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A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Doctor Who Galaxy, A review of Whoniverse by Lance Parkin

Christmas is not too far away and “Whoniverse” by Lance Parkin is a wonderful book to give to a Whovian.

Having compared this book to the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, I should point out immediately the section on Earth consists of a lot more that “Mosty Harmless”.

Each subject in the book has a History section. Most have a Behind The Scenes section, a Fact File [referring to stories relating to the subject] and a Timeline but when they don’t, there is usually a stunning piece of art.

There are footnotes tying into the History section relating to the sources of the text. One of the great things about this book (which enhances it compared to some of the official titles) is that the sources of reference encompass more than the television show. The TV series is where the majority of the information is sourced from but there are references to comic strips, novels, novellas, short stories, audio adventures, video games and stage plays. This will hopefully open doors for you to find some amazing Doctor Who stories you may not have experienced before. Some of the stories may even help you appreciate a TV story more by giving it some additional layers.

So join me on my guide to Lance Parkin‘s guide to the Whoniverse.

Section One: The Universe

The best place to start is the beginning and the first section relates to the Big Bang (or Event One as the Time Lords have named it) accompanied by a stunning image of the Black Guardian. We continue our journey by visits to Terminus and some other universes such as E-Space, the Anti-matter and parallel universes. We then gaze into the Time Vortex before journeying onto the First Planets and visiting the Ancient Civilisations. This section ends with a look at Mutter‘s Spiral (also known as the Milky Way) which then leads us to the next section…

Section Two: The Solar System

After an overview an a look at the Sun and Mercury, we take a visit to Vulcan. This is not the planet of Spock but the setting of one of the many lost stories (episodes that have been wiped when BBC wiped tv shows in order to reuse the tape, copies made for other markets are now often the source of many of the lost stories but Patrick Troughton‘s debut story “The Power of the Daleks” remains lost but is top of many Whovians wishlist for stories to be rediscovered, thankfully the audio track still exists). After a brief stop at Venus, we finally arrive at Earth. We explore the Young Earth of the then the Humanian Era before saying farewell to Old Earth. We then venture to the Moon including the Colonisation of the Moon and (after seeing the events in 2014‘s “Kill the Moon”) the New Moon. An extended visit to Mars then follows looking at Ancient Mars, Dying Mars and the various Mission to Mars. The Thousand Day war is looked at, a series of events following the events of the TV story “The Seeds Of Death” that formed the novel “Transit” by Silurians Ben Aaronovitch followed by the novel “GodEngine” by Craig Hinton. We then explore the rest of the Solar System before venturing further afield into…

Section Three: Earth‘s Colonies In Space

This section takes us to the many Earth colonies visited by the Doctor and again will entice you to revisit (or visit for the first time) the many wonderful worlds contained within this section. As Lance states in the introduction, it would be nearly impossible to cover EVERY planet visited by the Doctor but he makes a fine attempt with no obvious omissions. The beauty of this type of book is that you can dip in and out of and you will find yourself reaching for your DVD/audio/comic/book collection or going online to find some of the lesser known gems. The next section in particular will give you a new perspective of some of the most iconic characters in the show‘s history as we visit..

Section Four: Planets Of Origin

We now travel to visit the planets of the Time Lords, Daleks and Cybermen. We visit some planets mentioned in the tv series but have featured in other forms of media. This section contains references to some wonderful stories, may of which were written in the years between the tv series ending and the new series‘ successful return in 2005. Following this, we then visit a cornucopia of planets in a subsection called Planet Of The Monters. These range from Alfava Metraxis to the War Planet (although it is a bit harsh having Traken in this section).

Section Five: Distant Planets

These planets are those located at the far reaches of the Doctor Who Universe, such as the Isop Galaxy, Vortis, the Sense-Sphere and Raxacoricofallapatorius. Encounter beings such as the Drahvins, The Ood, the Menoptra and Sensorites.

Section Six: The Last Planets

These planets include new home planets for the Human race such as Refusis I, Frontios, New Earth and Malcassairo. The end of the Universe is covered in this section too and although there is not a restaurant here, there is the City of the Saved and it is where this guide ends.

This book is a wonderful guide and allows you to visit many worlds within the Doctor Who universe and with references to many other adventures beyond the TV series, it is invaluable for those wanting to explore the extended universe of Doctor Who.


Doctor Who is back

It’s been a while since I have updated this site but I hope I won’t be so long in between posts. This post will be my thoughts on the first episode that was shown on Saturday 19th September 2015. If you haven’t seen it yet, I must warn you that this post will contain spoilers. In fact, I’m waffling here deliberately so that if you encounter this post and it has the opening few sentences or paragraph, I can let you know of the spoilers ahead well before you may accidentally encounter them.

So anyway, the first episode was called “The Magician’s Apprentice”. I enjoyed the episode but I felt it had more of an end of series feel to it, especially after what happened with Clara, Missy and the TARDIS. As a finale, that could be comparable with Sherlock’s dive and needs more time to allow the shock of what we have seen sink in. I imagine there will be all kinds of guesses for what happens.

There were a lot of details within the episode that harked back to the past years of Doctor Who. The relationship between the Capaldi and Gomez reminds me of the dynamic between Pertwee and Delgado. It is not too difficult to believe that they may once have been close and I think that in both cases, it’s the performance of  Delgado and Gomez that especially highlights this (looking back at Pertwee’s line at the end of The Master’s first story about how he is quite looking forward to matching wits against The Master makes you wonder about The Doctor’s sanity and common sense). Gomez’s Master/Missy also shares Delgado’s Master’s love of children’s programs with her coming through the square window line (referenced from a children’s show called “Play School”). Delgado’s Master was seen enjoying an episode of “The Clangers” during his confinement in the story “The Sea Devils”.

In classic series Doctor Who, a Dalek or Cyberman story was often a great excuse to insert a snippet from an earlier story featuring an earlier Doctor and that was the case once again with a line from Davros’s first story that was especially pertinent. The story ended in familiar territory too with the Doctor holding a gun at Davros that was reminiscent to the scene when the 5th Doctor holds a gun on Davros.

Another thing I noticed was Missy’s ring that reminded me of the ring worn by the first Doctor.

We also find ourselves on Skaro again. The Doctor has visited Skaro on surprisingly few occasions and oddly enough, Tom Baker, who was Who for the most amount of stories, only faced the Daleks twice both stories taking place on Skaro (and also these were the only stories with Davros on Skaro too). It was nice to see the different types of Dalek (something hinted at in Asylum of the Daleks but some had a “blink and you’d miss it” appearance).

I shall be looking forward to next weeks episode and hope that the resolution isn’t too much of a disappointment.

What did you think of the episode?

A favour to ask


I have been working on a collection of Doctor Who haiku (I may try to publish it in one format or another for 53rd anniversary (17 syllables, 13 Doctors [including John Hurt] and 53 years – all prime numbers). I have written haiku for every story from Doctors 1-10 and working on Matt Smith era.

The favour I have to ask is would any of you be interested in being beta readers for me. You may choose a specific Doctor if you wish and if you are up for a challenge, I can send them without the episode name attached and you can try to guess the story.

Many thanks for your help.

Please email me at doctorwhohaiku@gmail.com if you wish to help, even if you aren’t a big fan you can help to ensure that the haiku make sense too.

Again thank you

An early birthday present for Doctor Who fans

Two more stories found

From Patrick Troughton era

It’s wonderful news

There has been some fantastic news for Doctor Who fans in its 50th anniversary year with the news that 9 more lost episodes have been found. This brings the number of missing episodes down to 97.

Even better news is the fact that they almost complete 2 stories from Patrick Troughton’s second year as the Doctor. Until the discovery of “Tomb of the Cybermen” in the early 1990s, no complete story from this season existed. This year has seen the release of another story from this era, “The Ice Warriors”, with the missing episodes being animated, we now have a run of 3 almost complete stories as the 2 stories that followed, “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” being the stories recently discovered.

These 2 stories are of additional interest as they were directed by people who would become legendary figures for Doctor Who fans.

Salamander looks

Much like the Doctor but is

Ruthless Dictator

The first story, “The Enemy of the World” was directed by Barry Letts who would later go on to produce Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee era. Until now, only one episode of this story existed and in a global spanning story, the episode that we had is easily the least interesting of the six. This story is discussed by Barry Letts in his autobiography “Who and Me” and some lessons that he learned about how Doctor Who was made and how it may be improved. Something as simple as changing from making an episode a week to two episodes a fortnight made a big difference (especially in relation to sets that sometimes got damaged when they were stored). There was a set problem in the episode that existed which lead to a strange scene of someone under guard being kept in a hallway where he ate a meal. This story also features a doppelgänger, allowing Patrick Troughton to play both the Doctor and the tyrant Salamander with a finale that leads directly into the next story. This story also features an early Doctor Who appearance of an actor who plays villains and officious jobsworths exceptionally well, Milton Johns. He would star in two more Doctor Who stories, both in the Tom Baker era, “The Android Invasion” and “The Invasion of Time”. Had the Harry Potter films been made in the 70s or 80s, he would have been an ideal Severus Snape.

The Yeti return

And Lethbridge-Stewart enters

In the underground

The second story, “The Web of Fear”, is interesting for a number of reasons. One being that the enemy is the Great Intelligence (first encountered in “The Abominable Snowmen”, the story that preceded “The Ice Warriors”). The Great Intelligence has also reappeared in the new series of Doctor Who. Web of Fear also introduces a character who would become one of the most popular characters in the series, although in this story the Brigadier has yet to be promoted and is Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in this story. The Great Intelligence used robotic Yeti to carry out its plans and inside one of the furry suits was the man who would go on to be the much-loved Sergeant Benton of U.N.I.T., John Levene. This story was directed by Douglas Camfield. Camfield has directed many of the most fondly remembered stories form the classic era. There is a very good extra about Douglas Camfield on the recently released “Terror of the Zygons” DVD. The set design on Web of Fear is very good, so good that the production team almost got into trouble after being denied access to film on the underground, they reproduced the underground so convincingly that those who had denied the access thought they had filmed there anyway.

The soundtracks for both these stories have been available with Frazer Hines providing the linking narration for both stories but it is a pleasure to view these lost stories again. Both stories are available to download, the still missing episode 3 of The Web of Fear features the soundtrack and telesnaps, from iTunes but there will be a DVD release for both stories.


Still writing poems
For an anniversary
Haiku collection

Just a quick post to update on my progress of a collection of Doctor Who haiku. I’m working on writing one haiku for each story (working on Sylvester McCoy era this month). I hope to get it fine by 23rd November 2013 (50th anniversary date) and will include haiku for anniversary story. I have some other ideas for Doctor Who haiku that I may include in a separate volume or an expanded edition. Now all I need to do is figure out how best to format it for eBook.

Thank you for reading.

Happy 49th Anniversary

Today (23rd November 2012) is the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who and so to celebrate I thought I’d repost a guest post featuring amazing artwork and memories from when the very first episode was aired. Click here to read this wonderful post.

If you want to join me on my quest to watch Doctor Who from the beginning, then click here to see my journey beginning.

Over the weekend I am going to enjoy the very first episode once more and listen to the 49th story of the classic series, The Space Pirates written by Robert Holmes. Sadly this is another of the stories missing from the archive.

I will also watch the 49th story of the new series, Victory of the Daleks written by Mark Gatiss (who I think would be a brilliant Master if the powers that be wished to bring him back as a nemesis of the Doctor rather than the insane Master previously seen.

Happy anniversary Doctor Who and to quote the Brig, “Splendid chap, all of them.”

This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin


Of the Doctor’s very first


As you may know, Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary next year but today is an anniversary of almost equal importance. That is because today, October 29th, is the anniversary of something that happened that would allow the show to continue although the lead actor was leaving the series.

“Change my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.*”

October 29th 1966 saw the screening of episode 4 of “The Tenth Planet”. Sadly this episode is one of those missing from the archives but fortunately the transformation scene itself does still exist (yay for BBC children’s programme “Blue Peter”).

Plans were afoot to replace William Hartnell and may have been carried out a few stories earlier at the conclusion of The Celestial Toymaker (which would have worked within the confines of this story but it would be a trick that would be difficult to repeat) but it wasn’t until a few stories later (and the following season) that the first change of the Doctor was to take place.

The new production team of Producer, Innes Lloyd, and Script Editor, Gerry Davis, were looking to bring the adventure aspect of the show back to the forefront, rather than the previous year’s science fiction leanings, with The Tenth Planet being the first of what would be a staple of the stories during Patrick Troughton’s years as the Doctor, The Base Under Siege.

It was also an unusual decision to recast the lead by a completely different actor rather than a lookalike. This was to prove to be an inspired idea as you can then let the Doctor behave in a completely different way and would start the never ending discussion of “who is the best Doctor?”

At the time of the Doctor’s renewal (regeneration was not referred to until third Doctor, Jon Pertwee’s farewell story) and little was known about where the Doctor came from (again, it was during the Jon Pertwee era, and his final season at that, before his home is named as Gallifrey) and it was Patrick Troughton’s finale that introduced us to the Time Lords. How much of this mythology would have remained unknown had the Doctor never changed? Probably none.

So let’s celebrate the changing face of Doctor Who…

“Splendid chap, all of them” as the Brigadier has said.

Here is a list of the regeneration stories to date although you may notice that there hasn’t been an onscreen regeneration from 8th Doctor into 9th. (as of 2012)

  • The Tenth Planet (1st Doctor into 2nd)
  • The War Games (2nd Doctor into 3rd [although 3rd Doctor isn’t actually seen])
  • Planet of the Spiders (3rd Doctor into 4th)
  • Logopolis (4th Doctor into 5th)
  • The Caves of Androzani (5th Doctor into 6th)
  • Time and the Rani (6th Doctor [sort of] into 7th)
  • 1996 TV Movie (7th Doctor into 8th)
  • Parting of the Ways (9th Doctor into 10th)
  • The End of Time –Part Two (10th into 11th)

*spoken by 6th Doctor just after he has regenerated.