The Discontinuity Guide
The Eighth Doctor Adventures

The Eight Doctors

June 1997

The Eight Doctors cover

Author: Terrence Dicks

Editor: Stephen Cole

Roots: Everything is highly derivative of other Doctor Who stories, and all the various roots thereof.

Goofs: Sam knows her teachers' full names, but teachers are always referred to by their surnames (even in kids' nicknames).

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.]

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 appears to be unaware of the effects of the Tissue Compression Eliminator (as seen in most of Season 8) and that the Master's TARDIS can change its appearance (as, for example, in Terror of the Autons).

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.]

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.

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

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 Death Zone is said to have been sealed off after the events of the Borusa affair and the Time Scoop ordered destroyed (though we see here that it was secretly kept by the CIA). However, we see that both statements are false during Goth Opera.

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].

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?

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

Technobabble: A Temporal Reverse Feedback Field, which can reverse the polarity of the temporal flow.

Dialogue Disasters: 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.'

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 Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS is really only a symbolic representation of the real eye on Gallifrey.

Sam runs three miles every morning. She is also a gymnast. She doesn't smoke or drink coke, and is a vegetarian. Her eyes are blue.

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

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 (100,000 BC, Attack of the Cybermen, Remembrance of the Daleks).

Flavia has regenerated several times since The Five Doctors and is now President in her own right. [So either she appears shortly before Romana's election, and Happy Endings and Lungbarrow happen after this in Gallifrey's timeline, or she has been elected interim President during Romana's captivity.]

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

Castellan 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.

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.

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.

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. The Doctor has a Sontaran Alien Recognition Manual to himself.

Rassilon's Red is Gallifrey's finest wine vintage. The Panopticon's roof is so high that clouds form inside, just below the roof.

The post of Co-ordinator became the 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 Enemy Within (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) 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 100,000 BC and The War Games, just after The Sea Devils, just after State of Decay, just after The Five Doctors, towards the end of Trial of a Time Lord, and not long before the regeneration in Enemy Within.

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 Daemons, 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.

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

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'. 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.

The Bottom Line: '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 quite 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 a short story collection, The Eight Doctors would have been thought of much more highly.

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