How many of these lesser-known Doctor Who spin offs have you experienced?
The Whoniverse, after all, is a big place, and after many thousands of years of time travel, the Doctor has made enough friends and enemies to produce an entire Netflix library of spin off shows. And whilst we’ve discussed many of these in a previous blog post, there are some Doctor Who spin offs that you may never have heard of. Perhaps this is the time to give some of them a go…
Pond Life was a mini series of online shorts which preceded Series 7 in 2012, and told the every day life of Amy and Rory “Pond” during their downtime from the Doctor.
But of course, with this being Amy and Rory, the life of the Ponds was anything but dull, and who could possibly forget the iconic moment when the hapless couple found an Ood sitting on their toilet? (After all, there is nothing more frightening than this, according to Jon Pertwee – especially in Tooting Bec.)
This Doctor Who spin off was markedly brief, though, with each of its five episodes clocking in at just over a minute each. So if you’re just dipping your toe into the more obscure world of Doctor Who spin offs, this might be a good place to start.
Rose Tyler: Earth Defence
This Doctor Who spin off is so obscure that it never actually happened! Although officially commissioned by the BBC, it was promptly aborted by Russell T Davies who felt that it would lessen the impact of Rose’s heart-breaking departure at the end of Series Two.
Apparently, the one-off special would have focused on Rose Tyler‘s life on a parallel version of planet Earth (otherwise known as Pete’s World) working with a version of Torchwood to combat alien threats. And according to legend, there were plans to include parallel universe versions of Adam Mitchell, Captain Jack, Gwen Cooper and even the Slitheen in the spin off.
For the closest glimpse as to what this Doctor Who spin off might have been like, we can look to the Series Four episodes ‘Turn Left,’ ‘The Stolen Earth’ and ‘Journey’s End,’ as well as the Big Finish audio series Rose Tyler: The Dimension Canon.
“Jetsetter, adventurer, and owner of a very unusual London bus, Lady Christina de Souza likes the finest things, says Big Finish. “Even if they don’t belong to her. And the more exotic – or alien – the better.
“But Christina’s activities have caught the attention of UNIT, and now Sam Bishop is on her trail…”
Lady Christina is an audio-only Doctor Who spin off produced by Big Finish in 2018. These audio adventures told the continuing story of Lady Christina de Souza who first featured in the 2009 episode ‘Planet of the Dead,’ at the end of which she was ‘gifted’ her own flying bus to take her to new adventures.
Played by Michelle Ryan, Lady Christina is something of a Lara Croft-type character – a one-time aristocrat turned cat burglar who, as the description states, has a taste for the fine and the exotic.
At the time of writing, Big Finish has produced two seasons of this Doctor Who spin off.
The New Adventures
This Doctor Who spin off had something of a strange beginning. In the 1990s, Virgin Books had a licence to produce a range of continuing adventures for the Seventh Doctor, Ace and their various friends, including the 26th century archaeologist Bernice Summerfield.
But with the imminent arrival of the Doctor Who movie in 1996, it became clear that Virgin Books would soon be losing its licence, with BBC Books already preparing its own range of Eighth Doctor novels, among others.
Fortunately, Virgin Books had ample time to prepare for this reality and – determined to keep producing the series without the Doctor Who licence – the publisher pre-emptively removed the Doctor Who branding from its titles and simply named them The New Adventures. The idea was to continue telling stories within this universe but with Bernice Summerfield as the main character.
And so, for a short period of time, Doctor Who had one of its first book series spin-offs. The last of these titles – Twilight of the Gods – was published in 1999.
The Melody Malone Mysteries
Speaking of books, The Melody Malone Mysteries are almost unique in the Whoniverse in that they were actually penned by one of the Doctor’s companions – River Song. The first book in the series was called Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old Time New York and was written exclusively for the Doctor to aid him in the episode ‘The Angels Take Manhattan,’ but it became something of a hit amongst the readers of the 1930s, and River was commissioned to write more.
The Angel’s Kiss was one such book, and this is one that can actually be purchased in the real world. Another title in this somewhat unusual Doctor Who spin off series was The Ruby’s Curse, written by none other than Alex Kingston herself.
As an aside, for those of you who are interested in other obscure Doctor Who spin offs of this ilk, you might want to check out one of Clara Oswald‘s favourite books Summer Falls, which was penned by the enigmatic Amelia Williams…
The final entry on this list is Kaldor City – a Doctor Who spin off which wasn’t actually produced by the BBC but by Magic Bullet Productions. It all takes place in the city of the same name – a futuristic human society served by robots which was first mentioned in Chris Boucher‘s Doctor Who story ‘The Robots of Death.’
Given that it wasn’t officially endorsed by the BBC, its canonicity is debatable, but it was originated by Chris Boucher who created many of the characters and monsters, including the Voc robots and the Fendahl, both of which feature in Kaldor City.
Interestingly, this Doctor Who spin off also includes a character from Blake’s 7 whom Boucher created – the psychostrategist (or “puppeteer”) known as Carnell, who is played by the same actor.
Tracking down copies of this particular Doctor Who spin off might prove tricky, however, so you may need to delve into the darkest corners of eBay…
Have you ever experienced these lesser-known Doctor Who spin offs? And which others would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.