50 Glorious Years: Episode 29 - 1991
1991 represented a new beginning for Doctor Who - on the printed page, but one which would hugely affect the return of Doctor Who as a regular drama production, first on audio and then once again on television. 1991 was the year the New Adventures started. While they were not every fan’s cup of tea, the effect they would have in Doctor Who fandom and on Doctor Who itself would be huge. First published bi-monthly, the New Adventures would see the likes of Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts getting their start in professionally writing Doctor Who stories - all three of whom would go on to write numerous stories for the Big Finish audio range and of course for the television series itself and would help launch their careers. Russell T. Davies would also write his first published Doctor Who story for this range (although he got his start in television drama prior to doing so).
Not every fan read them and just like any form of Doctor Who, not every fan who did read them liked them, and they were certainly controversial in their day - but there’s no doubt that the New Adventures were successful and helped to shape Doctor Who as we know it today. For many fans, these books were the “official” continuation of the Doctor Who saga once the television series had been halted and made Doctor Who an on-going concern once again after a brief 1-year hiatus. 1991 would only bring more false promises and delays on television front for fans, who were starting to get very frustrated at not being told by the BBC what was happening (and suspecting that it was because the BBC specificially didn’t want something to happen as far as Doctor Who was concerned). There was some new television Who in 1991 - at least, new Who that you could watch on your television, even if it wasn’t broadcast. In particular, an extended version of The Curse of Fenric, incorporated deleted scenes back into the narrative as the amount of footage that was shot was actually enough for a five-parter (and most fans, even those that liked the story as originally broadcast, agreed that the extra footage was needed to improve the story and help to understand it). It was a bit sad that new Doctor Who for television was now taking this form, but it did help to have the fans cherish what we were getting even more. But overall 1991 belongs, from a Doctor Who perspective, to the start of the New Adventures, which again not only influenced Doctor Who on audio and in television, but also for future new Doctor Who fiction. For other than a couple of “Companions of Doctor Who” books in the mid-80’s, these books were, as hard as it seems to believe nowadays, the first original Doctor Who novels (as opposed to novelizations of tv stories) written, 28 years after the show first began.
Posted by Luca on Sunday, August 11 at 10:21 pm