FAQ Section 2
The present and future of "Doctor Who"
FAQ Item 2.1 - Is Doctor Who still on the air?
No. The last episode to air from the original BBC series was "Survival",
airing in December of 1989 as the last story of Season 26. While no
official cancellation announcement was made, the BBC stopped production
of the series.
In 1996, a TV-movie was made and shown in North America, the UK and
Australia. The movie was a continuation of the original series, and it is
hoped that a new series will come from the film, though that doesn't seem
The original series does live on in re-runs. A complete list of stations
that carry Doctor Who is given in FAQ #5 (for those who
would like to extract, print it out and keep it with them as they travel
across the country). It is available on certain cable tv stations in
the US, Canada and Europe. You might also want to check Ben Elliots
weekly posting "This Week" which provides information on the specific
episodes that are airing.
The official BBC position can be found in their FAQ -
It basically says nothing has changed since 1989.
FAQ Item 2.2 - What were the last words ever spoken on Doctor Who?
From the Original Series:
Part 3 of "Survival" ended with this quote by the Doctor; it's widely-
quoted in this newsgroup and in .sig files everywhere. For your convenience:
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, the seas
sleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke, and cities made of
song. Somewhere there's danger; somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere
else the tea is getting cold! Come on Ace, we've got work to do!
From the TV Movie:
"Oh no, not again!"
FAQ Item 2.3 - What were the circumstances of the cancellation?
After Season 22, the first Colin Baker season, the show was
put on "hiatus". When Doctor Who returned, season length was shortened,
from 13 45-minute episodes, to 14 25-minute episodes. Colin Baker was
fired, after one more season and Sylvester McCoy became the seventh Doctor.
McCoy's tenure as the Doctor was not to be ratings success, however.
Despite tenuous signs that the public was coming back to Doctor Who,
there were a number of strikes against it. Most notable was its
competition with ITV's "Coronation Street", which constantly placed
within the top five television programs each week.
Finally, after Season 26, the BBC announced that Doctor Who was again
being placed on hiatus. While it has returned in the form of a
television movie, the future of the show is still uncertain.
FAQ Item 2.4 - Will there be more Doctor Who?
The BBC has heard this question so much that they have put it into
their own FAQ
The answer is basically "nothing has changed, we'll tell you when it does".
The TV movie seemed like the best hope for the series, but it did not do well.
In the US its ratings were rather low, and FOX did not put it on its
schedule of new shows. The ratings in the UK and Australia were better,
but apparently not enough to tip the scales.
There are several things which could be done to try to put it back
on the air, including writing to the various network executives.
There are several efforts to bring it back, with quite a bit of
information to found at The Save Doctor Who website:
(courtesy of the Doctor Who Fan network)
FAQ Item 2.5 - What's this Doctor Who radio special?
"The Paradise of Death", broadcast in the fall of 1993, was a special
radio story featuring Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney
reprising their roles as the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Brigadier
Lethbridge-Stewart, in an adventure scripted by former Doctor Who
producer Barry Letts. It consisted of five half-hour episodes which were
subsequently released on audio tape. The BBC was very happy with the
success of "Paradise" and subsequently commissioned a sequel, also
featuring Pertwee, Sladen and Courtney and again written by Letts. This
was entitled "The Ghosts of N-Space", and aired in 1995. Both stories
have been novellized.
FAQ Item 2.6 - What are the "New Adventures"?
"Doctor Who - The New Adventures" are a series of authorized, full-
length Doctor Who novels, continuing from the end of "Survival", the final
Sylvester McCoy story. They were published monthly by Doctor Who Books,
a division of Virgin Publishing Co. and are now being produced by
BBC books. The novels are written by both established Doctor Who
authors like Terrance Dicks, John Peel and Ben Aaronovitch, as well
as newcomers such as Paul Cornell and Kate Orman. Originally, the books
featured the adventures of the Seventh Doctor and Ace, but Ace has since
departed, and the Doctor has travelled with several others including
archaeologist Bernice "Benny" Summerfield.
The New Adventures promise to deliver stories "too big and broad
for the small screen; full length science fiction novels". In some cases,
the traditional Doctor Who format has been reworked, such as books not
really featuring the Doctor himself. Some of the novels have been linked
together, though the majority stand alone. Many of the books are aimed at
hard-core science fiction fans, and some Who traditionalists do not find
them totally satisfying.
With BBC books taking over the publication of the novels (May, 1997),
the folks at Virgin publishing have continued on in an off-shoot, with
stories still taking place in the Doctor Who universe, but not featuring
the Doctor but instead companion Benny Summerfield. Also with the
television movie introducing a new Doctor, that character is the
current version presented in the novels.
A complete list of The New Adventures that have been released to date
appears in the third part of the FAQ.
FAQ Item 2.7 - And what are the "Missing Adventures"?
As a tandem to the New Adventures, Doctor Who Books is now releasing a
set of adventures featuring the first seven incarnations of the Doctor and
his old companions; these are stories that take place between the
televised episodes. Like the early "New Adventures", a mix of established
and new authors will tackle the "Missing Adventures".
As with the New Adventures, the publication of these were taken over
by BBC books in May, 1997.
A complete listing of current and scheduled Missing Adventure novels
is included in the third part of the FAQ.