A viewing. reading and listening order for the Eighth Doctor.

TV(ish) Renewed interest in the 8.0 model of the Doctor played by Paul McGann fuelled by The Night of the Doctor - see above - three million views - have led some to look at his appearances, in the comics, in the books, in the audio adventures and wonder. "Which order? Which?" Possibly.

A search online leads to a range of opinions and chronologies, many chronologies.

Glance through those and you'll find many ingenious ways they've found for the various often contradictory series to intersect, entirely ignoring such things as character development and that any shared-universe fiction will contradict itself no matter what happens (I'm looking at you Lucas).

But really it's all terribly simple, especially since all three media have pretty much their own internal continuities.

1 The TV Movie

Which is inevitable. Can't be helped.

2 The Eight Doctors by Terrance Dicks

The first of the BBC Books which follows on directly from the TV Movie.

3 The Dying Days by Lance Parkin

Bit of a controversial one this. The last novel published by Virgin Books before the BBC revoked their license, it's also the only one to star the Eighth Doctor. Has to go here, but because it's from a different publishing company and it's retrospectively explained that his new companion Sam has been left at a Greenpeace rally. He's gone for three years part of which is spent on ...

4 The Radio Times comic strips

Usually forgotten but important since his companions return in one of the ...

5 The rest of the BBC Books

All of them in order.

6 The Doctor Who Magazine comics

All of them in order.

7 The Big Finish Audios

All of them in order, which is Shada, then Mary's Story from A Company of Friends (see below), then her trilogy, then all of the original series with Charley Pollard as the companion, then the follow on series with Lucie Miller then Tamsin as the companion, then these new Dark Eyes boxed sets.

8  The Night of the Doctor

See above.

Which seems simple enough.

Except, for various reasons some fans like to think that the comics and audios happen in the three year gap we've just discussed. Not least because the version of his home planet Gallifrey which appears in both is rather different to the one which develops in the books.

Except, coincidentally both the books and comics ended in similar circumstances in the wake of the new series with most of their plotlines resolved and the Doctor and his companions heading off into an unknown future.

Plus The Name of the Doctor, in which Eighth makes a point of mentioning the audio companions suggests that they're very recent for him. If The Gallifrey Chronicles or The Flood had just "happened"? Wouldn't it have looked a bit like this?

Which means that there's nothing to say that at some point between the close of the books and the start of the comics, and the close of the comics and the start of the books some event or other might have caused the changes to be rolled back, the Doctor left travelling alone again ready for the next set of adventures to start.  Not everything will quite make sense but as I've said before, Doctor Who's continuity ebbs and flows.  None of it really makes sense or is internally consistent.

Nevertheless, thank goodness DWM didn't follow through with the original plan of showing the regeneration.

And having the audios last, from the first, Shada, through to the latest season means that we fans of 8.0 can enjoy a series of ongoing adventures which are edging ever closer to another time war (there are several) and the events of the new series, still filling in a gap, but one which ends in the story which was once only in our heads and is now available on Youtube, the iPlayer and a forthcoming home release.  For goodness sake.

Oh and the various short stories and comic flashbacks, including the rest of the audio anthology The Company of Friends, fitted in whenever it seems like they should be. There's not the room here for that.

Now, wasn't that interesting?

[A version of this post was originally published here on the occasion of Paul unveiling his Dark Eyes costume.  It seems even more relevant now that the audios at least have become noticed.  No one would blame you for skipping most of the novels.  There are hundreds and it took me nearly eight years to read through them.]

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