It’s been reported in several places we will see Cybermen against Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in series 12. It’s also been reported (and all traces back to an unsubstantiated article in a UK tabloid) Mary Shelley will feature and this will inspire the writing of Frankenstein. All very good, but this makes a bit of a muddle of the Eighth Doctor‘s timeline and the Big Finish main range! Let’s chat…
Mary Shelley and the Eighth Doctor
I suspect the tabloid article is a fishing trip, but it does mention Mary Shelley on audio. It even gives Paul McGann a mention. Now, as Big Finish fans should know, in 2011 a trilogy of Eighth Doctor main range stories (Silver Turk, Witch from the Well and Army of Death) Paul McGann and new companion Mary Shelley (Julie Cox) travelled in the TARDIS (my review here). Silver Turk is pretty much the story suggested in the tabloids in that it has Cybermen and is clearly meant to have influenced Mary.
After this one trio of stories (and their new sound track), we heard no more from Julie Cox at Big Finish. Being main range I can’t imagine the stories didn’t sell, they would have been reviewed well enough so there must be some other reason why they went no further. It’s a shame.
I also need to mention the first Mary Shelley story, Mary’s Story part of the fascinating set of four stories Company of Friends. This Jonathan Morris story is brilliant. It’s Frankenstein done Doctor Who style and is easily one of the best things Big Finish did in the main range.
Back at Series 12
So, what if Mary Shelley appears on TV alongside the Thirteenth Doctor? Well, I can’t imagine the BBC going out of their way to preserve Big Finish continuity, so we get a muddle. Is if fatal? There are many more conundrums in Doctor Who, and we can always say the Time War rewrote history. I think that’s a shame, but then again Paul McGann did a version of Shada on the back of a history rewrite in The Five Doctors, so there’s a lot of precedent!
The BBC may have obligation to bear Big Finish in mind, but I wouldn’t be sure of it. I know (from experience) that every Big Finish story gets BBC vetting for continuity but it can’t go the other way round. Good job there’s no such thing as canon in Doctor Who!
For me the sad bit is remembering when Mary Shelley travelled with the Eighth Doctor back in 2011. I shall await developments and see what actually happens…