Answering incredibly nerdy questions that never really needed to be answered is pretty much Steven Moffat’s Whovian raison d’être. But with the writer now having left the show, he isn’t going to get the option to do that in an official capacity for a while… that is, outside of a new Doctor Who novelisation.
Dr Who, being menaced by the Daleks. Image: Dr Who and the Daleks (Studio Canal/AARU Productions)
Just as Russell T. Davies added a few intriguing extras to his recently-released novelisation of “Rose”, Moffat’s adaptation of the 50th anniversary special “The Day of The Doctor” adds a few moments of extra indulgence befitting an anniversary bash. But perhaps the most indulgent of all is a brief aside that finally places the 1965 and 1966 Doctor Who movies – licensed movie adaptations of two William Hartnell stories made to capitalise on “Dalek Mania”, starring Peter Cushing as the eccentric human inventor Dr Who – into official canon.
As the Radio Times points out, it doesn’t place them within the actual Doctor Who timeline to make Cushing a secretive incarnation of the Doctor himself. Instead, Moffat actually makes the movies exist in the universe of Doctor Who. At one point in the novelisation, UNIT leader Kate Stewart guides Clara through the mysterious “Black Archive”, UNIT’s vault of alien ephemera, which includes posters from Dr Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 AD. After pointing them out, Kate reveals that the movies were made with the Doctor’s consent (presumably the First Doctor, which is a hilarious picture to imagine), as he was good friends with Cushing, and even provided a waistcoat for the actor to wear in Invasion Earth.
The Doctor’s friendship with Cushing apparently didn’t just stop there, though; he liked the actor so much he apparently caught UNIT’s ire by bringing Cushing forward in time to a point after his death, so he could make cameos in modern movies. It isn’t mentioned by name, but it’s clearly a nod to the actor’s CG resurrection in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So yes, the Star Wars anthology films and the Dr Who movies are official Doctor Who canon now, in a suitably timey-wimey manner. I wonder if in the Who universe Ron Howard still ended up directing Solo? Maybe it ended up being a fixed point in time…