Peter Davison and Janet Fielding as The Fifth Doctor and Tegan

‘Doctor Who’ Brings Back Old Friends With ‘Tales of the TARDIS’

We have new Doctor Who content! Actually, we have old Doctor Who content but with new bits attached, which is even better!

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The Doctor Who archive dropped on the BBC iPlayer Wednesday and with it came Tales of the TARDIS, an exciting new presentation of five Classic Who stories. These are “Earthshock”, “The Mind Robber”, “Vengeance on Varos,” “The Three Doctors,” “The Time Meddler,” and “The Curse of Fenric”—and every one of them is bookended with a little scene featuring the original characters, played by the original actors, reflecting on their adventures.

In other words, it’s everything a Doctor Who fan could ask for. Let’s run down what we have:

Tales of the TARDIS #1: “Earthshock” featuring Peter Davison and Janet Fielding (both of whom you last saw in “The Power of the Doctor”) as the Fifth Doctor and Tegan Jovanka in the framing sequences

Tales of the TARDIS #2: “The Mind Robber” featuring Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury as Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot in the framing sequences

Tales of the TARDIS #3: “Vengeance on Varos” featuring Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant as The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown in the framing sequences

Tales of the TARDIS #4: “The Three Doctors” featuring Katy Manning and Daniel Anthony as Jo Grant and Clyde Langer (from The Sarah Jane Adventures) in the framing sequences

Tales of the TARDIS #5: “The Time Meddler” featuring Peter Purves and Maureen O’Brien as Steven Taylor and Vicki Pallister in the framing sequences

Tales of the TARDIS #6 “The Curse of Fenric” featuring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as the Seventh Doctor and Ace McShane in the framing sequences

I plan to use these as a stepping stone into the world of Classic Who, which I am still woefully ignorant of. But if you’re only familiar with New Who and its spinoffs there is still plenty to be delighted with here. For example, it was a real delight seeing Clyde Langer from The Sarah Jane Adventures again and learning all about what the characters from that show are up to now, over a decade after the sad death of series star Elisabeth Sladen.

Oh, and now the TARDIS itself is also packed with easter eggs for fans of all eras of the show, keep an eye on those consoles!

Is Tales of the TARDIS canon?

Returning showrunner and Tales of the TARDIS writer Russell T. Davies wants you to be one hundred percent reassured that all these framing stories are Doctor Who canon. When asked about it by SFX Magazine (per Games Radar), he said, “ABSOLUTELY! Good god almighty! What the flip?!” So that’s that.

His Tales of the TARDIS co-writer Pete McTighe added, “It’s not just a simple intro and outro [for each classic episode]. It’s actually a story that moves the characters on. Russell’s written this amazing piece for “Earthshock,” which is dealing with Adric’s death, which never happened in the show … It is 100% canon.”

The only trouble there though is that the Tales of the TARDIS episodes seem to be a UK exclusive at the moment. That’s a shame because fans worldwide are certain to love them. Maybe one day they’ll be available to all? The Doctor and his companions would surely want it that way.

(featured image: BBC)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.