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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. Seeing_I
    April 10, 2013 @ 6:18 am

    Great comments on RTD's weird list of monsters – I remember thinking at the time what a wonderfully skewed and quirky little list it was.


  2. Theonlyspiral
    April 10, 2013 @ 6:21 am

    Spoiler Warning

    I love the Lucie Miller Audios. There are a couple that are…not good. But overall they benefit from the development of Doctor Who after the revival exactly as you say.

    Sheridan Smith brings so much life and energy to the part of Lucie, she just might be my favorite companion in any medium. She's clever, plucky and while she gets herself into trouble she also has moments of genuine competence and skill.

    I also LOVE the way they do the bait and switch in this season, playing up the fact that Lucie has this great terrible future ahead of her, and that she'll turn into some warlord or other…and then it turns out to be a different blonde girl going to work at the same office on the same day. Brilliant.

    Paul McGann was the first Doctor I encountered, and I enjoyed his other audios a great deal. However when I heard the first series of EDA's…his place was cemented. Head and shoulders above almost anyone else. Smith is good, fantastic even. I do enjoy McCoy a great deal. But the Sardonic, almost byronic hero that McGann becomes over the course of his audio adventures is my Doctor.


  3. drfgsdgsdf
    April 10, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    I being stupid here but what were the other 8 times Paul McGann appeared in a Doctor Who story that was designed for transmission to the general public?


  4. Ununnilium
    April 10, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    Interesting. I note that Davies's canonizing of "even the crap" is reflected in Grant Morrison expressly pulling some of the silliest Batman stories into canon in The Black Casebook.


  5. Daibhid C
    April 10, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    The TVM, the other five BBC 7 stories, and … um … the animated Shada remake?


  6. Daibhid C
    April 10, 2013 @ 8:39 am

    …Which I've just realises comes to seven, so I don't know.


  7. sorrywehurtyourfield
    April 10, 2013 @ 9:54 am

    I think it's genuinely impressive how self-assured and coherent this line is, and how well Big Finish and BBC 7 rise up to the task of addressing the semi-mainstream audience. (Robson in particular seems like an instant breakout writer on the basis of his contributions to this season, although I've not heard anything he's done since.) Especially considering that the webcasts, arguably the biggest precedent in terms of a primarily-audio medium pitched at least somewhat beyond fandom, had flapped around so aimlessly between different eras and visions of the series.


  8. David Anderson
    April 10, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    Since we've passed over the rest of Eighth Doctor Season One, it has to be observed that Horror of Glam Rock is a serious contender for best Doctor Who story title ever.

    The front cover of the CD does credit Nicholas Briggs as Cybermen. I don't mind the surprise being spoiled because the cybermen aren't playing the obvious role in the story (although there's a heavy hint dropped half way through part one). So the cliffhanger isn't, 'and cybermen as well!' as 'how will that role being played by cybermen change things'. (The story wouldn't work if they were generic monsters.)


  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 10, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    Actually, the problem is that Human Resources is two of the nine times, not one of them.


  10. Dan Abel
    April 10, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    Robson has recently had a comedy series on BBC Radio 2: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01k9hmd


  11. Bennett
    April 10, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    Excellent essay Phil, as always. You've really put your finger on most of the reasons why I feel that Big Finish's 8DAs have given Paul McGann the right space to perform his Doctor at last.

    As it isn't in the Eighth Doctor Schedule, I'd be curious to see if you touch on Dark Eyes in your 'To the Death' entry (assuming you've heard it). I found that, while enjoyable, it unlearned many of the New Series tricks you've outlined here. Namely that the episodes are more like 50 minute short-story omnibuses that bleed together, and most alarmingly that the plot culminates to a load of technobabble centred around a character we're not invested in – with the Doctor and Molly (and the relationship between them) making no meaningful contribution to its resolution.


  12. Josiah Rowe
    April 10, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

    Dark Eyes, presumably, would then be the seventh draft of the Eighth Doctor. Eighth Man Bound, anybody?


  13. Josiah Rowe
    April 10, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    Oh, and Phil — don't forget to put the links to the Pertwee book in the sidebar! My copy arrived yesterday and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.


  14. Tom Dickinson
    April 10, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

    Blogtor Who had a post today about the upcoming special edition of The Visitation, and specifically the "Doctor Forever" featurette for which Davies was interviewed. I mention it because Blogtor quotes a comment Davies made about Big Finish, and it makes for an interesting side note to your point about his decision to canonize Paul McGann.



  15. Cleofis
    April 10, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

    I had the exact same thought upon reading that statement too, though I tend to think Morrison pulled it off better in the end (albeit in a characteristically overcomplicated-but-not-really Morrisonian way).


  16. Matthew Blanchette
    April 10, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    …so, as it turns out, McGann is the one who keeps wanting to come back, and Eccleston is the one who won't even show up for the 50th, eight yeara after he quit playing the role. Ouch.


  17. Spacewarp
    April 10, 2013 @ 11:40 pm

    I'm probably with RTD on the whole "Multi-Doctor" thing – why do it? I saw "The Three Doctors" on broadcast and my 9-year old self enjoyed it immensely. But "The Five Doctors" left me cold as it seemed to be just a case of shoe-horning Doctors into the story for the sake of it. For me, "Three" wasn't the "First" multi-Doctor story, it was just "The multi-Doctor story" (in the same way as during William Hartnell's tenure he played "the Doctor", not "the First Doctor").

    Personally I kind of think the endless fan expectation for multi-Doctor outings for the slightest excuse (50th anniversary, 39th anniversary, month with a "y" in it anniversary) has cheapened the memory of that golden winter in 1972 when for 4 weeks we had a bit of magic in Doctor Who.

    I can well understand Eccleston's refusal to be involved in a cameo. He knows he'd only be invited for the sake of "ticking his number", and not for any real desire to see him act.


  18. Ross
    April 11, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    The Three Doctors is really much more like a normal Pertwee-era story that just happens to have an extra Doctor and a half in it (not entirely, but much moreso than, say, The Five Doctors is a normal fifth doctor story with some extra doctors in it), and I think that makes it work a lot better (If you're the sort of person for whom Pertwee-era stories work in the first place.) The others all tend to basically just be less forthright versions of 'Dimensions in Time' — just the actors wandering around doing their individual schticks to please the fanboys while we run out the clock on the episode.


  19. Spacewarp
    April 11, 2013 @ 2:57 am

    Plus I don't think Eccleston would work in a story with another Doctor in it. His Doctor is a very selfish individual, who would have no interest in (and would probably be jealous of) sharing the stage with another Doctor. Anyone prior to him would remind him of his "War damage", while anyone after him would remind him of his mortality. Having said that, watching Hartnell's Doctor you'd think he'd have no time for a future replacement, and you'd probably be right…if he wasn't almost completely rewritten for "Three" and "Five". As I think Phil pointed out in the entries for these two stories, so I think I'd better shut up now.


  20. Matthew Blanchette
    April 11, 2013 @ 3:18 am

    But, you know… it's supposed to be the 50th. Not the 7th. Having only one Doctor and one companion return (in what is often considered to be the most obnoxious Doctor/companion formulation in the new series) is just… it doesn't quite seem fair.

    Someone on another site put it this way: "Imagine it is 1983. Doctor Who's 20th anniversary special is coming up. They've invited Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. And no one else.

    I mean, we know what would happen, right? The current Doctor would be railroaded by their immediate predecessor who remained hugely popular, even after two full series."


  21. David Anderson
    April 11, 2013 @ 3:26 am

    I wouldn't bring back multiple Doctors to see them working together. You'd bring back Eccleston's Doctor so that he could heckle with remarks about bow ties and long swooshy coats. In fact, you could probably get away with some variant on the dandy and a clown line.
    There's also a serious multiple Doctor story to be written about what someone met themselves at different stages in their life. Eccleston's Doctor would work in that too.


  22. Spacewarp
    April 11, 2013 @ 3:41 am

    Oh yeah, I know. It's the 50th, make it special.

    Like the 10th was special, with the current Doctor meeting the previous Doctors! I mean how incredible was that? It was unique, ingenious, unexpected, and yet such an obvious thing to have done in a programme about Time Travel!

    So let's do something equally special, and unique, and ingenious, and unexpected for the 50th. I'd put "The Next Doctor" as on a par with "Three Doctors", at least concept-wise, as something totally original and unexpected. I'd like to see something equally once-in-a-lifetime, original, celebratory, for the 50th.

    …Or we could just trot out some other Doctors.

    You see what I mean?

    Nar, don't get me wrong, it'll be nice to see Tennant again, although continuity-wise, considering his panicked attitude towards Regeneration in "End of Time", I wouldn't expect the 10th Doctor him to treat any meeting with the 11th with anything other than horror and denial.

    Hmmm…come to think of it, much like he didn't treat his faux replacement in "The Next Doctor". Continuity, it's such a flexible thing.


  23. Froborr
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:02 am

    See, I think the only way to make Yet Another Multi-Doctor Story work is to have the Tenth through Twelfth show up (and any others you can get), and then have it not be a regeneration story. 11 is still the main Doctor, and you pay the actor who played Twelve a retainer so you can bring him on whenever Matt Smith quits.


  24. Froborr
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:03 am

    Of course now that I've said that, it occurs to me that this anniversary isn't really for us. The vast majority of its viewers, just like the vast majority of viewers for any New Who episode, have seen little to no Classic Who, and therefore the only multi-doctor story they've seen is probably Time Crash.


  25. jane
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:13 am

    "the plot culminates to a load of technobabble centred around a character we're not invested in – with the Doctor and Molly (and the relationship between them) making no meaningful contribution to its resolution"

    That's too bad. On the other hand, I can get something else for my birthday.


  26. jane
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:14 am

    Yet Eccleston will do a one-off Big Finish production. So, has he done anything else at all for the BBC since walking away?


  27. jane
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:18 am

    @Matthew: Eccleston was invited. He turned them down.


  28. David Anderson
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:27 am

    A fair bit, though mostly one-offs. Most obviously The Shadow Line.


  29. Abigail Brady
    April 11, 2013 @ 5:56 am

    Eccleston will do a one-off Big Finish production.



  30. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 11, 2013 @ 6:03 am

    I suspect an old rumor based on the Destiny of the Doctor productions, which people initially thought would feature Doctors and not be Companion Chronicles.


  31. Spacewarp
    April 11, 2013 @ 6:19 am

    It's a kind of sliding scale isn't it? Viewers in their 30s probably grew up with McCoy and possibly a bit of Colin, those in their 40s mostly Davison with a bit of Tom, while those now in their 50s (like me) spanned Pertwee and Baker, with a bit of late Troughton. Even someone in their mid-20s may have just scraped the TV Movie. I'd say that a lot of viewers nowadays were at least aware of Classic Who while growing up, even if they didn't watch it. But yes you'd have to be at least 35 to have seen "The Two Doctors" and at least 37 to have see "Five" (assuming an earliest age of 7).


  32. Steven Clubb
    April 11, 2013 @ 6:50 am

    Dark Eyes is written by Nick Briggs, who seems to enjoy making his box sets into one big story instead of four independent stories with a linking sub-plot. He did the same thing with UNIT: Dominion which is the spin-off series featuring the now non-Nazi Klein. And that's pretty much what he's done with all the Dalek Empire and Cybermen stories.


  33. Ununnilium
    April 11, 2013 @ 6:56 am

    Frankly, I think it's something in the zeitgeist. Having passed through the Irony Age, we're now in the Even The Crap Age. (Though note that Morrison used it first; that was basically the point of Animal Man.)


  34. Ununnilium
    April 11, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    Oh, damn. My respect for the guy has shot up further.


  35. Archeology of the Future
    April 11, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    Surely it's going to be Rose and the not-quite Doctor from that other universe?


  36. Ununnilium
    April 11, 2013 @ 9:55 am

    It probably is, but he prefers "Metacrisis Ten" to "Shirley".


  37. jane
    April 11, 2013 @ 11:37 am




  38. Pen Name Pending
    April 11, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    See, I haven't bothered with the 50th stuff because a) I'm watching the current series and enjoying it immensely and b) we still have no idea what the plot is and don't know what else it would include. I would have preferred to have just about every Doctor back except Tennant, and a classic companion or something rather than Rose, but oh well. We still don't know much else, aside from Zygons, Kate Stewart, and Strax (who I all like). It's hard to write a multi-Doctor story without problems or continuity and overcrowding (see: The Five Doctors) and I'm sure they have something planned about the show's past.


  39. Ununnilium
    April 11, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    Pretty much what PNP said.


  40. Matthew Blanchette
    April 11, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    It isn't. Handy had the blue suit; pics show Tennant wearing the brown pinstripe ensemble, which means it's 10, original flavor.


  41. Spacewarp
    April 11, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

    Tennant absolutely loved the role and will always be up for return cameos. An unashamed fanboy.

    (Oh and any US readers, he's damn good in "Broadchurch" at the mo, so grab a copy from the usual outlets if you can!)


  42. Ross
    April 12, 2013 @ 2:20 am

    It isn't. Handy had the blue suit; pics show Tennant wearing the brown pinstripe ensemble, which means it's 10, original flavor.

    While I agree with your interpretation, my instinctive reaction is "Because how could ONE man own TWO suits? That's unpossible!"


  43. ferret
    April 12, 2013 @ 6:59 am

    They're Zygon Duplicates, for my money.


  44. Josiah Rowe
    April 12, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    Although the MO could be changed, the original Zygons could only duplicate people they held the originals of. So even if we get Zygon copies for most of the story, we'll probably see the real ones too.


  45. Daru
    April 17, 2013 @ 2:41 am

    Great stuff – sums up a lot of my feelings as to why I love the McGann audios. Superb as they developed – as proved by this story. I did do a couple of "what, What, WHAT's!" as I listened the fisrt time. Shows how to throw many elements together and how to make them gell.


  46. Daru
    April 17, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    Generally I don't much mind what happens for the 50th. Enjoying the stories now and I am sure until the time I will just take pleasure from the anticipation of the event as much as anything…


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