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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

Neil Lambess of Whangarei has recently watched Underworld. Neil points out that the Minyans have the ability the regenerate, and some have done so a thousand times. Neil wants to know why Time Lords can only regenerate twelve times while the Minyans, who were given the power by the Time Lords in the first place, can regenerate endlessly.

In Underworld, we see Tala placed under a machine which changes her from an old hag into a young woman. She does not change form or personality, so it is not a true regeneration in the sense of a Time Lord, but more likely just a rejuvenation. There is nothing in the story to indicate that the ability is a natural one, so it would seem that the Minyans must use machines. In Mawdryn Undead the mutants stole a metamorphic symbiosis regenerator from Gallifrey. This device is used by Time Lords in cases of acute regenerative crisis. The machine used by the Minyans probably worked on the same principle.

The Minyans in Underworld did not desire to prolong their lives to such a great extent, but did so as a matter of necessity, in order to carry out their quest.

Stuart Brown wonders if the 'Missing Episodes' The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil and Mission to Magnus are regarded as canonical.

As the recent Shada debate has demonstrated, the definition of canonicity is a matter of personal choice. To me, these three stories are not canonical. If we were to regard them as part of the Doctor Who universe, then we must also accept every other unmade story. There are hundreds of these, so it would be almost impossible to try and catalogue them all. I tried with The Forgotten Tales articles in TSV issues 21-29, and still keep finding new ones! In answer to your question, it's up to you if you want to count them or not.

Stuart also wants to know what the correct chronological order is for the 'Missing Episodes', and Slipback.

Slipback was first broadcast July-August 1985, and therefore comes first. At the time of cancellation, The Nightmare Fair was definitely due to go into production - The Ultimate Evil and Mission to Magnus had reached complete script stage and had directors assigned to them, so it is likely they would have followed. Beyond this, details are uncertain. Robert Holmes had prepared a storyline for a three-parter set in Singapore variously called Made in Singapore, Evil of the Autons or Return of the Autons, however the title which appears on BBC documentation is Yellow Fever and How to Cure It. The fifth story would probably have been one by Christopher H. Bidmead called In the Hollows of Time. The last story might have been an untitled submission by Bill Pritchard, or one called The Children of January by Michael Feeney Callan. While this is likely to have been the production order, the transmitted season might have differed slightly. The first three stories were novelised and published by Target in 1989/90, and an adaptation by Eric Saward of Robert Holmes's story is tentatively planned for publication in the near future. If you want to find out more about the aborted season, I highly recommend The Handbook: The Sixth Doctor.

Michael Dwyer from Tauranga observes that 'On practically every cover that Alister Pearson has ever painted for Doctor Who books and videos, he puts his initials, and on some he puts someone else's initials as well. Can you tell me what they mean, and what purpose they serve?'

They don't serve any purpose really. As for what they mean, they are apparently all initials of Pearson's friends and colleagues within Doctor Who fandom. Whilst many are unidentifiable, it is possible to make an educated guess in some cases.

In his early pieces, Pearson hid his initials within the illustration. Later he made his name more prominent, using either 'AP', 'AJP' or the signature 'Alister'. Originally the other initials too were hidden but these have also become more prominent.

The novelisation covers with hidden 'AP's are: The Smugglers (tombstone); Paradise Towers (graffiti); The War Machines (the Doctor's chain); The Nightmare Fair (part of the word 'GAP'); Mindwarp (rock wall); The Ultimate Evil (the TARDIS screen); The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (yellow kite); Ghost Light (part of the hieroglyphics); The Curse of Fenric (part of the logic diagram); The Ark reprint (part of the border). The Ultimate Foe and The Edge of Destruction hold the distinction of having no initials at all - not even 'AP'! Pearson's first book cover to feature initials other than his own was Paradise Towers.

Pearson's first video cover was An Unearthly Child, which features 'RT' on a rock to the left of the TARDIS. This is Richard Thomas, who originally suggested to Pearson that he write to BBC Video to do the video covers. All of Pearson's video covers bar The Curse of Fenric, The Masque of Mandragora, The War Games and The Krotons have other initials. The strange squiggle on The Dominators cover is not an initial; the symbol actually appears in the story, on the door of the lab. BBC Video took the initiative to airbrush out the initials on some of their covers. Originally, The Three Doctors had 'JVW' formed out of stars, Robot featured 'JB' (as seen on the cover of DWM 183), and The Masque of Mandragora had 'SW' (Steve Wickens).

Here's a list of all of the instances where Alister Pearson has used other people's initials in his cover paintings, and the owners of those initials where known (updated to 2006). Alister has contributed most of the information for this revised online version.

BBC Video covers
(* reused as a novelisation reprint cover)
An Unearthly Child'RT' = Richard Thomas
The Mind Robber *'GL' = Gary Leigh
The Dalek Invasion of Earth *'JF' = John Freeman
The Five Doctors *'AS' = Anthony Sibley
The Brain of Morbius *'CP' = Charles Packer
The Web Planet *'GW' = Graeme Wood
The Daemons *'SML' = Stephen Lee
Remembrance of the Daleks'SLM'
The Trial of a Time Lord'IEF'
First edition novelisation covers
Paradise Towers'JH' = Jarrett Harrison, and 'DD' = David Durbridge (as part of the graffiti)
Delta and the Bannermen'PW' (picked out in coloured stars)
Dragonfire'AH' = Andrew Holding, and 'TH'
The Nightmare Fair'CC' = Cate Caruth
The Daleks' Masterplan - Part I'MF' and 'DN'
Silver Nemesis'KH' = Keith Hopkins
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy'PB' = Paul Bensilum, and 'IH'
Planet of Giants'NL'
The Happiness Patrol'SR' = Stephen Rees
Remembrance of the Daleks'MB' = Matthew Butcher, and 'DC'
Ghost Light'GR' = Gary Russell (hidden in hieroglyphics)
Survival'PL' = Peter Lovelady (hidden in planet)
The Curse of Fenric'RFH' and 'SJC' (hidden in runes)
Battlefield'SD' = Stuart Denman (on Brig's shoulder)
The Power of the Daleks'GDW' = Graeme Wood
The Evil of the Daleks'SW' = Steve Wickens, and 'AD'
The Paradise of Death'SMH'
Novelisation reprint covers
The Ambassadors of Death'SMG' = Simon Groves
Castrovalva'MCE' = MC Escher
Logopolis'NH' = Nick Haslam
The Daleks'AB' (on cliff above city) = Andrew Beech
The Visitation'DVB' = David Brunt
Arc of Infinity'ASG'
Mawdryn Undead'AS'
Earthshock'MAC' = Mark Chester
The Awakening'DL' = David Lavelle
The Curse of Peladon'BJ' = Ben Jolly
The Monster of Peladon'TJ' = Tim Jolly (Ben's brother)
Planet of the Daleks'SFC'
Destiny of the Daleks'RSF'; '60' = Pearson's 60th cover
Warriors of the Deep'AMB'
The Silurians'GR' = Gary Russell, and 'PPJ'
The Massacre'MDL'
Attack of the Cybermen'DB' = David Banks and Debbie Bond
The Savages'KJM'
The Ark'GJC'
The Celestial Toymaker'BM'
Vengeance on Varos'KDJ' = Ken Jones
The Tenth Planet'DJH' = David J Howe
Terror of the Zygons'ADP' = Adam Pearson (no relation); '75' = Pearson's 75th cover
Pyramids of Mars'SJB' = Simon Baxter
The Face of Evil'CRR' = Craig Robbins
Meglos'AJS' = Anthony Sibley
Carnival of Monsters'MD'
The Enemy of the World'SPS'
The Time Warrior'NC'
The Keeper of Traken'ACHW'
The Invasion'SRR'
Silver Nemesis'AJDG' = Alexander James Daniel Gilby
The Leisure Hive'KAD'
Invasion of the Dinosaurs'KAA' = Keith Armstrong
The Web of Fear'LA'
The Robots of Death'RNW'
The Talons of Weng-Chiang'NAJP' = Nick Pegg
Horror of Fang Rock (unused)'JMR'
The Invisible Enemy (unused)'ALC'
The Missing Adventures covers
Goth Opera'JCB' = Jonathan Barrett
Evolution'VAB' = Victoria Burgess
Venusian Lullaby'GCP'; 'JM' = Jim Mortimore
The Crystal Bucephalus'RJH'
State of Change'JCB' = Jonathan Barrett
The Ghosts of N-Space'SPM'
The Romance of Crime'MG'
Millennial Rites'CDM' = Chris Martin
Lords of the Storm'BRW' = Barry Ward
The Man in the Velvet Mask'ZC' = Zoe Collard
The English Way of Death'GPJ'
The Sands of Time'CH'
Killing Ground'JDH' = John Huggins
The Shadow of Weng-Chiang'KHT'
Twilight of the Gods'NDAS'
Speed of Flight'ALS'
The Plotters'RWTW'
Cold Fusion'MRC'; 'EJLM'
Burning Heart'MNE' = Martin Edge; 'RH'
A Device of Death'SJR'; 'ALC'
The Dark Path'PSW' = Patrick White; 'AJH' = Andrew Holding
The Well-Mannered War'DWD' = David Durbridge; 'KAG';
(this cover also features the likeness of the aforementioned Jonathan Barrett)
Non-fiction book covers
The Terrestrial Index'MCE' = MC Escher
The Universal Databank'MCE' = MC Escher
The Key to Time (unused)'JCB' = Jonathan Barrett
A History of the Universe'MJH'
The Fourth Doctor Handbook'LJK' = Laurence Keynes
The Sixth Doctor Handbook'MPS' = Mark Short
The First Doctor Handbook'DKP'
The Second Doctor Handbook'DFG' = Dominic Glynn
The Fifth Doctor Handbook'MJK' = Matt Kimpton
The Third Doctor Handbook'BAR'
The Seventh Doctor Handbook'MRA'
Various covers
The Worlds of Doctor Who Silva Screen CD (The Programme Guide artwork) 'JOE'
The Curse of Fenric Silva Screen CD 'NJO' = Nick Osborne
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Silva Screen CD'BRW' = Barry Ward
The Mark of Mandragora graphic novel cover'GEC'
DWM issue 183'JB' (this is the Robot video cover with the initials left intact)
DWM issue 200'DM'
Classic Comics issue 1'CMC'
Classic Comics issue 10'JSP' = Janet Powell
The Doctor Who Storybook 2007'SC' = Stuart Crouch (and his new born son Sam!)

This item appeared in TSV 38 (March 1994).

Index nodes: Doctor's Dilemma, The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil, Mission to Magnus, Slipback