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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. Matthew Blanchette
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:13 am

    Yay, I'm first! 😀

    Oh, and… dammit, I should've commissioned that "Eleventh Hour" video blog. That was the trick. 🙁


  2. Scott
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:19 am

    I think it's suggestive that the official 50th anniversary IDW multi-Doctor series pretty much took the same "showing a mini-adventure of each past Doctor for an issue before uniting them all at the end approach" as well.


  3. Scott
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:28 am

    Oh, and the fact that Pia Guerra was unable to continue on the project — for entirely understandable reasons, I hasten to add — kind of damaged my interest in the whole thing. The art was the primary draw of this series, to be honest.

    And I was looking forward to seeing her Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy.


  4. jonathan inge
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:38 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  5. Callum Leemkuil
    March 12, 2014 @ 2:29 am

    Would you mind elaborating on that last point?


  6. J Mairs
    March 12, 2014 @ 2:56 am

    "I didn't care much for IDW's take on DW. "

    I don't know… they have their moments in amongst the continuity porn… The Eleventh Doctor series is better than the Tenth.

    But between the IDW comics and the Crimson Hand arc, Tenth had about as many companions during his "year off without companions" as across his whole televised era, which is always worth a smile.


  7. David Ainsworth
    March 12, 2014 @ 6:42 am

    Who precisely are the "people" who wanted an American comics series featuring all of the Doctors in a single story? Because that sounds like a cheap and easy shot at the vapid tastes of the "many" (author and blog readers obviously excluded) which somehow allows you to blame the vapidness of this story on a phantom "demand" instead of the artistic choices of its creators.

    New Who on TV has huge audience figures and strong AIs and I take it from your readings here you don't find it "vapid." Is that not concrete evidence that one set of artists can provide the "many" with what they want without vapidity being a necessary byproduct?


  8. Spacewarp
    March 12, 2014 @ 7:35 am

    From the author of the "Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic" comes a labour of love – Rich's "The Ten Doctors".



  9. heroesandrivals
    March 12, 2014 @ 7:40 am

    He,s getting evn more in the new Titan Comics series. (Or is it Panini?)


  10. encyclops
    March 12, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    The Five Doctors is, let’s face it, a bit of a mess

    THANK you. I've never found it very satisfying, even when I saw it as a kid. I so often hear people say otherwise these days that I wonder if I'm watching the same thing.

    I have to wonder what's going to happen with these down the line. Ten Doctors here or Thirteen in "Day of the Doctor" is overstuffed enough — what are they going to do when there are twenty of them? Because you know they're going to try.

    There are two main reasons I usually don't buy Doctor Who comics, and have been disappointed with almost all the ones I have bought. One of those reasons is the art, and the other is the writing. I have a book of Sylvester McCoy comics which I still haven't managed to drag myself all the way through. I should probably just pass it on to someone who'll appreciate it; for me it just creates memories of his Doctor I'd rather not have.

    Not for the first time in Doctor Who’s history, giving the people what they want only exposes how fundamentally vapid their desire was in the first place.

    I'm not sure what to say. Don't most of "the people" want good stories? I mean, yeah, I'm sure there are a lot of fans who want to see old Doctors and old companions and old monsters come back, and thrill to see them placed in new contexts, but they imagine there's a way to do that without sucking. I think you're probably right that it's at best extremely difficult, but I'm not convinced by a small handful of examples — particularly comics, where most of them are awful anyway — that it's impossible.

    But even if it is, I don't think the desire itself is vapid. At its root I think it's the same desire that makes us interested in reading your essays about classic series episodes, or throwing classic series episodes into the DVD player in the first place. It's an abiding interest in those characters and scenarios, and a not unhealthy nostalgia…maybe there really are fans whose desire is JUST to see those faces on a screen for a moment, but I really hope most people have higher expectations.


  11. Galadriel
    March 12, 2014 @ 8:15 am

    I was planning on mentioning that, but you beat me to it. Admittedly, it's been a while since I read it, but I think all the Doctors were well-used and plot relevant.


  12. Daibhid C
    March 12, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    To follow on from what others are saying, I think when Phil says The Forgotten's emptiness is due to "giving people what they want", what he means is "giving people what they think they want"; the same mistake the JNT era made.

    ISTR that somewhere he's said that the average viewer's instincts as to what good TV looks like are sound, but they often don't realise why something is good, demand more of what they think they liked about it, and then don't like the result because it's missing what they actually liked about it. Or something.


  13. David Anderson
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

    I felt that The Ten Doctors has a certain fatal attraction towards the Saward era. Is there any other excuse for using the Rani? It seems as if fanwank calls to fanwank like two drashigs across a swamp.


  14. encyclops
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

    What I'm wondering is if both JNT and Phil are actually talking about "giving people what [JNT or Phil] thinks they think they want." In other words, in classic self-loathing Who fan fashion, there's this perception that fans want empty nostalgia pageants and continuity porn, or that what they think they want amounts to no more than that. And JNT and Phil could both be right about this, because granted I haven't talked to THAT many Who fans in my lifetime apart from a convention, a few comments sections, and a short frightening stint on r.a.dw, but I can't recall anyone actually saying anything that could reasonably be reduced to this rather insulting caricature.

    Some fans will say something like "I hope they have all the classic Doctors in the 50th anniversary special," sure. What does that mean to them? Do we know that it means those fans want present-day Tom, Peter, Colin, Sylvester, Paul, plus CGI versions of Bill, Pat, and Jon dancing the macarena on a row of Ogron skulls? Do we know that it even means what they got — the visuals from "Name of" and "Day of" which actually people seemed pretty excited about and which in no way that I know of rendered those episodes vapid? Or are they saying they want some homage paid to the classic series, some sense of connection to the years without which it would actually be a 7th or 8th anniversary special?

    See, I don't think they know exactly what they want, these hypothetical fans who definitely are not like us, who are We but also Not-We. I think they want what we want: good stories with resonance, and they are far more willing to hope that the writers and editors and showrunners in charge can figure out a non-vapid way to do that. They may be mistaken, but I don't think they're the problem.


  15. Chris
    March 12, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    Yay! My signed books arrived today!

    Boo! It's the first day in weeks it's rained, so the package got completely soaked.

    Yay! It's going to make the pages better match the distressed cover art!


  16. encyclops
    March 12, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

    To be clear, I don't think JNT or Phil are self-loathing Who fans. What I'm referring to is the fact that Who fans always seem to me more embarrassed by each other and their perceived flaws than fans of other shows. They seem more likely to berate themselves or hypothetical other people for continuity obsessions and other real and imagined fannish tendencies, perhaps a result of the Time War wounds most or all of us classic fans carry around. The mantra — "it doesn't matter what we fans want, it's all about pleasing the masses so we can keep our show alive" — may (or may not) be on-target, but it's also a little too willing to dismiss those masses as soon as they become fans. It's okay to love the show…just not TOO much, or suddenly you become part of the problem and not part of the solution. I do self-loathing as well as anyone, but that doesn't sit right with me.


  17. jonathan inge
    March 12, 2014 @ 11:17 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  18. Anton B
    March 13, 2014 @ 3:05 am

    >I have to wonder what's going to happen with these down the line. Ten Doctors here or Thirteen in "Day of the Doctor" is overstuffed enough — what are they going to do when there are twenty of them? Because you know they're going to try.
    Tom Baker's cameo as a future Doctor 'revisiting' an old familiar face in Day of the Doctor, introduces the idea that the Doctor is eternal; that stretching on into the future far beyond his limit of thirteen or even the next thirteen is a long line of Doctors, perhaps including some more 'mayfly' non-Doctors, Warriors, Caretakers or Curators and that this presents the possibility of a story where the Doctor can meet future incarnations of himself who we, as viewers, may never know. It seems to me therefore that eventually we'll just stop counting and accept the character of the Doctor as an archetype who has and will have many faces. A little like Moorcock's Eternal Champion itself inspired by Campbell's 'hero with a thousand faces'. I imagine then the idea of multi-Doctor anniversary stories, while still possible to stage, will cease to have the same resonance.


  19. Mackerel Sky, Ltd.
    March 13, 2014 @ 3:26 am

    Is "The Big Band" the episode where Eleven goes back to the 1940s and conducts for ENSA?


  20. othemts
    March 13, 2014 @ 9:29 am

    On tenterhooks wondering if "The End of Time" post will be tomorrow or if there's some other Tennant-era ephemera that I overlooked.


  21. Anglocat
    March 13, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

    My signed books arrived today, too, but were dry, I'm glad to say. Phil, if you're still reading this far down, they are beautiful, and I am delighted to have them.

    They are, in fact, so great that I am seriously thinking of self-publishing a novel I've written instead of hawking it around. An author friend with 20 published novels to her credit has dropped her publisher since they don't do much for you if you aren't a star, and is urging me to go the CreateSpace route. Your books may have just decided the issue.

    (If anyone's interested, my books are a continuation of Anthony Trollope's Pallisers novels, set 20 years later–intrigue, political gamesmanship–almost like House of Cards set at Downton Abbey–with a villain who was, in the 70s, played by blog favorite Anthony Ainley.)


  22. ferret
    March 13, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

    Rich certainly does try to pack way too much in, but also has the occasional lovely character moment, such as the 4th Doctor's thoughts when regaining consciousness after being blown out a Dalek saucer:



  23. Scott
    March 14, 2014 @ 12:23 am

    It also arguably resuits in one of the problems that Phil's identified with the latter stages of the RTD era; a show which increasingly seems to be afraid to actually take any kind of risks, not even limited to those of continuity, for fear of frightening off this homogenous blob of Not-We viewers.


  24. jonathan inge
    March 14, 2014 @ 1:19 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  25. Anton B
    March 14, 2014 @ 1:33 am

    Doctor Phil's being meta-textual and stretching it out as much as RTD and Tennant elongated the tenth Doctor's demise. I'm impatient for the change of tone for the Moffat era when this blog goes all fairy tale, timey wimey and arcy warcy.


  26. Unknown
    March 14, 2014 @ 8:32 am

    I had never seen this! Flawed as it is (and frankly couldn't help given the multidoc nature) I really enjoyed it. Ate up my afternoon. Really nailed the tone and voice, and what we loved about each doctor. Particularly loved the way its used Eccleston (not my favorite ordinarily) and thought it was brilliant the way it contrasted pairings. Favorites being the 2nd and 7th getting along so well, and antagonism btw Ace and Rose. All very well done!


  27. Allyn Gibson
    March 14, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

    Jonathan Inge, I'm going to disagree with you. I don't think that IDW erred in their approach to continuity (embracing and referencing it).

    The mistake I think you're making is that you're assuming IDW is trying to reach the same audience as Cardiff and DWM. Unlike the television series (mainstream British family audience) and Doctor Who Magazine (mainstream British newsstand audience), the audience IDW was going to reach with their Doctor Who comics was neither mainstream nor British. And IDW pitched their series at the audience they would reach, a completely rational decision.

    They were locked out of the British market, and they sold in comic book shops. Thus, the audience that would be buying IDW's comics was 1) American (because of license limitations) and 2) college-age and up (because that's the average market comic shops reach in the US). The IDW Doctor Who reader would be older and more dedicated than the average Doctor Who fan, and thus would likely be more familiar with the continuity references.

    In short, IDW's Doctor Who reader would be more typical of the American genre fan, and that fan's expectations for continuity and the relationship of the material to continuity are more demanding. That's where IDW pitched their series. They weren't unsuccessful with that approach, their books sold well and steady.

    That said, I think IDW stumbled out of the gate with Russell's series and The Forgotten. They found better footing with Winter's Dawn, Season's End (the 10th Doctor ongoing, which starts slow but builds to a devastating conclusion) and The Girl Who Waited (the first 11th Doctor ongoing). The less said of the Tipton brothers' work, the better. (I remain convinced they have never seen an episode of Doctor Who.)

    I am curious to see what lessons, if any, Titan takes from IDW's time as the license holder. I suspect that, because of their license limitations (again, no UK distribution), they'll make the same market analysis that IDW did.

    We shall see.


  28. jonathan inge
    March 14, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


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