The Cartmel Masterplan

Andrew Cartmel had a masterplan.  That's kind of hinted at by the title of this posting.

All through the Virgin New Adventures, there were hints at this masterplan - revelations about the Doctor's origin.  There were even references to it in the final years of the original TV series, but the stories were edited to refer to Ace, rather than the Doctor.  In some cases (Ghost light is a prime example of this) the results were actually incomprehensible.

I can't remember all the details, but here's a bit of a summary.  Be warned, though... most of this information is taken from Lungbarrow.  That's the penultimate book in the Virgin New Adventures series, so it comes when they're wrapping up all the threads of the masterplan - which was spread out throughout the preceding seventy or eighty or so books.  That's a lot of continuity.

From the very early days of Doctor Who, there have been references to both Rassilon and Omega.  They sort of created Time Lords and time travel and Tardises and all that cool stuff.  They were definitely good guys.

They also appeared in the series itself - and on those occasions, they weren't as nice as their reputations would have us believe.  Sanity and Time Lords don't always work well together.

In the books, there were references to a third figure - one simply known as The Other.  He wasn't born on Gallifrey - he came from somewhere else.  And when he arrived, he discovered a primitive, superstitious, matriarchal culture that was ruled over by The Pythia.

Not happy with this, he set about turning the world into a modern, scientific patriarchal culture instead.  He usurped The Pythia - and she responded by cursing the Gallifreyans to sterility and throwing herself into a pit.

So... we've got time travel, we've got regeneration, we've got the early days of all that classic stuff that we know and love - and there's no more sexual reproduction.  From this point on, all Gallifreyans are "weaved" into existence from these "loom" things.  They don't even get to be children - they're fully grown when they step from the looms.

There's a time of massive civil unrest.  Riots and violence break out.  The Other sees the villagers with the pitchforks approaching and takes a radical step.  He throws himself into the loom.

And this is the cool part...

Sooner or later, the Doctor is weaved into existence and steps out of the loom.  But... he's not just an ordinary Time Lord, is he?  This is what Andrew Cartmel has been hinting at all along.  The Doctor is not just any old Time Lord.  The Doctor is actually The Other - albeit with no memory of his previous life.

There's another twist to the story.  In Human nature - in Paul Cornell's novel and in the TV adaptation - the human Doctor writes a book.  In Paul Cornell's version, his book is about a Victorian time traveller, who journeys to a primitive, superstitious, matriarchal world and  sets about transforming it into a modern, scientific, patriarchal world.

If you look at all this from just the right angle (which I did) then it's just about possible to imagine that the time traveller from H. G. Wells' novel has eventually ended up on Gallifrey, introduced science, instigated a revolution, sacrificed himself and - ultimately - been reborn as the Doctor.

Now, when the question gets asked in the TV series - that's the kind of revelation I'd love to see. 

TheNakedPoet TheNakedPoet
46-50, M
Jan 16, 2013