The Virgin New Adventures (NA series, or NAs) are a series of novels from Virgin Publishing based on the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. They continued the story of the Doctor from the point at which the television programme went into hiatus from television in 1989.
From 1991 to 1997, all the books except the final one involved the Seventh Doctor, who was portrayed on television by Sylvester McCoy; the final book, The Dying Days, involved the Eighth Doctor, who was portrayed in the 1996 television film by Paul McGann. In further books published between 1997 and 1999, the New Adventures series focused on the character Bernice Summerfield and the Doctor did not appear.
Virgin had purchased the successful children's imprint Target Books in 1989, with Virgin's new fiction editor Peter Darvill-Evans taking over the range. Target's major output was novelisations of televised Doctor Who stories, and Darvill-Evans realised that there were few stories left to be novelised. He approached the BBC for permission to commission original stories written directly for print, but such a licence was initially refused. However, after the television series ended at the end of 1989, Virgin were granted the licence to produce full-length original novels continuing the story from the point at which the series had concluded.
The range, titled the New Adventures, was launched in 1991 with a series of four linked novels, beginning with Timewyrm: Genesys by John Peel, who had previously contributed to Target's successful range of novelisations. Of the other three initial authors, Terrance Dicks had been both a regular contributor to the television series itself and the major contributor to Target's book range; Nigel Robinson had been Darvill-Evans' predecessor as editor of the Target books; and Paul Cornell, although new to professional publishing, had been an active contributor to the Doctor Who fanzine scene and was beginning a career as a television scriptwriter.
The initial four Timewyrm books were successful, and the range quickly became a regular bi-monthly series. Starting with book #11, The Highest Science, in February 1993, Virgin switched to a monthly publication schedule. In July 1994, Virgin began a companion range of novels, the Missing Adventures, which told stories of previous incarnations of the Doctor.
Following the Doctor Who television movie in 1996 the BBC chose not to renew Virgin's licence to produce Doctor Who novels, choosing instead to publish their own line of original Doctor Who fiction. After 61 New Adventures and 33 Missing Adventures, Doctor Who fiction came to an end at Virgin with The Dying Days, their only Eighth Doctor novel. However, the final Doctor Who book actually published by Virgin was So Vile a Sin, featuring the Seventh Doctor; it had been scheduled for release several months before The Dying Days but was delayed due to difficulties with the manuscript.
The New Adventures series continued with Bernice Summerfield, one of the new companions introduced for the New Adventures, as the lead character, starting with her taking up a job as professor of archaeology at the St Oscar's University on the planet of Dellah. The new line was written by many of the writers that had written for the New Adventures and continued to feature elements of both the Doctor Who New Adventures and, to a lesser extent, television continuity. Indeed, its concluding arc - the so-called "Gods arc", which sees an alien race with god-like powers devastating Dellah - ties in with concurrent events in the BBC Eighth Doctor line. The links between the NA Dead Romance (a standalone volume in which Bernice Summerfield does not actually appear) and the two-volume Eighth Doctor novel Interference (all written by Lawrence Miles) are particularly close.
The New Adventures were self-described as being "stories too broad and deep for the small screen," and purported to take Doctor Who into "previously unexplored realms of time and space". What this meant, in practice, was a shift towards more adult-oriented science fiction writing, and use of the literary form to play around with the standard conventions of the series. From the beginning, the novels were controversial for their use of sex, violence and bad language, although this was never as frequent or as extreme as many people seemed to believe. As the series found its audience over time a greater share of fandom began to accept the new direction.
Among the developments were a "hardening" of Ace, with a story arc that had her leave the Doctor for three years (from her perspective) and returning as an older and more cynical character, more morally ambiguous endings and the introduction of new companions, such as Bernice and the Adjudicators Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester. Bernice, in particular, proved so popular that in addition to appearing in her own novels, she has gone on to star in her own audio plays as well.
The novels were guided by the so-called Cartmel Masterplan, which was the backstory that Doctor Who story editor Andrew Cartmel had constructed for the television series when it was cancelled and never brought to fruition. Hints were therefore dropped about the "true" nature of the Seventh Doctor, which culminated in the penultimate novel in the Virgin series, Lungbarrow, written by Marc Platt. That said, neither of the main editors of the line, Peter Darvill-Evans or Rebecca Levene took the Masterplan as an absolute, preferring to develop those themes by tone rather than plot. Only a handful of books in the line are heavily based around the Masterplan.
One novel in the series, Shakedown, was in fact a novelisation of an independent video production that had featured the Sontarans. Unlicensed productions of this sort are tolerated by the BBC as long as the Doctor and other BBC-copyrighted elements are not featured. The novelisation of Shakedown, however, was expanded to include the Doctor. (Similarly, the NA's sister series, the Missing Adventures, included novelisations of the spin-off production, Downtime and the BBC Radio drama The Ghosts of N-Space.)
As well as introducing new characters, the range also provided a showcase for new writing talent. Notable was Paul Cornell who wrote five of the novels, including the single most popular one (according to the Doctor Who Magazine poll), Human Nature. Cornell went on to write for the 2005 revival of the television series: "Father's Day" and "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", the latter a two-part adaptation of the 38th New Adventure. Others who later worked on the revived television series include Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Matt Jones, Simon Winstone and Gary Russell. Even Russell T Davies contributed to the range with his novel Damaged Goods. Gatiss and Roberts both did their first ever professional fiction writing for the line, as did others who later found success elsewhere, including Daniel Blythe, Justin Richards, Andy Lane and Lance Parkin.
Several writers from the classic television series also got their chance to contribute - one of the better received novels was The Also People by Ben Aaronovitch. Terrance Dicks, the author of many Target episode novelizations and a writer and script editor for the TV series going back to the 1960s, contributed a number of novels. Barry Letts, former producer of the series during the Jon Pertwee era, contributed to the Virgin Missing Adventures line.
Despite moving to the BBC line of novels, the writers (many who cut their teeth with the Virgin series) attempted to maintain continuity with the Virgin range and many elements from this series appeared in later Doctor Who stories. With Big Finish Productions acquiring the licence to produce both Doctor Who and Bernice Summerfield audio plays and short fiction, they have been able to set audio plays within the universe of the Virgin novel line, as is the case with The Shadow of the Scourge and The Dark Flame, for example. Although the continuity of the audio plays and the BBC's Eighth Doctor Adventures diverge sharply from each other, they both broadly appear to maintain continuity with the Virgin series; Big Finish's early Bernice Summerfield works did not.
Paul Cornell's 1995 novel, Human Nature, as noted above, formed the basis of a two-part episode of the television series broadcast in 2007. This was the first time a full-length original Doctor Who novel had been adapted for television, although Cornell (who also wrote the teleplay) had to make substantial changes to transform his Seventh Doctor novel into a story featuring the Tenth Doctor.
Big Finish Productions produced audio drama adaptations of the novels Birthright and Just War, altering them to remove the Doctor and his various companions and focus on the character of Benny Summerfield. In October 2012 a special adaptation of Benny's debut story, Love and War was published with Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, to mark the 20th anniversary of the character's début.
Due to the success of what was planned to be a one-off release, Big Finish continued the line with an adaptation of The Highest Science, again featuring Sylvester McCoy and Lisa Bowerman in their respective roles, in December 2014. Also produced were Russell T. Davies' novel Damaged Goods, starring Sylvester McCoy, Travis Oliver and Yasmin Bannerman as the Seventh Doctor, Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester respectively, released in May 2015; and Theatre of War and All-Consuming Fire in December 2015. The company also planned to release an adaptation of Nightshade in April 2016, and adaptations of Original Sin and Cold Fusion in December 2016.
The Bernice Summerfield novel Dead Romance was republished in 2004. In 2014, the novel Shakedown was republished as part of The Monster Collection, followed in 2015 by Human Nature, republished as part of The History Collection.
|1||Timewyrm: Genesys||John Peel||Ace||June 1991|
|2||Timewyrm: Exodus||Terrance Dicks||Ace, The War Chief, War Lords||August 1991|
|3||Timewyrm: Apocalypse||Nigel Robinson||Ace||October 1991|
|4||Timewyrm: Revelation||Paul Cornell||Ace||December 1991|
|5||Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible||Marc Platt||Ace||February 1992|
|6||Cat's Cradle: Warhead||Andrew Cartmel||Ace||April 1992|
|7||Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark||Andrew Hunt||Ace||June 1992|
|8||Nightshade||Mark Gatiss||Ace||August 1992|
|9||Love and War||Paul Cornell||Ace, Bernice, Draconians||October 1992|
|10||Transit||Ben Aaronovitch||Bernice, Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart||December 1992|
|11||The Highest Science||Gareth Roberts||Bernice||February 1993|
|12||The Pit||Neil Penswick||Bernice||March 1993|
|13||Deceit||Peter Darvill-Evans||Ace, Bernice||April 1993|
|14||Lucifer Rising||Jim Mortimore & Andy Lane||Ace, Bernice||May 1993|
|15||White Darkness||David A. McIntee||Ace, Bernice||June 1993|
|16||Shadowmind||Christopher Bulis||Ace, Bernice||July 1993|
|17||Birthright||Nigel Robinson||Ace, Bernice||August 1993|
|18||Iceberg||David Banks||Ruby, Cybermen||September 1993|
|19||Blood Heat||Jim Mortimore||Ace, Bernice, Silurians, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Liz Shaw, John Benton, Jo Grant||October 1993|
|20||The Dimension Riders||Daniel Blythe||Ace, Bernice||November 1993|
|21||The Left-Handed Hummingbird||Kate Orman||Ace, Bernice||December 1993|
|22||Conundrum||Steve Lyons||Ace, Bernice||January 1994|
|23||No Future||Paul Cornell||Ace, Bernice, UNIT, The Meddling Monk, Vardans,||February 1994|
|24||Tragedy Day||Gareth Roberts||Ace, Bernice||March 1994|
|25||Legacy||Gary Russell||Ace, Bernice, Ice Warriors, Alpha Centurai, Peladonians||April 1994|
|26||Theatre of War||Justin Richards||Ace, Bernice, Braxiatel||May 1994|
|27||All-Consuming Fire||Andy Lane||Ace, Bernice, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson||June 1994|
|28||Blood Harvest (Dicks novel)||Terrance Dicks||Ace, Bernice, Romana, Great Vampires||July 1994|
|29||Strange England||Simon Messingham||Ace, Bernice||August 1994|
|30||First Frontier||David A. McIntee||Ace, Bernice, The Master||September 1994|
|31||St Anthony's Fire||Mark Gatiss||Ace, Bernice||October 1994|
|32||Falls the Shadow||Daniel O'Mahony||Ace, Bernice||November 1994|
|33||Parasite||Jim Mortimore||Ace, Bernice||December 1994|
|34||Warlock||Andrew Cartmel||Ace, Bernice||January 1995|
|35||Set Piece||Kate Orman||Ace, Bernice, Kadiatu||February 1995|
|36||Infinite Requiem||Daniel Blythe||Bernice||March 1995|
|37||Sanctuary||David A. McIntee||Bernice||April 1995|
|38||Human Nature||Paul Cornell||Bernice||May 1995|
|39||Original Sin||Andy Lane||Bernice, Chris, Roz||June 1995|
|40||Sky Pirates!||Dave Stone||Bernice, Chris, Roz||July 1995|
|41||Zamper||Gareth Roberts||Bernice, Chris, Roz||August 1995|
|42||Toy Soldiers||Paul Leonard||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Ogrons||September 1995|
|43||Head Games||Steve Lyons||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Ace, Mel, Ace||October 1995|
|44||The Also People||Ben Aaronovitch||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Kadiatu||November 1995|
|45||Shakedown||Terrance Dicks||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Sontarans, Rutans, Ogrons||December 1995|
|46||Just War||Lance Parkin||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Mel||January 1996|
|47||Warchild||Andrew Cartmel||Bernice, Chris, Roz||February 1996|
|48||Sleepy||Kate Orman||Bernice, Chris, Roz||March 1996|
|49||Death and Diplomacy||Dave Stone||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Jason Kane||April 1996|
|50||Happy Endings||Paul Cornell||Bernice, Chris, Roz, Jason, Ace,
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Romana II, Kadiatu, Braxiatel, Ruby
|51||GodEngine||Craig Hinton||Chris, Roz, Ice Warriors, Daleks||June 1996|
|52||Christmas on a Rational Planet||Lawrence Miles||Chris, Roz||July 1996|
|53||Return of the Living Dad||Kate Orman||Chris, Roz, Bernice, Jason||August 1996|
|54||The Death of Art||Simon Bucher-Jones||Chris, Roz, Ace||September 1996|
|55||Damaged Goods||Russell T Davies||Chris, Roz||October 1996|
|56||So Vile a Sin¹||Ben Aaronovitch & Kate Orman||Chris, Roz, Bernice, Jason, Kadiatu||May 1997|
|57||Bad Therapy||Matthew Jones||Chris, Peri||December 1996|
|58||Eternity Weeps||Jim Mortimore||Chris, Bernice, Jason, Liz Shaw||January 1997|
|59||The Room with No Doors||Kate Orman||Chris||February 1997|
|60||Lungbarrow||Marc Platt||Chris, Romana, Ace, Leela, K-9||March 1997|
|61||The Dying Days||Lance Parkin||Bernice, the Brigadier, Ice Warriors||April 1997|
¹Difficulties arose in the publication of this novel due to Aaronovitch suffering a major computer failure, leading to it being delayed and Kate Orman stepping in to help finish it. The book was eventually published after The Dying Days, but is listed here in the position it occupies in the series' ongoing narrative continuity.
|1||Oh No It Isn't!||Paul Cornell||May 1997|
|2||Dragons' Wrath||Justin Richards||June 1997|
|3||Beyond the Sun||Matthew Jones||July 1997|
|4||Ship of Fools||Dave Stone||August 1997|
|5||Down||Lawrence Miles||September 1997|
|6||Deadfall||Gary Russell||October 1997|
|7||Ghost Devices||Simon Bucher-Jones||November 1997|
|8||Mean Streets||Terrance Dicks||December 1997|
|9||Tempest||Christopher Bulis||January 1998|
|10||Walking to Babylon||Kate Orman||February 1998|
|11||Oblivion||Dave Stone||March 1998|
|12||The Medusa Effect||Justin Richards||April 1998|
|13||Dry Pilgrimage||Paul Leonard and Nick Walters||May 1998|
|14||The Sword of Forever||Jim Mortimore||June 1998|
|15||Another Girl, Another Planet||Martin Day and Len Beech||August 1998|
|16||Beige Planet Mars||Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham||October 1998|
|17||Where Angels Fear||Rebecca Levene and Simon Winstone||December 1998|
|18||The Mary-Sue Extrusion||Dave Stone||February 1999|
|19||Dead Romance||Lawrence Miles||March 1999|
|20||Tears of the Oracle||Justin Richards||June 1999|
|21||Return to the Fractured Planet||Dave Stone||August 1999|
|22||The Joy Device||Justin Richards||October 1999|
|23||Twilight of the Gods||Mark Clapham and Jon de Burgh Miller||December 1999|
The adventures of Bernice Summerfield continued in a series of novels and short story anthologies published by Big Finish Productions from 2000.
The New Adventures significantly expanded the Doctor Who universe. The character of the Doctor was recast as Time's Champion, which was sometimes interpreted figuratively and sometimes literally - Time, Death and Pain are occasionally seen as personified beings (possibly Eternals), who were worshipped as gods in Ancient Gallifrey. The Doctor was also shown to have a link to the Other, a figure from the time of Rassilon and Omega; the nature of this link was most explicitly shown in Lungbarrow.
Many new parts of the TARDIS were seen in the New Adventures, including a tertiary console room made of stone. The Doctor was also seen to have a house in Kent which he used as a base of operations at different points in the 20th and 21st centuries; this "House on Allen Road" first appeared in Cat's Cradle: Warhead. Also appearing in Warhead and its sequels, Warlock and Warchild (all by Andrew Cartmel) are the ecological activist Justine and psychic Vincent Wheaton.
Alien races created for the New Adventures include the Chelonians (who first appear in The Highest Science) and the Pakhars (who first appear in Legacy). Another group of adversaries who appear in several New and Missing Adventures are the Great Old Ones, derived from H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. In the New Adventures, these beings are survivors of the universe before this one, who therefore exist in accordance with a different set of physical laws. A being calling itself Azathoth in All-Consuming Fire turns out to be an impostor, but the novel identifies several other Doctor Who monsters with Lovecraftian entities: the Great Intelligence is Yog-Sothoth, the Animus is Lloigor, Fenric is Hastur the Unspeakable, and an Old One encountered in White Darkness is Cthulhu.
The early New Adventures were explicitly linked in story arcs, indicated in the books' titles. Later novels in the series were often, but not always, linked in looser story arcs, which were noted in publicity materials but not in the titles.
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