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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Dougie
    September 23, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    In reading Inteference,did anyone else find themselves reminded of The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao?


  2. Stephen
    September 23, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    Fantastic summary. I would say that the regeneration is shocking also because in 1999, the readership were mostly fans who cared to some extent with continuity. By rewriting the Doctor's past, Miles makes Faction Paradox a major threat not just to the Doctor, but to fannish obsessions.

    As for what we might insert in the gap, Miles incidentally provides those fans who care about continuity issues a way to include both versions of the third Doctor comic strips that were later republished as fourth Doctor strips.

    And now I have to work out which fourth Doctor books/audios you'll be including.


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 23, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    Currently five Time Can Be Rewritten entries are planned for the Tom Baker era – two Virgin books, and two BBC ones. The order will be Virgin, BBC, BBC, Virgin. The fifth will be something involving Shada, though I haven't entirely decided what yet. As I've said elsewhere, I feel as though the nature of Big Finish is that one really has to introduce the contemporary audios with one of the main series audios, so that'll be held for the Fifth Doctor. No points for guessing which audio I'm going to pick there.

    There are also fully three "You Were Expecting Someone Else" entries for the era. Those will span two different media.

    Enjoy guessing. 🙂


  4. WGPJosh
    September 23, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    "It's not that Pertwee is the most magical Doctor – nothing can really pry that title away from Troughton."

    While I basically agree with you here, I have to part company with you in one specific, very important regard: What about Sylvester McCoy? The only Doctor who is explicitly called " far more than just another Time Lord", whose companion has been described as The Sorcerer's Apprentice, who talks down the magical alien butterfly collector in the odd parallel realm of "Ghost Light" and who stars in the overtly magical "Battlefield" where he is referred to as Merlin all throughout?

    While I will certainly not dispute Troughton's claim to originating, or at least codifying, the concept and I firmly believe he internalizes and embodies the role better than almost anyone else, I also believe that McCoy, under writers like Andrew Cartmel, Mark Platt and Ben Aaronovitch at the very least makes a compelling claim to be the proper successor to that title in a way none of the Doctors between him and Troughton (or after him, to be perfectly blunt) were able to do.

    Other than that a fantastic bit of writing on "Interference": You've done a marvelous job eulogizing the Pertwee era and I look forward to hearing what you have to say about what's to come!


  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 23, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    I love McCoy – he's my favorite era of the classic series, actually – and will of course be talking lots about magic in his era. But I still feel like Troughton is the most magical Doctor because he was the one who most integrated the Doctor's magical powers into his performance – slipping around the edges of the narrative, peering out of television screens, etc. McCoy's Doctor, at his best, could be as magical as Troughton was by default. And Troughton's era still, ultimately, had David Whitaker as one of its primary architects. I love Aaronovich, but the man is no David Whitaker when it comes to bewildering mysticism. 🙂


    • Elton Townend-Jones
      September 15, 2021 @ 8:38 am

      Honestly? We can over-fetishize the Second Doctor all we like for being some kind of skilfull, lucky and contrasting admixture of the at first unforeseen implication of the programme’s title, and its endlessly regenerating future. But…

      The first Doctor is the most truly magical of them all. The Wizard of Oz meets Santa Claus. The man from the unknown with the magical box. Tegana’s demon. Whatever it is the council of baddies perceive him to be in Daleks’ Master Plan. A deeply mysterious and unfathomable Prospero complete with his own Miranda.

      HE’S the one that “invents” Tardis. HE’S the one that Whitaker conjures from the white heat of television. HE’S the one that defeats death by releasing a pantheon of other selves. He’s the daddy. The Grand Daddy, you might say. If he’s not more complicatedly mercurial than any of the “known” others, I’ll eat my Astrakhan hat.

      And God do we take for granted his appearance. He looks like a magician. A terrifying, spooky magician, dabbling in all manner of forbidden arts.

      Not a hippy, not a fop, not a bohemian, or a cricketer. An unknowable, magical force disguised as a human being, whom death shall never conquer. All the Doctors that follow are just scar tissue.

      Which is why The Timeless Child idea (which doesn’t hurt or annoy as much as it:) leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth and undermines the initial power and majesty of the series original Doctor: the Grand Father. The (utterly and genuinely) original.


  6. Anna
    September 23, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    "Actually, Odin is quite a good analogue for the Doctor at several points."

    You have a gift for understatement.


  7. WGPJosh
    September 23, 2011 @ 11:41 am


    You of course make excellent points. It's difficult to argue with David Whitaker, despite how good Cartmel, Platt and Aaronovitch could be. The only thing I'd add is that in my opinion the biggest problem with the McCoy era is rocky management and the changeable relationship it had with the production team and the larger BBC. The fact it didn't always live up to is potential is I feel likely more the fault of the executives and managers who had long since abandoned Doctor Who than it is McCoy's actual performance, as seen in things like the drastic and crippling rewrites to stories like "Ghost Light". Give them the space to and I'm confident McCoy and Aldred can make it happen (dare I say "bring the magic") and they've proven as such many times since their tragically short-lived stint on TV. Anyway, McCoy gets at least one "peering out of the TV" moment in "Remembrance of the Daleks"!


  8. elvwood
    September 23, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

    Dougie asked, "In reading Inteference,did anyone else find themselves reminded of The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao?"

    I've not even read the book(s), and I was still thinking of it! Hm, I'd like to see the film again, find out if it's as good as I remember and how much a greater awareness of racism might affect my reading of the central performance…


  9. Matthew Celestis
    September 24, 2011 @ 3:55 am

    Seven entries on Lawrence Miles stuff? Excellent! Looking forward to that.


  10. Stephen
    September 26, 2011 @ 6:39 am

    Well, with those hints, I'm guessing the first Time Will Be Rewritten will be Managra, the BBC ones will be two of Asylum, a Chris Boucher Leela novel (not sure which), and Tomb of Valdemar, and the final one will be a Gareth Roberts Season 17 (most likely The Well-Mannered War).

    For the "You Were Expecting Someone Else, if it only covers two media, it's difficult to guess, because, with three entries, I'd expect Doctor Who and the Iron Legion, one of the World Distributors' Annuals, and Doctor Who and the Pescatons. But that covers three different media.

    And I really hope that the Davison Big Finish is Spare Parts.


  11. Alphapenguin
    July 3, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    What do you mean when you say the McGann era lacked a sense of wonder? Are you talking about the movie, the novels, Big Finish, or some combination of the above?

    I only ask because I rather like his Big Finish stuff and wonder what you think.


  12. Paul A.
    August 8, 2015 @ 6:48 pm

    In context, with the focus on Interference, it's probably some combination of the movie and the BBC novels. Big Finish's take on the Eighth Doctor was still a few years in the future at this point.


  13. xre
    August 12, 2017 @ 12:50 pm

    The notion of continuity not mattering because you can rewatch the old Planet of the Spiders on your shelf is really illogical.

    These aren’t a series of anthologies but one long connected narrative.

    Consequently the present retroactively impacts upon the past. In fact that’s what the story is about.

    If you want a comic book example try re-reading any story starring Gwen Stacy from the 1960s without a mind to what eventually happens to her. Her future is always present in your mind so you can’t simply see her original stories as what they originally were.

    You yourself illustrated this in your Tenth Planet coverage.

    So Interference 100% had a reductive impact upon Planet of the Spiders which is frankly a better story.


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