Pre-Season 1

What are people’s thoughts on stories set before An Unearthly Child? A brief look at the timeline on Tardis Wiki shows the following stories plus several short stories that I won’t list here.

Novel: Frayed, Time and Relative
Comic: Operation Proteus
Audio: The Beginning, The Sleeping Blood, The Alchemists, Quinnis, Hunters of Earth, An Unearthly Woman

Is this an era that should be left alone? Or should more stories be set here?


I don’t love Season 0. That being said, Time and Relative is one of my favorite Who stories (so good that I in fact went out and got Anno Dracula by the same author) and I really enjoy some bits and pieces. Overall not an era I’m super fond of though

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The Name of the Doctor also has a brief scene set before An Unearthly Child - apparently it was Clara who told the First Doctor which TARDIS to steal.

(I am not a Clara hater by any means but that scene is definitely one that makes my eyes roll :roll_eyes:)

I haven’t explored any of those stories so can’t comment on them, but on the idea of setting stories before the first one… I’m in two minds.

I do love a bit of backstory. And I love to have things explained. But it almost feels like no-one has the right to explain how it all began - the story should probably begin with S1E1.

But then I also think there are so many unanswered questions. Why did they run? Why did they choose London 1963?

I think if there was a good enough explanation then I’d really enjoy it but it would have to be “canon” - I know there’s no canon but I’d want other stories to not contradict it.

As you can tell, my thoughts on this aren’t fully formed yet!


I only listened to The Beginning last year, as part of the 60th-anniversary celebrations, and it was okay. Other than that, I’m not familiar with these stories. I don’t know whether this is an era that needs to be explored more, and I guess they are kind of limited as to what they can do without altering later events in the Doctor’s personal timeline too much.

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Oh and of course the scene in the barn in Listen.

Also eye roll inducing, BUT a beautiful idea.

I wish Moffat hadn’t made Clara the centre of everything. But I like little bits of the Doctor’s past being explored.

Then there’s the Timeless Child………


And, the stories I listed in the post are only the complete stories, I didn’t included the rather large pile of Short Stories or the stories that have scenes or flashbacks to this period (like Lungbarrow, Master or Divided Loyalties). Also, the Doctor’s early life (Timeless Child, working with Divison, etc) is an entirely separate era.


On the Clara bit I do think thats a bit different in that its to fix the changes the Great Intelligence Made, he probably swapped those TARDISes around or something so its less she was always critically important and just is post GI interference. Listen however… Kind of mixed on.

I have yet to read or listen to anything pre unearthly child but a few stories about of them before settling on London could be fun. I believe the Doctor and Susan say they met Henry VIII or something in an episode prior to picking up Ian and Barbara?


I will go to bat to defend the Timeless Child :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:
Be wary not to lay down any beef with a former Agent!!! The name “Bill Filer” still carries weight within the ranks of UNIT! :triumph:



Oh I quite like the Timeless Child in a way - not so much the “chosen one” narrative it gives to the Doctor, but the way it opens up so many stories, infinite Doctors, more diversity…

But so far nothing much has really come of that, has it? Patiently waiting for Fugitive Doctor audios.


I’ve not really spent much real time interacting with stories pre An Unearthly Child, and honestly I’m not really that interested in them. I think I could be enticed with a story or two of Susan and One travelling in that space between leaving Gallifrey and landing in 1963, but otherwise I think it’s already so messy in terms of explaining where and why the Doctor came from that more just makes it more complicated.

I know some people are very invested in the Doctor at a younger age at the Academy with the Master and the Deca and so on, and though I think that’s a pretty interesting idea to explore, I tend to find the fanon version of the Academy era pretty dull as it often turns into generic high school drama. Not that I’ve dipped that deep into it - I’d love to be proved wrong! But what I have come across hasn’t captured me at all.

That said, I do appreciate things like Lungbarrow which try to make Time Lord society weird and different - I also think it’s a boring choice to make Gallifrey a 1:1 with what we’re familiar with. For that reason, I am a pro-looms person :rofl:


No @shauny :face_exhaling:


From what I’ve read in Cat’s Cradle I guess I am kind of on the fence with regards to Looms

I am really looking forward to Lungbarrow, but I am roughly 30 books away :slightly_smiling_face:


Lungbarrow is actually unironically a really good book and I really liked it. I can understand why people don’t but I did!


Main thing I’ve read before An Unearthly Child was “The Legacy of Gallifrey” from Doctor Who Magazine 100, which was a history of Gallifrey featuring a bunch of cats.

Main thing I came away with was the author really liked cats…

(Lungbarrow’s kinda on my to read list.)


One of my favourites is Quinnis - got to love an entire story based on a throwaway reference in one episode.

I did like The Beginning - the idea of Quadrigger Stoyn is fun:

The Alchemists is not bad either.

I quite like the glimpses into Susan and the Doctor’s travels before An Unearthly Child. I wouldn’t want tonnes of adventures, though - there still seems to be some mystery.


I’ve gone through most of the content here. I like it, I like having a Doctor & Susan era, getting a glimpse of how they learned about the universe, as there are still many things they did “off-screen”.

It also ends up making a whole saga out of their stay in Shoreditch and Susan’s experiences in Coal Hill, culminating in Ian & Barbara’s arrival as a change in direction for the show, so to speak.

The brief look at Quinnis in The Edge of Destruction hits even better!