The Literary Legacy of Doctor Who
Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the British SFFH staple, Chris Hawton—co-host of the All-New Adventures of the Doctor Who Book Club podcast—takes a look at the Doctor’s world beyond the small screen.
As Doctor Who approaches its 60th anniversary this November, it might feel to some fans that the show has been an ever-present in British TV schedules since 1963. But, as older readers might know all too well, this is definitely not the case. And it was never guaranteed that the TARDIS crew would have a life beyond the end of the 1980s.
It’s now Whodom folklore that the then-bosses of the BBC were not fans of the show. They had tried to get it cancelled in 1985, but failed. Four years later, they took a different tact: they decided not to renew the show in 1989. They wanted to let it—and its reputation for poor special effects and dodgy costumes—go quietly.
The fans wouldn’t let it go quietly, though. In the absence of new TV stories, the Doctor’s adventures moved to novel form in 1991. This period, known as the ‘wilderness years’, saw these books sustain the dream and kept the fans’ insatiable appetites whet. Book-only Doctor Who adventures continue to this day—in fact, it’s what our podcast is dedicated to reading and celebrating!