"Which order? Which?"

TV(ish) Renewed interest in the 8.0 model of the Doctor played by Paul McGann fuelled by the re-release of his one and only television appearance and the announcement of a new costume - see above - have led some (well some people, well one person on the Gallifrey Base discussion board) to look at his appearances, in the comics, in the books, in the audio adventures and wonder. "Which order? Which?"

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).

Since I know that people do Google these things and because I won't be available for Biennial review duty today (this is one I prepared earlier), I thought I'd bore the majority and interest the few by offering the order in which I think 8.0's adventures can be enjoyed with the inevitable justifications beneath which with any luck won't include many spoilers.

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 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.

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.

Thank goodness DWM didn't follow through with the original plan of showing the regeneration.

And having the audios last, from the first, Storm Warning, 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 a story which can only be written in our heads.

Plus it means, after all the fanfare, that we then also don't have explain why at some point he's changed his costume back.

Oh and the various short stories and comic flashbacks fitted in whenever it seems like they should be. There's not the room here for that.

Now, wasn't that interesting?

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