Trenchcoat Canon Guide - Season 27

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Seventh Doctor

Season 27


To Go Beyond

After the debut of Survival in December 1989, the BBC announced a change in policy regarding Doctor Who. Although the show had been one of the BBC’s flagships, it had fallen on hard times. Officials within the BBC made no attempt to hide their contempt for the series, and their desire to end production. In the last half of the decade, the show was off the air nine months out of each year, and in the three remaining months, it was scheduled against the powerhouse soap Coronation Street.

However, Doctor Who did have its friends within the BBC. The show continued to make the corporation a lot of money through merchandising and overseas sales. In the era of Thatcher cutbacks, this profit could not be overlooked. As the BBC’s budget for the production of new dramas ebbed, co-production was suggested as a means of keeping the show alive, while reducing costs to the Corporation.

Thus, at the end of the twenty-sixth season, the BBC announced that it was opening tenders for co-production. The show would be off the air, returning to television screens in 1991, once negotiations were settled successfully.

The BBC’s own bureaucracy complicated matters, causing co-production talks to stall. Various officials championed different offers, and by December 1990, it was clear that there would be no agreement anytime soon.

Peter Darville-Evans, Controller of BBC 1 after an internal shakeup, realized that the value of Doctor Who would diminish the longer it was off the air. He decided to commission new episodes that year, and managed to push enough money for twenty episodes through the budget. It was going to be a rush job. The new season was supposed to debut in September; that was nine months away, and the Doctor Who production office had been shut down.

John Nathan-Turner and Andrew Cartmel were rehired, pending the hiring of a caretaker team to oversee the production of new episodes into 1992 and however long co-production talks continued. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred returned to reprise their roles as the seventh Doctor and Ace, although Sylvester announced that once Season 27 (his fourth) was completed, he would not return as the Doctor.

So, at the beginning of 1991, an old production team had to hit the ground running, creating twenty episodes in nine months, and writing out the seventh Doctor.

Genesys by John Peel

Gilgamesh, the first hero-king, rules the city of Urak. An equally legendary figure arrives, in a police telephone box: the TARDIS has brought the Doctor and his companion Ace to witness the first steps of mankind’s long progress to the stars.

This story kicks off the Timewyrm arc, concluded in Revelation. Features a cameo by the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.

Exodus by Terrance Dicks

The pursuit of the Timewyrm leads the Doctor and Ace to London, 1951, and the Festival of Britain - a celebration of the achievements of this small country, this insignificant corner of the glorious Thousand Year Reich.

Features a cameo by the War Chief of The War Games.

Apocalypse by Nigel Robinson

The TARDIS has tracked the Timewyrm to the edge of the Universe and the end of time - to the lush planet Kirith, a paradise inhabited by a physically perfect race.

Features cameos by the Second Doctor and Ben.

Revelation by Paul Cornell

The Doctor has pursued the Timewyrm from prehistoric Mesopotamia to Nazi Germany, and then to the end of the universe. He has tracked down the creature again: but what trans-temporal trap has the Timewyrm prepared for their final confrontation?

Features cameos by the first, third, fourth and fifth Doctors; companions Adric, Katarina and Sara Kingdom; and K’Anpo, the Doctor’s teacher.

To Go Beyond (27000 words) by Matt Grady

A rebellion is affecting operations on Tranta, a mining colony of the far future. Many outside forces are eager to take advantage of the dispute: the Morestran Empire, the ancient Shly-Ka and a greedy Corporation. It’s up to the Doctor to set things right. But one missed detail and millions of lives will end in a flash.

The seventh Doctor’s final adventure, To Go Beyond is referenced often in the following season. A full explanation of the Doctor’s behaviour in this story isn’t given till Ninth Aspect’s Dark Magus.