Take it from me...getting into Doctor Who can be an expensive hobby. Sure, when you're plowing through the modern series on Netflix, it feels like a steal, but once you run out of Matt Smith and decide to go exploring the classic series or Big Finish audio or even the expanded universe novels, that stuff starts to add up fast.
While you'll find plenty of clips all over the place, the BBC is very, very touchy about what it allows to be hosted on YouTube. Those Loose Cannon re-creations of lost classic episodes are fine, but anything that they can make money from gets pulled very, very quickly.
Unless, of course, it's so obscure that even the BBC doesn't bother with it. Well, dedicated fans do, and today we're going to show you some of the fantastic Doctor Who hidden treasures hiding in the bowels of YouTube.
The Ultimate Adventure Though I've heard of the 1989 stage play written by Terrance Dicks before, I can honestly say I've never really had a desire to see it. After all, how could you do something like Doctor Who onstage? Turns out you can do it pretty damned well, actually.
Colin Baker reprises his role as the Sixth Doctor alongside new companions Jason, Crystal and Zog in a battle against the Daleks and the Cybermen. I'm not going to lie; the quality of the video is horrific, but despite that you can really feel the power Baker brings to the role when he's out from under some of the restraints from his time on television. His outfit is also way, way better. Someone needs to revive this with Paul McGann posthaste.
Real Time In the early '00s, rumor of a television return of Doctor Who abounded, but not really in the format we know it today. The prevalent thinking was that the show would work best as an animated series. This led to several tentative projects like "Scream of the Shalka" that were intended to be the new direction but which were left behind upon the resumption of the series proper with Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor.
One of the best from this period was "Real Time," again starring Colin Baker because he really is way more awesome than anyone gives him credit for. His darker, blue-suited interpretation was joined by Evelyn Smythe, a mid-20th-century academic. This marks the only time an original Big Finish audio companion has physically appeared in a BBC-sponsored production (The audio companions of the Eighth Doctor were mentioned by name in "Night of the Doctor," but did not appear.) Problems with the webcasting and focus on the new series have left these half-animated artifacts behind, but speaking as the father of a young child, I can promise you that a revitalized version would be eaten up by kids.
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Cyberon Following the cancellation of the series in 1989, there was a fan named Bill Baggs who decided to try and continue producing Doctor Who movies with his wife, Helen. Thus was born BBV and their collection of not-quite Doctor Who adventures.
When at all possible, BBV would license characters like Liz Shaw and creations like K-9 and the Zygons from their actual creators, but The Doctor and his companions were mostly out. Still, both Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker appeared in several of these productions in roles that were just far off enough from being The Doctor that BBV wouldn't get sued. Mostly. McCoy's appearances as The Professor and his young assistant Ace (Played by Sophie Aldred) underwent name changes after pressure from the BBC and eventually disappeared altogether.
BBV also attempted to use the Cybermen, but were not granted the license. Instead was born Cyberon, and a really, really terrible film. Seriously, this is awful in a way that is worthy of song and legend, but despite its terrible script and execution, you can actually see some of the ideas that would eventually culminate in the Cybermen of Pete's World in the modern series.
Cyber-Hunt A very cool thing that did come out of BBV's Fauxctor Who was an excellent lost incarnation of The Doctor himself. Along with Dr. Who and the Shalka Doctor, Nicholas Briggs's Nth Doctor is part of a handful of alternate-universe or future incarnations that are so awesome they can't be ignored.
BBV's theory was that by using an actor who had never played The Doctor before, there might be less unwanted attention from the BBC. Briggs managed to play this Doctor for several seasons in audio form, and of course went on to voice the Daleks, Cybermen and other races in the revived shows as well as currently heading up Big Finish. "Cyber-Hunt" occurs during a bout of amnesia, with the Nth Doctor going by the name Fred or The Wanderer, but it's still an amazing story that hints at all the great things you see in modern Who radio plays.
Embedding is disabled on the video, but you can see it here.
Death Comes to Time Remember those webcasts I mentioned earlier? The other one you definitely need to see is "Death Comes to Time," which shows the death of the Seventh Doctor and Ace supplanting him as the only Time Lord left in the universe. Obviously, this clashes with every television story since "Battlefield" and negates the 1996 movie and the revived series entirely. Indeed, some of the more fundamentalist classic Who fans consider this to be the true end of the show and everything from McGann onwards to be something different. The timeline is among one of several shown in the Eighth Doctor story, "Zagreus," which can more or less be considered canon and thus means "Death Comes to Time" is at least a possibility.
Regardless of how or whether it fits in, the webcast features a fantastic voice cast and a truly gripping story that will have you riveted from the get-go. For fans who felt Ace never received her proper send-off, it's amazingly cathartic. Ultimately, I'm glad the show went in the direction it did rather than how stuff like "Death Comes to Time" implies it might have, but it's still awesome to see these pieces of Whostory up and available for anyone who wants to take a look.