Dating stories: World Enough and Time / Spare Parts

@deltaandthebannermen has written an excellent new guide to Stories set in the Ancient Past, and he included amongst this the Twelfth Doctor two-parter World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls, and the Cyberman genesis story Spare Parts.

He insists that there is good reason for them to be set in the ancient past, as the reference book A History describes.

I haven’t read that book and I have opinions so I thought I’d ask for everyone else to chime in.

My thinking is: Mondas is “Earth’s twin”. The people of Mondas must have advanced their technology enough to develop android technology and also space flight. Even if they advanced at an accelerated rate, there’s no reason for me to think they come from the ancient past?

I’m sure there’s something I’ve missed from a book or comic somewhere, so I’m happy to be corrected - please let me know your thoughts!

It’s not dated, but I do know what the person who made this spreadsheet listed it as 1986…

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Oh, and also, within the story, it’s implied that this is the first development of the Cybermen (and they progress to the modern ones in TDF), so there’s a double development.
I guess it also depends on which time is counted: the one at the top or at the bottom of the ship? (And if nothing else, there can be an excuse for it not being dated by saying the wormhole messed up time)


Now I want to know how on earth they managed to date it as 1986!!

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I haven’t watched it (yet), but Google tells me the first appearance of the Cybermen, in The Tenth Planet, was in a story set in 1986, so I assume they took that date as the date the ship set off? We know that only 2 days have passed at the top of the ship, so if it left in 1986 it would still be happening in 1986. I think I might ask them though!

Update: there are now 3 different dates proposed!
I found the spreadsheet through becausegoodheroesdeservekidneys’ rewatch, where she listed the order of the episodes chronologically (according to her and her husband)… which dates WEAT as happening in 16087?? It’s a flawed list, though, for several episodes, and I can definitely ask her why that date, but it still does not solve the problem…

Would it not be the other way around? The top of the ship is closest the black hole, so it is the most affected by the time distortion due to gravity. The bottom of the ship is closer to “real” time (if such a concept exists), though still relatively close to a black hole, thus also distorted.

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Welcome to the forum Hannah. Quite the thread to choose for your first post!


As @shauny has thrown down the gauntlet…

Let me just stress that this is a theory and I’ve pasted below the relevant footnote from Lance Parkin’s A History. It does need to be considered in conjunction with his dating for The World Shapers comic and Spare Parts.

I tell you this though - it definitely isn’t 1986!


And this is the footnote for Spare Parts

There’s a length sidebar for the entire creation of the Cybermen theory but I don’t want to just photograph pages of the book - I highly recommend people purchase it (pricey as it is).


Intersting! (And definitely my kind of book).

But I disagree!

“The ship is launched (and this story is set) the ‘eons ago’ spoken of in The Tenth Planet

OK but this is the only mention of eons ago in The Tenth Planet:

KRAIL: That is where we come from. It is called Mondas.
BEN: Mondas?
BARCLAY: Mondas? But isn’t that one of the ancient names of Earth?
KRAIL: Yes. Aeons ago the planets were twins, then we drifted away from you on a journey to the edge of space. Now we have returned.

(Firstly, if Mondas is an ancient name for Earth, then it can’t have drifted away until someone named it Mondas, which would be when humans are around. But ignoring that, and sticking with ‘aeons ago’…)

So the planets were twins ‘aeons ago’ (which means an indefinitely long amount of time). And it drifted away on a journey to the edge of space. And they have now returned.

I’d say it might take an indefinitely long amount of time, say an eon or two, for a planet to ‘drift’ to the edge of space and then for them to travel back in a spaceship.

And there’s no indication of when they started travelling back.

I say, the planet started drifting away millions of years ago (and the “Mondas” name being an ancient name for Earth is just an error), but that took aeons, and then the ship started travelling back in Earth’s future, which is when World Enough and Time is set, and The Tenth Planet is after that, so both stories are in the future not the past!

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Or Mondas drifted away before it was named but a race memory of a twin planet existed in the human race and legends grew around this distant memory and Mondas was ascribed to the ‘legendary’ twin planet.

But The Tenth Planet isn’t in the ‘future’ it’s ‘contemporary’ to all intents and purposes. I think Parkin’s theory is that Mondas is taking thousands and thousands of years to drift through the universe only finally returning to our Solar System in 1986. Therefore something like World Enough and Time - which is a parallel evolution to Mondas - is happening at a similar time.

I think.

It makes my head hurt.

(Ulimately, there is of course, very little chance of making The Tenth Planet, World Enough, Spare Parts and The World Shapers fit but I do love the fact that Moffat at least referenced the contradictory accounts by including mention of Marinus in his episode).


Oh yes of course. I always misremember that The Tenth Planet was set in the “future” because of the space stuff but it was actually set in the companions’ future, which is 1986.

I now think it’s more likely that World Enough and Time is set in 1986! What a turn of events lol.

I’m going to change the date on the site to “unclear” :crazy_face:

A tiny victory for me :slight_smile:

… but it’s still not ancient past? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Well possibly not but Parkin has spoken so that’s what I’m going with even if it doesn’t make much sense :crazy_face:

I feel like what’s being overlooked is the gravity of the situation :wink:

The ship has been stuck by the black hole for at least a thousand years, as that is the perspective of the lower decks. The top decks being closer to the black hole are less true to “real time”. The bottom of the ship is still very darn close to the black hole, but without a degree in physics and relativity, I couldn’t tell you how fast time distortion “tapers off”. Regardless I would say its a safe assumption that the lower decks are still also experiencing time dilation from the perspective of an outside observer (say on Mondas or Earth).

Therefore it’s essentially impossible to say when it’s happening, other than “at least 1000 years after Mondas built/commissioned a colony ship”, which is a difficult enough start point to figure out anyway.

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