The battered wooden door was hesitantly opened, and a man stepped out. He had an elegant, curious face, with eyes that darted around his surroundings. And at the moment he was frowning a dangerous frown. He wore the sombre black tailcoat of an Edwardian gentleman under a heavy cape, with a Keble College scarf thrown over one shoulder. He would have merited hardly a glance on the streets of Edwardian London, but he looked somewhat out of place in the twenty-first century. This was the adventurer in time and space known only as the Doctor. Although he looked human enough, he was actually an alien from a far-off world. Among the many strange and wonderful things about his alien nature was his ability to regenerate, to replace a worn out or fatally injured body with a new one, which brought with it a whole new personality and oudook on life. It was something all his people, the Time Lords, could do. This form was his ninth.

Scream Of The Shalka, released in February 2004, is the last ever Doctor Who novelisation

Sometimes all you need is a good story.

2003 was possibly the peak year for Big Finish.

The belief that the world can be represented in a symbolic form, and that by manipulating those symbols, while following a strict set of rules, one can both understand and manipulate the world itself. Yes, yes, very clever, we see what you’re doing, you’re making a clever reference back to your piece on Logopolis, which was structured this way. You’re so sharp you’ll cut yourself.

Ancestor Cell, The
Subversive propaganda by the enemies of Faction Paradox

Scholars attempting to trace precisely the cataclysm that is known variously as “the Time War”, “the War in Heaven” and “the Wilderness Years” have placed the events of July 2000 at the centre of the mystery surrounding that most ambiguous of events.

Meanwhile, the people at Big Finish had been busy. They’d got the license to create new Doctor Who audio adventures, initially featuring the fifth, sixth and seventh Doctors, and had started with a range that was more-or-less straightforward pastiche of the TV show, although generally with a standard of writing that was much higher than it had been during the time those Doctors were on the TV.

Colin Baker, in particular, had been very well served by his first few stories.

Dead Romance is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, and it’s a novel that will never, ever, reach the readership it deserves.

The problem is this — Dead Romance is a novel that was originally published in the New Adventures series.

While the Eighth Doctor Adventures had taken over the Doctor Who name and character, the Virgin New Adventures series hadn’t given up. In fact, freed from being a Doctor Who series, at least in name, it had something of a late flourishing.

The stories instead followed the character of Bernice Summerfield

Over the course of our history we’ve seen that there have been a handful of creative figures who have dominated particular periods of Doctor Who. When those figures have fit with what one might call the spirit of the show — people like David Whitaker, David Maloney, Robert Holmes, or Christopher Bidmead — the results have occasionally been stunning.

Here, with Alien Bodies, we see the introduction of Lawrence Miles as the latest in the line of dominant figures in the series, the heir to Whitaker and Holmes.

“Paul McGann doesn’t count!”

There are two very different ways of looking at the character of the Doctor — two mutually-contradictory views of the character that have usually remained unspoken but which have fuelled decades of fan arguments, many of which have been proxies for one or other view.

The first is that the Doctor is not, in himself, a particularly special person.