Stealing the TARDIS and continuity

First Doctor takes TARDISOne of the joys of having a chunk of the show’s past explored is that it allows for all kinds of speculation and for the myriad of TV shows, novels and audio offerings to be compared, contrasted and generally kicked over looking for gaps and contradictions.

The Name of the Doctor gives us plenty to chew over, so I thought I would start a debate on the interpretation and implications on the ‘c’ word (c*n*n). Some spoilers below but mostly some idle thinking…

What did Name of the Doctor tell us?

First it told us that one of the most advanced technologies ever could only afford black and white security cameras.

More relevant it was clear that the Doctor and Susan were together when they infiltrated the Gallifrey repair shop and took the TARDIS. This intersects with many other pieces of Who media over the years and I have picked on three to discuss:

  1. Nu-who continuity
  2. The Cartmel Masterplan
  3. Big Finish’s Quadrigger Stoyn trilogy.

Nu-Who continuity

The stealing of the TARDIS was covered in The Doctor’s Wife and there it was made clear that the TARDIS borrowed the Doctor! The sense we got from that episode implied that the the Doctor and the TARDIS had encountered each other before they fled Gallifrey. As presented in Name of the Doctor it came across as almost ad hoc (until Clara made sure the Doctor took the right one of many!).

The Cartmel Masterplan

Back in the death throws of the Seventh Doctor’s reign Andrew Cartmel led a re-think of the whole concept of the show and elements of this made their way onto screen and into print. In Remembrance of the Daleks we learned (courtesy of Ben Aaronovitch) that when the Doctor left Gallifrey he took the Hand of Omega with him. This was also shown to be a coffin sized container. Well unless it was lying around inside a TARDIS in the repair shop (really) this doesn’t fit.

Further, in Marc Platt’s Lungbarrow [yes I’ve become the kind of fan that says ‘but in Lungbarrow…‘] the Doctor takes the TARDIS, goes back into the show’s deep history then collects Susan. This is not what was shown, Susan was with the Doctor already!

Quadrigger Stoyn

As part of the celebrations for the 50th, Big Finish are producing a trilogy in the Companion Chronicles range centred on Quadrigger Stoyn who was inside the TARDIS when it was stolen. This still seems to work with Name  of the Doctor and I beleive from reading behind some tweets that Big Finish were sufficiently clued in to make sure they fit this new presentation of events.

Final Thoughts

Were the cylinders the TARDISes? I think so and then we get the whole ‘when did the chameleon circuit fail and when did the TARDIS become a Police Box debate to have! I can’t wait!

What do you think? What other continuity needs re-exploring? Let me know



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Luke Foord says:

    When we first saw First and Susan but first thought was what about that BF audio they were planning? But I like the idea that they fit perfectly together in the end. If I’m correct Nick Briggs still sends all the audios through BBC Wales first for continuity clashes and I’m sure this would have been picked up on. They can use The Name of the Doctor as a little promotion for The Beginning when it comes round, something like ‘You saw it on TV, now see what happened next…’


    1. Tony Jones says:

      I have heard BF say that Cardiff give approval to everything – whether that is story outline or detailed script I don’t know.

      Good idea about tying in the advertising


  2. Richard McGinlay says:

    “When did the chameleon circuit fail and when did the TARDIS become a Police Box?” It became a police box when it arrived in London 1963 prior to the events of An Unearthly Child. Admittedly, a police box is a rather strange thing to find in a junkyard, but maybe the alien Doctor and TARDIS thought that it would be nicely inconspicuous (like the name Ford Prefect!) or maybe it materialized on the street and was moved into the junkyard later. The chameleon circuit failed in the very next episode, The Cave of Skulls. The Doctor mutters to himself, “It’s still a police box. Why hasn’t it changed? Dear, dear, how very disturbing.”


    1. Tony Jones says:

      Richard – I always felt that the TARDIS must have been a police box some short time before An Unearthly Child. As for the failing I am guilty of watching An Unearthly Child rather more than the rest of the first adventure and that had slipped my mind. Must add to the re-watch list!


  3. LazerBrain says:

    See, the thing is, the Hand doesn’t necessarily have to be with the Doctor. Maybe it just happened to be in the TARDIS? Would make sense actually for the Doctor to just happen upon an antique TARDIS and that the Time Lords just left it in there to collect dust, etc.

    The other thing is, Lungbarro is crap and is totally incongruent with everything else that ever happens. The more that book is directly contradicted in other media, THE BETTER OF ALL BESTS, because Lungbarrow is truly awful and the worst book ever.


    1. Tony Jones says:

      I don’t think Lungbarrow is the worst book ever – there are plenty of others challenging for that title even among Doctor Who novels. I’ll agree it can be a challenge to read but given it is written by Marc Platt who was involved with the whole Cartmel Masterplan that gave us the Hand of Omega I do think it needs considering.

      Left to collect dust? Maybe – maybe not


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