Ostentatious Obscurity

Neither the Doctor, nor anyone he ever met, nor anyone they ever met, nor the titular faction appears in this book. It's still Canon, though.

Because we are all terrible people, the value a property has to us depends in large part on how Ostentatiously Obscure or recherche it is.


In the '90s, or in the late '00s in America, Doctor Who was itself a pretty obscure show, you've probably never heard of it. But here, in the post-50th world, it's increasingly difficult to find someone who's neither seen nor formed an opinion on Doctor Who. It's gotten popular, meaning it's sold out.

But rest assured, dear hipsters, Doctor Who is just the tip of an ugly, poorly written, self-absorbed iceberg.

Maximum Non-Canon

Doctor Who is nerdy out-there sci fi that, for years, had a incredibly lax editorial oversight in its expanded universe. What does this mean? It means there's a staggering number of swarming, barking, screaming properties and series and franchises all competing for the lofty title of Least Canon Portion of Doctor Who.

  • Bernice Summerfield
    • Basically, in the 1990's, during the VNA era, one of the Seventh Doctor's companions was an archeologist known as Bernice Summerfield. She's a party girl, a professor, a sarcastic and genre-savvy lady, and Steven Moffat's lawyers have advised us that he never read any of the Virgin New Adventures featuring her. After Virgin lost the license to BBC Books, they continued to publish The Bernice Summerfield New Adventures. Based Darvill-Evans. This might be where the obscurity came to a halt, but then an unknown company called Big Finish approached Virgin for the license to Bernice Summerfield, which eventually lead to Big Finish landing the lucrative Doctor Who franchise.
  • Faction Paradox
    • At the other end of the above described Virgin/BBC Books clusterfuck was Mad "Larry" Miles, a writer who was erased from Doctor Who due to some unsubstantiated rape allegations and a self described "loss of mandate". While BBC Books retained the ability to use Faction Paradox in their ongoing line (an ability they used only once, to exile Miles's work from the book continuity), Miles possessed his own control over it as well, leading to a series of nonsensical books, audio plays, short stories, and an ill-received comic book, all of which details what would eventually be known as the Time War.
  • Iris Wildthyme
    • In Wilderness Era fandom, there were two views of Doctor Who stories: "Gun" and "Frock". Gun stories are exciting, dangerous, and action packed. Frock stories are comfy, interesting, and funny. Therefore, if Faction Paradox was the Gun version of a BBC Books spinoff series, Iris Wildthyme is the Frock version. Essentially a magical realist parody of Doctor Who, Iris Wildthyme is about a crazy lady who flies around in a bus having adventures, or maybe not, and sometimes she looks like Jo Grant. Wait a minute... isn't that plot of the Magic Schoolbus?
  • Time Hunter
    • A book series that has almost zero fucking relation to Doctor Who whatsoever (well except for nicking the whole "time traveler versus intergalactic/interdimensional weirdoes" schtick), except for the fact that it stars one of the characters from one of the Doctor Who Telos Novellas (mentioned below). The Cabinet Of Light. Oh yeah, and the Daemons and Fendahl appear in one of them too.
  • Miranda
    • A comic book miniseries about the Doctor's adopted daughter from one of the BBC novels, Father Time, although it's not actually consistent with her story in that novel. On hiatus since issue 3 in 2003, because the publisher disappeared, and nobody can figure out whether Lance Parkin has the rights to finish it, given that one of his first three paychecks didn't bounce.
  • Senor 105
  • BBV and Reeltime Pictures
    • Now of course all these gorillions of prose and audio works are fine and all, but sometimes it gets tiring to not see any actors pratfalling about. And that's where these guys come in, the more prolific firm being BBV, a title that may sound like another media producer but in fact stands for "Bill & Ben Video". Everything produced by either of these producers of all-independent cinema goodness, to be blunt, makes even Timelash look a multi-million dollar production, (Wilderness-era fanboys must have really been fucking desperate) and their various works are completely non-canon, half the time the only connection would be the fact that various actors from the show itself, desperate for an income, would star in them. They also produced audio works (so yeah, these guys were the forerunner of Big Finish - Nick Briggs actually got his start here) some of them featuring monsters from the show, others featuring the aforementioned Faction Paradox, but we're only going to talk about the most non-canon stuff. The most "notable" entries include
      • Auton Trilogy (and other films featuring C-list monsters) - BBV and Reeltime, being cheap as shit, could only afford the rights for the monsters that nobody really cared about (so no Daleks here). Works based around the naff monsters included the Auton trilogy (done by Nick Briggs), Shakedown (featuring the worst Sontarans I've ever seen), Downtime (featuring UNIT, the Yeti and the first appearance of Kate Stewart, as well as both Victoria and Sarah Jane in their MILF incarnations), Daemos Rising (featuring Daemons, and lifted from one of the "Time Hunter" books for all that non-canon goodness) and Zygon (which is pretty much Zygon porn).
      • P.R.O.B.E - If all these monsters from the show itself sounds way too canon, there's always this series by none other than Mark Gatiss, which whilst featuring many of the 70's UNIT actors, is basically him jacking off to Quatermass (again). Eh, it was legit better than that edgy shitfest set in Cardiff.
      • Cyberon - No prizes for guessing what these are trying to be. Look, if you thought the actual Cybermen were lame, just take a look at this shit, which actually spawned its own BBV-produced audio series.
      • The Airzone Solution - It's totally not Doctor Who meets Captain Planet. Nuh-uh
      • The Stranger - Perhaps the most non-canon of the lot, this pretty much features totally original do not steal expies of the Sixth Doctor and Peri (played by their respective actors to boot), only for some reason it's not as harsh on the eyes as the actual Sixth Doctor's era...losing that coat really works wonders. Eventually BBV got tired of pussyfooting around answering whether or not Colin Baker was playing the Doctor or not, decided that he wasn't, and made up some bullshit backstory where his real name was Solomon and he was a "preceptor", whatever that means, thus exiling the series from canon.
  • AudioVIsuals
    • Before Big Finish, before BBV and Reeltime, before the show was even off the air, most of the same guys used to record unlicensed Doctor Who stories in their basement, starring Nick Briggs as the Briggs Doctor. Sure, the audio quality wasn't great, and the cover was a black&white xerox (but on colored paper!), and sometimes the tape itself was just a blank TDK with the title written in Gary Russell's own handwriting, but it wasn't written by Saward. The Briggs Doctor later appeared in one comic when Gary Russell was in charge of DWM, but as a future Doctor, not a past one, making the AudioVisuals not canon until Briggs gets the role on TV.
  • K-9
  • Lethbridge-Stewart
    • A series of novels about the Brig before he was a Brig, plus short stories about the whole Lethbridge-Stewart family over a wider range of time. Released a ton of novels in 2015-6 without waiting to see whether anyone would buy the first one, because ebooks and print-on-demand means you can do that nowadays, as long as none of your writers care about getting paid, and still count as a professional publisher.
  • Erimem
    • If the Brig can get a spinoff novel series, why can't Erimem? Well, maybe because she's an audio-only character who played second fiddle to Peri, but other than that? The books say "From the Universe of Doctor Who", just like the Class ads, but it's nowhere near as connected to Doctor Who as Class, and probably nowhere near as bad. (I haven't read them, but it seems like a pretty good guess.)
  • The Confessions of Dorian Gray
  • Vienna
    • An interstellar bounty hunter solves mysteries, but the biggest mystery is whether her series is a Doctor Who spinoff or not. Jonathan Morris used a DW audio as the backdoor pilot for it, and uses characters and plot elements from his Who and Benny stuff, and he considers it a spinoff, and Big Finish advertises it as a spinoff, but the producer David Richardson said he doesn't see it as a spinoff. So TARDIS Data Core had their biggest inclusion argument ever about it, running for three years, and they wrote to Big Finish asking to clarify it, and got an answer that wasn't good enough, and wrote back again for help, and were basically told that BF isn't going to figure out their stupid canon rules for them. Which makes it obviously too good to be canon.
  • Kaldor City
    • Remember the city briefly mentioned in The Robots of Death? Wouldn't you love an entire audio series spun off from the two lines in that story? For some reason, a guy who worked on some Blake's 7 spin-offs couldn't interest Big Finish or even BBV in the idea, so he started his own company. He's also got the rights to everything Chris Boucher created for the TV show and the BBC novels, so the Fendahl is going to appear, whether there's a good reason or not. And he's also got the rights to every character Chris created for Blake's 7, so it's a crossover, too.
  • Recursive Occlusion
    • And again we come around to our good buddy sworn enemy El Sandifer. Recursive Occlusion is a spinoff of a particular essay in the Tardis Eruditorum, a project to use Doctor Who as a lens with which to view the latter half of the 20th century and beyond. In particular, the essay on Logopolis was rendered as a Choose Your Own Adventure story for reasons that probably seemed good at the time. As a Kickstarter goal, El decided to expand the concept with all-new material into a stand alone Choose Your Own Adventure book, though with a slightly less bonkers cover. So that's a paperback spinoff of a particular essay on a nonreview blog.
  • The Minister of Chance
    • So we've got an audio spinoff of a non-canon Flash animation story that tried to end Doctor Who with the Seventh Doctor's death, long after the TV Movie had already beaten them to the punch. The Minister isn't even played by Stephen Fry, the original actor, and the only reason anyone cared about the character. Soon to be a major motion picture a video short a book a thrice-failed Kickstarter project. Fans call themselves "Chancers"; others call them "Dan's mum and dad". Literally nobody knows what this series is even about. I once heard someone on TV Tropes say they contributed to a fan fiction website about the series but had never listened to it before, knew nothing about it, and didn't actually know it was a "real" thing outside of that archive. That's the level of investment that Minister of Chance fans have in their material.
  • Sci-Fi Sea Cruise
    • Have you ever dreamed of trapping a bunch of Doctor Who actors on a boat in the middle of the ocean, and forced them to act out your fanfic? (If so, we strongly urge you to seek help.) Because that's what these fine people have done, wrangling the likes of Sylvester McCoy, Lisa Bowerman, Nicholas Courtney, and more to do Z-grade fanfilms with the promise of a free buffet afterwards. Closest thing we've ever gotten to a live-action 7/Benny story though, so that's nice. We even get a Zoe shower scene, which would be extra nice if she weren't in her late sixties. Robert Shearman also did the closest thing to script editing here, making you almost forgive the chroma-keyed giant cats and Jamie in a Hawaiian shirt.
  • Counter-Measures
    • Yeah, Remembrance of the Daleks was GOAT, but did anyone really want a spinoff about the supporting cast? Briggs didn't even test the waters by giving them a Companion Chronicle pilot like he did with Jago and Litefoot. He just automatically assumed you'll love an entire spinoff series about those four guys who showed up in the background while you were too busy masturbating to the Special Weapons Dalek.
  • The Entire Fucking Marvel Universe
    • If you actually take the canon policy of the TARDIS Data Core seriously, the entire fucking Marvel Universe is canon, as they acknowledge in the "Behind the Scenes" section of their page on Death's Head. They also mention "Marvel scholars" as a thing, without a trace of irony. Obviously the Marvel Universe itself isn't all that obscure, if you've been to a movie theater this century, but they probably have spinoffs far more out there than Doctor Who—or would, but those all count as Doctor Who spinoffs too. Huzzah! Ask your local Marvel scholar for details.

Honorable Mentions

  • Comics
    • Doctor Who comics started almost as soon as the show did, in TV Comic magazine. They weren't sure which characters they had the rights to, and, more importantly, couldn't be arsed to actually watch the show, so the Doctor traveled with his grandchildren John and Gillian and fought enemies like the Trods, alien robots who run on static electricity and want to destroy all lesser beings but definitely don't use the word "exterminate". Because at the same time, the Daleks had their own strip in TV Century 21, which were even less connected to Who, and occasionally couldn't even make up their minds about whether the Daleks were good guys or bad guys. Sadly, eventually Marvel took over and started actually trying to fit them in with the TV series (although they still managed to fit in stuff like Frobisher, and occasionally crossed over with mainstream Marvel, as mentioned above). By the Wilderness Years, they were under Andrew Cartmel's control and being explicitly pitched as the continuation of the canceled show, and by NuWho comics were being licensed to companies like IDW to treat them as direct tie-in material for TV. So, the comics can't really qualify as obscure—but if you find some of those old Daleks comics somewhere, definitely check them out anyway, as long as your irony is itself ironic.
  • BBC Books in general
  • Virgin Books
    • Before the BBC Book ranges, there were the Virgin Books, made up of the Virgin New Adventures and Virgin Missing Adventures, as well as Virgin Decalogs and these were possibly even more hipsterish, given their tendency to be all DEEP and tell stories featuring content "too broad or deep for the TV screen" (like rape, blowjobs, swearing, gore, rape, Lovecraftian piffle, more gore, more rape, and of course the existential implications of the Universe - remember this is all based on a family show). Unfortunately the Virgin books don't count, mostly on account of being directly made after and to continue the TV series, as well as having several TV series writers as well as kickstarting the writing careers of several NuWho writers (Gatiss, RTD, Moffat, etc)
  • Target Books
    • Before the Virgin Books ranges, there were the Target Books and their range The Companions of Doctor Who. Most people only remember Target for their novelisations of almost the entirety of classic Doctor Who, but Companions was the first Doctor Who spin-off series, with two whole books. (Technically three books, but the last one was a novelisation of the K-9 and Company pilot.) An 7" from an obscure bubblegum synthpop band from 1986 may be cool enough to go in the basket of any fixie bike just because you've never heard of it, but it's still bubblegum synthpop.
  • Telos Novellas
    • ANOTHER licensed book series, only this time with much shorter stories and even DEEPER themes, I ain't read them but them but I think they (mostly) feature the TV series Doctors as well, though given how they are overshadowed by the aforementioned Virgin and BBC Books ranges, they qualify more. Also, they are the only connection between Doctor Who and the above-mentioned "Time Hunter" books.
  • Big Finish
  • The Divergent Universe
    • The Divergent Universe was a particular story arc in Big Finish's Eighth Doctor main range, during which the Eighth Doctor and his then-companion, a vagina with hands, went on an adventure through another universe where Time did not exist, no prior monsters or enemies appeared, and the worlds were all populated by completely alien creatures and societies. In practice, this meant nobody ever saying "tomorrow", Rassilon and Zagreus teaming up to scheme against the Doctor, and some lizard people. So, despite its unpopular venue and seemingly out-there concept, the Divergent arc just ended up being yet another season of ear-stories starring a guy who once played the Doctor in Canada.
  • Miracle Day
    • Miracle Day finally comes at this from the other end, being almost remote enough from the primary text to qualify, but failing by being too popular. An americanized semi-remake semi-spinoff of Torchwood, itself a spinoff of the second series of NuWho, Miracle Day features numerous original characters (do not steal) and concepts that have no connection whatsoever to actual Doctor Who. That's all very well and good, and would just about qualify it as Ostentatiously Obscure, were it not for the fact it aired on a premium channel in America, a proper channel in Britain, and was hugely hyped up as the next big thing.
  • BBCi Doctor Who Animated Webcasts
    • Each of the four is obscure for a different reason. Death Comes to Time deliberately tried to kill off Doctor Who to replace it with a spiritual successor (see The Minister of Chance above) while also retconning everything we ever learned about Time Lords and decanonizing the TV movie. Real Time, despite being a straightforward past-Doctor story borrowed from Big Finish, was released in an already-obsolete format guaranteeing that nobody would be able to watch it within a couple years even if they hadn't soon turned off the server. Shada remounted the famous incomplete Fourth Doctor story with the Eighth Doctor and wrapped it in a fluffy coating of fanwank that tied its own canonicity to that of the incomplete Fourth Doctor version and everything Big Finish has ever done. Scream of the Shalka invented a new Ninth Doctor who would never be heard from again because the BBC was having lunch with RTD the same week it went live. All solid reasons to be considered obscure non-canon nonsense, but ultimately, they were all legitimate BBC experiments in how to continue Doctor Who, so they can't be put in a class with things like P.R.O.B.E.