Doctor Who, the television series The Complete Adventures Facebook group
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"...one of the things you'll learn is that it's all real. Every word of every novel is real,
every frame of every movie, every panel of every comic strip."

-The Doctor, The Gallifrey Chronicles

 

The Complete Adventures



Doctor Who fans have been known to argue incessantly over what constitutes "canonical" Doctor Who. Generally everyone agrees that this encompasses the original tv series. Most would include the Paul McGann movie (although that wasn't always the case). And the current series is pretty much a given. But what's the status of things like Dimensions in Time? What about the novel range that spun off from the tv movie? And if we include the novels, why not the short story collections that Virgin and the BBC published? And in that case, why shouldn't we include the short stories from the Doctor Who Annuals? Where is the arbitrary line to be drawn?

Quite simply, I don't believe that there can be an easy answer to that question. Fandom has expended a lot of energy in an attempt to define a "canon", but there's never been any agreement, not even a broad consensus. (Someone will always want to include or exclude something that no one else does!) So I decided not to worry about it, and devised "The Complete Adventures" instead. What started life as a simple, boring list of the tv episodes (the same as you'd find on any other Doctor Who site) turned into something much more interesting. 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?

So the task I set myself was to fit every single story I could find together into one big picture - and where necessary, invent some explanations for the contradictions that inevitably occur. I have tried to include every story I could find details of, though it's perhaps inevitable that I've missed a few of the more obscure. If you're aware of anything I ought to have included, then please email me and let me know.

In order to fit all these disparate stories together, it's occasionally been necessary to make a few assumptions - the additional notes attached to certain stories will explain the more outrageous ones. If a story does not feature the current TV companions, for instance, then we must just accept that those characters are taking a short break from travelling in the Tardis for the duration of said adventure - they may just be aboard the ship asleep. (The comic strips are the chief culprits here.) And speaking of comic strips, I've made no attempt to explain changes in the Doctor's character and personality.


The Complete Adventures
Sometimes though, no amount of mind-bending and bonkers theorizing is enough to fit some of these stories into the ongoing continuity - but I refuse to admit defeat. They appear in an additional listing in the spin-offs section - these could be considered tales set in alternative universes if you want to worry about such a silly concept as canon - I prefer to see them as fantastic expressions of the wonderful diversity of Doctor Who.

Look out for this symbol. It means there are some additional annotations on a particularly thorny continuity issue. Click on the question mark, and you'll be taken to the relevant page for more in-depth analysis. However, for reasons of conciseness and clarity of layout, I won't give minutely detailed explanations for my placements of each and every story. (My maths lecturers would hate that - they always told me to show my working!) Because of this, you might like to check out my Blog, where I'll be pontificating on the finer points of continuity theory; and The Complete Adventures Facebook group, where you can discuss the site and the decisions I've made in the story listings.


Even though I've expended a lot of thought on this, it's important to remember that it's all just a bit of fun. There's no way that all these stories can fit together - they're just too contradictory, and they never were meant to be part of a whole! Anyway, it's quite clear that the Doctor's past history keeps changing - so at any point in his life, only some of his past adventures might actually have happened to him. This is the basis of the quantum universe that I believe Doctor Who inhabits. As a result, I'm not too fussed about reconciling every last detail. Some continuity buffs go into excessive and anal detail, trying to analyse and account for every single obscure factoid and throwaway line of dialogue. To me, it's important only that each adventure fits somewhere logical in the overall sequence.

Nevertheless, it was important to impose a few rules on myself - firstly, to list each story only once - in the case of multi-Doctor stories, this usually means placing it within the chronology of its most recent Doctor. This is certainly how such adventures were presented on the television (The Three Doctors as a Pertwee story, The Five Doctors a Davison adventure, etc.) The explanatory notes contain detailed cross-referenced links back to the previous Doctors' listings, where a footnote records the adventure's existence. There have to be exceptions to every rule of course, so Cold Fusion is listed as a Davison adventure, which is how the book was presented.

I have avoided trying to list unseen adventures (the Doctor's previous visits to certain planets or meetings with historical figures) save when they have some relevance to the plot - the Doctor's first encounter with Xoanon for instance, which sets up the events of The Face of Evil.

Basically I have tried to include every officially licensed spin-off that I could find - every novel, comic strip, film, stage play, short story, etc. I've also counted the Virgin New Adventures featuring the further adventures of Bernice Summerfield, as these follow on from the original Doctor Who novel range. But I haven't included the new range of Bernice books and audio plays from Big Finish - a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off is, for me, too far removed from the original source material.

The Complete Adventures
I haven't included any fan fiction here either - not even my own Bullseye Books series gets a look-in - since I decided to concentrate solely on professionally produced stories. (There is some excellent fan fiction, but there is an awful lot of bad. Then again, it's frequently quite irritating to see stories being published professionally that are some of the worst examples of bad fan fiction I have ever seen...) In a similar vein, I've been inclined to exclude the plethora of charity anthologies that showed up a few years ago - the involvement of professional authors may have tended to blur the distinction somewhat, but ultimately these are fanzines, not generally available to the public. Consequently, I have included a small number of stories from the first Perfect Timing collection and left it at that.


At this time, I am only including stories about the Doctor and his companions - which means that more peripheral tales are not included. Stories exclusively featuring the Daleks and other monsters, or supporting characters have not been mentioned, even when they are later referenced in the Doctor's adventures. (For instance, characters such as Sara Kingdom, Abslom Daak and Kroton the Cyberman appeared in their own comic strips long before they turned up in the Doctor's adventures. Similarly, Gaylord Lefevre from Divided Loyalties first encountered the Celestial Toymaker in the comic strip The Greatest Gamble.) There are a few exceptions to this rule however - because they're my rules, and I can change them as I go along! The most obvious example is Mission to the Unknown - it hasn't got the Doctor in, but its position within the ongoing plot of the tv series makes it hard to leave out.

A new TV series began in 2005, and new Doctor Who adventures are being produced all the time in other media. The list currently contains 3150 stories, and is continually expanding... As a result, this site is in a constant state of flux. I strive to keep the listings as up-to-date as possible. You can keep track of updates, changes and revisions through the site's Facebook page. (Come and "Like" it!) Regular visitors will notice that the listings sometimes change, as a new adventure sheds a different light on the placing of an older story - or sometimes just because I change my mind. For instance, the placing of the twelfth Doctor's ongoing adventures may occasionally seem somewhat arbitrary, until we have enough stories to make some considered judgements...

In the listings tables, each entry is colour-coded by type, which works like this:

The TV episodes
The novels
The comic strips
The short stories
The audio adventures - including radio plays, talking books, etc.
Interactive material - video games, gamebooks, etc.
Live performances
Additional video - including webcasts, DVD extras, etc.
A few oddities - things that don't really fit into the categories above.
Unseen adventures and other footnotes

The links at the top and bottom of this page take you to each Doctor's section of the Complete Adventures. There are additional pages for apocryphal stories (Cushing, Atkinson, etc.) and companions' adventures (Sarah Jane, Torchwood and so on). Or you can use this link to go straight to the start of the Complete Adventures listing.

 
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