Behind The Scenes of Doctor Who: Companions of Time
BrenRome reflects back on The Companions of Time.
In late 2011, I watched an episode of a series I had heard about called 'Doctor Who.' Up until this point, I had never heard of such a show. I only knew the title, and occasional phrases such as 'Dalek' or 'Doctor,' and my only other exposure was a web-series episode that reviewed a Fifth Doctor comic (which storyline I have signed now by Peter Davison himself.) For obvious reasons, I cannot say which Online Review Show it was, so suffice it to say, I didn't know pretty much ANYTHING about the show coming in. But I never knew the importance of the show until I watched my very first episode called 'A Christmas Carol.' There, I was introduced to an eccentric bowtie-wearing man in a twead jacket, with a spaceship able to travel all of time and space. Instantly, millions of ideas and scenarios floated into my head and I became instantly hooked.
I started watching the show more, and when I learned 5th Doctor Actor Peter Davison was coming to New York Comic Con 2012 as I was writing my Buzz Lightyear/Doctor Who crossover, I instantly jumped on the chance to meet him as I decided to include him (and as small cameo by Colin Baker in the prior chapter). I met the Time Lord, and suddenly felt a great sense of having met somebody so connected to the show's history. It was then I learned that this year would mark the show's 50th Anniversary. I decided I had to do something for it.
After understanding the concept of regeneration, I decided I would do a 50th-styled fanfic to celebrate the show's history and Doctors. But seeing as this concept has been done to death in TV, Movies, Games, and Comics, I decided I wanted to do something a little different. Around this time, Doctor Who: Worlds in Time, the MMO game came out, and against my nature, I played the game and instantly became hooked with becoming a companion.
The story seemed great to me, and I realized I could use this idea of a multi-universal threat to create a story in which four random companions would travel with The Doctor, and be with him in-cannon for the episodes in the then-new Series 7 Part 2. I instantly put up my story on Fanfiction, and waited for a response. The deadline for me to complete the first chapter to introduce other companions (as I wanted to share this opportunity with the fans,) was getting closer, and with no new people coming in, I feared I wouldn't be able to do it alone.
Fate played its hand when in came Odd-Sigma. She had read my instructions for the fanfic and created a character named Alokia Everglade; a Silurian girl previously seen (off-screen) in the episodes of 'The Hungry Earth/Cold Blooded.' As if her character backstory practically wrote itself for me to work with, Odd-Sigma presented me with another (shared) account of two good friends, and I had all I needed. Whoovian-Halfbloods originally presented me with the characters of Elfrieda Mactaverish, and originally, a defunct Dalek named 'Oliver.' However, there was one final problem with Oliver. As Clara (or Oswin Oswald as we knew her then,) was previously converted into a Dalek, I felt as if I shouldn't touch that territory just yet, and instead suggested that Oliver's creator make up a human male as we had already two females (one of them alien) onboard. The character was brilliantly rewritten into Alfred Olafsson, and I had my characters.
Of course, Companions of Time wasn't written in a day. I managed to finish up the story in time for the 2012 Christmas special, but then something happened during the episode, that would haunt me as I continued writing one chapter per-month. The character of Clara being alive in the Past, Present, and Future. I rewrote the ending and began researching to write for the past Doctors.
The original idea was that I was going to do a chapter each month with a back-up story for a Doctor at the end of each 'episode.' The first arc from January to May would deal with the companions trying to find Clara, and then eventually finding her and sharing adventures during and between episodes, so I'd be able to not screw up whatever Steven Moffat had planned for her. Once The Bells of St. John and The Rings of Akhaten had been posted, I was able to post the very first chapter to feature her (on my Birthday nonetheless,) and went along with writing the character interacting with the companions while being able to briefly explain the companions place in the episodes in-between.
Then The Name of The Doctor came on, and I realized three things. The first was that Clara Oswald had won me over as my favoriate companion. The second was the importance of the character in The Doctor's timeline. Originally, my plan was to have The Companions sacrifice themselves to become part of the Doctor's history, and now Clara had filled that part. Compounding the matters even more was the fact that Clara and The Doctor were left in his timeline along with another unknown version (portrayed by the ever-great John Hurt.) As such, this called for some rewrites.
I had originally planned for Clara to be featured in all the stories, but now I figured I needed to write her out for a while in order to keep this at least separate from 'The Name of The Doctor.' I felt that touching upon the events after would prove too strenuous on what could happen in 50, and instead opted for the story to end with another classic 'we go back and forget' ending.
There was also the fact that Matt Smith was announced to be regenerating, and later he would become the older Peter Capaldi. This struck me hard and I felt as if I could never commit to writing someone who wasn't Matt. I could've ended Companions of Time as easily as Doctor Who could've ended in its early days. But like the early days of the Hartnell era, I realized something; regeneration meant change happens, but it's not going to always be bad. At this point, I was writing the 'Tyrant of the Time Lords' chapter, and decided I would continue after I saw more of Capaldi. I decided to end with the Companions encountering Eleven's death would be too much of a tear-jerker, and I instead have planned something better that I will mention later.
Speaking of the ending, I had originally envisioned the ending of this to be that The Master was going to be controlled by Satan (from the Satan Pit,) but seeing as how I still wanted to use Dracula, and that was heavily inspired by said episodes, I decided to replace Old Lucy with The Black Guardian, and have The Master possess the body of Anzor; a bully of The Doctor only featured in the unmade-Season 23-and-later-turned-audio-drama-for-Big-Finish-Story; 'Mission To Magnus.' If you haven't read the story, Anzor is a terrible Time Lord when it comes to TARDIS-flying, and you can see subtle hints of that in the fanfic.
The ending also might've been a bit rushed, but in the end, the fact I wrote for this 50th anniversary story is good enough for me.
I don't care if it felt rushed, I did it and that's what matters.
Speaking of the 50th Anniversary, I am in London right now, and I had the opportunity to share this story with Sylvester McCoy (Doctor #7), John Leeson (K-9), Lalla Ward (Romanna II), and most importantly; Jenna Coleman herself last Sunday! I gave Jenna her own copy and one to give to Matt Smith. Jenna was amazed by my copy and later the following day, I read online that Jenna had mentioned that there were many Doctor Who fans across the world including "some who came even from New York." It feels now that I have officially become part of Doctor Who, and as we all know, there's no place to argue with the Impossible Girl!
Now, I obviously told them this story's not perfect, and I do plan to make spelling corrections to it, but for the time being, my plan is to finish up my Doctor Who/Buzz Lightyear Fanfic, and then move on to my LONG overdue Kick-Ass Fanfic, American Woman.
But where does that leave us?
Well, there's one last chapter I have to write. One following this to help me explain why our stories are so important to us fans. Even if some people hate or like them, Matt Smith once said it best; "We're all just stories in the end." And that's what this final chapter will deal with when it finally hits on Christmas, prior to Matt Smith's regeneration scene.
I can't say anything more, but I told Lalla Ward that there's an upcoming Companions of Time One-Shot that's posted right now inspired by Time Crash where two companions meet and hijinks ensue.
But for now, I'm done with Companions of Time, but will be returning after Series 8, if Peter Capaldi can make me scream for him like I did in his cameo in 'Day of the Doctor.'
So, to Whoovian-Halfbloods and Odd Sigma, thank you for your characters you created, and following mine into the world of The Doctor. To the cast and crew of Doctor Who, thank you for an amazing 50 years, and here's to the next 50 years. To Matt Smith, I'll miss you, you bowtie-wearing madman.
And Jenna Coleman, thank you for reminding me that impossibilities are still possible.
But if you have been reading this, thank YOU for reading my story about a trip through time with new companions…
And the ones who made me an official Whoovian.
"The Fan Doctor from New York"
November 2013, London