A Conversation for Doctor Who and the Errors of Continuity

A couple of explanations

Post 1

Mister Matty

Re: the Master. Well, at the end of the McGann movie he definitely gets sucked into the Eye of Harmony and is pretty-much "dead" but in "The Sound of Drums" the Master explains, in his phone-conversation to the Doctor, that he was "resurrected" by the Time Lords. We can assume, based on what we know and have seen, that the Master was somehow retrieved from the EoH and given a brand new body (with a new regeneration cycle). The Master's modus operandi as a bad guy is to constantly be physically destroyed and then to somehow find a new physical form. RTD's suggestion that his most recent wheeze is to put his life force into a ring following the destruction of his most recent (Timelord) body is a way of allowing this tradition to continue should someone want to ressurect him in the future.

Regarding the Doctor being "half human", it was clearly meant literally in the TVM but since it had never been the case before and isn't the case now we can assume that it was meant metaphorically - a reference to the Doctor's fondness for Earth and humans.

A lot of current fans are wondering how the River Song thing will play out. It might well be that Moffat has no intention of giving us an explanation, it might well be his own little intentional addition to the long tradition of Doctor Who mythos that causes continuity problems in the future smiley - winkeye.

A couple of explanations

Post 2


Gah, don't even get me *started* on the Eye of Harmony being in the Tardis, rather than under the Panopticon!

Gif smiley - geek

Improbable! It's fanwank to the rescue!

Post 3


Thanks for writing this great article. Thought I'd just add to the whirl of explanations (explanations, excuses, whatever smiley - tongueout):

In regards to the 'one heart, two heart' problem, in The Shakespeare Code, one of the Doctor's hearts conks out and a good thump on the back gets it going again.

A fair few fans (including myself) have taken the meta-crisis in Journey's End as a subtle reference to the 'half human' question. The second Tenth Doctor only had one heart, and so couldn't regenerate, and Donna's mind was unable to cope with the Doctor's.

As far as I know, the most widely-accepted theory in regards to the TVM Eye of Harmony is that it was a portal of sorts to the original on Gallifrey - a 'mini Eye' linked to the real one.

And finally, the number of regenerations the Doctor can have was first referenced in "The Deadly Assassin" from 1977. While previous stories had followed the general "forever, barring accidents" rule from the Troughton era, Robert Holmes brought in the limit of twelve regenerations (so thirteen lives). Keep in mind that this was only a few serials after The Brain of Morbius, too.

However, in The Five Doctors, the High Council offered the Master a new regenerative cycle if he successfully completed his mission, so the thirteen-lives limit was by no means strict.

Yes, I am a sad person.

Let's just leave it at that.

(smiley - winkeye)

A couple of explanations

Post 4


Re: Mel, River Song, the Time War et al:
Missing from the posted list, yet in the same vein, is the appearance of the 8th Doctor in a photograph of Southampton Docks the day before the Titanic set sail, as shown in Rose (S1E1 of the new era). From the Doctor's demeanour at the start of this episode he appears to be acclimatising to a recent regeneration which would imply that he hasn't gone to Southampton yet, but we the viewers haven't seen him visit 1913 by the end of the series when he regenerates into David Tennant.

Are these paradoxes, or just examples of judicious editing on the behalf of the Doctor's biographers? Considering the Doctor's age has gone up a few hundred years during the show's 45 year run, it is only logical to assume that we've not seen every adventure our favourite Time Lord has participated in. Indeed, if we had, how could there be room for all the extra novels etc. to fit into the timeline? Therefore it should be no great assumption to presume that the missing events occured during some of the missing centuries of unbroadcast adventures. After all, while exciting things happen to the Doctor all the time, it would be unreasonable to presume that they happen every moment of his existence...

smiley - tardis

A couple of explanations

Post 5


There is a possible explanation for the photographs in S1E1 - when the time came for the photographs to be taken, Rose knew to stay out of the way.

Oh, and that reminded me. There is no way the Doctor is only in his early 900s. He was 950 in Trial of a Time Lord, for goodness sake. (Going non-canon, he turned 1000 not long before the end of his seventh incarnation, and the Eighth Doctor spent a century on Earth recovering from the effects of Gallifrey's first destruction.) I've chosen to put this radical spurt of youth down to vanity, which certainly isn't without precedent.

A couple of explanations

Post 6


Can I just point out that Doctor Who first broadcast on Saturday 23rd November 1963, and Star Trek first screened nearly 3 years later on 8th September 1966, making Doctor Who the longest running Sci Fi show ANYWHERE!

A couple of explanations

Post 7


Cyvros: that doesn't explain when the photograph was taken. Rose's lack of appearance in the photo is moot; perhaps she was the one taking it?

For the purposes of this discussion, I believe the focus is being placed on such events being suggested as having happened (or expected to happen, or will have to be happened - damn tenses) yet subsequently failing to materialise... smiley - tardis

And, in support of the series' longevity: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/A662960

A couple of explanations

Post 8


Well, since the mid-'60s, it's been rare for serials to have no breaks between them (regeneration stories are exceptions, of course). There were plenty of breaks between the series 1 episodes. Don't forget all the novels (Missing Adventures, PDAs, NDAs and TDAs), for instance.

A couple of explanations

Post 9


The Guiness Book of Records officially recognises Who - though they had to correct themselves over a somewhat inexplicable error a few years back:

Gif smiley - geek

A couple of explanations

Post 10


I don't see the River Song issue as an error, the whole point of that relationship was that it was both their first and last meeting. River even says she has never seen the Doctor looking so young, which could be ironic given the subsequent decision to cast the much younger Matt Smith in the role.

Similarly, I just assumed that Mel had in fact been plucked out of the time stream while she was still travelling with the sixth Doctor, meaning she only has to leave him the once. I'm quite happy that we never got to see their first real meeting anyway.

The Master was "resurrected" by the Time Lords. For beings with their abilities this doesn't seem to be beyond the realms of possibility, even if his body had been utterly destroyed, they could always pluck him out of the time-stream and duplicate him in some way. Ordinarily of course this would be against their code of conduct, but there was a war on after all.

As for the Cybermen, it is perhaps more interesting to try and work out why their physical appearance varies so much over time, with the later models (from the audience perspective) frequently turning up long before (in chronological terms) the original Mondas incident. The cyberleader himself offered some very interesting thoughts on this in his "excellent" book "Cybermen".

There's no sign of the Thals in "The Daleks" having any kind of written history that I recall, so given the time that has clearly elapsed it is understandable that they have some details confused. Is Dal/Kaled really that much more far-fetched than Bodicea/Boudicca?

I don't think it has ever been claimed by any real authority that the novels are canon, best to ignore them if it helps.

A couple of explanations

Post 11


Okay, now your explanation for Mel is plausible enough and fits with other theories, but your reasoning on River Song is seriously flawed.

While it is their first/last meeting, it is not the first/last time they meet. The Doctor has never met her before in his timeline, whereas she will never see him again in her timeline. He must meet her again in his timeline in order for her to have met him during her earlier timeline, and in order for him to provide her with the modified Sonic Screwdriver subsequently used to "save" her personality imprint. Still, the Doctor is aware of how the relationship must end, and this could easily contribute to his looking "older" in her eyes when they next meet in his lifetime - it would weigh heavily on him.

It's a nice neat loop, although we only witness one half of it - another example would be Blink, although in that case we witness the entire loop in a single episode. I think it's safe to assume that we were spared seeing the remainder of River Song's story because it would be just too darned depressing, and surprisingly devoid of family-friendly action and adventure when compared to the usual fare presented in the show.

smiley - hugsmiley - cheerupsmiley - smoochsmiley - runsmiley - wah

One more slip up, skaro

Post 12

kipperonthefloor - Make sense? What fun is there in Making sense?

in the 7th doctor story remeberance of the daleks, the doctor distroys skaro, yet in the 1996 tv movie the master is put on trial on the planet skaro,
someone really dropped the ball there

One more slip up, skaro

Post 13


That one was explained away in War of the Daleks (yes, yes, non-canon) as it not being the real Skaro that was destroyed.

Alternatively, the Master was put on trial on pre-Remembrance Skaro.

A couple of explanations

Post 14


Re: the picture of The Ninth Doctor in 1912 dressed in a similar fashion to the Eighth Doctor:

quite plausible that when he escaped the Time War (fought in his eighth incarnation) he hadn't yet seen himself in a mirror or had time to change clothes (as repeated in The Eleventh Hour when The Doctor is still dressed in his pre-regeneration clothing and doesn't recognise his image when Prisoner Zero takes his form).

Rose isn't there cos he hasn't yet met Rose. Presumably sick of the huge loss of life in the Time War (he carries immense survivor's guilt) he persuades one family to stay behind without changing the historical outcome of the Titanic disaster, again something he repeats in Pompeii with Caecilius' family.

As for the photos collected by Clive these could easily have happened in the time between The Doctor dematerialising and re-materialising to tell Rose that the TARDIS not only travels in space, but in time. It’s entirely possible for the Ninth Doctor to have any number of adventures with any number of companions which ultimately inspire him to give Rose a second chance to travel on the TARDIS. So maybe the Eccleston tenure isn't as brief as we think?

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