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To all intents and purposes it’s already been done – Trial Of A Timelord

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Yeah, I was gonna say, that simply screamed “Valeyard” at me. Not that it’s a particularly bad idea, it must be said.

A fun activity to take up while watching the classic series is to observe moments where the dark side of The Doctor is hinted at. There really are more than you’d think.

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Hard to deny the character’s darkness when, in his very first appearance, he discussed murdering two random humans because they found the TARDIS. First Doctor started out pretty dark.

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I think it would be interesting to explore some kind of hidden chapter to the Doctor in this vein, though-nothing so drastic, but maybe he previously tried to hide from the Time Lords by making some kind of utopia himself, and it failed miserably, whether from external threats or internal problems. And then some sign of those former utopians turns up, and the Doctor’s current incarnation is forced to deal with the consequences of that mistake. Assuming that hasn’t been done already, of course-as I’ve already noted today, I’m not a big Doctor Who fan.

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Well, I’m not sure he would do that without some sort of major paradigm shift. During The Time Meddler, when he learns that the Monk is planning to “improve history”, he’s appalled by the idea and immediately attempts to stop it. Seems to me like he’s got a major problem with people manipulating the past like that.

The ethics involved with time travel in Doctor Who, well, they’re… an interesting source of discussion to approach.

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What would make it absolutely brilliant is this.

After this moment:
“But the Doctor turns back from the door to his TARDIS, shakes his head and says “Not you. You were never me.””

The Same Doctor emerges from nearby shadows and say: “Yes. you are correct. But if you are not careful, you will be like him…or something worse…”

And then the FOURTEENTH Doctor also steps from the shadows…

And then everything goes dark….

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Craig Oxbrow said on January 2nd, 2011 at 8:55 am

I’ve heard worse. I’ve watched worse too.

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You know, Grant Morrison’s recent run on Batman would adapt very well to a season of Doctor Who.

Time travel; various attempts to duplicate the hero; master villain who emerges out of his backstory; retcons based on hallucinations? Seriously.

“Dr. Who R.I.P.” I’d totally watch that.

Doug M.

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I think every popular sci-fi show had a “everybody writes that” default story when the free-lancers show up.

the original Star Trek? Probably got the default story of “Kirk outwits a higher power through sheer human awesomeness.”

Next Generation? After Season Two, they probably got a ton of “Lore Joins With the Borg” story (well before “Descent” was made). I know because back when I tried to put a scifi fiction mag together in college, I got two different fans submitting that story idea…

X-Files? Well, other than the stories of Mulder and Scully doing it on a UFO, I bet the most common submission was a story where our intrepid heroes discover the holy grail… no literally the holy grail, and Mulder turns into Jebus or something.

Babylon 5? Yeah well I don’t think they took a lot of freelancer work did they…

And Doctor Who? The Doctor discovers a corrupt future Self trying to impose a tyrannical rule on the Earth or Universe. And yes, that treads into Valeyard territory, but I’m pretty sure every freelancer had the belief that “hey, my version makes sense.”

There was this scifi magazine article… I can’t recall if it was Starlog or another mag… where a guy describes how he submitted a Next Gen story of Picard vs. KHAN!!!! And how the story pitch got shot down right quick.

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My unpitchable story for Dr Who has the Doctor asking where and when his companion wants to go next. They choose Jerusalem, 30 AD. It’s not that they want to change history – that never works anyway. They just want to spend the weekend in the tomb, keeping the body under constant observation to find out exactly what happens.

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“Craig Oxbrow said on January 2nd, 2011 at 8:55 am
I’ve heard worse. I’ve watched worse too.”

Ah. “The Doctor’s Daughter”, perhaps? I stopped watching the show for a year after that stinker. “It all happened in just a few days. This guy who looks really old is just a freshly made clone! Who came out.. really.. old…. hey, lets utilize Martha’s return by sticking her outside with a dialogue-less fish guy! And hey, let’s totally ruin whatever emotional impact this series had by making Jenny come back to life! Quick, to the status quo mobile!”

Yes. Yes I am still very, very bitter.

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Craig Oxbrow said on January 2nd, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Not where I was going.

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I imagine the story that every freelancer has pitched at one point or another is the first one I thought of when I thought what Doctor Who story would I do:-

There is something very strange going on in the TARDIS. There is something alive somewhere inside of it and it’s causing problems. So off they go exploring the Tardis through it’s ballrooms, the cloister, the jungle room, the zoo and whatever else to find the source of the problem.

or

When on a day trip to the seaside the Doctor and companion come across someone who knows them. Someone who has apparently been travelling with them for months and only popped around the corner for some chips…but they’ve never seen before something is very wrong. Have they all just lost their memories? Is this an alien plot? Is it somewhere in between? Oh but don’t they just love Gary, he’s brilliant!

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My idea for a Doctor Who story starts with these mysterious explosions. Nobody knows what’s causing them, but it’s upsetting all the buffalo. So, the military are called in to solve the mystery. There’s also an octopus, but I’m saving that for the big underwater finale.

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My unpitchable idea is kinda similiar to yours with a dash of Torchwood and River Song thrown in. I’ve been meaning to write it down as fanfiction for quite some time, but I’m lazy.

Basically, it’s the rise of the New Time Lords, headed by The Last Companion.

For many years the Last Companion traveled with the Doctor, helping him, saving planets and people and basically running a lot. He was on his last regeneration. It was the only one she ever knew – she never even knew that he regenerated at all. He never bothered to tell her, since it never came up.

The Doctor died. (I’m inclined toward the Doctor sacrificing his life to save the universe/someone – that is how he rolls, after all – but I think it would be a delicious tragedy for him to simply die of old age)

The Last Companion was left alone, and decided that there needed to be a “Doctor”, someone to heal time and space, to carry on his legacy. And she took it upon herself to be that person. The Tardis liked her well enough and let her travel.

Over time she upgraded her body with future technology, extending her lifespan and giving herself various powers, greatly altering her appearance. She also took on Companions, only she permanently recruited them, slowly buildung an organization that monitored time and space.

Although she tried her best, she lacked the Timelord understanding of Time, so she did not know when to intervene, when to let things run their course, and which of her actions might actually damage the Space/Time fabric. As time passed, she lost sight of the Doctor’s ideals, altering history “for the better”. The Tardis stopped working for her, but at that point she had aquired other methods of time travel, continuing her work.

Time starts cracking. An earlier Doctor – during a period of companionlessness – notices and decides to take a closer look.

Eventually he reaches the top of the organization, and Doctor and Last Companion have a show-down – neither aware of the other one’s name or what they mean to each other. He does his thing, berating her, giving her one last chance to back down, but she doesn’t take it. A battle ensues, and it kills them both.

The doctor regenerates – into the form the Last Companion knew. She catches a glimpse of him, and dies with a smile on her face, thinking him an apparition welcoming her to the afterlife.

The newly regenerated Doctor stumbles into his TARDIS, lands on a random planet, has an adventure while in derilium, assisted by a random young woman he ran into.

After regaining his wits he invites her to travel with him, which she gleefully accepts. Then he realizes that he doesn’t know her name and asks. She grins, and answers. It’s the name of the Last Companion.

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Well, if we’re offering up ideas, I have a few of my own.

My favourite idea is a sequel to Keys of Marinus. There’s a machine on Marinus called the Conscience of Marinus which forces people to only do good things. It ended up destroyed by the end of the story.

So, I figure that during The Doctor’s stay in their capital city, he might have discussed democracy with them. After he left, they considered rebuilding the Conscience, but realised that not everybody has the same idea of good and evil. To that end, they decided to set up a series of elections that would indicate what sort of population wide mental alterations would be permissable.

Trouble is, the people forgot that’s what their votes did, and started to cast votes on other things as well. The outcome of trials, for example, would be determined by a vote. If a person was found guilty, it didn’t matter whether they were or not. The Conscience would change their minds, and insert memories that would make them believe that they did.

I can see lots of interesting themes to explore related to morality and ethics within this idea. There’s a little more to it than what I’ve described, but I would rather just leave you with the setup than detail the entire tale.

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@Gareth: My inside joke is that the Doctor refuses to go to Jerusalem 30 AD, because he has an awful suspicion that if he ever does, he’ll go around performing impossible actions and talking about how everyone should be nice to each other and escaping certain death, and the next thing you know he’ll find out they wrote a book about it. :)

My unusable fanfiction idea: The Doctor versus the alternate version of himself that supposedly ruled the world in “Inferno”.

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@John Seavey: If you liked Inferno, get ahold of Face of the Enemy. Fantastic novel. The story is that The Doctor is away on Peladon, so UNIT has to rely on The Master’s help to deal with an invasion from the Inferno-verse. It’s a great read.

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Gustopher said on January 3rd, 2011 at 3:00 am

I think the most obvious terrible Doctor Who story has to be “The 11 Doctors”.

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My unpitchable Doctor Who story is one of the “Doctor meets famous author/artist/whatever” stories, only he meets JK Rowling sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. They have an adventure involving an evil entity that escaped from a fictional universe. They determine that it can be trapped in another fictional universe, but the best thing to do would be to destroy it – and the only way to do that is to trap it in a new fictional universe and then create a hero to kill it.

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I’d go with the Doctor’s origin… and by that I mean tell the story of how he ended up spending several decades on Earth raising a family before embarking on the series of adventures we know him for.
Seriously,that’s the heart of the character- he abandoned the empty immortality of life as a Time Lord to live “among the mortals”, and it CHANGED him, to a degree that he started living life in a way that EMBRACED mortality. (The First Doctor survived close to a millenium before regenerating; his subsequent incarnations are averaging out at three year lifespans. That’s something he MUST realise the implications of….)

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I always thought a great Doctor/Author story would be Douglas Adams. Don’t know who could play him, though. Stephen Merchant?

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Douglas Adams was story editor for a while during the Tom Baker era; he worked on the KEY TO TIME series and wrote CITY OF DEATH.

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@Drekal: Own and read ‘Face of the Enemy’, and yeah, that was part of the source of the idea. Felt like a logical continuation of that story.

@ChrisW: Remind me to post about my “The Doctor meets Bulwer-Lytton” story sometime. :)

@drmedula: That’s a can of worms or two. :) First, the First Doctor didn’t survive for over a millennium; the Fourth Doctor said he was 750, and the Seventh Doctor said he was 953. (The Ninth Doctor has said he was 900, but that date isn’t supported by anything. The 750 and 953 dates are corroborated by other Time Lords.) The assumption is generally that he has years and years of offscreen adventures during his different incarnations.

As to “the time he spent raising a family”…well, there’s a novel that explains how he wound up with a grand-daughter and a Hand of Omega, called ‘Lungbarrow’. It’s available for free in ebook form on the BBC’s Doctor Who website. Of possibly dubious canonicity, but I doubt it’ll ever be directly contradicted because nobody seems to want to talk about Susan much these days, so it’s probably the best answer you’ll get.

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My unsuitable pitch is as follows:

Next time it comes around to regeneration o’clock, you play up in all the interviews and press and so on how you’re taking the Doctor in a new direction, a bold, different Doctor. Edgier, more contemporary, something kids today will really respond to.

Then the Doctor regenerates, and now he’s a muscular, square-jawed man with an American accent. He headbutts a Dalek, punches everything punchable, stocks the TARDIS with the awesomest-looking guns from time and space, and does things like hold up a sonic screwdriver and say “On this setting… it opens a can of whupass!” And that’s all in his first episode.

Cue all the fans exploding. I like this idea because I want to see if it’s possible to actually break the internet. Death threats will be mailed. The most self-righteous fan blog posts in history will be written. It will be awesome.

Second episode, the new Doctor steps out of his TARDIS with a new companion, having presumably had some adventures between episodes. Within twenty minutes, he’s dead, because you can’t solve a Doctor Who problem with a Die Hard solution. The universe simply doesn’t work that way. And he promptly regenerates into the real new Doctor… let’s say Stephen Fry for the sake of argument. There has been no hint of this, no interviews, no advertising, it’s a complete shock to a fanbase that’s usually saturated in advance warning.

I think this works both as a moral statement, and as a really good prank. Also, people will write a hell of a lot of fanfic set in the gap between those two episodes. :)

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@John Seavey: Well, that just means we can both recommend the book to everybody else! Go on you lot, track it down if you don’t already own it! Got a bunch of books for Christmas, as it happens. The Time Travellers was pretty good as well, and The Dark Path was also rather excellent.

However, I also feel it necessary to recommend Big Finish audio plays. Particularly A Death in the Family, which is easily the best of anything I experienced last year.

Oh, and the idea of The Doctor meeting Douglas Adams is so delightfuly meta that I cannot resist imagining what that would be like.

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My unpitchable Dr Who script (that is the game we are playing here, right?) involves the last Doctor restarting the universe – he is the first and last Time Lord, the one who created Gallifrey and who programmed the TARDIS to make each and every one of its ‘accidental’ stops.

The Doctor is behind creating the Best Of All Worlds (well, Universes) in a very literal sense – he can’t make a perfect universe where everyone is happy 24 / 7, but he can make things as best he can, by removing tyrants and races that would destroy all in their path (i.e. Darleks, Cybermen, Automatons, etc). And even minor events can be important – not stopping one event can have a cascade effect.

Every companion who dies is in service to the greater good, although he still feels their loss.

Yes, it is the Doctor as a less-than-omniscient god figure, but it at least gives purpose to his actions over him being a trouble magnet (“Ooh, we just landed on this planet and what’s this? Psychic vampires who wish to eat the sun? Better stop that!”).

However, this story would ‘close the loop’, such as it is, and could never be part of regular continuity.

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Craig Oxbrow said on January 4th, 2011 at 3:19 am

ChrisW, in case you didn’t know, Russell T Davies actually considered a Christmas special guest starring JK Rowling as herself. Honest! It’s in The Writer’s Tale.

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“My unpitchable story for Dr Who has the Doctor asking where and when his companion wants to go next. They choose Jerusalem, 30 AD. It’s not that they want to change history – that never works anyway. They just want to spend the weekend in the tomb, keeping the body under constant observation to find out exactly what happens.”

read Micheal Moorcock’s ‘Behold The Man’. time travel meets Jesus

i need to read Moorcock’s Who novel

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[…] Johnson posted a couple of weeks ago about his undeniably unfilmable (but interesting) idea for a Doctor Who story, and the comments section turned towards everyone else’s idea for a Doctor Who story they […]

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