In news sure to make a whole generation of kids who grew up on new-era Doctor Who feel ancient, the revived strand of the BBC’s long-long-long-running sci-fi series just reached its 15th anniversary. Yes, it’s a decade-and-a-half since the debut of Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, in which he teamed up with Billie Piper’s shop assistant Rose Tyler to battle sentient plastic mannequins in central London – and in celebration, the man responsible for regenerating the series shared a lovely prequel to his tenure on the show.
Russell T. Davies, the showrunner behind the first four series of new-Who, revealed a short story he’d sat on for a few years titled ‘Doctor Who And The Time War’, which depicts the moment the Eighth Doctor regenerates into the Ninth. It was a ‘lost’ bit of canon that Davies wrote in the mid-2010s for the show’s 50th anniversary – and then remained unpublished when it emerged that Steven Moffat’s 50th anniversary special episode Day Of The Doctor would actually feature John Hurt as the gruff and grizzled War Doctor, an interstitial regeneration between Doctors Eight and Nine ‘proper’, rendering Davies’ short story moot. (Keeping up? The wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff gets tricky.)
Anyway, now we get to read Davies’ story which imagines an alternate take to Moffat’s War Doctor story, depicting the climactic moment of the Time War that forces Eight’s regeneration into Nine. In a nice touch, it begins mid-sentence as if it’s the final few pages of a novelisation – and even has a book cover to go alongside it. Read it in full here.
If that makes you want to dive right into a rewatch of new-Who, series 1-12 and all of the corresponding specials are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer. What else is self-isolation for?