|"...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
|Through the millennia, Doctor Who fans have argued 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 modern tv 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
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 of a "traditional" Doctor Who story 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 story together into one big picture - and where necessary, invent some explanations for the contradictions that inevitably occur.
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.
|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. (How my maths lecturers would have hated that - they always told me to show my working!) But frankly, a lot of it is self-explanatory, stories being placed in an arbitrary sequence based on which Doctor and companions they feature. Nevertheless, for further insight you might like to check out my Blog, where I occasionally pontificate 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.
What I'm doing here is, for me, a creative exercise in itself - taking various,
disparate tales as the pieces in a narrative jigsaw puzzle, and putting them into
a sequence that feels aesthetically right to me - rather than placing everything under
microscopic examination. I'd rather go with the feel and the flow that appeals to me,
than try to account forensically for every single detail.
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 story featurng the Doctor - every novel, comic strip, film, stage play, short story, etc. Purely for information purposes, I've also listed some stories showing the further exploits of the Doctor's companions, with an aim to showing roughly where they might fit in with the Doctor's timeline (as much as you can fit in anything with a time traveller). But I should stress that these are not exhaustive or complete listings - it's only the Doctor's life I'm interested in. So in a lot of cases, these are partial or truncated lists. I've included the Gallifrey and UNIT series, and the various adventures of Sarah Jane Smith. I've done a very selective listing for Torchwood, mostly to demonstrate how Captain Jack flitted in and out of the Doctor's adventures, but I drew the line after his final cameo appearance in Doctor Who. I've also done a partial list for the Virgin New Adventures featuring the further adventures of Bernice Summerfield, because I felt these followed on from the original Doctor Who novel range and tied up some story threads. But again, I drew the line before the range of Bernice books and audio plays from Big Finish started. (Of course, stories where Benny actually appears with the Doctor will be listed as usual.)
|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. In a similar vein, I've been inclined to exclude the plethora of charity anthologies that have shown up over the years - the involvement of professional authors may have tended to blur the distinction somewhat, but ultimately these are still fanzines, not generally available to the public. After including Campaign and a small number of stories from the first Perfect Timing collection (some of which were useful in plugging narrative gaps - again it goes back to the conceit of the site as being a creative exercise in itself) - I made the decision to draw a line there.|
|I am only including stories about the Doctor and his companions (within those limits
detailed earlier) - which means that more peripheral tales are not listed. So, stories
that exclusively feature 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.
By way of a more obscure example, a supporting character called Gaylord Lefevre in the
novel Divided Loyalties actually first encountered the Celestial Toymaker in the
Doctorless comic strip The Greatest Gamble - and there's plenty of this cross-fertilization
across the various media if you know where to look for it.) Iris Wildthyme, the Paternoster Gang,
Jago & Litefoot, Counter Measures, Graceless, Vienna, Faction Paradox, Charley Pollard,
the Lethbridge-Stewart novels, the Australian K-9 series, Class - none of these
are here. (But then again, these are my rules, and I can change them as I go along! So
Mission to the Unknown is listed, even though it's technically a Dalek solo adventure
- because its position within the ongoing plot of the tv series made it hard to leave out.)
But let me stress, just as this isn't a collector's guide to all fiction set within the Doctor Who
universe, nor perhaps should it be seen as a suggested viewing/reading/listening order. This is my attempt
to map out the course of the Doctor's life from the materials available.
And of course, I don't claim that this list is in any way definitive. It's simply my own personal interpretation. If you find it useful, that's gratifying. If you disagree with my ideas, that's fine too. I'd encourage anyone with an interest to develop their own preferred chronology - I'd far rather there was a diversity of opinion and a healthy debate than an ossified consensus.
The TV series was revived in 2005, and new Doctor Who adventures are being produced all the time in other media. The list currently contains 3844 stories of the Doctor, 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 thirteenth Doctor's ongoing adventures may initially seem somewhat arbitrary - as more stories arrive, I can make some more considered judgements...
In the listings tables, each entry is colour-coded by type, which works like this:
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 and alternative reality stories (Cushing, Atkinson, etc.) and for 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.
Created by Andrew Kearley.|
Please email me with your comments and suggestions.