has never been published.
A couple of years later, Target launched another short-lived series of "original" novels, this time titled The Missing Episodes and based upon episodes commissioned for but never produced for the cancelled 1985-1986 season. Again, only three books were published, the first being The Nightmare Fair by Graham Williams.
Billed as telling "stories too broad and deep for the small screen", Virgin Publishing's line of original novels featuring the Seventh Doctor began in 1991. Virgin's predecessors, Target Books and WH Allen , had by this point been publishing novelisations for twenty years, and even before the series had come to a conclusion, successive editors of the range such as Nigel Robinson and Peter Darvill-Evans had identified the need for original material to complement the few stories there were left to be novelised. The New Adventures were joined in 1994 by a companion series (the Missing Adventures ) telling "untold" stories with earlier Doctors, set between episodes of the television series.
During the New/Missing Adventures era, Virgin also launched a series of Doctor Who-based short story anthologies titled Decalog.
During this period, Marvel Comics commissioned the writers of the various NA/MA novels to write short pieces entitled "Brief Encounters" which were run in Doctor Who Magazine. These short stories (never more than one magazine page in length) usually focused on an event just prior to a particular novel, or on a character prior to his or her encounter with the Doctor. Some non-novel related "Brief Encounters" were also written, including one in which the Seventh Doctor met a future incarnation of himself.
In the climate of renewed interest in the series that followed the 1996 telemovie, the BBC decided to reclaim Virgin's licence when it next came up for renewal and publish its own series of Doctor Who novels. The last two Virgin Doctor Who novels were released in April 1997, bringing to an end almost 25 years of Doctor Who publishing outside of the BBC, with the first two BBC-published novels released in June that same year. Virgin, meanwhile, continued the New Adventures line for several years afterward, focusing upon the Doctor's former assistant, Professor Bernice Summerfield who had been the first companion created specifically for literature, rather than for television. These books (sometimes referred to informally as The Adventures of Benny Summerfield) gained their own fan following and featured appearances by other characters created specifically for the literary world of Doctor Who.
The BBC began releasing two new novels every two months, one featuring the ongoing adventures of the Eighth Doctor and the other an "untold" story of an earlier Doctor, referred to as the Eighth Doctor Adventures (EDAs) and Past Doctor Adventures (PDAs) respectively. Although many authors who wrote for the Virgin line returned to write for the BBC series, direct continuity between the two sets of books was discouraged.
BBC Books also published several Decalog-style anthologies under variations of the title Short Trips. Publication of the Short Trips series was later taken over by Big Finish Productions.
In 2004, the BBC halved the frequency of publication from 22 books a year (One EDA, one PDA per month) to 12, each release now coming out once every other month. With the new series starting in 2005, the EDAs will end, with future novels featuring the Eighth Doctor to be part of the PDA range. A new line of Ninth Doctor Adventures will begin with three releases around May 2005. As Christopher Eccleston will be leaving the role after only one season, it is not known how long the Ninth Doctor series of releases will last.
By far, the most prolific writer of Doctor Who fiction is Terrance Dicks, who has written well over 70 titles including the majority of Target Books novelizations, as well as original works for both the Virgin and BBC Books series.
A number of characters created for original Doctor Who fiction have been spun-off into series of their own, such as the comic book Miranda based upon a character created for one of the novels, and a series of books entitled Faction Paradox published by Mad Norwegian Press , which is also in the process of republishing some of the Bernice Summerfield novels originally published by Virgin. In December 2004, Twenty-First Century Publishers is scheduled to launch a series of novels featuring the character Guy de Carnac , who was introduced in the 1995 Doctor Who novel, Sanctuary.
Telos Publishing produced a series of original Doctor Who novellas, published individually in hardcover; the first, Time and Relative by Kim Newman, was released on November 23, 2001. Although the series was reasonably successful (in spite of the odd publication format, which resulted from the BBC having reserved for its own use the rights to publish Doctor Who story collections and Doctor Who books in paperback), the BBC chose not to renew Telos's licence, and the series ended in March 2004, having completed 15 novellas featuring the Doctor. Telos has subsequently launched a new series of novellas, Time Hunter , featuring characters created for the Doctor Who novella, The Cabinet of Light.
Comic strip adventures of the Doctor appeared almost from the beginning of the television series, first in the 1960s publication TV Comic , and during the 1970s in the mainly Gerry Anderson related comic Countdown . The two comics later merged to become TV Action plus Countdown , where the strip continued to be featured.
A comic strip also regularly appeared in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine. This began in its first issue in 1979, and the magazine continued to be published despite the programme ceasing production in 1989. The comic strip features the current Doctor in a series of adventures independent of the novels and the audios, and with another companion, though crossovers with the worlds of the audio and literary Doctor Who and the comics often occurred. Selected stories were reprinted in North America by Marvel Comics, which was also the publisher of Doctor Who Magazine at the time.
Those that have worked on the DWM strip have included such notables as writer Alan Moore and artists Dave Gibbons, Mike McMahon and John Ridgway . Two semi-official spin-off series, "Miranda " from Comeuppance Comics and "Faction Paradox" from Mad Norwegian Press have also appeared, both featuring characters who had debuted in the BBC Novels series.
Doctor Who Magazine, which is now owned by Panini Comics who bought it from Marvel in 1995, continues to produce new comic strip adventures. Panini has also begun to reprint the early DWM strips in trade paperback format.
At the height of "Dalekmania" in the 1960s, a comic strip featuring the Daleks written by David Whitaker but credited to Terry Nation appeared in the Gerry Anderson TV Century 21 comic magazine. The BBC also published a number of Dalek annuals, written by Whitaker and Nation that contained a mixture of comic strips and short stories. Although much of the material in these strips directly contradicted what was shown on television later, some concepts like the Daleks using humanoid duplicates and the design of the Dalek Emperor did show up later on in the programme. The strip also featured the Mechanoids, seen in The Chase , and one annual featured Sara Kingdom and the Space Security Service.
Only one attempt has been made to produce a Doctor Who spin-off television series (the 1996 television movie being a revival attempt). In 1981, a 50-minute pilot episode for a series to be called K-9 and Company was aired. It focused on the adventures of former Doctor Who assitants Sarah-Jane Smith and K-9, a robot dog. The pilot, subtitled "A Girl's Best Friend" did not garner strong enough ratings for a series to be commissioned, though Sarah and K-9 would later appear together on the main Doctor Who series and her adventures would be continued in audio form by Big Finish Productions in the 2000s. There was some discussion about spinning off the characters of Henry Jago and Professor Litefoot from the 1977 serial The Talons of Weng Chiang into their own series, but this was not taken forward.
Doctor Who also appeared on television in the form of special one-off productions to benefit charity. In 1993, Dimensions in Time was produced for the benefit of Children in Need, coinciding with the series' 30th Anniversary. It was a special in two parts, running about 12 minutes in total, which featured all surviving Doctors (including Tom Baker in his first appearance as the character since 1981), and more than a dozen former companions. Not meant to be taken seriously, the story had the Rani opening a hole in time, cycling the Doctor and his companions through his previous incarnations and menacing them with monsters from the show's past. It also featured a crossover with the soap opera Eastenders, the action taking place in the latter's Albert Square location.
In 1999, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, a parody starring Rowan Atkinson as a future incarnation of the Doctor in his final battle with the Master (Jonathan Pryce), was created for the charity Comic Relief. During the parody's climax, when the Doctor regenerates several times, actors Richard E. Grant, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent and Joanna Lumley all had a chance to play the character. Richard E. Grant would go on to play another unofficial incarnation of the Doctor for the webcast of Scream of the Shalka. The Curse of Fatal Death is not considered canon, though BBC Video has released it to video using the same format as regular Doctor Who releases.
The hunger for more Doctor Who on television has been partly answered by direct-to-video productions by various companies. The BBC has never authorised any Doctor Who video productions (presumably on the basis that one might as well make a new television series), but production companies have been able to license individual characters and alien races from the show directly from the writers who created them, and feature them in adventures of their own.
Companies who have released videos of this kind include Reeltime Pictures (also known for the long-running Myth Makers series of documentaries) and BBV (who have also released a number of Doctor Who-related audio adventures on the same basis). The first spinoff of this nature was Wartime, a half-hour film produced by Reeltime in the late 1980s and starring John Levene as Benton, a UNIT soldier who appeared on Doctor Who in the early to mid-1970s. In the 1990s, Reeltime distributed PROBE , a series of five made-for-video movies featuring Caroline John as her Pertwee-era character, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. Many of these independent productions have been acclaimed for their writing and high production values, some of which even exceeded those of the original series.
BBV is also known for a number of productions that, while not using any elements from the show itself, tell a similar style of story and feature ex-Doctor Who stars in roles similar to those they played in the series; these include a direct-to-video series starring Colin Baker as "The Stranger", and a series of audio dramas starring Sylvester McCoy as "The Dominie". In later episodes of The Stranger, it was made clear that not only was the Stranger not the Doctor, but that their backgrounds were not even remotely analogous. Some of this clarification appears to have been the result of BBC pressure.
A number of audio productions based upon Doctor Who have been produced over the years. The first, in 1976, was a children's audio adventure entitled Doctor Who and the Pescatons by Victor Pemberton . Around this time an audio version of the televised serial Genesis of the Daleks was released on record, with specially recorded narration by Tom Baker. Both of these early releases have since been reissued on CD.
In 1985, during a period when the series was on a sabbatical at the BBC, BBC Radio hired Colin Baker and his TV companion Nicola Bryant to reprise their TV roles for a new production called Slipback , broadcast as part of the Radio 4 children's magazine Pirate Radio Four, which received quite a bit of press fanfare, though it did not receive good reviews. It too was later released on audio tape and CD.
Doctor Who audio adventures diversified somewhat in the 1990s, when the BBC began issuing the soundtracks of 1960s-era serials on cassette and compact disc, some with added narration. These releases were usually derived from serials that were incomplete in the BBC vaults, thereby making this the only format in which fans could enjoy the entire story.
BBC Radio, meanwhile, attempted to get a new series of Doctor Who stories made for radio. Although more were planned, only two were ever completed: The Paradise of Death (1993) and The Ghosts of N-Space (1995), both featuring Jon Pertwee in two of his final performances as the Third Doctor.
Beginning in 1999, Big Finish Productions, under licence from the BBC, began a range of audio plays on compact disc, with one released every month starring one of the surviving actors to play the Doctor, namely the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors. The ongoing Eighth Doctor series (which have been released in "seasons" of between four to six consecutive releases) is independent of the novel line, with the Doctor doing different things with a different companion, played by India Fisher in the role of Charlotte ("Charley") Pollard. None of the audio plays have featured Tom Baker (as the Fourth Doctor) who has declined invitations to reprise his role.
Big Finish have also produced a limited-run series of audio plays based around one of the Doctor's former television companions, Sarah Jane Smith, as well as a limited Doctor Who Unbound series that explores possibilities contrary to the established mythos (for instance, "What if the Doctor had never left Gallifrey?"). The format of the Unbound series allows well-known actors such as Derek Jacobi and David Warner to play the Doctor, albeit alternate versions of the character. Bernice Summerfield, the Doctor's companion from the New Adventures novels, also features in her own series of audio plays, the character being voiced by Lisa Bowerman .
The BBC has extended Big Finish's licence to produce the audios until 2007. With the advent of the new television series, Big Finish intends to "fold" the Eighth Doctor adventures into its ongoing alternating releases of past Doctor adventures rather than as seasons. It is not known if Big Finish intends to do audio plays featuring the Ninth Doctor.
Other Doctor Who-related mini-series include
- Dalek Empire, Dalek Empire II: Dalek War, and Dalek Empire III, produced by Big Finish Productions;
- Gallifrey, also produced by Big Finish, with Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson reprising their roles as Romana and Leela;
- UNIT, another Big Finish production, with a new UNIT crew, and some audios guest-starring Nicholas Courtney as the now-retired General Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.
- the Kaldor City series, produced by Magic Bullet Productions, which expanded on the setting and characters created for the serial The Robots of Death; and
- The Faction Paradox Protocols, stories about the rebel crime syndicate/voodoo cult introduced to the Doctor Who novel line by author Lawrence Miles. The first six Faction audios were published by BBV, but Magic Bullet have recently announced that they will be taking over the series.
The status of the various audio adventures in terms of canonicity has not been confirmed, with many fans of the belief that the stories (at least those produced by Big Finish) are canonical since they have been officially licensed by the BBC, which has final script approval, and because they often star the actors and actresses in the original series. However, the novelizations were also officially licensed and in some cases produced by BBC, and the continuity of the audio adventures differs considerably from the novelizations. The producers of both the novels and audio stories are aware of this, and have introduced plot developments to suggest that each is a distinct universe. While no official announcement has been made, general publicity for the new televsion series suggests that it will make little or no reference to either the audio adventures or novels, in order to remain accessible to a wide audience.
A series of audio plays have also been webcast on the BBCi (now bbc.co.uk) web site, beginning with Death Comes to Time in 2001. The first episode had been made for, and then turned down by, BBC Radio 4 and after an experimental webcasting of this pilot generated over a million page hits, the rest of the episodes were produced and webcast. The serial featured Sylvester McCoy reprising his role as the Seventh Doctor.
The next two serials were made specially for the webcasts by Big Finish Productions: Real Time (2002), with the Sixth Doctor versus the Cybermen and Shada (2003), with Paul McGann as the Doctor in a script originally written by Douglas Adams and intended for the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker in 1979, but abandoned halfway through filming back then due to a BBC staff strike.
Although all of these adventures were intended as purely audio and were later released on CD, as webcasts they were accompanied by a slideshow of partially-animated illustrations drawn by artist Lee Sullivan. Death Comes to Time was also released as a special MP3 CD with interactive content, including an option to view the illustrations as well as other bonus material such as cast and crew interviews that were originally available online.
In the middle of 2003, BBCi initiated plans to bring webcast production back in-house, producing the all-new adventure Scream of the Shalka by Paul Cornell, starring Richard E. Grant as the Ninth Doctor and Derek Jacobi as the Master. This differed from the previous webcasts in that it was specifically an audio-visual experience and not an audio adventure: it was fully animated to broadcast standard (although the webcast version was slightly simplified for that medium) by the Cosgrove Hall animation company, and webcast over five weeks in November and December of 2003.
The adventures were originally intended to be an official continuation of the Doctor Who mythos, and Grant was, for a brief time, touted as the New Doctor Who. However, with the announcement of the new BBC television series, Shalka was relegated to non-official status, and Russell T. Davies, producer of the 2005 revival series, has referred to Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. Plans for further webcasts were shelved as well as a DVD release of the serial. A novelisation was, however, released by BBC Books in February 2004, complete with a lengthy "making of" section.
The canonical status of the remaining webcasts is also uncertain, and is made murkier by the fact that the webcasts could be considered canonical since they were broadcast by a branch of the BBC. Most of the webcasts feature elements that contradict series continuity, most notably Death Comes to Time which some fans have used to support their view that the 1996 telemovie and 2005 television series (and all related spinoffs) are not canon.
Main article: Doctor Who merchandise
- The Doctor Who Bewildering Reference Guide - a guide to continuity references in selected Doctor Who original novels.
- The Discontinuity Guide - guide to literary Doctor Who
- The DiscContinuity Guide - guide to audio Doctor Who
- Listing of amateur video and audio Doctor Who productions]
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details