A History of the Whoniverse
The Rules of History
This page is intended to let you know what's going on in the History of the Whoniverse. If you want to know what's included, then you need to look at The Whoniverse Guide to Canon. Otherwise, everything is explained on this page.
- What happens when stories contradict each other?
- Which of the disputed titles are used?
- What format have I used?
- Apology for inconsistencies
What do you do when two stories conflict? For most people it doesn't really matter, but when you're writing a reference work of any kind, it can cause numerous headaches. Many fans approach the issue by talking about a hierarchy of canon. They would take an approach along the lines of placing the TV series first, and the books and audios in second or third place. This kind of approach is, of course, simplistic. In order to resolve possible contradictions, we have to take into account the reliability of the source within the fiction of the show. If, for example, one of the contradictory "facts" is related by a known liar, then it makes more sense that the other fact is correct, even if it comes from a source that is lower down in such a hierachy of sources. If adding in a simple assumption or theory resolves the contradiction, then again it is a better solution than falling back on the hierarchy approach. There are, however, cases where you are forced to choose which of two versions to believe.
When direct and unresolvable contradictions have arisen, I have weighed several difference principles. Firstly, I have tended towards saying that information within a particular story overrules information outside it. However, when dealing with the dating of important events such as the UNIT era, or the Dalek invasion of Earth, I have attempted to mould all the evidence from numerous stories into something coherent. The controversial question of dating the UNIT stories has been solved by starting with a rough dating scheme and manipulating it in parts to fit in individual stories. Also, if forced into directly comparing information from two different stories, I tend to place the TV series first (as everything else tries to tie into it). I then place the novels above the audios, simply because Gary Russell, who is in charge of the audios, has chosen to deliberately contradict the novels. This decision means that I automatically consider their continuity to be less reliable.
Where these principles are inconclusive (and probably in a few other cases as well), I've used my own prejudices in figuring out the continuity.. On occasion, I have had to assume a retcon or two. Unlike many other fictional histories I have read, I haven't tried to completely cut out gratuitous speculation, partly because I enjoy speculating. All speculation within the history is marked in [square brackets], or confined to the notes explaining where an event comes from and why I've put it where I have.. I have sometimes included sections of speculation attempting to make future history appear more coherent, though all this is based on what we have been told within the series.
2) What versions of stories are most important?
There are a number of stories that exist in more than one version. Televised stories have almost all been released in a novelised form as well as their televised versions, as well as there being plenty of extended scenes that were cut at either the rehearsal or the post-production stage. I generally count material seen in the televised version, and extended scenes shown on video or DVD versions. If camera scripts and novelisations provide extra information that does not contradict other sources, then I will count that material. Earlier drafts and the intent of the production team or the author are only counted if they explain the otherwise inexplicable or help to tie down a date or other detail more precisely than would otherwise be possible.
There are also radio and video only stories that also made it into novel form. In such cases, the novel version is often the more detailed of the two, and tends to take precedence. However, this is less so than with the TV series being more important than the novelisation versions.
The titles for certain televised stories are a fierce debate within fandom, due to onscreen titles being given for individual episodes rather than whole stories up until The Savages. There is also dispute of the title of the 1996 TV Movie. Here is a list of disputed names (listed by their production code) and exactly what (and why) I'll be using:
A: variously called 100,000 BC (the final working title), The Tribe of Gum (working title) and An Unearthly Child (1st episode title). The first episode is in a separate setting, and could almost count as a separate story. Therefore, I've used An Unearthly Child for the actual events of the 1st episode and 100,000 BC for everything other mention.
B: its final working title was The Mutants but it's generally called The Daleks to avoid confusion with the Pertwee-era story The Mutants. I follow the general trend, because I don't want people to get confused between the two.
C: The working title was Inside the Spaceship, and the first episode title was The Edge of Destruction. Both have been used but it all takes place inside the TARDIS. This means that, for chronology purposes, it's pretty irrelevant, so I don't care.
T/A or DC: Possibly the most contentious story title. It's the (single episode) prologue to The Daleks' Masterplan, is widely been believed to have had the code T/A, though apparently it was referred to as Dalek Cutaway or DC by the production team. I use the onscreen episode title Mission to the Unknown.
W: The working title was The Massacre. The final title was The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve. I don't like excessively long titles, so I'll be using the first one.
BBB: The onscreen title was Doctor Who and the Silurians, but I'm using the shorter and better title The Silurians, because I object on principle to titles including the phrase Doctor Who and the...
7A, 7B, and 7C: The events of Season 23: The Trial of a Time Lord are fairly complicated. The story can be divided into one, three, or four stories depending on how you count, but only one title was used on screen. I've decided to use the overall title Trial of a Time Lord for the trial scenes; The Mysterious Planet for the evidence shown in parts 1-4, Mindwarp for the evidence shown in parts 5-8, and Terror of the Vervoids for the evidence shown in parts 9-12. These titles for individual chunks of the story were used for the novelisations and have been widely used by fans.
Fox Telemovie: It was entitled Doctor Who, but I use the semi-official Enemy Within, because it's actually a title.
The New Series: Each episode from the new series has an individual title, although there are two-part stories. I have chosen to refer to individual episodes even with the two-parters.
All other stories have generally accepted titles. For TV stories up to The Savages, the final working title is now generally accepted as the title, whilst from The Savages onwards there was an on-screen title for the entire story. Everything else I've included also has one universally accepted title.
With short stories, I've combined the name of the collection with that of the story for ease of reference. This means that, for example, the story Continuity Errors from Decalog 3 is written Decalog 3: Continuity Errors, although where it is clear from context where the story is from (such as repeated references in the same paragraph) I have occasionally dropped the name of the collection.
In this history, I have used the following formatting conventions. Dates are in bold type. Story titles precede the description of stories in CAPITALS. Dating information and related speculation are in italics. Stories referred to in these sections are coloured according to their source. Events in alternate universes are within coloured blocks. I have also inserted a few titles for periods, particularly in the history and prehistory sections. These are in the style of the headings on this page. Speculation within the history itself is enclosed in [square brackets], in the style of The Discontinuity Guide. If you have a non-standard (particularly a text-only) web browser, things may appear differently on your screen.
I have used colour coding for the stories, to make it more obvious what source they are from. The coding is as follows:
Note: Because browser set-ups vary, the colour-schemes below may look different on your computer. Each description of a colour is formatted in the colour used for that category in the history.
|Blue||The TV Series|
|Red||Novels by Virgin Publishing|
|Purple||Novels by BBC Books|
|Dark Yellow||Big Finish Audios, books, and short story collections|
|Events taking place outside the main Whoniverse (such as events in parallel universes, or in e-space) are indicated by a light yellow background.|
I have not been entirely consistent within this history. Due to human error, some accounts are in the past tense, some are in the present tense and I may sometimes have accidentally switched between them in the middle of an account. I have probably also, at points, disobeyed some of my rules about how to prioritise information. There are also gaps where I have not yet covered a particular story. I apologise in advance for any inconsistencies in style and in the content, that have crept in, after all, I am only human. However, I do promise to deal with any genuine mistakes as soon as possible after I find about them.
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