The Last Great Time War!

I thought about creating a War Doctor discussion, but decided it would be more interesting to take the Time War as a whole. What aspects of the Time War do you like? What aspects don’t you like? What are your favorite stories or series that fall into the Time War?


I liked that it was mostly unseen for a long time. All you had was The Doctor living with guilt, and hints from other races about the overall consequences. This left a feeling that what happened was so horrible you couldn’t even comprehend it. It was like a blanket of sadness.

Then it was essentially undone. Now there is nothing really to explore with it as it doesn’t matter.


As my username suggests, ‘Palindrome’ is truly excellent. The Time War is always more interesting when the writers do something experimental.

That’s why stories like insufferable ‘Jonah’ completely fail: they’re just basic war stories.

The Time War THRIVES on pure experimentation.


This is the reason The War Doctor Rises seems like it’s going to be interesting. They’re letting people actually play in the sandbox of the Time War beyond the basic conceit.


100% agree. I feel like we’ve become a little oversaturated in Time War stories in the last few years, and though some of them are excellent, some of them do become a little too generic, and a little too full of Daleks screaming which is not an awesome thing to listen to in your ears.

Some of the Eight Time War stories were very good, and I by and large enjoyed the War Doctor, though wasn’t impressed with the WD Begins that much (though in fairness I was only listening for Veklin who I’m in love with haha). I also generally really like the War Master, and the good sets in that range have been excellent.

It’s also why the Gallifrey Time War stuff has by and large been disappointing to me - there are a few standout episodes - Soldier Obscura, Mother Tongue, and actually most of TW2, but generally Time War stories do one of two things in general: focus on character, such as in the War Doctor set, or focus on being a bit more experimental. And Gallifrey TW kind of does neither and ends up not really seeming to have a point.

Gallifrey War Room, however, is excellent because it focussed exactly in on Leela and really explores her otherness and loneliness on a planet she’s been trying to escape from the start. This is the exact kind of story I’ve been wanting for Leela for years, one that really digs into her identity and challenges her a little, and I just hope they manage to stick the landing. Plus, it has Veklin, who, as I say, I am currently in love with <3

I was going to start this by saying ‘I don’t really like Time War stories’ but thinking about it, I have actually listened to most of Big Finish’s TW ranges lol


It honestly feels like this is the new format for most BigFinish box sets / mini-series.

Stuff like ‘The War Doctor Rises’ and ‘Dark Gallifrey’ are probably gonna be good examples of the direction Briggsy wants to take the audios from this point - less hour long adventures, more epic space-operas that give the brightest and best writers a chance to really go wild.


I think because RTD spent years hyping the Time War up as this conflict so weird that it could barely be described, those more generic stories really stick out like a sore thumb.

I previously mentioned ‘Jonah’ as a good example, but I would also include ‘The Conscript’ and a lot of the original War Doctor range.

I think the War Master range has been so incredibly successful because of who has been producing and directing the whole thing from the very beginning.

James Goss and Scott Handcock have been one of the greatest duos when it comes to running BigFinish ranges - you need only listen to the majority of the Torchwood audios to realise that. The minute I saw they were the ones behind the War Master I knew we would be in good hands.

It does sadden me that Scott left BigFinish to be a script editor on the TV series though, because we’ve lost one of the companies greatest minds. Though I remember reading one of his posts on social media where he announced that - following the next War Master set - Robert Valentine would be taking the reigns, which has got me excited for the future. Valentine has an impressive portfolio.

Personally, I feel like the more memorable Time War stories have always been given to the Eighth Doctor. That’s probably why I haven’t had much interest in his successor’s range.

I think I can recall one War Doctor script being outstanding and using the Time War setting to its fullest - ‘The Neverwhen’ by Matt Fitton.

Eight, on the other hand, has had a plethora of great Time War outings;

  • ‘Echoes of War’
  • ‘State of Bliss’ (which was such a trippy experience)
  • ‘The War Valeyard’
  • ‘Palindrome’
  • ‘Previously, Next Time’

I also think it helps that Eight has had more recognisable companions in his Time War adventures, with Cass and the alternative Alex filling the breach for Volume 5, and the wonderful Bliss being there from day one.


Starship of Theseus from the first Eighth Doctor: Time War set was a good use of the Time War too.


Haven’t listened to any war doctor, 8th doctor time war, or gallifrey time war (though I do want to on all fronts). The War Master stuff I’ve listened to I’ve really liked though (I’m 5 boxsets in, about to start Killing Time).

I honestly don’t think you could really do the time war justice on TV (I do really like ‘The Final Day’ for it though), audio, comics, and books just let you do a lot more without being limited by budget.

I think my favourite description of the Time War comes from Revenge of the Nestene


The quote you posted there is basically everything I don’t like about descriptions of the Time War. :wink:

RTD’s approach to it is basically “poetic convoluted whimsy” without much actual substance - a sort of mythical beast of a surrealistic nature beyond the comprehension of humanity. It’s as if, hypothetically, Marc Platt and Douglas Adams had a few too many and had a collaboration. And that is just not a narrative device that I tend to enjoy in the long run.

I think my favourite approaches to the Time War are from the book “Engines of War” by George Mann, there’s still a degree of surrealism but more firmly grounded in sci-fi realism. And then from Gallifrey: Time War, though admittedly I’ve only heard the first of the four box-sets - the political behind the scenes approach hampered by the reality of warmongering.

I always find it so great that we as fans have such different preferences in storytelling - and that the Whoniverse is so vast that there’s something for everyone :+1:


This is 100% what Gallifrey TW should have been, and it’s why TW2 was the most effective Gallifrey TW boxset to me. I really liked TW1 as well for this reason, but I felt TW3 and 4 strayed from the point too much and got confused about what story they wanted to tell.

Gallifrey War Room however has a real taste of the early Gallifrey series by going right back to being all about the political manouevring, all made worse by the backdrop of the war. WR really is incredibly good and I would recommend it completely!


Oh how I need Big Finish to have a sale on Gallifrey soon :grin: I am very much looking forward to TW2 from what you’ve mentioned about it in a couple of posts (and it seems like we have a similar taste when it comes to Gallifrey​:slightly_smiling_face:)


To be fair, I like a mix

I love the poetic whimsy and that when you’re talking about the front-lines of the war, but when you’re trying to actually tell a story in the time war it doesn’t doesn’t work, and you do need something more grounded, which I really like in War Master, though I think if you’re telling a story like that it needs to be a bit more on the edges of the time war.

That said, like I saud, I haven’t read or listened to any War Doctor, so I’m open for my mind to be changed about that


I haven’t listened to the War Doctor stories either, but I really recommend “Engines of War” - you get these moments of him trying to repress the urge to be The Doctor. Which makes total sense if you read the novelisation of Day of the Doctor where it is revealed that the potion they fed the 8th Doctor was a placebo, he is still the Doctor no matter what he tries to tell himself.

And he has a really great one-off companion in it in Cinder.

But I see your point about the changing nature of the abstractness in relation to the story being told :+1:


I haven’t really dived into the Time War EU stuff much yet.

I’ve listened to some of the War Doctor range which is excellent, but the Time War series from the Eighth Doctor, the War Master, and Gallifrey are all on my list - super excited for them.

I think the invention of the Time War was an absolutely brilliant move by RTD, as it did a kind of “reset” for the Doctor and the Daleks, it wrote out the Time Lords for a while, and set up an incredibly emotional arc for the Doctor.

Actually doing stories in the Time War, especially after it was described as such a strange war, is more difficult. So I can see why some have been disappointed. But can’t wait to experience it all!


The War Master is a really excellent series, honestly there hasn’t been a single set I’ve not liked. My favourite ones are the ones where he’s a little more in the shadows manipulating events and generally being horrible, but there’s a lot to enjoy and Derek Jacobi is such a delight to listen to.