Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 35 - 1997


In 1997 Doctor Who fans continued to wait once again. Only, for the most part, with much less frustration. The word was that the rights to a new series still rested with Universal, the studios that had backed the production of the T.V. Movie, and the rights would not expire until the end of 1997. Which meant that nobody was really expecting any news of a new series until 1998 at the earliest.

The 8th Doctor’s adventures continued in novel form, with first entitled The Eight Doctors in June. That is, the first of the BBC 8th Doctor books - as now, for both the current Doctor (as the 8th was generally considered to be) and past Doctors were now published by BBC themselves, as they chose not to renew the licence that Virgin (the company who had purchased W.H. Allen and the Target novel range back in the late 1980’s) had to publish original Doctor Who fiction, figuring that they could do it themselves and make more money that way. With the publication of The Dying Days in April 1997 (the only 8th Doctor book published by Virgin), a long run of licensed original Doctor Who fiction from W.H. Allen/Virgin had come to an end. Virgin would continue to publish books featuring Bernice Summerfield as the lead character. The first was written by Paul Cornell and was entitled Oh No It Isn’t, and apart from starting off a run of Bernice Summerfield adventures, would prove to be very significant for other reasons in the years to follow….

The spin-off videos continued, with the start of the impressive Auton trilogy, starting in 1997 with the eponymous Auton. The series was meant to star Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier but he wasn’t available to do the filming, so his character was replaced by a new character for UNIT called Lockwood, played by Michael Wade. With the Brigadier not really being a leading character, the new character of Lockwood this actually gave this trilogy a life of its own, and along with the books, help to keep the spirit of Doctor Who alive in its second extended period of waiting for new episodes.

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