A Biography of the Doctor
The First Doctor
Who are you?
I am Who.
- The Pied Piper and Dr Who in Home to Hamelin
Are these stories in continuity?
The overwhelming majority of fans consider the first Doctor TV Comic strips to be out of continuity. There are a number of reasons for this. The first, and most obvious, is that “Dr Who” is somewhat out of character with his TV persona. More importantly for this project is the way they are treated in other stories.
The only stories that reference John and Gillian stories as having actually happened to the Doctor are other TV Comic stories (the closest to a reference is a brief mention of Sabre Toothed Gorillas - who appear in a 2nd Doctor strip - as something that could theoretically exist on the unknown planet the TARDIS has landed on in The Infinite Quest), There are, however, a number of stories which explicitly state or strongly imply that John and Gillian are not in continuity. These references are as follows:
- First Doctor novella Time and Relative features a John and Gillian, but they are schoolfriends of Susan, and the Doctor's grandchildren
- In first Doctor short story Five O'Clock Shadow (Short Trips: A Day in The Life) , John and Gillian are said to be creations of the TARDIS, as is the Susan from the Peter Cushing Dalek movies (p.57).
- In seventh Doctor novel Conundrum, the Doctor encounters John and Gillian in the Land of Fiction. He does not recognise them (p.194-195), and the Master of the Land of Fiction claims they are his own creations (p.208), though he appears to be talking about the second Doctor stories, rather than the first.
- In eighth Doctor comic strip The Land of Happy Endings, the Doctor's adventures with John and Gillian are shown to be dreams the Doctor has to escape from the more complex and dangerous problems he regularly encounters in real life.
- In the novel Campaign, which was commissioned, completed, but not published by the BBC (but later self-published) they appear as distortions of reality when the TARDIS crew play the Game of Me. They are one of many variations on the initial TARDIS crew, all of which are out-of-continuity versions of the early years of the show.
From these references, we conclude that whilst the John and Gillian stories happened somewhere within the Doctor Who universe, they did not happen to the Doctor (except, perhaps, in his dreams). We have, therefore, listed them as a separate series of adventures. In this section we have treated the weekly series as the ongoing series. Stories from the Holiday Specials and Annuals may not be placed in publication order, since they were intended to be on sale for extended periods.
Where might they fit?
If you want to think of these stories as being in continuity there are three gaps which are remotely plausible:
Since John and Gillian join the Doctor whilst the TARDIS is in a junkyard, some people have assumed that these stories could happen during the period the Doctor is parked in Foreman's Yard before An Unearthly Child. This placement doesn't work for two reasons. Firstly, in An Unearthly Child the Doctor is surprised that the chameleon circuit is broken, even though it's been broken the entire time he was travelling with John and Gillian. Secondly, the story On The Web Planet shows the Doctor visiting the planet Vortis and saying that he's been there before. However in The Web Planet (ep.1) he visits Vortis and says he hasn't been there before. There are ways to retcon these problems, but it's easier to go with a later placement.
The second possibility is that they happen during the gap between the conclusion of The War Machines and the Doctor leaving with Ben and Polly several days later. This theory helps explain the discrepancy between The Faceless Ones, where Ben and Polly are said to have left on 20th July 1966 and The Rag & Bone Man's Story (Short Trips: Repercussions), where the Doctor is still in London on 30th July 1966. It requires the Doctor to move the TARDIS before 20th July, and later return to the same spot after his travels with John and Gillian.
Finally, it's conceivable that the stories are in the same gap as The Five Doctors (which we have shortly after The Daleks' Masterplan).
A note on story titles
Most of these stories were published without titles, and the various guides that have been produced over the years have come up with a variety of titles for some of them. We have gone with the titles in Paul Scoones' book The Comic Strip Companion, on the grounds that it is by far the most comprehensive guide to these stories, and has often been able to go back to the original scripts for a more official title.
The Klepton Parasites
The Doctor is visited by his grandchildren, John and Gillian, who have never met him. John accidentally sends the TARDIS on a trip through time. They arrive in the future, where an alien race called the Kleptons are attacking a human-like race called the Thain. They help the Thain to fight back, travel to the Kleptons' base, rescue the prisoners, and blow up the Kleptons.
Notes: This is John and Gillian's first appearance. The TARDIS is already a police box.
The Therovian Quest
Whilst travelling through space, the TARDIS controls jam. It crash-lands on a moon-like planet (albeit one with an atmosphere) inhabited by dinosaur-like monsters. They make contact with another alien, whose people are suffering from a terrible weakness and have sent him out into the universe looking for help. They help Grig to find the cure – a moss that only grows on the planet Ixon.
The Hijackers of Thrax
The TARDIS lands on a space station which is surrounded by mist. The crew discover that it is run by pirates, who are capturing supply ships and then selling the contents to the intended recipients at extortionate prices. Doctor Who and John foil the plan.
On The Web Planet
The TARDIS lands on Vortis, where a species called the Skrikon are attempting to mine the rare mineral Galvinium X. They have constructed fake Zarbi to cow the Menoptra into submission. Doctor Who defeats their plan, blowing up all the Galvanium X, and destroying the spacecraft in the explosion.
Notes: Both Doctor Who and the Menoptra say that he has been to Vortis several generations before.
The TARDiS lands on what appears to be an Earthlike planet with motorways. Gillian is kidnapped by spherical flying robots. The Doctor and John meet some humanoid natives - who explain that the planet is orbitally locked, and there is only a narrow strip that can support life. They are being kept away from the cities and farms by the robots – called the Gyros, because they look like they suffer from a deadly disease. Dr Who figures out how to cure the disease, and then rescues Gillain – who was about to be dropped into a pit of flames as a quarantine measure. He, John, and Gillian then leave the planet.
Home to Hamelin
The TARDIS materialises in the middle of a group of medieval children, who have been led away from Hamelin. Doctor Who packs a bag with lots of gadgets and sets off, with John and Gillian, to the castle occupied by the famous Pied Piper who led the children away. He passes some tests posed by the piper, and is given his pipe and a tune that will lead the children back. He then collects the money the townspeople owe the piper, and leaves it for him before departing in the TARDIS. This time, he hopes the TARDIS will take him, John, and Gillian home.
Dr Who takes John and Gillian to see the first men step foot on the moon. The two astronauts - Colonel Roberts and Major Simms - fall into a crater, and forget that the moon's low gravity means they can just jump out. Dr Who reminds them of this with a blackboard, and takes them into the TARDIS, where they chat for a bit. The TARDIS then leaves, and the astronauts chalk it up to "space hallucinations".
The TARDIS malfunctions. When it lands Dr Who, John, and Gillian experience events in reverse order. From the universe's point of view they arrive at a military installation on a cliff (and the TARDIS falls off that cliff) are locked in a cell, escape, get help from friendly civilians, and take a boat out to sea, where they find the TARDIS. As they experience things backwards, they have to work out what they did to cause events they have experienced to happen.
The TARDIS lands on a planet inhabited by giant reptiles with opposable thumbs, One of them picks up the TARDIS and puts it in a cave, before picking up Dr Who, John, and Gillian and putting them on a rock with no way down. In the morning, Dr Who hypnotises the creature to sleep, and they climb down. They discover the cave, get in the TARDIS, and leave.
Prisoners of the Kleptons
The TARDIS lands on a hot planet. The crew are captured by Kleptons who want their help invading Earth, since this planet is now too hot to live on. They escape, along with some human space travellers who had also been captured.
Notes: This could take place at any point after The Klepton Parasites. The 1966 TV Comic annual was published in September 1965 just before Lizardworld, but most readers would not have read their copy until Christmas. We've arbitrarily placed the annual stories just after Lizardworld during the transition between Neville Main (the artist here) and Bill Mevin on the weekly strip.
The Caterpillar Men
The TARDIS lands in a jungle, and Dr Who is captured by Caterpillar Men. He discovers that this is Earth, and the aliens have captured some of the world's top scientists. Meanwhile, John and Gillian discover the nearby World Pest Control Offices and persuade them to use pesticides to kill the aliens and break into their base, thus freeing Dr Who and the scientists.
Notes: The 1966 TV Comic annual was published in September 1965cjust before Lizardworld, but most readers would not have read it until Christmas day. We've arbitrarily placed the annual stories just after Lizardworld during the transition between Neville Main (the artist here) and Bill Mevin on the weekly strip.
The Ordeals of Demeter
The TARDIS lands on the planet Demeter, which is under attack from alien robots on the neighbouring planet of Bellus. When the robots cause earthquakes, Dr Who uses the tremulator - a device in the TARDIS - to stop the earthquakes and redirect the vibrations through space to Bellus, causing it to explode. The emperor gives him a massive gemstone that is a good luck charm as a thank you.
Enter: The Go-Ray
The TARDIS lands on the planet Go-ray, where the Cardium reactor causes all lifeforms to move more quickly. The reactor explodes when Dr Who, John, and Gillian are just outside the building. They are imprisoned as spies, escape, find some mercury in the caves, sneak into the reactor, and put the mercury into it - fixing the problem. Dr Who then bluffs his way out by pretending to be a powerful magician, and the Go-ray people let him go because they are scared.
Notes: During this story John puts his hand in a pool of mercury. The mercury poisoning he should get from doing this is never mentioned.
Dr Who Meets the Frog People
The TARDIS lands and then falls through the ground. Trying to find it, Dr Who, John, and Gillian travel through a breathable sea and an air pocket under the sea. They help some frog people catch a killer shark. Then John and Gillian take a ride on a giant seahorse. The TARDIS disappears again, falling to another level. They find it again, in the possession of the Ancient Mariner. He insists that it is his house now, so Dr Who quickly builds the Mariner a small house before taking back the TARDIS
A Christmas Story
The TARDIS lands just outside Father Christmas's house. Dr Who gives him a device that will help his toy production (which,this year, includes lots of requests for a toy TARDIS). He uses another identical device to defeat a demon magician who has been causing trouble in the area.
In Search of the Didus
The TARDIS arrives at a zoo where the last didus has escaped its cage. Dr Who, John, and Gillian go into the nearby jungle to retrieve it.
The TARDIS lands on Space-station Z-7. It has been captured by rebels who plan to use a doomsday machine to conquer the entire universe. He, John, and Gillian thwart their plan by calling a rescue ship and getting it through the rebels' minefield. The rebels escape, but Dr Who reactivates the minefield to stop them getting away.
Plague of the Black Scorpi
The TARDIS lands on an arid planet where the human inhabitants have to make water from gases, and whose food supplies are under threat from alien parasites. Dr Who helps them kill the parasites and then creates magic rain, which gives the planet abundant rain and accelerates the growth of their plants.
The Trodos Tyranny
The TARDIS lands on the planet Trodos, but instead of the expected human inhabitants they are met by robotic Trods. The Trods have risen up and enslaved the humans. Eventually Dr Who defeats them by cutting the power, and frees the human slaves.