T-minus two weeks to Dragon Con 2007 — and we’re kicking off the countdown by hooking up with free Doctor Who…well, sort of.
Shortly after the BBC originally put Doctor Who out to pasture in 1989, the Brit pubcaster began looking for ways to exploit the brand-sorry, um… keep the series going …without actually producing new episodes of the program. Somewhere in between, Virgin Publishing had snagged the rights to publish novelizations of the television episodes. Upon being informed that there would be no further television episodes, Virgin pitched continuing Who as a series of original novels.
In 1991, the first New Adventures novels landed on the shelves. As advertised, the novel series continued the storyline exactly where the television series had left off (with stories featuring the Seventh Doctor as portrayed by Sylvester McCoy), eventually incorporating original characters not appearing in the television series. The writers of the novels initially included television series writers Marc Platt, Andrew Cartmel, and Terrance Dicks.
However, the New Adventures would also highlight new talent including fictional debut works from Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Gary Russell, and budding television writer Russell T Davies (perhaps you’ve heard of him).
And thus the fine art of commercially released, officially licensed Doctor Who Fan Fic began. The Virgin line spanned sixty-one novels over the course of six years and two television Doctors (in one of the line’s final installments, the BBC allowed Virgin to publish a novel featuring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor) before the BBC took the license back in 1997–and kicked the entire New Adventures storyline out of the official Doctor Who timeline.
The “Fan Fic” became the real deal when Davies and company relaunched the TV series in 2005. Further still when it was announced Cornell would write an adaptation of his New Adventures novel Human Nature as two episodes for the shows’ third series.
While the adaptation ( featuring David Tennant‘s Tenth Doctor) is about to make its stateside premiere on the Sci Fi Channel — you can snag the original novel for free over at the BBC’s website.
Human Nature (part one) premieres Friday @ 8PM on Sci Fi.
The Family of Blood (part two) premieres Friday, September 7th @ 8PM on Sci Fi (when the series returns after the Labor Day Weekend pre-emption).