Doctor Who: Season 6B & The Timeless Child - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Season 6B & The Timeless Child

Chris Morley looks for hidden clues. And Doctors.

In the wake of Chris Chibnall's attempts to rewrite continuity through the mechanism of the Timeless Child, it seems a similar spirit of revisionism retrospectively continues to run through the latter stages of Patrick Troughton's tenure as the Second Doctor - Season 6B positing that The War Games might not actually have represented his last stand prior to a change of face & crash landing in the bright new dawn of the Seventies.

It was Terrance Dicks (who'd co-written the Second Doctor's fateful trip into the collision of all those needless conflicts into one blinding, often deafening whole) who gave the rumpled cat a second chance at life among the temporal pigeons with the blessing of BBC Books.

World Game gave the Second Doctor something of a reprieve following his first trial as he's pressed into service as a Celestial Intervention Agent, which might now be read as a forerunner to Chibnall's insertion of the Division into Time Lore following their introduction in the most recent series finale.

Something At The Door from the Tales of Terror anthology adds to the first stirrings of the Doctor operating under such cloak & dagger restrictions thanks to the shoehorning in of what is implied to be an important part of that service. The TARDIS secondary control room, as first witnessed on screen in The Masque Of Mandragora. Though an air of mystery is preserved within the pages of the novel as no real explanation of its actual function aboard this particular agent's well worn Type 40 is given.

What lurks within the lovely wood-panelled secondary console room? A particularly ominous bit of clutter as picked up on the Doctor's travels, as it happens - the sort of thing one really wouldn't want any companions to get wind of! But such caution is thrown out the window as Ben, Polly & Jamie find an Ouija board & decide there would be absolutely no harm in what they initially see as the game of attempting to contact spirits, some of whom lurk in the Time Vortex & aren't exactly friendly.

The Doctor then acts in a similar vein to the one the sailor & his Duchess saw emerging from the chrysalis of regeneration, chiding them for playing with forces they can't possibly understand before deciding to see past that & focus on helping them out of otherworldly hands in something of a dress rehearsal for dealings with the Mandragora Helix. In much the same way that his pairing with the Time Lady Serena during his pressganging into the attempt to preserve the recorded outcome of the Battle of Waterloo in World Game might be seen as Dicks paving the way for Romana entering the fray as someone to bounce off during the quest for the Key To Time.

Much like the current showrunner's inability to resist a bit of tampering with canonical lore, Dicks was unable to resist doing a Chibbers & tampering with his own creation. For there is yet another account of the beginnings of the Doctor's CIA career in the form of Save Yourself, from 2019's The Target Storybook.

Save Yourself was Terrance Dicks final story written for Doctor Who, and published after his passing. It's apparently set before even World Game and see's the Doctor taken back to Gallifrey for a discussion with the Lord Chancellor & given a first mission on Karn, a handy prelude to The Brain Of Morbius. Which in itself has now taken on a new layer of meaning thanks to The Timeless Children and its implication that the faces seen during the Doctor's mental battle with the despot are in fact legitimate pre-First incarnations.

Before Chibbers took things right back to childhood, he introduced yet another Doctor, who, even after the explanation given in The Timeless Children, some have suggested could be a New-Who attempt to bridge the gap between the Second & Third, legitimising Season 6B and expanding upon it by suggesting that, perhaps, there were other 'hidden' regenrations we haven't met, like the Morbius Doctors and in much the same vein as the War Doctor reveal was....

Could it really be that Chibbers is playing a long-game? One which will ride right over the air of mystery created by the simple fact that we don't see Pat hand over to Jon Pertwee? We might even read the Ruth Doctor's assertion to the Thirteenth that ...
“You’re in my future, not the other way around.” an argument in favour. Could this point to her as a transitional Doctor between the second and third? Could Jo (Martin) really be crammed in before Jon?

Supporters of the theory suggest that it's not inconceivable that the Master may have been lying with The Timeless Children revelation, he is a mad man after all. Then there's the fact that the Ruth Doctor's TARDIS interior is closer akin to the classic design and its external was in the form of a Police Box, which can not place her prior to the First Hartnell incarnation as the chameleon circuit only became 'stuck' when arriving in London 1963. It would, indeed, be highly unlikely for it to have taken that form beforehand (very few old fashioned Police Boxes were still standing in Gloucester when the Ruth Doctor first arrived). Plus, if the First did steel the TARDIS on Gallifrey, this would likely be a different Type 40 and not 'sexy', as she'd later be called by the young looking older Timelord. Adding more weight to the unlikely co-incidental form.

Over to Chibs.
“The important thing to say is – she is definitively the Doctor. There's not a sort of parallel universe going on, there's no tricks.“
Responding to criticism of The Timeless Children reveal, and adding further fuel to the theory that, perhaps, the real truth hasn't been fully explained yet, Chibnall went on to say...
“We’re telling an ongoing story and there are plenty of things in Doctor Who that change all the time. But I’m very aware of the history and very aware of the continuity. It’s a delightful thing.
But stories are ongoing pieces of fiction. They develop and evolve. My job is to be bold with the storytelling and have fun.” 
The sort of bold storytelling and fun already had by Terrance Dicks in print? Whether Chibs could really be so brazen remains to be seen...

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