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Doctor Who: Top Ten Multi-Doctor Stories

Moo meets himself. Splendid chaps, all of him.

During this time of self-isolation, it’s natural to feel stuck. The people you live with are the only ones you get to see. But maybe you find yourself wondering what it would be like to be stuck with another one of yourself. Would you and you even get on? Would you find yourself the most irritating person on the planet?

But when you’re a Time Lord, especially such a long-lived one as the Doctor, you’re bound to run into yourself eventually. So let’s look at ten of the best stories that happened when they crossed paths with themselves!

10. The Eye of the Storm
By Matt Fitton

This story concludes the second season of River Song’s audio spin-off from Big Finish and does so in epic style. River ends up in the Great Storm of 1703 where alien intervention is prepared to obliterate earth and only she knows about it. Except that’s not quite true. The Doctor knows about it. And a later Doctor needs to stop him from stopping it. This is classic Seventh Doctor interfering but with a twist as the fun multi-Doctor party is crashed by his future wife who he shouldn’t know about yet. Terrific stuff!

9. The Lost Dimension
By George Mann and Cavan Scott

The good people at Titan Comics have certainly made the most of the Doctor Who license and this massive crossover event from 2017 was no exception. Every Doctor (up to that time anyway) is in it and a whole lot more besides. It’s unashamedly fan-service of the purest kind, looking for nothing but to put a smile on the reader’s face. What’s really worth looking out for is how the first seven Doctors are used. The writing team find increasingly clever ways to incorporate them as their modern counterparts take the lead, creating for a delightful experience filled with many surprises, all while also crafting a cracking story with a big sense of scale.

8. Time Crash
By Steven Moffat

Serving at a more intimate level than most of the others, this story only lasts a matter of minutes. It’s essentially an excuse for writer Steven Moffat and star David Tennant to both go fawning over their favourite classic era, of when Peter Davison was the lead. There’s minimal threat and what there is is played for comedy, nothing more than an excuse for Doctors five and ten to meet and play off each other. It’s just a bit of fun done for charity, the fact it’s genuinely amusing and fan-pleasing almost feels like bonus.

7. Daughter of the Gods
By David K Barnes

Somehow this story works. On paper it shouldn’t. Bringing back Katarina, the most useless companion the Doctor has ever had, and throwing her into a multi-Doctor adventure with added Daleks? There’s at least three different story ideas in there, pace yourselves Big Finish! But the end result, designed to be a hypothetical “fifth anniversary special”, works really well. It could’ve gone full fan-service, and it does, but it chooses primarily to be a character piece for both Doctors and for Katarina, restoring some much needed agency to that character. Unfortunately the restrictions of “canon” limit what else can be done with her, but we should be really pleased that this exists.

6. Peri and the Piscon Paradox
By Nev Fountain

Big Finish had written themselves into a corner with Peri, so in this story they rip it all up and start again. We have a younger Peri, still travelling with the Fifth Doctor but who will later be with the Sixth, and we have an older one who can only remember meeting him once. How does that work? It does make sense in context, and writer Nev Fountain uses this to re-examine the relationship she had with Doctor 6 while also poking fun at Doctor 5 in the most incredible ways. But it’s the exploration of the Sixth Doctor’s abusive and exploitative TV tenure that really makes this one stand out. It’s a tough listen but an extremely important one.

5. Fugitive of the Judoon
By Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall

Earning a spot in the top half of the list because what other show can surprise you as much as this just by having the title character show up? What starts off as a simple runaround with the space rhinos soon spirals off into something very different when the human they’ve been sent to collect turns out to be the Doctor. But it’s not a Doctor we know, nor one the “current” Doctor knows about. The twist as neither Doctor recognises the other creates a very different take on the multi-Doctor format, especially good in what was looking to be Just Another Episode.

4. Twice Upon a Time
By Steven Moffat

The Twelfth Doctor’s regeneration story is one of the most beautiful things the show has ever done. It’s set in a bizarre limbo – he’s dead but not regenerated yet – but that allows for a low-key character drama to play out when his first incarnation shows up unexpectedly, facing much the same dilemma. Where the Twelfth is tired and can’t bring himself to face another death and rebirth, the First is terrified as he has never done it before. The result is a truly beautiful examination of what it means to live, as both are forced to reach the same conclusion and choose to continue. Thanks to strong performances by Peter Capaldi and David Bradley, sublime writing by Steven Moffat, and a breathtaking swan-song score by Murray Gold, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

3. The Light at the End
By Nicholas Briggs

Eight Doctors team up to stop the Master from destroying them in Big Finish’s fiftieth anniversary story. Despite eight Doctors being in this there’s not one given the shift. All of them get their time in the spotlight and each get a chance to contribute to the story. The plot itself is almost secondary but it does the job, allowing for the eight incarnations to create an unashamedly fan-pleasing couple of hours. It’s not pretending to be anything more than that, and it does that with great success. While the TV fiftieth special is clearly a better story, as anniversary specials go this is right up there.

2. The Day of the Doctor
By Steven Moffat

The big one. The fiftieth anniversary special of Doctor Who. Matt Smith’s penultimate story, David Tennant’s return, and we get to see John Hurt’s War Doctor in action. The Day of the Doctor brings the three of them together with a Zygon plot spanning two time zones, all of which is used to juxtapose the Time War and the destruction of Gallifrey. It’s seemingly complicated on the surface, but it never works out that way and trusts the audience to follow it. But allowing for the story to serve some incredible character drama is what earns it a spot so high on the list. There’s so much going on here but all of it services a story that simultaneously celebrates the past while spurring the show on towards the future… at least until the next showrunner reverses it. Oh well. Gallifrey falls once more. Don’t you hate it when that happens? #SaveTheDay indeed.

1. Cold Fusion
By Lance Parkin

This originated as a novel in the 90s but I’ve not read that because a new copy will cost you into the triple figures of pounds. The Big Finish adaptation retains the same writer and is properly good Doctor Who content. It’s a unique take on the multi-Doctor format, where for once we follow the earlier incarnation. The Seventh Doctor is out on the sidelines while the Fifth is subjected to his machinations, and the end result is marvellous. It’s a story of science versus superstition and throws in some Time Lord backstory too - a backstory which no longer feels like a wilderness era curiosity in a post-Timeless Child world. I can’t recommend this one enough, despite being the second-longest Big Finish story ever it never drags. Everything you could hope for, and a whole lot more besides. (And that cover art is gorgeous! I know it’s not relevant but LOOK AT IT.)

“Moo” is the pseudonym used by this Doctor Who fan. He can usually be found procrastinating by thinking about Doctor Who. Follow him on Twitter @z_p_moo for more of his unusual takes, but do so at your own risk.

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